The Book of Psalms is God’s Hymnal; it is the songbook that Israel sang from, and it is the collection of scripture that the church is to sing from as well (cf. Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16). Not only do the psalms contain the texts we are to sing, they also contain the themes we are to sing. Most certainly we should sing about God as Creator, Redeemer, Savior, and King. He creates, sustains, saves, blesses, and rules. These themes are in Psalms, and therefore we should praise God accordingly.
But the theme of judgment is also in Psalms, and it too is a a theme that churches should sing is praise to God. The modern church-growth movement would surely shrink with these texts, but God is pleased when we sing them. These kinds of songs were found in hymnals in previous centuries.
John Newton penned the words of the hymn “Day of Judgment! Day of Wonders!” In 1774. Newton warns the sinner of the awful day of God’s judgment but alternates his stanzas with comfort for the believer. Churches should sing about the judgment of God, even as David wrote of these themes in the Psalms.
1. Day of judgment! Day of wonders!
Hark! the trumpet’s awful sound,
Louder than a thousand thunders, Shakes the vast creation round.
How the summons
Will the sinner’s heart confound!
2. See the Judge, our nature wearing, Clothed in majesty divine;
You who long for His appearing
Then shall say, This God is mine!
Own me in that day as Thine.
3. At His call the dead awaken,
Rise to life from earth and sea;
All the powers of nature, shaken
By His looks, prepare to flee.
What will then become of thee?
4. But to those who have confessed, loved and served the Lord below,
He will say, “Come near, ye blessed, see the kingdom I bestow;
You for ever
Shall My love and glory know.”