Sons of Korah http://sonsofkorah.com Giving a fresh voice to the biblical psalms Thu, 22 Jun 2017 07:36:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.2 West Australia Tour Confirmed http://sonsofkorah.com/west-australia-tour-confirmed/ Fri, 12 May 2017 08:10:30 +0000 http://sonsofkorah.com/?p=945 Sons of Korah head to WA for a short tour in August as we continue to launch our latest album Fractures. We’ll be visiting Perth, Mandurah and Merriwa. The new songs are working really well in our new concert set and it’s great to introduce some new instruments and sounds to the Sons of Korah music.

The post West Australia Tour Confirmed appeared first on Sons of Korah.

]]>
Sons of Korah head to WA for a short tour in August as we continue to launch our latest album Fractures. We’ll be visiting Perth, Mandurah and Merriwa. The new songs are working really well in our new concert set and it’s great to introduce some new instruments and sounds to the Sons of Korah music.

The post West Australia Tour Confirmed appeared first on Sons of Korah.

]]>
Queensland Australia Tour Confirmed http://sonsofkorah.com/queensland-australia-tour-confirmed/ Thu, 13 Apr 2017 08:11:07 +0000 http://sonsofkorah.com/?p=892 After a successful album launch in Melbourne with close to 800 people attending, Sons of Korah will be heading to Queensland for a short tour in May. We’ll be visiting Maryborough, Toowoomba, The Gold Coast and Brisbane City. It’s been a while since we’ve been to these cities so we’re looking forward to again presenting … Continued

The post Queensland Australia Tour Confirmed appeared first on Sons of Korah.

]]>
After a successful album launch in Melbourne with close to 800 people attending, Sons of Korah will be heading to Queensland for a short tour in May. We’ll be visiting Maryborough, Toowoomba, The Gold Coast and Brisbane City. It’s been a while since we’ve been to these cities so we’re looking forward to again presenting a number of the Psalms from our new album Fractures.

The post Queensland Australia Tour Confirmed appeared first on Sons of Korah.

]]>
New Album Launch Concert announced for Melbourne – March 25th. http://sonsofkorah.com/new-album-launch-concert-announced-melbourne-march-25th/ Thu, 16 Feb 2017 04:07:20 +0000 http://sonsofkorah.com/?p=738 Introducing our new studio album Fractures – ships from February 20th. The Sons of Korah project is about interpreting the psalms through music and this new collection adds to a long and varied repertoire that has taken us 20 years to build. Keep an eye on our website sonsofkorah.com for release from February 20th. Of course, … Continued

The post New Album Launch Concert announced for Melbourne – March 25th. appeared first on Sons of Korah.

]]>
Introducing our new studio album Fractures – ships from February 20th.

The Sons of Korah project is about interpreting the psalms through music and this new collection adds to a long and varied repertoire that has taken us 20 years to build. Keep an eye on our website sonsofkorah.com for release from February 20th.

Of course, we cannot continue to do this work without the support of a very engaged audience who appreciate the importance of what we are trying to do. Thank you.

I called this album ‘Fractures’ following a line in Psalm 60 which features on this album. The ambient lament is possibly my favorite of this new collection of Psalms. It is a reminder that the Psalms are firmly grounded in the realities of life and give abundant expression to the tensions and hardships of being broken people in a broken world. The album as a whole contains the usual mixture of dark and light. We deliberately try to create this mixture of moods to represent the Psalter as a whole. We try to amplify the emotions being expressed in each psalm, not dampen them. In some cases this makes our compositions confronting but only because the psalms themselves often lie in tension with our idealistic tendencies. There is great joy in the psalms and this comes through on this recording. Psalm 16, 34 and 134 are expressions of both reflective and jubilant joy. But the psalms are most valuable for helping us see the process by which we attain joy; a process of honest, sometimes shockingly honest, expression. And then there’s the bloodshed. The psalms are filled with the language of warfare, an inevitable part of life in a conflicted world. To me these psalms speak powerfully to a spiritual battle whose stakes seem to intensify the closer we get to the return of Christ. Psalm 68 is one of the most powerful of all the battle psalms and we have given this one lots of space, not to mention intensity. We have recorded Psalm 68 over 5 tracks and my personal favourite moment is the vehement cry: “summon your power, summon your power, show us strength as you’ve done before!”

We trust you will be deeply blessed by this new musical offering.

We’d love to see you at our launch concert for Fractures on Saturday March 25th and Stairway Church in Melbourne. Tickets are available now from our website sonsofkorah.com. MJ.

Here’s a sneak peek at Psalm 16.

The post New Album Launch Concert announced for Melbourne – March 25th. appeared first on Sons of Korah.

]]>
Sons of Korah to be guest artists at this years CMS Summer Encounter http://sonsofkorah.com/sons-korah-guest-artists-years-cms-summer-encounter/ Sun, 08 Jan 2017 11:15:49 +0000 http://sonsofkorah.com/?p=645 Looking forward to being guest artists at this years CMS Summer Encounter in Adelaide on Friday 20th January. You can register for the Friday night for just $10 here https://book.summerencounter.org.au/ This is the only event we’ll be doing in Adelaide this year so hope we might see some of our local friends!

The post Sons of Korah to be guest artists at this years CMS Summer Encounter appeared first on Sons of Korah.

]]>
Looking forward to being guest artists at this years CMS Summer Encounter in Adelaide on Friday 20th January. You can register for the Friday night for just $10 here https://book.summerencounter.org.au/

This is the only event we’ll be doing in Adelaide this year so hope we might see some of our local friends!

The post Sons of Korah to be guest artists at this years CMS Summer Encounter appeared first on Sons of Korah.

]]>
Psalm 23 http://sonsofkorah.com/psalm-23/ Tue, 03 Jan 2017 04:51:55 +0000 http://sonsofkorah.com/?p=445 The most famous of all the psalms and perhaps the most famous words of scripture, psalm 23 has been the joy of God’s people for three thousand years. This would have been a picture close to the heart of most people at the time it was written. Sheep and sheep farming were a common part … Continued

The post Psalm 23 appeared first on Sons of Korah.

]]>
The most famous of all the psalms and perhaps the most famous words of scripture, psalm 23 has been the joy of God’s people for three thousand years. This would have been a picture close to the heart of most people at the time it was written. Sheep and sheep farming were a common part of life for the Israelites and David himself had been a shepherd before his involvement with Saul. In fact much of David’s spiritual development occurred during his time as a shepherd. His astonishing actions before Goliath is the result of a faith developed in his task of protecting his fathers sheep. Note his words from the account in 1 Samuel 17:

But David said to Saul, ‘Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.’

God is the shepherd of his people and when David was a shepherd he learned that what he did for his sheep God would do for him and infinitely more. This made him bold in the face of danger so that he could even face death itself with confidence. He could sit and eat in the presence of his foes, in defiance of them, and they could not disturb his peace. The picture is one of a person whose confidence in God’s protection is so great that he can sit down for a picnic in the midst of the battle field.

The post Psalm 23 appeared first on Sons of Korah.

]]>
Psalm 148 http://sonsofkorah.com/psalm-148/ Mon, 02 Jan 2017 05:25:56 +0000 http://sonsofkorah.com/?p=535 Psalm 148 bids everything that exists to praise God. But how can inanimate objects like trees and mountains and stars praise God? They do so not by word but by virtue of what they are. Their very existence bears testimony to the awesome power of God who made them. This is the true way to … Continued

The post Psalm 148 appeared first on Sons of Korah.

]]>
Psalm 148 bids everything that exists to praise God. But how can inanimate objects like trees and mountains and stars praise God? They do so not by word but by virtue of what they are. Their very existence bears testimony to the awesome power of God who made them. This is the true way to praise God, not just by word but by the mode of one’s existence. Christians embody in themselves the greatest act of God ‘ redemption through Christ. Their song of redemption must not just be on their lips but in their character. God has set apart a people to reflect not only his creative power (as nature and the universe does) but his own loving and holy character ‘ this is the way we must praise God. Not even the Universe with all its solar systems can reflect this central aspect of the character of God. This is why he has created human beings ‘ to reflect his image and to be a testimony of praise to his grace and love.

The post Psalm 148 appeared first on Sons of Korah.

]]>
Psalm 147 http://sonsofkorah.com/psalm-147/ Mon, 02 Jan 2017 05:25:42 +0000 http://sonsofkorah.com/?p=533 A classic exuberant song of praise, Psalm 147, extols the character and greatness of God. A key idea of this psalm is that of a mighty God who is not impressed by the strength of man but who values, above all, joyful submission and trust. In the light of God’s greatness the psalm call us … Continued

The post Psalm 147 appeared first on Sons of Korah.

]]>
A classic exuberant song of praise, Psalm 147, extols the character and greatness of God. A key idea of this psalm is that of a mighty God who is not impressed by the strength of man but who values, above all, joyful submission and trust. In the light of God’s greatness the psalm call us to rest trustfully and securely in the strength of God. The psalm moves from reflection on the transcendent greatness of God to the intimate care and compassion of God. In each case the one makes the other more remarkable. The God who set the stars in place and created the world is the God who is irresistibly drawn to the plight of the needy. As he cares for his creation so too does he care for the everyday needs of people. The delight of God is to display his strength through the humble dependence of man. And therefore it is those who turn from their own strengths to trust him who are the ones who experience this surpassingly great power in their lives. The finishing picture of the psalm is of God directing the affairs of the natural world by the power of his word. In a final stroke of wonder the psalmist points out that this is the very same word of which his people are the custodians and bearers.

The post Psalm 147 appeared first on Sons of Korah.

]]>
Psalm 144 http://sonsofkorah.com/psalm-144/ Mon, 02 Jan 2017 05:25:20 +0000 http://sonsofkorah.com/?p=531 Psalm 144 follows a prayer sequence that is common to many of the psalms and we would do well to note it as an example of powerful prayer. The prayer is prayed by David in the setting of warfare and it expresses David’s desire to see his enemies defeated so that Israel can prosper freely. … Continued

The post Psalm 144 appeared first on Sons of Korah.

]]>
Psalm 144 follows a prayer sequence that is common to many of the psalms and we would do well to note it as an example of powerful prayer. The prayer is prayed by David in the setting of warfare and it expresses David’s desire to see his enemies defeated so that Israel can prosper freely. The first part (verses 1-2) is a declaration of praise and confidence in God. He declares that God is the one who gives David the skill to fight, the protection from harm, and the ultimate victory over his foes. It is a confession of faith and a statement of reliance. He is, in a sense, reminding God of his covenant responsibilities. God had said that he would be the God of his people and this meant that he would be their ‘loving God’, their ‘fortress,’ their ‘stronghold’, their ‘shield,’ their ‘refuge’ and their ‘deliverer.’ The abundance of the titles assigned here to God is the weight of the appeal: This is what God is, so let us see him be what he said he would be to us.

The second part (verses 3-4) is a statement of humility. The appeals are strong in this psalm and the requests are made in boldness but David shows here that he is not taking his relationship to God for granted. He declares that it is amazing that God should even place any significance upon mere man let alone be so intimately concerned with him and loving toward him. And yet God does care, and this expression of humility becomes another strong appeal. He saying, yes, it is amazing that you care for us so much; so let us see this amazing care at work here.

The third part (verses 5-8) is the request and like many of the psalms it calls for the destruction of those who are rising up against the will of God. The blanket denunciation of ‘foreigners’ sounds a bit rough to our ears but understand here what the outside threat implied for David at this time. Israel is pictured as a light burning in the midst of a dark world with the darkness constantly trying to snuff out the light. ‘Foreigners’ refers to those who threaten to wipe out the people of God and therefore also the purpose of God. God’s redemptive plan was intimately wrapped up in his people who were to be the priestly nation mediating salvation to the world. Many foreigners came to Zion in Solomon’s time who simply came to see the glories of Zion and hear the wisdom of the king. This is a different matter and the nation always welcomed these seekers. But in most cases, when a foreign nation came to Israel they did not come as tourists or seekers. They came with sword and bow to kill and destroy. It is from this threat that David is here seeking deliverance.

The fourth section (verses 9-10) is a declaration of praise again, but it is also an implicit appeal since David refers to God as the one who gives victory and delivers him from the sword. Again he reminds God of his self imposed covenant responsibilities. This then leads into a repeat of the request of verse 7-8 in verse 11.

The penultimate section (verses 12-14) is a celebration of how it will be for the people of Israel when God answers the prayer that is now being prayed. It is a common and remarkable feature of the psalm-prayers. The psalmist celebrates the answer before it comes with poetic descriptions of how the people will flourish and how God’s name will thus be glorified. This is both a further appeal but also a profound expression of biblical hope. It is the rejoicing in what is to come, and the rejoicing in the future deliverance is compounded by the present hardship.

The final verse is the perfect conclusion to such a prayer. The psalmist, as he involves himself earnestly in the relational act of prayer realises how blessed he is to be able to call on God. This is particularly significant following the words of verses 3 & 4. He realises how blessed are the people whom God has called his own and who has given himself in covenant love to people. They are blessed because all the things he has described in verses 12-14 will certainly be true but mostly because Yahweh (the LORD) is their God.

The post Psalm 144 appeared first on Sons of Korah.

]]>
Psalm 139 http://sonsofkorah.com/psalm-139/ Mon, 02 Jan 2017 05:25:04 +0000 http://sonsofkorah.com/?p=529 Psalm 139 is about the omniscience of God, that is, the fact that God is all-knowing and all-seeing. But it applies this fact not just in a ‘spooky God-is-onto-you’ way but as a comfort for God’s people. The theme of ‘God watching over his people’ is a common one in the psalms and indicates God’s … Continued

The post Psalm 139 appeared first on Sons of Korah.

]]>
Psalm 139 is about the omniscience of God, that is, the fact that God is all-knowing and all-seeing. But it applies this fact not just in a ‘spooky God-is-onto-you’ way but as a comfort for God’s people. The theme of ‘God watching over his people’ is a common one in the psalms and indicates God’s love and care for his people. It stands alongside the shepherding metaphor also common in the psalms. But this psalm takes that theme to a new level. It speaks about God’s knowledge of our thoughts and even the fact that God predestines the path of our lives. It celebrates the fact that God loves us so much we could not get away from him even if we tried. In the last part of the psalm, not included in our adaptation of this psalm, the mood turns to the condemnation of evil. And this is quite a natural movement even if it somewhat distasteful to those who prefer the sweeter sentiment of the first half of the psalm. The idea of God watching people goes two ways, and this also is common in the psalms. For God’s people it entails safely and care but for those who set themselves against God it entails judgement. In this context the omniscience of God means that God sees their evil and will store up judgement for them unless they turn and repent. Hence naturally again the psalm ends with a cry to God to examine our hearts to see if there is any evil in us that we might be delivered from it.

The post Psalm 139 appeared first on Sons of Korah.

]]>
Psalm 137 http://sonsofkorah.com/psalm-137/ Mon, 02 Jan 2017 05:24:46 +0000 http://sonsofkorah.com/?p=527 Psalm 137 is a psalm that I personally have struggled with more than any. The Lyrics shocked me and I found the ferocity of the emotions portrayed in it hard to deal with, particularly the last line. I also found it hard to see how I could sing this and see any relevance in it … Continued

The post Psalm 137 appeared first on Sons of Korah.

]]>
Psalm 137 is a psalm that I personally have struggled with more than any. The Lyrics shocked me and I found the ferocity of the emotions portrayed in it hard to deal with, particularly the last line. I also found it hard to see how I could sing this and see any relevance in it for me. What follows is the residue of my coming to terms with and learning to appreciate this psalm.

This song harks back to the lowest period in the history of the people of God: the Babylonian captivity. Jerusalem suffered a cruel defeat under the Babylonian Army (605-586 BC). The city was laid waste and those who were not killed were taken into exile. It was a common practice of conquering nations in the Ancient Near East to prevent against nationalist uprisings in conquered territories to deport the large proportion of conquered peoples far away from their home land. The idea was that after some time their identity and faith would be lost as the people were assimilated into the foreign culture. Judah remained in exile for 70 years and in this time the flame of the covenant faith continued to burn. However the very experience of being in Babylon was a painful one for a people whose whole identity was caught up in their nationality, faith, and the glory of Jerusalem and the temple which stood at the centre of Jewish life. God had sent them away and had allowed them to be captive to a foreign nation just as they were in Egypt. In the biblical typology the land of Canaan (with Jerusalem and the temple as its heart) was like a second Eden, though Isaiah had made it clear that this was only provisional until the new heavens and earth was created (Isaiah 65:17) ‘ the new Eden. Eden, in biblical thought, is the place where God dwells in harmony with his people. Because Adam and Eve sinned they were cast out of Eden. When God began his process of redemption with the covenant with Abram (Read Gen. 12:1-3; Gen. 15) he included, with the promise of blessing, the promise that he would give Abram a land; the promised land. The promised land was to be a new Eden, a place where God would again dwell in harmony with his people. But the story of Genesis 3 repeated itself in the history of Israel. The people sinned and so God cast them out of the land. Read 2 Kings 17:7ff for the account of this.

While the people had been sent away from God into captivity there is a sense in which God still went with them. Read the book of Esther to see how God prevented a near genocide of the Jewish people during this time under the Persian king and also the Book of Daniel to see how God still blessed and protected his people even though they were suffering in captivity. The destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonian army had been a devastating one. Read the book of Lamentations which is a vivid description of the destroyed city by Jeremiah who had warned the people many times before this event came. The defeat was a cruel one. Moreover it was bought about to the great delight of the neighbours of Judah, such as Edom, who applauded the cruelty along.

The Psalm, then, recalls the people’s grief as they lived in captivity amidst the system of canals that spread throughout the Babylonian region (vs.1). Musical instruments were generally associated with rejoicing and so when the Babylonians asked for a demonstration of their renowned music ability they refused (vss.2-4). The gesture of putting away their instruments was symbolic of the fact that there is no joy apart from God. The vow to never forget Jerusalem was a vow of utmost piety and a gesture in defiance of the enemy’s attempt to try and squash their faith by taking them so far away from their home. The psalmist wishes all kind of calamities upon himself if he ever forgets Jerusalem, if he starts to feel at home in the foreign land and if he becomes content with his life in captivity (vss.5, 6). These calamities are like those described in the curses of Deuteronomy 28:15ff for those who forget God. In other words the Psalmist says, ‘may God do to me all that He has said He will do if I forget Him.’ In his zeal to remember and delight in Jerusalem above all things the psalmist remembers the jeering and cursing of the Edomites over the destruction of the sacred city (vs.7). Then he turns his anger upon the Babylonian empire who did these things. The anger of the words that follow match the zeal of the writer. What must be borne in mind for understanding verses 8-9 is the covenant promise that those who curse the covenant people will be cursed (Gen. 12:3). Psalm 37:15 invokes this principle when it says that the sword of the covenant enemies will slay those who wield it. They will fall into the pit they have dug (Psalm 9:15). The Babylonians did terrible things to the people of Jerusalem. Those who were not deported were killed ‘ this included children ‘ even those in the wombs of their mothers. This was prophesied by Hosea (if you feel brave you could read Hosea 13:16). The practice of killing infants in the ancient times represented the absolute destruction of a people. Progeny were seen as the continuation of a person’s life so the destruction of children was like rubbing a person’s name out from existence ‘ it was the worst of all curses. According to the principle of the Genesis 12:3, then, the psalmist, in his righteous indignation, declares the curse back on the heads of those who did these things.

The Relevance of Psalm 137 for the Christian lies first of all in the spiritual solidarity that all God’s people share. Abraham’s children, said Jesus and Paul, are those who have the faith of Abraham. These belong to the great family of God. Psalm 137 remembers one of the most significant times in our history. The psalm carries an important lesson for us. Lest we are tempted to stray from the faith into which we have been called we should remember that there is no joy when we are far from God. But for the Christian there is an even deeper significance in psalm 137. Our promised land is heaven ‘ the new Jerusalem (Rev. 21) ‘ the new heavens and earth (Isaiah 65:17ff) ‘ the Kingdom of God (Luke 13:28,29; 14:15ff; 22:14). If we forget the Kingdom of God (and Jesus told us to seek first the Kingdom of God ‘ Matt. 6:33), may God chastise us severely lest we become assimilated into the world and our identity and faith is lost. If we forget the New Jerusalem, that is, if we become satisfied with our life here on earth in captivity to the corrupt nature of our mortal bodies (Rom. 7:24b cf. Gal. 5:17), if our sojourn here (Hebrews 11:13; 1Peter 1:17) becomes too settled, if we are not continually longing for the coming of God’s kingdom (Rom. 8:23), may God bring upon us such chastisement that we will be bought to our senses. The forces of evil in heavenly realms wage war against the Kingdom of God (Eph. 6:12). They delight in the downfall of the Christian and they work tirelessly to take us captive and to snuff out our faith and hope. But may God bring about their own downfall as he has said he will do. May God cut off the memory of the evil one from the earth and may that destruction be absolute. This is the way we understand the reflection and prayer of Psalm 137.

The post Psalm 137 appeared first on Sons of Korah.

]]>