The psalms were Israel’s hymns. The psalms guide us in worship and praise to God, from the history of God’s people to the most personal and present issues of our lives.
A CD or iPod with hymns or worship songs and a means to play them, paper, pencils
Connecting with the Scripture Topic
- Give each member a piece of paper on which he or she will write a psalm to God. This will be a personal psalm, as David’s were. It can be a contrite psalm, a psalm of praise, or a combination of the two. Read the psalms aloud to the group.
- Play “Name That Tune.” Play a song until someone shouts out the title. Then move to the next song. Discuss the importance of knowing the words of hymns and worship songs. How could this benefit us?
Sharing and Receiving Scripture
- How does music enhance worship? On a piece of paper, draw a simple picture of a musical instrument. Then write down at least three ways music is important to worship.
- Thought Questions
One of David’s most beautiful psalms of praise to God is found in 1 Chronicles 16:8-36. As you carefully read through this psalm, look for verbs that call for a response from God’s people. Pick your favorite and explain what it means to you.
- “Give thanks to the Lord…” (v. 8)
- “Sing to Him…”(v. 9)
- “Glory in His holy name…” (v. 11)
- “Remember His marvelous works…” (v. 12)
- “Tremble before Him…”(v. 30)
The psalms also call us to sober reflection and deep repentance. Read Psalm 32:1-5. What different words do you find for sin in this passage? Do they all mean the same thing?
It’s easy to focus on the broken things in our lives or in our world. Read Philippians 4:8 and reflect on ways this passage can provide balance in worship.
- Worship does not primarily focus on us; it mainly focuses on God’s goodness.
- Some translations use the words “dwell on these things” in this passage, which means to quietly think about them.
- The focus here is on “these things,” meaning good things from the Lord.
- There can be moments of silent confession in public worship, but praise to God is central.
- Answers to prayer are “true, noble, just, and of good report.” So is reading the Bible.
- Four of Jesus’ disciples
- The four gospel writers
- Unique beings created by God that we do not know about today
- Animals with human/angelic capacities
Applying the Message of Scripture
Gather in groups of two or three. Choose one of the following options and work on a solution. Then report back to the larger group when your facilitator says time is up.
- Option 1: At a church board meeting, one of the “pillars of the church” proposes that only the SDA Hymnal be used in church. This person wants to ban worship songs and words to songs on a screen. How would you vote on this proposal and why?
- Option 2: At a church board meeting, the topic of music comes up. Some members want to start a praise band that will include guitars and possibly drums. The band would lead the congregation into worship at the beginning of the service. What would you say to the Board and why?
- Option 3: Gather some ideas on how your church can include in worship members of all ages—children, youth, young adults, adults, and seniors—with their various musical preferences. Is this a plan where all feel involved? Share your ideas with your pastor or worship leader(s).
Valuing Scripture in Your Life
- Write out the words to your favorite hymn or praise song. Why is this song meaningful to you? Plan to sing (or hum) it every day for the next week, as part of your worship time with God. Focus on the words and their meaning to your life.
- In Psalm 51:17, David says that because of his transgressions, his sacrifice to God is a broken spirit and a contrite heart. Take this time to tell God about your own transgressions and offer your own sacrifice.