December “Standard Bearer”: The Blessing of Congregational Singing – Rev.C.Griess

SB-2013RefIssue-HCI also did some reading in my Dec.1, 2013 issue of The Standard Bearer yesterday, part of which included another article in the great series Rev.Cory Griess is writing on public worship for the rubric “O Come Let Us Worship”.  At present he is treating the elements of worship, and this one treats “The Element of Singing”. Toward the end of this article he writes about the blessings of congregational singing, and it is from this section that I quote today:

The final blessing of singing is the absolute delight that we experience in worshiping Jehovah God in song. We said at the beginning that God commands us to sing in worship. This is our duty. He calls us and commands us to do this. Yet, by the Spirit of Jesus Christ this duty becomes a great delight for the child of God. Part of the reason why God commands singing in the worship is that we might enjoy His presence, for in song Jehovah comes close to us. When we exalt His name, He comes near to us, and in the glorifying of Him He bows down, as it were, and presses Himself close.

And this is our chief end, to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. The human soul finds full meaning and full joy as He comes close to us in the worship of His name. Who as not experienced this? Sometimes we come to the worship of God with an unprepared heart, sometimes a heart that is even bitter or hard. Don’t you experience that it is not until the songs of praise fill the lips that God softens the heart and the soul is lifted up to our great King and we delight to be in His presence?

Our sinful nature prevents us from experiencing that sometimes. There are times when we just mouth the words, and the singing to Him is pure duty with little delight. Nonetheless, we still sing. We are called to sing, and it is good that we do, for we dig trenches – patterns, habits – by our obedience. The trenches we dig sometimes are filled with the waters of great delight so that duty does become delight. Nevertheless, we dig those trenches, and we do so knowing that one day the sinful nature will be completely removed.

In that day the flood waters of delight will fill those trenches fully and perfectly for all eternity. The church of God will worship and will delight in that worship always and forever. Imagine what it will be like in that day, singing together in that great assembly in heaven with no sinful nature to hold us back. It will be pure delight, giving of ourselves fully to Jehovah God with everything that we are in song… (p107).

December Tabletalk: Comforting Eschatology – Eric Watkins, etc.

Comforting Eve by Eric Watkins | Reformed Theology Articles at

TT-Dec2013The Tabletalk article I reference today is not part of the main features (on the theme of the millennium this month – see last Monday’s post), but belongs to a regular rubric in this magazine. Under the “Pastor’s Perspective” rubric Rev.Eric Watkins, pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church in St.Augustine, FL (PCA), wrote a fine piece with the above title – “Comforting Eve”.

And yet Watkins wrote with the general theme in mind, for he ties together the comfort believers need in their trials with eschatology (the doctrine of the last things). And he focuses on the first woman in the Bible, Eve. It is a perspective with which we are perhaps familiar because of the mother-promise given to Eve (Gen.3:15), and yet Watkins casts it in a new light, which I found very comforting.

Perhaps women especially will find comfort in this article – broken-hearted wives and mothers. But so will us men, for sin and suffering has broken many a manly heart as well.

I encourage you to read the entire article at the Ligonier link above, but here is a portion of it to encourage that encouragement:

Eve bears two sons, but neither is the son she was promised. In fact, one will kill the other. What woman could endure this? A failed husband, her own failures, and now in the dawning hours of hope, her older son murders the younger, and thereby prolongs her darkness. The enmity begins—two kingdoms, two cities, and the first visible death. Both in her lifetime, both from her womb. Is it too much to call Eve the mother of the broken-hearted?

What could possibly comfort her and reunite her with her younger son? What could reverse the curse upon her family? What could turn these long nights of sadness into an eternal day of gladness? And for Eve’s daughters and sons, what can truly comfort us when the dearest of things in this life are taken? When the sufferings of life seem to be more than we can endure? When this world, or our family, or perhaps even our spiritual family hurts us with wounds too deep for words?

It is here that we must admit that trite clichés of good intentions barely comfort us at all. Some wounds are simply too deep for earthly consolation. We must, by faith, join Eve and the choir of the broken-hearted, who often sing their songs of praise through a veil of tears. We must learn, with Eve, to long for the coming Son who is better than Adam and Abel, and to rest in His word of promise. He has come and is yet coming again, and through His Spirit we are assured of our eternal consolation.

For those who also want to read the next feature article on the theme of the millennium, Dr.Cornelis Venema of Mid-America Reformed Seminary in Dyer, IN wrote a good article on Rev.20:4-6 from an amillennial perspective. It is titled “Reigning With Christ” and I link it here.