Our goal is to write and record a Psalm each month. But what is a psalm, really?
According to Dictionary.com, a psalm is “a sacred song or hymn, in particular any of those contained in the biblical Book of Psalms.” Note that qualifier, “in particular.” This suggests the existence of psalms beyond those contained in the Book of Psalms.
Do such psalms exist?
Of course they do. Broadly speaking, anything we sing in worship to God could legitimately be called a psalm, whether it’s taken directly from Scripture or not. But even within the pages of Scripture there are other inspired songs of prayer or praise the compilers of the Book of Psalms did not include in their collection. The songs of Hannah (1 Samuel 2:1–10), of Mary (Luke 1:46–55), of Zechariah (Luke 1:67–79), and of Simeon (Luke 2:29–32) are among the better-known of these extra-Psalm psalms.
Extra-Psalm psalms…since that’s about as awkward a designator as designations come, history has wisely referred to them by a different name: canticles.
Canticles, like the songs referenced above, are every bit as worthy of being restored to modern evangelical worship as the prayers of David. They’re just as majestic in style and instructive for praise. And so for this month’s “Psalm of the Month” we’re bringing you the first in what we hope will amount in years to come to a complete cycle of Biblical canticles.
For our first canticle we turn to the Song of Moses (Exodus 15:1–21), the song of praise the sons of Israel sang after they watched the armies of Egypt drown behind them in the Red Sea. This event has enormous typological and theological significance in the unfolding plan of redemption, and is singled out by John in Revelation as one of the two songs sung in heaven:
“And they sang the song of Moses, the bond-servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, ‘Great and marvelous are Your works, O Lord God, the Almighty; Righteous and true are Your ways, King of the nations!'” (Revelation 15:3)
We’re thrilled to present this new version of the Song of Moses to you. May God use it to tune our hearts and lips for the day when we sing it anew with the redeemed in heaven.
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