O COME AND SING TO GOD, THE LORD
Come, let us sing unto the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the Rock of our salvation (Psalm 95:1)
INTRO.: A hymn which exhorts us to sing unto the Lord and make a joyful noise to the Rock of our salvation is O Come and Sing to God, the Lord. The text, based on Psalm 95:1-6 is taken from The Psalter, 1912. It is based upon an earlier version of the Psalm taken from the 1650 Scottish Psalter:
1. O come, let us sing to the Lord,
To Him our voices raise;
With joyful noise let us the Rock
Of our salvation praise.
2. Let us before His presence come
With praise, and thankful voice;
Let us sing psalms to Him with grace,
And make a joyful noise.
3. For Gods a great God, and great King;
Above all gods He is.
The depths of earth are in His hands;
The heights of hills are His.
4. To Him the spacious sea belongs,
For He the same did make;
The dry land also from His hands
Its form at first did take.
5. O come, and let us worship Him;
Let us bow down withal,
And on our knees before the Lord,
Our Maker, let us fall.
Several tunes have been used with the song. One (St. Peter) was composed in 1836 by Alexander R. Reinagle (1799-1877). Today it is most often used with In Christ There Is No East or West. Another one (Dundee) is taken from Scottish Psalter, 1615, and attributed to Guillaume Franc (c. 1505-1570). It has become well know from its use with God Moves in a Mysterious Way. Still another (Chopin) was composed in 1854 by Isaac B. Woodbury (1819-1858). The most commonly used tune (Irish) found with the Psalm in modern hymnbooks is taken from A Collection of Hymns and Sacred Poems published at Dublin, Ireland, in 1749.
The song urges us to come before the Lord and sing praises to His name.
I. Stanza 1 shows what we need to do
O come and sing to the God, the Lord,
To Him our voices raise;
Let us in our most joyful songs
The Lord, our Savior, praise.
A. We need to come before the Lord since worship is often pictured as coming before His presence: Ps. 100:2
B .When we do this, we can sing to the Lord as we raise our voices: Ps. 126:2
C. The purpose of this is to praise Him: Ps. 21:13
II. Stanza 2 shows where we need to do it
Before His presence let us come
With praise and thankful voice;
Let us sing joyful psalms to Him,
With grateful hearts rejoice.
A. While theres a sense in which were always in the presence of God, theres a special sense in which the righteous come before His presence in worship: Ps. 140:13
B. When we are in His presence, we can praise Him with thankful voice: Ps. 30:12
C. Thus, our grateful hearts can rejoice in His presence: Ps. 2:11
III. Stanza 3 shows to whom we need to do it
The Lord Our God is King of kings,
Above all gods His throne;
The depths of earth are in His hand,
The mountains are His own.
A. We worship the Lord because He is King of kings: Ps. 47:7
B. He is above all gods on His throne: Ps. 96:4-5
C. His greatness is demonstrated by the fact that He created the earth and the mountains: Ps. 33:6-9
IV. Stanza 4 shows why we need to do it
To Him the spacious sea belongs,
He made its waves and tides;
And by His hand the rising land
Was formed and still abides.
A. God is worthy of worship because the spacious sea belongs to Him by virtue of creation: Ps. 24:1-2
B. In fact, He made everything that moves through the paths of the seas, with its waves and tides: Ps. 8:8
C. Also, His hand formed the land: Ps. 90:1-2
V. Stanza 5 shows how we need to do it
O come and, bowing down to Him,
Our worship let us bring;
O let us praise the gracious Lord,
Our Maker and our King.
A. Bowing before the Lord is a symbol of humility: Ps. 72:9
B. Our purpose in doing this is to bring worship to the Lord: Ps. 5:7
C. And in so doing, we honor Him who made the heaven and the earth: Ps. 146:6
CONCL.: We no longer sing only Psalms, as was the almost universal practice in English speaking churches of the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. However, we should be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Certainly, there is much that we can learn from the Psalms about praising God and that we can use from the Psalms in our worship, as they admonish us, O Come and Sing to God, the Lord.