Befitting and Beautiful

Honestly, I don’t get songless saints. I can’t enter into the mindset of believers who, when gathered with God’s people to worship, look bored. Whose lips don’t move. Whose eyes are glassed over. Who’d rather talk to the person next to them than declare the glories of the God who saved them.

I’m not being critical. Not judging. I just don’t get it.

Probably, at least in large part, because God wired me for music. Way before becoming a Christian, music was in me and all around me. It was always in my home. On radios . . . then record players . . . then cassette players . . . then CD players . . . then iPods . . . and now, my streaming devices. When I became a Christian, God didn’t take away the music, instead He gave me a new song. So I get that I may have a stronger propensity for melody than others. That my soul is somewhat “naturally” attuned to music.

But this morning, as I chew on Psalm 33, I’m thinking that the enigma of songless saints isn’t due just to my innate preference, but is even counterintuitive to divine imperative.

Shout for joy in the LORD, O you righteous!
   Praise befits the upright.
Give thanks to the LORD with the lyre;
   make melody to Him with the harp of ten strings!
Sing to Him a new song;
   play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.

(Psalm 33:1-3 ESV)

This isn’t instruction to the sons of Asaph, the “worship team” of David’s time. It’s to the righteous and the upright. For us A.D. folk, it’s for those who have responded to the gospel, been forgiven of their sins, and have had Christ’s perfect nature credited to their account. It’s for those who have known the power of God for salvation through the gospel, “for in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith'” (Rom. 1:16-17). We be the righteous! Those who have believed, received, and are, “in Christ,” the upright.

So shout for joy! Strike up the band! Give thanks to the LORD. Make melody to Him. And sing to Him a new song.

How come? ‘Cause praise befits the upright.

Did a bit of leg work on that word “befits.” Has the idea of something being comely and suitable or, of something that is seemly and beautiful. In other words, not only does it fit, it adorns. Not only is it the right thing to do, it’s makes lovely those who do it.

The word is used only nine times. Four of those times in Solomon’s love song to describe the enticing beauty of his beloved. Three times used in Proverbs in a negative sense to describe something which is not befitting–as in excellent speech, extravagant luxury, and unrestrained honor being unfit for a fool. And then twice in the Psalms the word is used to describe what is fitting, and what is lovely.  And in both cases, it’s praise.

Befitting and beautiful. Such is the praise of the righteous.

Suitable and seemly. So should be the worship of the redeemed.

Sunday morning songs aren’t just the prelim’s for the main event of preaching. They’re not intended to part of some mindless, by rote liturgy. Instead they are an opportunity. A glorious, God-ordained, heaven-imitating opportunity.

An opportunity to declare His awesome majesty. An opportunity to rehearse His mighty works. An opportunity to confess again our great need. An opportunity to acknowledge anew His great salvation. An opportunity to profess our desired allegiance.

And when we take advantage of the opportunity, it is befitting and beautiful.

Shout for joy in the LORD, O you righteous! 
   Praise befits the upright.

Because of grace. For His glory.

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1 Response to Befitting and Beautiful

  1. Judy amey says:

    I love the music and our incredibly talented worship team 🙂

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