“O, for a Closer Walk with God” – Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge

YouTube – Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge – Scottish Psalter.wmv.

For our music video today, I have chosen this rendition of William Cowper’s (1731-1800) “O, for a Closer Walk with God”. Here are the words to the hymn as sung here. May this too be our prayer for this Lord’s day and throughout this week ahead.

O for a closer walk with God,
A calm and heavenly frame,
A light to shine upon the road
That leads me to the Lamb!

Where is the blessedness I knew,
When first I saw the Lord?
Where is the soul refreshing view
Of Jesus and His Word?

What peaceful hours I once enjoyed!
How sweet their memory still!
But they have left an aching void
The world can never fill.

Return, O holy Dove, return,
Sweet messenger of rest!
I hate the sins that made Thee mourn
And drove Thee from my breast.

The dearest idol I have known,
Whateer that idol be
Help me to tear it from Thy throne,
And worship only Thee.

So shall my walk be close with God,
Calm and serene my frame;
So purer light shall mark the road
That leads me to the Lamb.

Sunday Worship Preparation – Psalm 35

For our first Sunday in June we turn together to Psalm 35, another psalm of David. Because of the length of this psalm, I will not quote all of it here. I ask you to read it carefully and prayerfully at this point. And then read it again. I found that I did not have many personal markings in my Bible at Psalm 35. But now I do. I underlined David’s pleas with God for justice and his petitions for vindication in the face of unjust persecution by his enemies. He was going through a period of intense and wicked treatment by his foes, and was obviously hurt and distraught. But instead of becoming bitter and taking personal vengeance on these persecutors, he takes his cause to the Lord. And his language is strong. Listen:

 

Plead my cause, O Lord, with them that strive with me: fight against them that fight against me.

2Take hold of shield and buckler, and stand up for mine help.

3Draw out also the spear, and stop the way against them that persecute me: say unto my soul, I am thy salvation.

4Let them be confounded and put to shame that seek after my soul: let them be turned back and brought to confusion that devise my hurt.

5Let them be as chaff before the wind: and let the angel of the Lord chase them.

19Let not them that are mine enemies wrongfully rejoice over me: neither let them wink with the eye that hate me without a cause.

20For they speak not peace: but they devise deceitful matters against them that are quiet in the land.

21Yea, they opened their mouth wide against me, and said, Aha, aha, our eye hath seen it.

22This thou hast seen, O Lord: keep not silence: O Lord, be not far from me.

23Stir up thyself, and awake to my judgment, even unto my cause, my God and my Lord.

 

And, strikingly, in the midst of this prayer, David pauses to worship his God:

9And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord: it shall rejoice in his salvation.

10All my bones shall say, Lord, who is like unto thee, which deliverest the poor from him that is too strong for him, yea, the poor and the needy from him that spoileth him?

18I will give thee thanks in the great congregation: I will praise thee among much people.

27Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the Lord be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant.

28And my tongue shall speak of thy righteousness and of thy praise all the day long.

 

Such we believe is the testimony of Christ himself here. Yes, our Lord Jesus speaks in this psalm – of his unjust persecution (there was none like his!), of his petitions to the Lord for defense and salvation (out of perfect trust in the Lord), and of his worship of Jehovah (from a pure heart and with clean hands)! Hear him in this prophecy of David!

 

And because of him, and united to him by faith, make these words your own. Pray them, sing them, and rejoice in the God of our salvation. Worship our sovereign God who hears our prayers, protects us, vindicates us, and saves us with perfect salvation – now and in the day of Christ!

 

For our further edification, we quote these words of J.Calvin on v.10:

 

10. O Jehovah! who is like thee? Here he explains more fully the nature of his joy in the salvation of God of which he had spoken, showing that it consisted in his ascribing entirely to God the deliverance which he had obtained. Men, in general, praise God in such a manner that he scarcely obtains the tenth part of his due. But David, distinguishing him from all others, distinctly declares that the whole glory of his deliverance is due to him alone. And, certainly, we then only yield to God what belongs to him, when, investing him with his own power, we rest all our hopes on him. For what purpose does it serve, loudly to celebrate the name of God with our mouths, if we tear in pieces his power and goodness at our pleasure? David, therefore, in the true spirit of godliness, extols the greatness of God by this high encomium, that he is the guardian and defender of the poor, and rescues the needy and afflicted from the hand of those who oppress them; as if he had said, It is God’s peculiar duty to succor the miserable. By these words we are taught to cling to the hope of better things in adversity; for the power and resources of our enemies, however great they may be, is no reason why we should lose our confidence, since God declares to us from heaven that he reigns expressly for the purpose of resisting the strong and powerful.

 

The material for this post was taken from the Christian Classics Ethereal Library (ccel.org).