Doers of the Word (Ps 87:7)

Singers and dancers alike say, “All my springs are in you.”

Psalm 87:7

The Psalmist identifies both singers and dancers, and addresses them by their performance of a shared experience. He explains their intentions and purposes in this experience are alike. These titles are indicative of the types of people performing in a worship service. This is a particularly special worship service, one that reminds me of David dancing as he brought the Ark of the Covenant into the city (2 Samuel 6:14). Taking Psalm 87:7 metaphorically, there are two events happening in the midst of the worshipful congregation, both of these events convey a single prophetic word. There are those who are singing, “All my springs are in you,” and there are those who are dancing, or acting out the saying, “All my springs are in you.” This is the essence of the Christian life; the confession is manifested in the living-sacrifice of the regenerate, the believer. The Christian confesses the gloriousness of God and upon this confession, based on the heart’s affections for God to receive glory and be recognized for all that he is, the Christian lives and moves according to a confessional life.

It is our calling as Christians to be a people who live and express the will of God through the means of grace which he gives us. We not only confess with our mouths, but with our lives. These means, or expression of affection, are brought to fruition in us by the Holy Spirit. Our God calls us to obedience in opening up our fountains and letting his glory flow through our daily life. Notice that both performers, the singers as well as the dancers, are communicating the same thing both of them “alike say.” Often we are a people who can answer a question about the Bible, the Word of God, but when we are brought into any number of situations we become ignorant or shortsighted in our actions. It is difficult for us to cultivate a life that applies all of the principles we confess from Scripture. We are more often singers and less often dancers. The resource is beyond adequate, but it is the fountain’s faucet that is deficient: us. The Word explains that all of the springs, the power, the could-be manifestations of God’s richest springs are accessible to the Christian. Perhaps it is our need to invigorate our use of God’s means of grace. Means refers to our exercise or expression of God’s work of grace in our lives; these are those spiritual disciplines that God gives us in order to bring to flame our heart’s affections toward God and personal godliness.

A better understanding of this verse may help in pursuing a rich and free-flowing spring of biblical spirituality. Let’s examine this language, “All my springs are in you.” The language of springs may bring to mind several verses from both testaments. Proverbs 4:23 speaks of our personal responsibility in working out our means of grace (spiritual disciplines); “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” This Scripture points us to vigilance in both guarding our hearts from things that are ungodly and vigilance toward expressing the overflow of our heart in godliness. The Apostle John writes in Revelation 17:7 of the spring to which Jesus guides his people; this spring gives life (just as John 4:13–14 alludes) and is connected to the peace and security that we have in his salvation. The verse reads: “For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd,and he will guide them to springs of living water,and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” We see, then, the dual nature of the springs; first, the spring is a gift of grace wherein the Christian is brought to flourish by God, and second, the Christian is given to express and manifest the outpouring of the spring by acts of spiritual discipline.

The prolific Baptist theologian John Gill explains how the essence of God provides the momentum and ability to act out all of the goodness that we have.[1] Without God we could never do anything good, exemplary, or flourishing. However, by this mercy and grace with which God blesses his people, we are given commands and disciplines to work-out, and on our own to display, his glorious grace working in us—singing and dancing a renewed life. This is the nature of a spring: the element of water is essentially the same below surface and above surface, however, its expression is ever creative and never ceasing as it erupts from the source. For Christians, we ought to be a people expressing the overwhelming, eternal source that has both given us life and brought us into eternal security of such a flourishing life (John 10:10). Jesus Christ promises to pour through us the overwhelming gift of new life; a first step in experiencing true life, at least on this side of resurrection, is by confessing our inadequacies and sins, and then seeking a biblical and spiritual mindset for our actions. Jeremiah Chaplin explains:

It is evident that the best Christian in the world who properly watches the movements of his own mind, even when his outward conduct is entirely fair, will find enough every day to fill him with shame and confusion before God, and to render him incapable of joy or peace until he has made confession at the mercy-seat….[2]

There the Christian is blessed by the fountain of both mercy and enlivened faith. When we come before the mercy and grace of God, the life and peace of God, then we will sing and dance to the rhythm of Zion’s great congregation. For each sin we bring is put to death in Christ and no longer strangling the life and joy of Christ out of his flock. Our God has a fountain that is made “to cleanse the polluted soul and heal all of its spiritual maladies.”[3] If we daily considered this fountain—our very own breadth of springs made available to us by the Spirit indwelling us—then we would daily express the joy and newness exhibited by the flourishing saints in heaven. Surely the promise is that all of our springs are in Christ. Surely this is what we practice every Sabbath where we eat and drink from the bread and cup of our Salvation.

We, the invisible and universal church, are a people whose names are recorded in the book of life as attested in this Psalm. Therefore, it is quite natural that the resources for thriving spiritual life are above-sufficient to each recorded name. Do you believe you are adequately flourishing emotionally, mentally, and, above all else, spiritually? There is a source where you will find no languishing, no desert, no drought. Those in the desert do not merely cry out for water, they dance, leap, and run to the springs and so experience the joy of renewed strength and bodily vigor; so we ought to be singers and dancers!

This week consider the source of your vitality; be ready and willing to confess the baggage and so dispose of it, whatever it may be, which keeps you from singing and dancing at the spring of life. Let us be doers of the Word (James 1:22)! Contemplate which means of grace may be lacking, your Bible reading, meditation, prayer life, spiritual fellowship, etc. and ask God to convict you of new ways to express his glory from within you. Remember: “The Most High, himself, will establish you!”

Pastor Chris Osterbrock

 

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

[1]John Gill, A Body of Doctrinal Divinity (1839; repr., Paris, AR: Baptist Standard Bearer, 2011), 51.

[2]Jeremiah Chaplin, Causes of Religious Declension; Particularly Those which have Occasioned the Present Low State of Religion among Different Denominations of Christians (Hartford, CT: Canfield and Robins, 1837), 101–02.

[3]Chaplin, Causes of Religious Declension, 103.

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