America at the Crossroads by Jerry Vines

America at the Crossroads
Jerry Vines
Psalms 85
7/6/03

I think we understand that music is a big part of the celebrations we have in America. On special holidays we always have music, both secular and sacred. As we celebrate our independence on the Fourth of July, music is a vital part of that celebration as well. We have anything from Lone Star and Sarah Evans, all the way up to the Boston Pops. We sing these great patriotic songs and a lot of what we believe is incorporated in the songs that we sing. One of the songs that has caught on in our day is the one that was introduced by Lee Greenwood in 1984 during the presidential campaign. You may remember these words. "I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free. And I won't forget the men who died, who gave that right to me. And I'll gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today. Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land. God bless the USA."

In an earlier year, many of us remember the beautiful music of Kate Smith. We remember that she introduced a song also in her day which became something of a national song for Americans during the celebration of the Fourth of July. In those crystal clear as a bell tones, Kate Smith sang, "God bless America. Land that I love. Stand beside her and guide her, through the night with a light from above."

So music is a very important part of our national celebration during holiday times. Music was also important during the days of the people of God in the Old Testament. The Jewish people would gather together. They would go up to Jerusalem and they would sing great songs that would indicate the significance of the particular holiday they were celebrating. There were some songs that were national in nature, celebrating their freedom and celebrating the fact that they were indeed the people of God. As we study these Old Testament songs we remind ourselves that the psalms were the hymns of the Jewish people. When you read the book of Psalms you are reading hymns. When you read those hymns you are reminded that they sang these hymns around their national holiday.

So when you and I come to the house of God there are some books that we need. We need, first of all, the good Book. You always need the Good Book when you come to God's house. Second of all, you always need the pocketbook. Now, I couldn't be a Baptist preacher and not get that in. then, thirdly, you always need a hymnbook. As we sing these great hymns of celebration they speak important lessons to us.

Psalm 85 is one of these particular psalms. It is a great song of national meaning. I want to use it today and just speak to you about America at the crossroads and share with you on the basis of what God was doing in the life of the Children of Israel and what God may be doing in the life of America as well.

I look at this psalm and there are those who say that probably this psalm was sung by two choirs and a soloist. The first stanza was sung by one choir and it w ...


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