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Psalm 9 - to be sung to the tune of "Death of a Son"

Reflection: While doing QT today, I was struck by the note that this was to be sung to the tune of "Death of a Son." David assumed that the reader would know that tune. While the tune has been lost, we can assume that it had a morose melody. After all, even if you didn't know the tune of the songs titled "Happy Birthday to You" or "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star," you would assume those melodies would be cheerful. With a title like "Death of a Son," the tune hardly seems to match the triumphant themes of these verses:


1 I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart;

I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.

2 I will be glad and rejoice in you;

I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High.


Why did God inspire David to link such words with a sad melody? I can think of two possibilities. Even when our circumstances are momentarily grim or heartbreaking, it is possible to declare that God is good and does wonderful things. Even when our hearts are heavy with grief, or our minds are scattered by anxiety, even when it is difficult to worship - still it is right to give thanks to God and rejoice in God.


Or perhaps God wants us to remember that grace is free, but it was not cheap. In order to be wonderfully generous, patiently forgiving, and faithfully committed to us, God had to embrace loss, grief, and betrayal. Because we consistently choose death and sin, the Son of God had to give his life as an atoning sacrifice so that we could receive the life and holiness.


The title is a mystery, and I'm sure my thoughts simply scratch the surface. May the Holy Spirit guide our meditations of the Psalms, and our singing of our hymns, that the words and the melodies would move us to honor God.


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