Tuesday Hymns: Psalm 56

“Why the Psalms? Rather than asking that question, the real question should be, ‘Why not the Psalms?’ Most Christian traditions hold to a high view of biblical authority. Conservative Christians proclaim the doctrine of biblical inerrancy. Scripture study and memorization are eagerly encouraged. How can it be that the Psalms, which God gave to His people specifically to be sung and for generations were sung among all the major Protestant groups, are almost universally neglected? How has it happened that the Psalms, which undeniably are the very word of God, have been completely supplanted by hymns in our day?

“Let’s look at the question from another angle. Sould one’s reading priority be good Christian literature or the Bible? ‘Oh, that’s easy to answer,’ you say. While the reading of good Christian literature is profitable and good and should be encouraged, it should never be allowed to replace the greater good of Bible reading, the ultimate source material upon which good Christian books are based, Case is closed. Yet this is precisely what has happened in the area of the church’s songs.”

The preceding two paragraphs are taken from the introduction in The Trinity Psalter. I appreciate the great hymns of faith that have helped us dry our tears, strengthen our backs, and challenge us to put our faith in God, but they should not be sung to the neglect of the Psalms. I appreciate the joint venture between Crown & Covenant Publications and the Presbyterian Church in America in providing us with The Trinity Psalter by which we can praise our Lord with songs that have been sung for thousands of years.

Our Tuesday Hymn for this week is the 56th Psalm. It speaks of God’s care for his people as they live out their lives in a fallen world. Sunday night we sang it to the tune of Winchester New.

Be gracious unto me, O God;
The man of earth would me devour.
He fights against me all day long,
Oppressing me with all his power.

My foes are watching day and night;
They many fight from places high.
The day I fear I’ll trust in You.
The word of God I’ll magnify.

In God I trust; I will not fear,
For what can mere flesh do to me?
All day they twist my words; their thoughts
Are all of schemes to injure me.

They meet, they lurk, they mark my steps’
They’re waiting for my soul to fall.
For their iniquity, O God,
In wrath bring down the nations all.

You count my wan-der-ings; my tears
You keep in precious mem-o-ry.
My foes shall, when I call, turn back;
Long I have known God is for me.

In God, Whose word I’ll always praise.
The Lord, Whose word my praise shall be
In God I trust; I will not fear,
For what can mere man do to me?

I’ll pay my vows with thanks to You;
From death, O God, You set me free,
Kept me from falling, that with God
My walk in light of life may be.

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