Psalm 87:7


As wall the singers as the players on instruments. This expresses admiration of the services and ceremonies in connection with Jehovah's temple; and it suggests the thought that Divine worship ought to be made in every way delightful. But another thought is suggested by the marked distinction made between the "singers" and the "players." It is that the gifts and endowments of men are very various, but whatever may be their variety, they can all be taken up into the service of God and the service of God's people. Some can sing; then encourage them to sing. Some can play; then use their skill in playing. Find. what a man can do, and accept, for God, just the service he can render.

I. THE REMARKABLE VARIETY OF HUMAN GIFTS. Examine them first as simply human gifts. Poetry, eloquence, art, science, government, do but, in the large, represent the thousandfold lesser forms of endowment which fit men for their varied places in life. Yet in common everyday life there is a place and a work forevery one. Show that this includes kinds of gifts with which we may have no personal sympathy, such as mimicry, satire, humour, etc. Then examine those particular gifts which were granted to the early Churches - tongues, prophecy, interpretation, etc. Bring out that while each man has much in common with his fellows, each man also has something special to himself, something which constitutes his individuality. In the line of the use of that speciality will be found to lie his life mission.

II. THE POSSIBLE USE FOR HUMANITY OF ALL HUMAN GIFTS. There is a danger of religious people unduly limiting the service of humanity. Sometimes, in an exclusive spirit, pious persons speak as if there were no real service to humanity save that which their religion sanctions. We may hold that all conceivable endowments may be sanctified, and ought to be sanctified, by being used for God - consciously in God's service. But we had better be more generous in our thinking, and say that everything that helps lift a human burden, cheer a human soul, brighten a human life, relieve a human strain, or perfect the human brotherhood, is the service of God. Some gifts bear a character, or are so small in measure, that men think of them as the one talented man thought of his talent. But he thought wrongly, and so do they. In God's earth there is nothing that has not its use. In God's world of men there is no gift without an answering sphere. Singers and players shall both be there, - R.T.









As well the singers as the players on instruments shall be there.
Music does a great many things for us. It pleases the senses, it affords aesthetic delight, it calms perplexed feelings, it nerves the soldier's heart to battle, it soothes the babe upon its mother's breast, it thrills the maiden's heart with love, it consoles the mourner's grief and hallows it, it spurs the rapture of the dance, and moderates and sanctifies the march to the tomb. What man would but cannot, music seems to do for him. When his deed lags, she strengthens him; when his spirit falters, she inspires; when his voice is dumb, she speaks for him. In a word, music is capable of supplementing man's finitude, and opening for him the realm of his ideals and his aspirations. And this is the explanation of its power to do so much for us, and be so much to us, because in its own terms it has a capacity of expressing life. This is at once an explanation of its power and a statement of its inscrutable mystery, that it is fitted to be the common language of the universal sentiment of humanity. As good old Father Haydn said of it, "My language is understood all over the world." So, in recognition of this capacity to portray human experience and to reflect human sentiment, I have chosen to consider music as an epitome of life. One essential of music is based on time, and consists in the relation of notes to each other measured by duration. The savage beating his tom-tom is the rudimentary musician. The human ear is earliest susceptible to the impression of rhythm. Yet so radically and perpetually essential is this feature that the most elaborate symphony is dependent on it equally with the primitive drum-beat. Lacking it, either one would be incoherent, would cease to be music, and would become simply noise. This is manifest, but now where shall we find in life the equivalent of this essential term? What is the pulse of the moral life, the heart-beat of conduct as rhythm is the heart-beat of song? What imparts measure and meaning and impulse to the otherwise unrelated activities, and sets them in order in intelligible succession? What, if not the exercise of will, the putting forth of purpose? Yes, purpose is to life what rhythm is to song. Beside time, the other evident essential of music is tune, in which also we may discern some suggestive parallel to life. The possibility of tune depends on that mysterious feature of music we call the scale or the octave. These eight tones of relative pitch that compose the octave, with their semitones of the chromatic scale, furnish the material out of which all music is composed. Melody, which is a sort of harmony, and harmony, which is in turn a sort of condensed melody, both equally flow from this mysterious relation that sounds bear to each other, and depend on it. Not a single note in music stands alone in its significance. We are not far, then, from recognizing what is signified concerning human life, in the fact that music rests on the relation of note to note, of part to part. The parallel truth is that no man liveth to himself. Selfishness excludes one from the harmony of being. As the notes in the scale are fitted by their mutual relations to portray ideal beauty, so are we constituted for each other, attaining the roundness, the completeness, the satisfaction of life, never in ourselves alone, but only as we stand related to each other in the significance of that scale of character that imparts the meaning to life, and in this large relation we all inevitably stand for discord or for harmony. A closing parallel may be drawn from the motive of music. Its material it takes from time and tune, its method is obedience, and its motive is love. Each individual musical entity gives itself to the use and being of the whole. How the symphony exemplifies this truth! Each note is woven as a mesh in the network of tone; each part contrasts and amplifies every other part; each instrument sets in other colour the utterance of its neighbour — the violins in clear intensity of utterance give forth the theme, and then they part, some to maintain it, others to adorn it; the flutes and clarionets and oboes touch it with a sylvan tone; the lower strings grant it the fervour of their passionate thought; the horns breathe calm and clear; the trumpets sound the voice of resolute affirmation, while the basses solidly support them all: so many voices, yet with one harmonious theme, it is the picture of a community of inspired souls with a common purpose. Therein the finite escapes from its bondage and restriction, and goes out into the Infinite. Hear the words of the Christ, having identical import: "He that loseth his life shall find it. Let a man deny himself, and he shall have a part in My eternal kingdom. Let the finite humble itself, and it shall be exalted to share in the Infinite." A definition has been given of music, at once most philosophical and most poetical — a single line by Sidney Lanier: —Music is love in search of a word.Yea, this is its one abiding theme; not the mere feeling of affection and selfish preference, not of mawkish sensibility, the expression of which is music's bane and curse and disgrace, but love that comes from a humble consciousness of the worth of personal being, and that in the spirit of consecration and of self-bestowment devotes itself to that fulness of being of which its character enables it to supply a part. "Music is love in search of a word." True life is love striving for perfect utterance in word and deed.

(C. F. Carter.)

All my springs are in Thee
I. IN JESUS CHRIST ARE THE SPRINGS OF PARDONING MERCY. This is the root of every other mercy.

II. A Christian acknowledges ALL HIS SPRINGS OF SANCTIFYING GRACE TO BE IN JESUS CHRIST. As the streams of a fountain are directed into various channels to water every part of the garden in which it springs, so doth the grace of God, in Jesus Christ, gush forth from its unfathomable depth of mercy, into every sentiment of the heart and mind of a sincere believer. It rectifies the erring judgment — it corrects the perverted will — it sanctifies the affections, weaning them from the vanities of earth and the defilement of sin, and turning them to dwell with complacency and with delight upon the supreme realities of eternal things. It quickens every languishing grace, and unites all the parts of Christian character in one supreme desire to glorify God.

III. THE SPRINGS OF THAT PEACE AND JOY WITH WHICH A CHRISTIAN IS FILLED IN BELIEVING, ARE ALSO FOUND IN THE SON OF GOD, AS HE IS PRESENT WITH HIS CHURCH. O if the sight of Joseph at Pharaoh's right hand, in favour and honour with the King of Egypt, could send the patriarchs home to Canaan with such joyful news to their aged father, what a message of delight must faith carry to the soul when it comes after a visitation of mercy in those services in which it hath contemplated the glory of Christ, and its own interest in that glory! With joy, even with joy unspeakable and full of glory, may such a soul draw water out of the wells of salvation.

IV. THE SPRINGS OF HOPE THAT CHEER AND BLESS THE PILGRIMAGE OF A CHRISTIAN, ARE DERIVED FROM THE GREAT HEAD OF THE CHURCH. To Him are given exceeding great and precious promises; and a view of the unchangeable fidelity of his Father, in the covenant of love by Jesus Christ, fills him with a hope that maketh not ashamed.

V. THE SPRINGS OF ETERNAL GLORY PROCEED FROM THE SON OF GOD. The righteousness, the holiness, which constitutes the character of true Christians, and the blessedness with which it will be recompensed, are all given by Christ to the Church. They who possess them are the seed which should prolong their days, or be happy for ever. In them He sees of the travail of His soul, and is satisfied. Here the gracious purpose of Jehovah prospers in His hands, perfectly and for ever.

(R. P. Buddicom, M. A.)

I. THE CHRISTIAN REQUIRES DIVERS KINDS OF BLESSINGS, AND THESE ARE ALL FURNISHED FOR HIM. Not one rill of supply merely, but many springs.

1. We will speak first of that spring which may be called sanctification, which washes us from daily accumulating evil, and checks our own depravity — which makes us more holy, and more fit to become partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.

2. Sustaining grace.

3. Wisdom to direct.

4. Strength and assistance in every time of need.

5. Joy and comfort.

II. WHERE ARE THESE SPRINGS TO BE FOUND? In Jesus our Lord and our God. It is of the Father's grace that the Spirit gives us from Jesus' fulness, so that we can never faint or fail. The wisdom of this arrangement will be evident if we consider —

1. Our own folly.

2. Our weakness.

3. Our great ingratitude and forgetfulness of God.

4. Our tendency to pride.

5. We admire this plan because it exalts God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. It makes us to come often into their presence to acknowledge our need and to extol God as alone able to supply it.

(J. A. Spurgeon.).

O Lord God of my salvation, I have cried day and night before Thee.
Homilist.
I. DEPICTING HIS WRETCHED STATE. He speaks of himself as "full of troubles," satiated with sufferings.

1. He represents himself as tottering on the grave and without power (vers. 2-5).

2. Crushed by agonies and conscious of the Divine displeasure (vers. 6, 7).

3. Bereft of friends, and the subject of social contempt (ver. 8).

4. Deprived of liberty and exhausted with grief. "I am shut up," etc. (ver. 8).

II. SUPPLICATING HIS AFFLICTING GOD. This he did —

1. With unremitting earnestness (ver. 1). To whom can human sufferers look for help, but to the God of "salvation"? And to look to Him with earnest constancy is at once our duty and our interest.

2. With profound inquiries (vers. 10-12). The living have a profound interest in the dead.

3. With pious determination (ver. 13).

4. With painful apprehension (vers. 14-18).

(Homilist.)

From this psalm —

I. LEARN HOW TO PRAY.

1. Tell the Lord your case.

2. Pray naturally.

3. Pray with this belief fixed in your mind, that your help must come from God, and pray expecting salvation from the Lord.

4. Pray often.

5. With weeping and mourning.

6. Pleadingly.

II. RESOLVE TO PRAY IN YOUR VERY WORST CASE. When you are full of troubles, go to God with them, that is the very time when you most need to pray. "But," say you, "Mr. Spurgeon, you do not know all that I have to think of." No, but I do know that, the more you have to think of, the more reason you have to go to God in prayer about it. The more loads you have to drag, the more horses you need; and the more work there is to be done, the more reason is there for crying to God to help you to do it. Do not, I pray you, stay away from the outward means Of grace when you are in trouble; but especially do not stay away from God Himself when you are tried and perplexed. When you are as full of trouble as ever you can be, then is the time to pray most. "But I have nobody to speak to," says another. Never mind if you have not; that is all the more reason why you should pray to God, and plead with God, who will not leave you. "But I am distracted," says another. Yes, and you will be distracted, unless you will go to God as you are, and implore Him to look at your distractions, and to lay His gentle hand upon you, and to restore you to yourself, and then to restore you to Himself.

III. REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD KEEP ON PRAYING.

1. You cannot lose anything by prayer.

2. It is not so great a thing, after all, to have to continue to ask. As a sinner I kept God waiting for me long enough, aye, far too long.

3. Cease not to pray, for He to whom thou prayest is a gracious God. Take good heart; thou wilt not plead in vain, for He loves to hear thy prayers. He must, He will, answer thee, for He is a God of grace.

4. He has heard others.

5. He has promised to hear thee.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

The tide was out. A great ocean steamer lay at the wharf, loaded to the line; by its side was a little boat that danced on top of the waves. The big iron ship grew worried, and said to the dancing, happy boat: "I fear, when the tide comes in, I'm so heavy it can't lift me, and I'll go to the bottom." "Never fear," said the smaller one, "it can lift thee as well as me." "Oh but you are so light, while I'm so heavy. It's easy enough to lift you, but me — oh, dear! Worry not, worry not, old ironsides. It's lifted the likes o' you many a time, and will soon lift thee as well as me." And the tide came in; up and up they both rose on the bosom of the sea; one lifted as high and as easy as the other. Great heart, loaded to the line with thine own sorrows and others' burdens, filled with fears and worried with doubt, thou wilt not go down.

(The Advertiser.)

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