PSALMS 149:1 – 150:6 and 1 THESSALONIANS 1:1–10
The love relationship between the Lord and His people becomes stronger as the days pass by. Here the Psalmist speaks of singing unto the Lord a new song; to the Lord on a personal basis and to the Lord in the midst of the congregation. There is something about expressing ones love to another in a song. It is not the quality of voice that matters as much as the quality of heart. When there is that sense of “joy unspeakable” bubbling in our hearts it has to find expression which oftentimes is reflected in song. This will be among the greatest medicines to counter the challenges of the dark and challenging days ahead. There will be a joy and glory that radiates from the people of God. It will serve as a testimony and witness to others. I feel we can contrast this with what is seen in Isa 60 where you have the glory of God filling the earth coinciding with gross darkness. We should pray for new songs to be placed within our spirits and new songs to be introduced into the church. If the Lord bestows new mercies upon His people on a daily basis we should then expect new songs to be one of its fruits.
The world today seeks to find joy and pleasure in varied ways. This joy, if experienced is short lived and empty. The Lord is the true joy-giver and He must be the object of our hearts affections. This joy is the product of living righteously. It is the product of loving and serving the Lord on HIs terms. (Loving what He loves and learning to hate the things He hates Psa 45:7)
Expressions of worship and praise can be expressed through dancing. Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and it is to be consecrated unto the Lord. How else can one express themselves after being set free from years of bondage and captivity (Exo 15)? How else can one express themselves after coming through a mourning period of great darkness and despair?
Psa 30:11 Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness;
Psa 30:12 To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.
The people of God are even exhorted to praise the Lord in the night season upon their beds. Such praise draws the attention of the Lord and He takes great pleasure in such an atmosphere. In these first 5 verses we see the love and mutual attraction that God and His people have for one another. It is a picture of the church as its prepared bride for the heavenly bridegroom.
Rev 19:7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
Rev 19:8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
The marriage of the church (bride) and Christ (bridegroom) takes place prior to the 2nd coming. The next scene is the Lord descending upon the earth with His saints (the warrior bride) with a sword in his mouth (Rev 19:11). This is noteworthy when you contrast this scene with what is seen in this Psalm. The love relationship between God and His people is now transitioning into an army of soldiers on the march. Psa 149 is a mini scene of Rev 19; a picture of what will transpire at the time of the 2nd coming.
In verse 6 we see a people with the high praises of God in their mouth and a two-edged sword in their hands. The purpose is for the destruction of the enemies of those who rise up against God. This happened when King Jehosophat went to war with enemy forces in 2 Chronicles 20. The praisers and singers went forth before the armies. The Lord moved on their behalf as the enemy strongholds were brought down. We must never underestimate the power of praise. At the same time there must be recognition that we have to be in alignment with God’s purposes. The ability to put enemy forces under the feet of the church is a privilege and honor that needs to be understood. Jesus defeated Satan at the cross so the question then is why is he still around wreaking havoc in the earth? Is it possible that one of the reasons may be that it is for our benefit? God is giving His saints the opportunity to do the same through His power (Rom 16:20). This Psalm is a mini picture of what will take place at the time of the 2nd coming. God will have a bride that is adorned in righteousness and in love with Him. Together with His bride they will go forth in triumph upon the earth. May the high praises of God be upon our lips; may we be a people who love righteousness and the ways of God so as to be part of this great end-time army. This is the fruit of worshipping the Lord in Spirit and in Truth (John 4:24).
This final Psalm results in a crescendo and exaltation of Praise to the One who is worthy. We have seen a build-up in the area of praise in the last few Psalms. It was in the heights of heaven where rebellion against God took place under Lucifer. He was the choir master of the heavenly host and it was in that place where iniquity was found in him. It is interesting to note that the command to Praise the Lord is given 13 times in this final Psalm. The number 13 speaks of rebellion (Gen 14:4). The number 13 also speaks of the atonement seeing that there were 13 pillars in the Tabernacle of Moses. There was rebellion in heaven under Lucifer while serving in his capacity as the anointed cherub. There was the atonement for that rebellion through Christ as seen in the message portrayed through Moses Tabernacle. We are called to praise God in His sanctuary which speaks of the priests in the Holy Place. The truths that come forth from this psalm are immense.
The Psalmist directs the congregation to Praise God for His mighty acts and for His excellent greatness. He then mentions several different instruments that can be used in this climatic symphony of Praise. I feel it is important to give attention to the instruments that are mentioned in these verses. They are consistent with instruments cited in other places used in the praise and worship of God. There is a controversy as to whether drums should be included in the worshipping of the Lord. The problem in many worship services is that the drum tends to be the dominant instrument. I have been in services, particularly in foreign countries where the drum is dominant above other instruments. I have witnessed first-hand how a song begins with a nice anointing and finishes under the influence of another anointing; all during the same song. The primary reason was due to the drums. I have also been in services where the drum has taken a more subdued and secondary role amongst the other instruments. The worship was anointed and the presence of the Lord was fresh and real. In my experience through the years the most anointed worship services I have attended have been without drums. This is just a personal opinion but let us never forget the anointing that Lucifer had as the anointed cherub. He knows music and its power and he is able to effectively penetrate many churches under the guise of Christian music.
The Psalms are a compilation of songs unto the Lord spanning the generations reflecting times of joy and great rejoicing along with times of sorrow, suffering and contrition. These last few Hallelujah Psalms are pointing to the eternal worship and praise of God. The heavens have been atoned from its rebellion paving the way for the saints and angelic hosts to worship before the Lord for all of eternity. At the end all that can be said is that everything that hath breath shall Praise the Lord.
1 Thess 1
One of the primary themes from the epistles to the Thessalonians is the 2nd coming of Christ. You can find this theme threaded in each of its chapters. Some 2000 years later the church is still awaiting His return. It is clear that there was misunderstanding concerning what Paul was writing; particularly seen in this first epistle. They were looking for the Lord to return at any time. This was not Paul’s intention. There are some primary lessons we need to take from this as well. This epistle speaks to the importance of being prepared, to know that the Lord can take us as individuals at any time. We may not be alive at the time of the 2nd coming but we should live our life daily as if it could happen at any moment. This epistle fills in many of the pieces to the end time puzzle; we receive added revelation concerning the ministry of the antichrist as well as some timelines coming clearer into view. Paul was an apostle born out of time (1 Cor 15:8) meaning that his letters actually have greater potency beyond his years. This is where some of the problems came about in his first epistle; Paul knew he was writing to a future time but it was not interpreted that way. This letter was written by Paul while he was in Corinth. The Thessalonian church is one of the fruits of Paul’s response to the Macedonian call. You can compare 1 Thess 3:1-9 with Acts 18:1-11 for greater context. His first letter was written in 52 AD with the 2nd corrective epistle written shortly thereafter in 53 AD.
Paul introduces his epistle with his common introduction of grace and peace. It helps to fully understand their true meaning seeing how grace and peace are being redefined today. Also notice how Paul separates the god head in his introduction. It is important to know the godhead and their respective roles. They are 3 working perfectly and totally as one. It is the person of the Holy Spirit that helps to being everything to pass. Jesus, the Son of God the Father could not have come to the earth as saviour without the enabling power of the Holy Spirit to conceive seed within the womb of a woman. Jesus as the Son of God and Son of man could not have accomplished the will of His Father in going to the Cross without the enabling power and assistance of the Holy Spirit (Heb 9:14). If we understand their (godhead) respective functions it helps our overall perspective of scripture.
Paul then gives thanks for them as a congregation taking note of the good reports that have been received via Timothy. He addresses them on the subject of election. There must be an appropriation of the available grace that God has predetermined for our lives before the foundations of the world. God has a purpose and plan for them as a church and as individuals. God predestines man based on His foreknowledge of knowing what man will do.