“Praise the LORD, all you Gentiles! Laud Him, all you peoples!” (Psa. 117:1).
Praise Fit for King Jesus
What could be more glorious in worship than singing God’s Word back to him? The singing of psalms was enjoined, under the Old Testament, as a part of the ordinary worship of God, and it is distinguished from ceremonial worship (Ps. 69:30-31). It is not taken away under the New Testament, but rather confirmed (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16). It is sanctioned by the example of Christ and his apostles (Matt. 26:30; Acts 16:25).
The Psalms of David (a reference to the entire Psalter) were especially intended by God for the use of the Church, in the exercise of public praise, under the former times; and they are equally adopted to the use of the Church under our present times. Although the apostle Paul insists on the removal and fulfillment of ritual institutions by Christ, he gives no intimation that the Psalms of David are unsuitable for Gospel-worship, but rather the opposite. If it was ever intended that the Psalms of David should be set aside in New Testament times, there is reason to think that another Psalter of some kind would have been provided in their stead.
In the book of Psalms there are various passages which indicate that they were intended by the Spirit for the use of the Church in all ages. “I will extol thee, my God, O King,” David says, “and I will bless thy name for ever and ever.” (Ps. 145:1). This shows, as the excellent Matthew Henry remarks, ‘that the Psalms which David penned should be made use of in praising God by the Church to the end of time.’ We ought to praise God with our lips as well as with our spirits, and should exert ourselves to do it ‘skilfully’ (Ps. 33:3). As this is a part of public worship in which the whole congregation should unite their voices, persons ought to cultivate sacred music that they may be able to join in this exercise with becoming harmony. But the chief thing is to sing with understanding, and with affections of heart corresponding to the matter sung (Ps. 47:7; I Cor. 14:15; Ps. 108:1).”
The prophecies of the psalms of Christ are manifestly clear to the studious eye that sees the Scriptures testifying of Jesus Christ. They speak of communion with Christ, his covenant, his work, his death, his resurrection, and his intercession on behalf of his people, and much more.They show Christ to be prophet, priest and king. Prophet: Psalm 40:6-8, 45:2, 69:9, 78:2, 118:26. Priest: Psalm 45:2, 89:35, 110:4. King: Psalm 2:6, 45:6-7, 80:17, 89:3–4, 89:29–36, 110:1, 132:11–17.
Luke 24:44, “And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me,” (Luke 24:44). Reflect on the reality that the psalms are simply songs of Jesus. In light of this, the psalms should fuel our passion for Jesus Christ; a passion that should grow exponentially every time we read them. They have always been the divinely inspired hymnbook for the public worship of God for the very fact that they truly and fully speak of Jesus Christ.