King's Business - 1917-10


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Israel, not in a truly scientific way by a consideration of the actual historical data found in the Bible and elsewhere, but from its inner consciousness; that is to say from its preconceptions and prejudices, and a priori theories. The methods of the “higher criticism” have been so utterly discredited by a comparison of its “results” with the proven facts of scientifically established history that it is a marvel that it survives at all. And yet it is unblush- ingly taught in most of our Universities and colleges and high schools as if it were the last word in the scholarly study of the Bible. Ezra is as careful about names as he is about dates. vs. 10, 11. “And when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the LORD, they set the priests in their apparel with trumpets, and \the Levites the sons of Asaph with cymbals, to praise the LORD, after the ordinance (order) of David king o f . Israel. And they sang together by course ( one to another) in praising and giving thanks unto the LORD; because he is (, saying, For he is) good, for his mercy endureth forever toward Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the LORD, because the foun­ dation of the house of the LORD was laid.” Care was taken that Jehovah should have due acknowledgment, and that He should be praised in a worthy way. There were both vocal and instrumental music. Praise and music formed a very large part of the God-given religion of Israel. There were elaborate directions as to how to praise Jehovah, and much care and expense were bestowed upon the prepara­ tions for His praise. But it was not the entertainment of the people that was aimed at, but the praise and glory of Jehovah. How unlike much of our modern music in our regular church services and in our evangelistic meetings! There was nothing •of the amusing and the vaudevillistic about it. It was solemn and glorious (1 Chron. 25:1-17; 1 Chron. 6:31; 16:4-7; 23:5; 2 Chron. 29:25). All great national under­ takings were accompanied with praise. The religion of Israel was pre-eminently a

praiseful religion, and a tuneful religion. So also is the religion of the New Testa­ ment (Acts 2:11-47; Eph. 5:18-20). The songs of the ancient people of God,- as we see from this passage and from the whole book of Psalms, were very largely taken up with the praise of God, “they sang one to another in praising and giving-thanks unto the LORD1.” Our modern hymnology on the other hand is largely taken up with man and his experiences. The substance of what the people sang on this occasion is summed up in these words: “For He is good, for His mercy endureth forever toward Israel.” This was a favorite song with Israel. In the one hundred and thirty- sixth Psalm the words “His mercy endur­ eth forever” occur twenty-six times. This was David’s theme when the ark was first brought to Jerusalem (1 Chron. 16:1, 7, 34, 41), and the theme of the people at the dedication of Solomon’s temple (2 Chron. 7:1, 3. See also Psalm 103:17; 106:1; 107:1). What a theme it is! How much more heartily we ought to sing it than Israel; for we have the added light upon God’s goodness and everlasting mercy that falls from the cross. It was a literal ful­ filment of prophecy that Israel sang this song at this time (Jeremiah 33:11). While the priests and Levites sang “all the people” “shouted.” It was no modSyate shout, either, they “shouted with a great shout.” This would seem to cold souls and to those who have no deep sense of God’s overwhelming glory and the vastness of our debt of gratitude to him, like too much excitement. We all think that it is per­ fectly right to shout for some man in acknowledgement of his prowess and skill and our debt of gratitude to him. Indeed the man who doesn’t shout is regarded as unpatriotic and a great offender: but when it comes to the infinite Jehovah many think it is all. wrong to shout for Him. What illogical and inconsistent beings we mortals are. But the religion of the Bible had a good deal of shout in it; for it was real and earnest religion (Josh. 6:10, 16; Psalm 1:5; Isaiah 12:6; 44:23; Zech. 9:9; Luke 19:37-40). Of course there is in our day

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