A Devotion for 21 July 2020 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
The Book of Psalms is a veritable hymnbook included at the center-most pages of the Holy Bible. Many are joyful, sad, deprecatory, or prophetic, but each bears a beautiful message from God our Father. The Congregations of Israel from David to our present day have been inspired and granted comfort from either the reading, or the singing of the Psalms. Many of the ancient Church sang only Psalms ere the classical hymns were added – but even those were based upon Holy Writ for truth.
I usually reveal the author of each hymn I write about, but in this case, I believe that is not necessary, since we will all know that God is always the author of His Word even when transcribed by a David.
The Lord considers hymn-singing almost on a par with prayer since many Psalms are nothing but metrical prayers, i.e., the 23rd Psalms. “Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.” (Ps 100:1); “O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.” (Ps 95:1); “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,” (Col 3:16); and “I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.” (Ps 13:6)
This King James Version of the metrical Psalm is sung to the tune of MARTYDOM – the same tune to which ‘Alas, and did My Savior Bleed’ is often sung. The word order has been slightly altered by the Scottish Psalterist of 1650 to make the Psalm metrically oriented for singing:
LORD, FROM THE DEPTHS I CRIED
1 Lord, from the depths to thee I cried.
2 My voice, Lord, do thou hear:
Unto my supplication’s voice
give an attentive ear.
3 Lord, who shall stand, if thou, O Lord,
should’st mark iniquity?
4 But yet with thee forgiveness is,
that feared thou mayest be.
5 I wait for God, my soul doth wait,
my hope is in his word.
6 More than they that for morning watch,
my soul waits for the Lord;
I say, more than they that do watch
the morning light to see.
7 Let Israel hope in the Lord,
for with him mercies be;
And plenteous redemption
is ever found with him.
8 And from all his iniquities
he Isr’el shall redeem.
1 Lord, from the depths to thee I cried. 2 My voice, Lord, do thou hear: Unto my supplication’s voice
give an attentive ear. There are moments in every life in which hope may wax forlorn; however, the master of the script has already planned the ending for our ultimate joy and happiness. Jonah, having embarked upon a downward journey. With God, distance has no meaning. Though we descend to the very depths of the sea, He is there and will hear our prayers of repentance and rescue.
Jonah sought to escape God by a continual descent from Jerusalem that landed him in the belly of a whale in the very depths of the sea. He may even have died there, but: “1 Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish’s belly, 2 And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice. 3 For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me. 4 Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple. 5 The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head. 6 I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God. 7 When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple. Jonah 2:1-7 (KJV) Regardless the depths of despondency into which we sink, God is there with us and able to raise up from those depths.
3 Lord, who shall stand, if thou, O Lord, should’st mark iniquity? 4 But yet with thee forgiveness is,
that feared thou mayest be.” The answer to that question is simple – none can stand on their own merit. “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” If we come to the gate of Heaven boasting of our own worthiness, we shall be sent to the gate of Hell lamenting our unworthiness. None of His Elect shall suffer the pains of the depths of sorrow at last, but our remitted sins shall be cast into the depths of the sea. “19 He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” Micah 7:19 (KJV)
5 I wait for God, my soul doth wait, my hope is in his word. 6 More than they that for morning watch,
my soul waits for the Lor. I say, more than they that do watch the morning light to see.” Every believer has an anchor of hope in the Lord. “17 Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: 18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: 19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;” Heb 6:17-19 (KJV) How many long and desponding nights have many believers impatiently waited upon the sunrise to dispel the sorrow? The morning watch is sounded by the watchman of the Universe and our joys return in manifold blessing,” 5 For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. “Psalms 30:5 (KJV)
“7 Let Israel hope in the Lord, for with him mercies be; And plenteous redemption is ever found with him. 8 And from all his iniquities he Isr’el shall redeem.” The Lord is the Author and Finisher of our Faith and the source of all mercies. Whether the Church of the Wilderness or the Church of modern era, God’s grace is sufficient to cover all sins.
NOTE: It was a great testimony of the ancient church that there songs of worship were all sourced in the pure and immutable Word of God – the Psalms.