Tuning Our Hearts To Reality

God’s song book wasn’t mindlessly assembled. The Psalms are structured into books, which are loosely structured around different themes. Like most good books, it starts with a preface, Psalm 1; it explains how to use the book and why to read it. It also ends with a epilogue of sorts, punctuated with a three Psalm exclamation point.

These closing Psalms (148, 149, 150) sing one great theme: praise God. The Earth praises. The stars praise. Creatures praise. Men not only to praise, but write new songs with new melodies and words. They craft instruments (and the instruments praise). God is glorified for his power, sovereignty, justice, grace, and love. He is praised for his great works in history.

These Psalms are not an epilogue in the literal sense, nor are they apocalyptic. But metaphorically, it’s fitting that the Psalms end with a great crash of praise, because this world ends, and the next world begins with a great crash of praise. 

There is a world to come of perfect praise. A world where our choices, our lives, our work, our relationships and all of nature around us perfectly praise God. We glimpse that world briefly when we see the majesty of the rockies. We hear of it for a moment when we sing God’s glory. We feel it for a second, when our hairs stand on end with fear, awe, and love of God. Like light shining from shook foil, these moments of future glory sine out and blind us, and then pass away.

The song of praise in the last Psalms may be be heard today, but not perfectly till tomorrow. One day heaven will come, and creation will crescendo into a never ending song of perfect praise. So the Psalms do likewise. Reading these Psalms does at least two things: 1. They make us long for the world to come. 2. They make us weep, because we have not arrived. We already looked at number one, but what about number two?

The more I consider this song to come, the more I am convicted that my heart is out of tune. I ask myself: Would my words to my wife be fitting lyrics for that song? Would my heart toward my co-workers be in tune with its melody? Would my devotion to God’s law be in harmony? Do my affections toward even God make me want to sing?

If you’re anything like me, the answer to these questions is discouraging. My words to my wife do not often belong in heaven; my heart toward my coworkers, God, and his law would be noticeably out of tune with heaven’s song.

These last Psalms take me up to heaven, only to draw me down before the cross. What words, thoughts, feelings, or actions have you said/felt/done today that find no place in that future song of praise? Jesus invites us to confess them before the cross and find forgiveness.

But his grace never stops with his pardon. Jesus actually invites us to participate in his future song of praise. In this life, he promises to put his Spirit in us, who sings a song that puts our souls in tune. He’s like that oboe before the symphony plays – striking one clear note, by which the whole Orchestra is tuned. So Paul writes, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is Spirit.” (2 Cor. 3:18)

Jesus is the maker of reality. Reality conforms to him. We are being invited into the most real song in history; by his grace we are being tuned to it. I’d challenge you to meditate this week on each of these Psalms. Let them stir up a longing for heaven, and a longing to repent and be retuned by God.

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