Read this psalm aloud and hear your voice grow louder as you do. Read this psalm aloud and notice your vision grow; notice how the psalmist leaves no one out and invites every being, every realm of creation, to praise. Feel the joy in this poetry. Remember again how good it feels to give ourselves to the praise for which we were created. The psalmist proclaims that all creatures of our God shall take on the mantle of praise. Who, what, and how we praise says more about our character than we probably realize.
In 1954, Ray Charles wrote the classic “I’ve Got a Woman,” that became known as the song that started soul music. While this song was all the rage for so many, it also enraged many, particularly some pastors. See, Ray Charles took a gospel song that was sung inside the walls of churches, and changed the lyrics to make it a secular song. The original words, “I’ve got a Savior way over Jordan; He’s saved my soul, oh yeah,” became, “I got a woman way across town; she’s good to me, oh yeah.” As you can imagine or perhaps remember, this created hostility in the 1950s.
Ray Charles argued that soul music made people feel something; the music could become part of you. Soul music contains spirit and power. But pastors argued that spirit and power were the heart of gospel music. I would say both views are correct; God gives us the powerful gifts of both music itself and the capacity to engage with it.
May we appreciate the powerful gift of music today by making it part of us, feeling its spirit and power, and directing our praise to the One in whom we live, move, and have our being.
When was the last time you offered authentic and genuine praise to God? How might you take time to do that today?
Praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his glory is above earth and heaven (v. 13). Help us feel this in our soul.