Isaiah 38:20 The LORD was ready to save me: therefore we will sing my songs to the stringed instruments all the days of our life in the house of the LORD.

Hezekiah was one of the godliest kings ever to rule over a nation. In this verse, he communicates that his response to God’s sparing him from dying from what was originally divinely declared to be an illness that would lead to his death was to extol God musically all the days of his life in the house of God!

What’s particularly noteworthy in this statement is that he specifies that the instruments to which they would sing his songs in the temple of God were stringed instruments. This is one of several such statements in Scripture that lead me to hold that stringed instruments were the most important instruments that were used in acceptable corporate worship of God in His temple.

Copyright © 2011-2024 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

God ordained that there would be consecrated singers who would minister to Him *day* and *night* with singing accompanied with stringed instruments.

1 Chronicles 9:33 And these are the singers, chief of the fathers of the Levites, who remaining in the chambers were free: for they were employed in that work day and night.

Especially on His uniquely consecrated day, it was a good thing to sing praises to His name upon stringed musical instruments *in the morning* and *every night.*

Psalm 92:1 <A Psalm or Song for the sabbath day.> It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High: 2 To shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night, 3 Upon an instrument of ten strings, and upon the psaltery; upon the harp with a solemn sound.

O that there were many more consecrated followers of Christ in our day who would supremely value the honor and privilege of being in God’s house both *in the morning* and *in the night* on the Lord’s Day to glorify God with singing His praises accompanied by stringed instruments.

Copyright © 2011-2024 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

A New Doxology!

July 4, 2024 — Leave a comment

I recently wrote a new doxology that stresses the importance of praising God musically:

Praise God with harps and psalteries;

Praise Him by playing skillfully;

Praise Him in singing joyfully;

Praise God, the blessed Trinity!

 


– with harps and psalteries (2 Chr. 5:12; 9:11; 20:28; 29:25)

– playing skillfully (Ps. 33:3)

– singing joyfully (1 Chron. 15:16; Ps. 67;4; 81:1; 98:4)

Copyright © 2011-2024 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

Today, I added a new forum post for discussion on Sharper Iron, “How Biblical Is Your Demonology?

In the opening post, I said the following:

Pastor Mark Minnick preached a very helpful message this morning from Mark 1:21-24 that treats the subject of demonology in considerable detail:

A Powerful, Indwelling Demon Reacts to Jesus Christ

I heartily recommend the careful consideration of this treatment of the subject of demonology and examining your own beliefs in light of it to see how biblical is your demonology.

Copyright © 2011-2024 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

In a remarkable passage, God instructs us through an astonishing comparison between two groups of people—certain specially gifted servants of God and certain practitioners of the occult.

Daniel 1:17 As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. 18 Now at the end of the days that the king had said he should bring them in, then the prince of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. 19 And the king communed with them; and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: therefore stood they before the king. 20 And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king enquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.

To understand what God wants us to learn from this vital revelation, we must compare and contrast these two groups carefully.

From Scripture, we know that both groups were image bearers and recipients of common grace. It might seem to some believers that each group therefore should have had some people in that group who were better in some areas of wisdom and understanding than those in the other group were.

In “all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king enquired of them [emphasis added to the original],” Daniel and his three friends, however, were found to be “ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.” Through this astounding revelation by the Spirit, we learn that it is wrong to expect that the image of God in man and common grace ensure that all groups of people will have among them at least some who excel in some areas of wisdom and understanding above those who are in other groups of people.

Contrary to this expectation that might seem to us to be what ought to be true, we must hold that specially gifted servants of God excel far above all practitioners of the occult in all areas of wisdom and understanding!

Moreover, we must understand plainly that occult wisdom is not the all-excelling wisdom of God in any matter of wisdom and understanding. What’s more, neither this passage nor any other passage of Scripture provides any biblical basis to hold that there has ever been or will ever be any area of wisdom and understanding in which occultists have excelled above specially gifted servants of God.

Application

Consecrated believers must not hold to the faulty notion that all groups of people will have some among them who excel in some areas of wisdom and understanding such that they are better in those areas than are the best people in every other group of people. In particular, the Bible does not provide any basis for Christians to hold that practitioners of the occult have ever produced through their wisdom anything that is distinctively of the occult such that God’s people should make any use of it in any facet of their living a life that is pleasing to God.

God’s people must categorically reject all occult wisdom and all things that are distinctively of the occult!

Copyright © 2011-2024 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

After Samuel had anointed Saul, he uttered a striking prophetic declaration of what would shortly happen to Saul:

1 Samuel 10:5 After that thou shalt come to the hill of God, where is the garrison of the Philistines: and it shall come to pass, when thou art come thither to the city, that thou shalt meet a company of prophets coming down from the high place with a psaltery, and a tabret, and a pipe, and a harp, before them; and they shall prophesy: 6 And the Spirit of the LORD will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man.

Concerning what it reveals about music, this passage is significant for several reasons.

First, it shows that more than two years (cf. 1 Sam. 13:1) before David came to the forefront as a uniquely skilled musician in Israel (1 Sam. 16:14-23), God already had a group of prophets among His people who were sacred musicians who ministered with music for Him! As prophets, these men were specially chosen, anointed, and empowered servants of God on whom He had put His Spirit; these musicians undeniably therefore knew fully how to play sacred music that pleased God.

Second, the verse speaks about the prophetic use of three different kinds of instruments: stringed (psaltery, harp); percussion (tabret); and wind (pipe). The verse, therefore, shows the legitimacy of using each of these kinds of instruments for sacred uses.

Third, the verse mentions two stringed instruments but only one each of the other two kinds of instruments. The greater number and variety of stringed instruments versus percussion or wind instruments points to the greater importance of stringed instruments in sacred activities.

Fourth, the verse does not make any mention of singing. Although the lack of mention of singing does not definitively show that there was no singing by those in this prophetic company, the explicit mention of multiple musical instruments and no mention of singing stresses the importance of the use of musical instruments in sacred ministry.


See also A Prophet, A Minstrel, and Resolving Today’s Worship Wars

Copyright © 2011-2024 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

Let all mankind hear and heed what God has said:

Acts 10:42 And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. 43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.

Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: 31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

Romans 2:16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

Rev. 22:20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. 21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

Copyright © 2011-2024 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

Gathered church worship is our offering up together to God the Spiritual, devotional responses of which He alone is worthy.

—Pastor Mark Minnick

Copyright © 2011-2024 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

Scripture reveals a vast number of comparative statements and superlatives that instruct us in various ways to hold that there are things that are superior to other things in their same categories. Meditating on such statements has provided me with several important insights that I hope to present in at least one future post.

I encourage very careful examination and contemplation of the following compilation of such statements.

Gen. 43:11 And their father Israel said unto them, If it must be so now, do this; take of the best fruits in the land in your vessels, and carry down the man a present, a little balm, and a little honey, spices, and myrrh, nuts, and almonds:

Num. 18:12 All the best of the oil, and all the best of the wine, and of the wheat, the firstfruits of them which they shall offer unto the LORD, them have I given thee.

Jdg. 8:2 And he said unto them, What have I done now in comparison of you? Is not the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim better than the vintage of Abiezer?

Ps. 81:16 He should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee.

Ps. 147:14 He maketh peace in thy borders, and filleth thee with the finest of the wheat.

Exodus 30:23 Take thou also unto thee principal spices, of pure myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet cinnamon half so much, even two hundred and fifty shekels, and of sweet calamus two hundred and fifty shekels

Cant. 4:14 Spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices:

Cant. 7:9 And the roof of thy mouth like the best wine for my beloved, that goeth down sweetly, causing the lips of those that are asleep to speak.

Ezek. 27:22 The merchants of Sheba and Raamah, they were thy merchants: they occupied in thy fairs with chief of all spices, and with all precious stones, and gold.

Gen. 47:6 The land of Egypt is before thee; in the best of the land make thy father and brethren to dwell; in the land of Goshen let them dwell: and if thou knowest any men of activity among them, then make them rulers over my cattle.

Gen. 47:11 And Joseph placed his father and his brethren, and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded.

Exod. 22:5 If a man shall cause a field or vineyard to be eaten, and shall put in his beast, and shall feed in another man’s field; of the best of his own field, and of the best of his own vineyard, shall he make restitution.

1 Sam. 8:14 And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants.

1 Ki. 21:2 And Ahab spake unto Naboth, saying, Give me thy vineyard, that I may have it for a garden of herbs, because it is near unto my house: and I will give thee for it a better vineyard than it; or, if it seem good to thee, I will give thee the worth of it in money.

Ezekiel 20:6 In the day that I lifted up mine hand unto them, to bring them forth of the land of Egypt into a land that I had espied for them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands:

 

Num. 18:29 Out of all your gifts ye shall offer every heave offering of the LORD, of all the best thereof, even the hallowed part thereof out of it.

Num. 18:30 Therefore thou shalt say unto them, When ye have heaved the best thereof from it, then it shall be counted unto the Levites as the increase of the threshingfloor, and as the increase of the winepress.

Num. 18:32 And ye shall bear no sin by reason of it, when ye have heaved from it the best of it: neither shall ye pollute the holy things of the children of Israel, lest ye die.

1 Sam. 2:29 Wherefore kick ye at my sacrifice and at mine offering, which I have commanded in my habitation; and honourest thy sons above me, to make yourselves fat with the chiefest of all the offerings of Israel my people?

1 Sam. 15:9 But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly.

1 Sam. 15:15 And Saul said, They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed.

1 Ki. 10:18 Moreover the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with the best gold.

2 Ki. 5:12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage.

 

1 Sam. 21:9 And the priest said, The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom thou slewest in the valley of Elah, behold, it is here wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod: if thou wilt take that, take it: for there is no other save that here. And David said, There is none like that; give it me.

2 Chr. 9:11 And the king made of the algum trees terraces to the house of the LORD, and to the king’s palace, and harps and psalteries for singers: and there were none such seen before in the land of Judah.

Lk. 15:22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:

2 Kings 20:13 And Hezekiah hearkened unto them, and shewed them all the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armour, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah shewed them not.

Amos 6:6 That drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the chief ointments: but they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph.

Est. 2:9 And the maiden pleased him, and she obtained kindness of him; and he speedily gave her her things for purification, with such things as belonged to her, and seven maidens, which were meet to be given her, out of the king’s house: and he preferred her and her maids unto the best place of the house of the women.

 

1 Cor. 12:31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

Heb. 7:19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.

Heb. 7:22 By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.

Heb. 8:6 But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.

Heb. 9:23 It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.

Heb. 10:34 For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.

Heb. 11:16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

Heb. 11:35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:

Copyright © 2011-2024 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

Students in a college math class take an exam that has many story problems that they must solve correctly. Getting back their graded tests, many students in the class go the dean and complain that the teacher (who wrote all the problems herself) has a wrong understanding of what the problems say and what the right answers to the problems are.

The students say that what the teacher says the problems set forth is only her interpretation and argue that her interpretation of the wording of the problems is wrong. What’s more, the students even disagree among themselves what the story problems mean and what the right answers to the problems are.

In her defense, the teacher says that she has been giving the same test with the same problems for 15 years. She points out that no students prior to the students in this class have ever tried to say that the teacher’s understanding of the meaning of the story problems is wrong and that her answers are wrong.

The dean says that he agrees with the teacher but tells the teacher that she must also accept as correct the differing understandings and answers of the current students who disagree with her interpretation of the wording of the problems. He says that she has to do that because these students are all top athletes in the school’s athletic programs and their families donate vast amounts of money to the school every year.

The teacher refuses so she is fired because the dean does not want to have problems with the wealthy donor parents of the students who complained. Even the local and national media go along and make an example of the teacher by mocking her as unable to understand the meanings of the wording of the problems.

A Revealing Comparison to What Many Seek to Do in Biblical Interpretation

The hypothetical scenario presented above has many plain parallels to what I believe routinely takes place among many professing believers concerning the interpretation of many passages of Scripture. It also points to the absurdity of the claims of many that those passages could actually correctly mean all the differing things that the people with differing interpretations of them say that they mean.

Most importantly, consider what believers who take such approaches are ultimately saying about God, the perfect Teacher and Author of all Scripture. Was God really not able to say clearly and exactly what He wanted to say in the Bible? Are there really many different correct interpretations of many passages of Scripture?

Application

We must take great care not to be intellectually dishonest before God in our handling of Scripture. God has said what He wanted to say.

We must approach biblical interpretation with the unassailable belief that He intends for us to know what He has said. There certainly are not many different correct interpretations of Scripture passages.

Copyright © 2011-2024 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.