Getting it right or getting it wrong… Purpose clues matter!
Yup, over the years in my “signature class” I’ve taught at SAGU – Bible Study – I’ve emphasized to my students you’ve got to honor the clues you find in a passage of Scripture that indicate the Biblical writer’s inspired purpose – “purpose clues” if you please… The writer’s inspired purpose or clues that point to God’s purpose in a passage. If you don’t, your interpretation and application of a passage can be VERY wrong!
Now not all “purpose clues” are obvious (they can be subtle)… But some are glaringly obvious – pretty hard to miss them! The passage I read this morning during “coffee with the Lord” – Psalm 150 – The last of the “Hallel Psalms” is of the very obvious sort… Pretty hard to miss!
“Praise the Lord!
Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens!
Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness!
Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp!
Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe!
Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord!” (Psalm 150 ESV)
When you read and reflect on it’s message, just ask yourself, What should be the result of reading and responding to what this Psalm teaches? What did the inspired psalmist envision as the result of what he wrote?
- Was he primarily trying to identify where God could be worshipped?
- Was his main purpose the delineate why we ought to worship God?
- How about identifying the appropriate musical instruments that can be used in a worship setting? Was that his main purpose?
- Or perhaps was his main agenda to suggest forms and expressions of worship?
All of those things can be found in one form or another in the Psalm (check it out!) But clearly none of those things were his main purpose! And any attempt to make them the main purpose actually ends up distorting the Psalmist’s purpose.
His main purpose is clearly communicated in verse 1 and 6: “PRAISE THE LORD! … LET EVERYTHING THAT BREATHES PRAISE THE LORD!” …And the implied message? “YOU” – or as we say it in Texas, “Ya’all – praise the Lord!”
A well-known sports outfitter has a slogan that fits here that is in keeping with the writer’s clear purpose… “JUST DO IT!” …And I’m going to… wherever I can, for whatever I can, however I can, whenever I can, with whatever I can!