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Songs to Live By

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Let God arise!
Let his enemies be scattered!
Let all who hate him flee from him in terror!
Drive them away like smoke before a wind;
Melt them like wax in a hot flame;
So will the wicked perish in the presence of God!

Few today would hazard their lives on such a superstitious belief, but we can trust without any qualm the power of the Psalms to rescue us from the far greater venom of that old viper Satan. Here, in Israel’s sacred songs, is a divine antivenin for all the Serpent’s poison. Those who read the Psalms, and reflect upon them continually, will surely find their promise fulfilled –

    Happiness belongs to everyone Whose delight is in the law of the Lord, Who meditate in His law day and night. They will be like trees planted beside a running stream, Which bear much fruit year after year And their leaves never wither (1:1-3)

These are truly ‘Songs to live by", and I hope that the following pages will quicken in you a new interest in the Psalms, and a desire to know much more about them. The first part of this book deals with the psalmody of Israel, and the second half builds on Israel’s worship experience and explores some aspects of worship in the church.

Let me now launch the book with some lines by Sir Thomas Wyatt, that renowned English courtier and poet who nearly lost his head (literally) for love, when he sought to displace King Henry VIII in Anne Boleyn’ 5 affections. One of his poems is a song of eight stanzas, of which I shall quote the first here, and the last at the end of this book. A song about a man who was about to write a song seems appropriate to my theme!

My lute awake! perform the last Labour that thou and I shall waste, And end that I have now begun: And when this song is sung and past, My lute be still, for I have done.

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