Poetry With A Mission

...a thought provoking poetical exercise.


The Misused Psalm

“Praise the Lord. Praise God in His sanctuary; praise Him in His mighty heavens. Praise Him for His acts of power; praise Him for His surpassing greatness. Praise Him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise Him with the harp and lyre, praise Him with tambourine and dancing, praise Him with the strings and flute, praise Him with the clash of cymbals, praise Him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.” (Ps 150:1-6, NIV).

Psalm 150 was written and composed by David, the founder of the Temple’s music ministry.

Psalms One Hundred and Fifty has very frequently been misused.
The result?
Inappropriate music in our worship is now being excused.
Yes, misinterpretation so often leads many folk astray,
Hence why before we start studying, we for wisdom need to pray.

We shouldn't take literally any text that we’re not meant to,
For some are figurative, some symbolic, hence research we must do.
Yes, the psalms can be a mixture — therefore, we should tread with great care,
Lest we misinterpret them, and as a result, off track soon veer.

Now tell me, have you ever heard animals, reptiles, fish or birds
Ever praising our God above via squeaks, grunts, barks, chirps, squawks or words?
Of course not, yet in this misused psalm, everything that breathes is told
To praise Him who is worthy, when how could such creatures such uphold?

Psalms One Hundred and Forty Eight commands mountains to praise the Lord,
And even the sun and the moon and the stars are likewise implored.
But we know that they can’t praise, so we don’t take that literally,
As some things conveyed here, are simply expressed figuratively.

And in a similar manner —

Psalms One Hundred and Fifty also poetically conveys
That our God is deserving of everything’s continuous praise.
Thus, some folk read far more into it than its author intended,
Which is why things like drums in church get vigorously defended.

But this psalm isn’t specifying what instruments we can use
Within church or our worship, nor saying that any we can choose.
Therefore, Psalms One Hundred and Fifty we shouldn’t use to okay
Any style of worship or instrument, or we will simply stray.

Tell me, why would David contradict the instructions that he gave 
Regarding how the musicians at the Temple were to behave?
For only certain instruments would David let those Levites play,
And in a certain manner too, which they were always to obey.

Tambourines were not employed, and nor did any dancing occur
Within the earthly Temple, as many people wrongly infer.
Hence why the only time a cymbal clashed, with a short sharp ringing,
Was when it marked the end of a stanza, or the end of singing. 

As for the use of any trumpets, their use was limited too,
For they just signalled things that the choir or congregation would then do.
Otherwise, only the lyres and harps accompanied the Temple choir,
Until the last cymbal clash ended the singing, the harp and lyre.

"Hang on!" you say, "What about dancing that’s mentioned in this psalm too?"
Well, dancing is disputed, as it mightn’t be right, scholars argue. 
It seems the original word might actually apply to
Simply another instrument, one that a musician blows through.

"Didn’t David dance?" Yes, he did, though not in the sanctuary,
And bear in mind, David didn’t always act appropriately.
Although he knew what was right and wrong, David sometimes went astray,
Acting impulsively, or very badly, much to God’s dismay.

Yes, between the secular and holy, God has drawn a clear line,
Knowing that the secular and the holy one shouldn’t combine.
Even though we’re not the Israelites, this principle still remains,
Which is why the prudent worshipper, all earthly desire restrains.

By Lance Landall