The Music of Praise

The Music of Praise

Pastor Don Carpenter

Holy Roar: 7 Words That Will Change The Way You Worship

 Zâmar, zaw-mar´: To make music. To celebrate in song and music. To touch the strings or parts of a musical instrument.

 Psalm 144:9 (KJV)

 I will sing a new song unto thee, O God: Upon a psaltery and an instrument of ten strings will I sing praises unto thee.

Pastor Darren Whitehead tells the following story:

I stood over Brandy, looking into her eyes, giving her chips of ice, holding her hand, doing whatever she needed. She was deep into labor with our third daughter, Violet, and as was the tradition in the Whitehead family, music filled the hospital room.

In the weeks before delivery, Brandy and I made a worship playlist. We’d done the same thing when our first two daughters were born. More than anything, we wanted the songs of the church to be the first sounds our daughters’ tiny ears ever heard; we wanted to bring them into the chorus of God’s family from the beginning.

The worship music we played during Brandy’s labor gave us a sort of hidden strength. This music wasn’t just for our new baby. It was for us too. The people of God singing the praises of God calmed us through the moments of anxiety, bolstering Brandy’s spirits even through the labor of childbirth. The music was a conduit of God’s grace, and we felt it in that hospital room.

Praise and worship music can be a powerful tool to draw us into a personal experience with God. And this effect can be felt in the privacy of a hospital room or in the gathering of the church. Haven’t you experienced this? Consider that time you walked into church, frustrated with a friend, anxious about your finances, perhaps concerned about a new health challenge. Remember how you stood in the liminal space before the worship music began and made small talk as best you could, the things of eternity far from your mind. Recall how the chords began to fill the room, how the attention of the crowd was turned toward the praise of God. In that moment, didn’t the stuff of earth, the anxieties of life, seem to melt into the melody? As the cares rolled away, didn’t you encounter the very presence of God? 

Music is more powerful than we even understand. It can soften our hearts, soothe our troubled souls. It opens a door to the spiritual world. It paves the road for the Spirit’s coming. The patriarchs, psalmists, and prophets of the scriptures understood the power of music especially.

Zâmar is used throughout the psalms to connote the making of music, celebrating in song and music, and plucking the strings of a musical instrument. It’s a word that appears in the scriptures forty-one times, both in narrative form and in the poetry of the psalms.

n prepares the heart for the reality of an important message. This reality is captured by the third Hebrew word that’s so often translated as praise—the word zâmar.

This morning, as we continue our look at seven words for Praise, let us discover ZAMAR – to praise through singing and playing music. We will discover that this musical praise prepares the Heart.

Praise that Prepares the Heart to Hear the Word

2 Kings 3:15–17 KJV

But now bring me a minstrel. And it came to pass, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the LORD came upon him. 

And he said, Thus saith the LORD, Make this valley full of ditches. 

For thus saith the LORD, Ye shall not see wind, neither shall ye see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, that ye may drink, both ye, and your cattle, and your beasts.

 Psalm 47:7 (KJV)

 For God is the King of all the earth: Sing ye praises with understanding.

Colossians 3:16 KJV

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

Praise That Prepares The Heart to Trust

1 Samuel 16:23 KJV

And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.

While David was hiding from Saul in a cave.

 Psalm 57:7 (KJV)

 My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.

 Psalm 108:1 (KJV)

 O God, my heart is fixed; I will sing and give praise, Even with my glory.

Praise That Prepares The Heart to Stand

 2 Samuel 22:50 (KJV)

 Therefore I will give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, And I will sing praises unto thy name.

 Psalm 27:6 (KJV)

 And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: Therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD.

 Psalm 57:9 (KJV)

 I will praise thee, O Lord, among the people: I will sing unto thee among the nations.

 Psalm 59:17 (KJV)

 Unto thee, O my strength, will I sing: For God is my defence, and the God of my mercy.

Praise That Prepares The Heart to Give Thanks

 Psalm 147:7 (KJV)

 Sing unto the LORD with thanksgiving; Sing praise upon the harp unto our God:

Ephesians 5:19–20 KJV

Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 

Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

Praise That Prepares The Heart To Proclaim

 1 Chronicles 16:9 (KJV)

 Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, Talk ye of all his wondrous works.

 Psalm 105:2 (KJV)

 Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: Talk ye of all his wondrous works.

 Psalm 101:1 (KJV)

 I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto thee, O LORD, will I sing.

Praise That Prepares The Heart To Rejoice

 Psalm 71:23 (KJV)

 My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing unto thee; And my soul, which thou hast redeemed.

The following is a testimony from Chris Tomlin:

Holy Roar: 7 Words That Will Change The Way You Worship BEHIND THE MUSIC

In the earliest days of leading worship, I read the story of the famous composer, Johann Sebastian Bach. It’s said that as Bach composed and played music, it was as if he were praising God, even in his instrumental arrangements. “I play the notes as they are written,” Bach is oft quoted as saying, “but it is God who makes the music.” Bach was so convinced of this truth, in fact, that he penned the initials S.D.G. on many of his pieces, his shorthand for Soli Deo gloria—glory to God alone.

Bach’s commitment to creating music to the glory of God was inspirational and formative, and it put language to my practice of prayer before leading worship. Even before reading about Bach’s commitment, I’d prayed that God would be in the music that I played, that I’d simply reflect the melodies God put on my heart, whether or not those songs included words.

Over the years, I’ve had the privilege to play with some of the most incredible musicians, people truly gifted to lead the church in worship. There are times, though, when we gather for the purpose of simply playing. We’ll come together to play impromptu instrumental pieces without singing a word. In these moments, rare though they may be, we try our best to pay attention to each other, to the rhythms, to the melodies, and to the harmonies God puts on our hearts. As best as we can, we try to play those songs to the glory of God alone. 

There’s something about those times of instrumental worship, times when we pluck the string. They’ve been some of the most powerful times of personal worship for me. And though it’s hard to explain, they are the times I’ve most felt that I was playing the soundtrack of God. In such times I felt Bach’s truth most.

Yes, I play the notes as they come, but God makes the music. I’m his instrument, a reflection of his music, and before I step onto any stage, I ask that the touch of his presence would be on the music I play. I ask that no matter the crowd size, no matter the songs we play, no matter the time of day, may we play every song for the glory of God alone. Isn’t this the greatest privilege?

ZAMAR – Musical Praise that prepares the heart. Are you prepared?

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 12:10 PM November 4, 2021.

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