As I noted here previously, the April 1 issue of The Standard Bearer is a special issue devoted to the subject of psalm-singing. Included in this issue are two articles on the history of psalm-singing in the church – one more general (Rev.B.Huizinga’s on the history in the church generally) and one more specific (Rev.K.Koole’s on the history in the PRC).
It is the former one by Rev.Brian Huizinga (pastor of Hope PRC, Redlands, CA) that I would like to start referencing today. “Through Endless Ages Sound His Praise”: The History of Psalm-Singing in the Church” was part of my Sunday reading yesterday, and I found his article to be not only informative but also inspiring. And I hope by quoting from it, it will also be the same for you.
Today I quote from the opening paragraphs, which set the stage for what is to follow.
What among men has endured as many ages under the sun as the psalms…the psalms sung…the psalms sung in corporate worship? Precious little. Psalmody has seen Solomon’s temple used and burned, doleful children of the covenant marched to Babylon and jubilantly returning, the Son of God incarnate humiliated and exalted, Rome risen and fallen, the mighty wave of the gospel of salvation sweeping through the Mediterranean world, into Europe, over the seas to America, and now to the ends of the earth, always with the bitter death of apostasy following in its wake. Over the past three thousand years much has come and much has gone. Psalmody has seen it all. Psalmody remains. Psalmody is rare. Psalmody is not popular. But psalmody remains. Because Jesus Christ defends and preserves His church to the end, psalmody will certainly remain to the end. None may doubt that psalmody will see the antichristian world-kingdom and then Christ Himself—the one of whom the psalms spoke, and that by His own testimony (Luke 24:44)—appear in splendid majesty arrayed more glorious than the sun. Through endless ages the church sounds Jehovah’s praise—with psalms.
The Old Testament Age
The Old Testament church sang the psalms, one of them perhaps already in the wilderness on the way to Canaan (Psalm 90, written by Moses), most in Solomon’s temple (those written mostly by David), and others thereafter. So much was psalm-singing a part of Israel’s life and worship that when the Jews were deported by Nebuchadnezzar as captives into Babylon in 586 B.C., they were identified as psalm-singers. As they sat weeping by the river, their proud captors taunted: “Come sing us one of Zion’s songs.” Even the ungodly knew what took place in Zion. Israel sang the psalms. Would to God Babylon of today would have reason to know and say the same.
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