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Monday, June 17th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 149

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-9

Psalms 149:1-9

Praise the LORD. Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise in the congregation of the saints. Let Israel rejoice in him that made him: let the children of Zion be joyful in their King. Let them praise his name in the dance: let them sing praises unto him with the timbrel and the harp. For the LORD takes pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation. Let the saints be joyful in glory: and let them sing aloud upon their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand; To execute the vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; To execute upon them the judgment written: this honor have all his saints. Praise ye the LORD ( Psalms 149:1-9 ).

Now here he mentions of the praising of the Lord in song, in dance, with the timbrel and the harp.

I think that many times our forms of worship get rather stilted and stereotyped. I think that it would be fine to have variety in our worship and praise. The Jewish people, again, are very exuberant people. It's such a thrill to go down on Friday evening and watch the young men come down from the upper part of the city from their school. And come down in their dances before the Western Wall on the beginning of the Sabbath as they hail the coming in of the Sabbath day. To see them in their worship and their praise, to hear their songs, their chants. And to see them as they praise the Lord in the song and as they praise the Lord in the dance.

Now, I am not really advocating some things that I have seen passed off as praise unto the Lord. I do not feel that our praise of the Lord should ever be such that it draws attention unto ourselves. And I have seen many people supposedly praising the Lord, but really they were putting on quite an exhibition that drew a lot of attention to them. And to that I am unalterably opposed. I do not feel that we should ever draw attention to ourselves in our worship and praise of God. I don't think that we should sing in a weird way that causes people to turn, "Who's singing that obbligato?" or whatever, you know. Because it takes the attention off the music and onto a person who may have a great operatic voice and something. And you may be a frustrated opera star, but when you're singing with the congregation, you ought to seek to have your voice blend with that of the congregation rather than drawing attention to yourself.

And in our praises unto the Lord, we should take care that our praises are such that they do not draw attention to me, because then what value... then people are looking at me. "Oh, you see how he can dance? Oh, look how he plays the tambourine, you know. Oh, you know, isn't he clever?" And the attention then is drawn to the person and not to God. So then the whole effect is negated if I'm really seeking to bring people into a praise and worship of God. And yet, I think that there, you know... I think that we... I think that there's a balance and we need to find this beautiful balance somewhere. I think there is a place for the dance. I think there's a place for the expression of praise to God with timbrels and tambourines and all. I love the Jewish folk dances, and I think that they can be very expressive in their praises unto the Lord. I love the exuberance of them and all. But yet, again, maintaining that balance so that as I am praising the Lord, I don't do it in such a way that it draws a lot of attention to me. That I just sort of blend in harmony my praises as those of God's people. And there's probably, I don't think that we are in the middle. I think that we are probably a little on the stilted side, and we could perhaps move a little bit more towards a more meaningful kind of a praise. I'm open to the worship of God in other than just sitting and singing choruses or in the forms that we've followed. And yet, as I say, I surely don't... I'd rather be on this side than on the other side of the balance. And that's probably my problem. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Psalms 149". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/psalms-149.html. 2014.
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