FOR SUCH A TIME
Hebron CD Review
John Charles Ryle was a nineteenth century “Evangelical Anglican clergyman and first Bishop of Liverpool”, known for his commanding preaching style and extensive writing. In his book entitled “Worship: It’s Priority, Principles and Practices”, Ryle puts forth this rather challenging examination worthy of our consideration:
“If we want to know whether our own public worship is doing us good, let us try it by these tests: Does it quicken our conscience? Does it send us to Christ? Does it add to our knowledge? Does it sanctify our life? If it does, we may depend on it, it is worship of which we have no cause to be ashamed.”
J C Ryle further contends:
“True worship will stand the test of Christ's great principle, “By their fruits you shall know them”. It sanctifies the Christian's life, and makes them walk with God, lifting them above fear and love of the world… Such worship comes from heaven, and has the mark of God upon it.”
Such is the wonderful enduring fruit of true authentic worship. The sad reality is that, for the most part, modern-day contemporary worship would struggle to even meet just one of the biblical criteria put forth by J C Ryle! Unfortunately, this appalling condition is now so endemic within Christendom, that one is often accused of being “critical” or “condemnatory” for airing such concerns or even echoing such sentiments. However, in Hebron, we find a group of psalmists who indeed bear the hallmark of good fruit. Their debut CD, “For such a time as this” is a delightful, yet profound, love offering- a doxology, if you will, of worship unto The Lord.
Hebron features Simon Elman, Chrissy Rodgers and Helen Shapiro who, after many years of praying and waiting, sensed the Lord’s calling upon them to form the group. Not only do Hebron sing and play all the acoustic instruments featured on this CD, but they’ve also written and arranged a considerable portion of its material. On this album you will find an eclectic mix of genres, exploring a plethora of styles underpinned by strong Hebraic roots. The group sing mostly original music from the Bible - in English and Hebrew - and together share a deep burden to “edify believers, lead the body of Christ into worship and minister the Gospel according to Romans 1:16, reminding people of the soon return of Jesus.”
Personally, I find it quite remarkable that, even when having touched the hem of various styles of music, Hebron have effectively managed to keep their garments undefiled by producing an unblemished sound and maintaining a purity which is seldom seen in our present day. Both the music and the arrangements exude refreshing simplicity and uncomplicated musicality, leaving the listener free to ruminate upon its content without any distractions; a rare and precious gem amid “the muck and mire” found in much of today’s contemporary “worship”.
Hebron’s deep love and devotion to the Word of God is unquestionably palpable. Holy Scripture is thoroughly embedded within their lives and hearts, and as such, is poignantly and tangibly felt throughout many of the tracks. Clearly, the promotion of the glory of God and the edification of the saints is the only impetus for this CD! The group clearly take the exhortation given by the apostle Paul to the church at Colossae very seriously:
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” (Colossians 3:16).
Interestingly, the name Hebron (which simply means “Friendship”) has a very fascinating and compelling history. According to a well-regarded Bible Dictionary, Hebron is “…One of the most ancient cities in the world still existing…” additionally, numerous scholars have also observed it as being the “Oldest Jewish community in the world”. Not only is Hebron a significant place of ancient biblical antiquity, but it is the very place which Abraham purchased outright; pitched his tent and built an altar unto The Lord (Genesis 13:18). All of the Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) and Matriarchs (Sarah, Rebecca and Leah) are buried there. It is also the city where David was anointed king and reigned for over 7 years (2 Sam 5:3 & 5:5).
However on a more pertinent note, the name Hebron is also a reflection of the intimate relationship that each member of the group has shared together over many years as brother and sisters in The Lord. On this album, you will find songs that exemplify pure joy, exalt the character and efficacy of the power of Jesus Christ, His precious blood and His cross. No wonder such wonderful fruit of sincere worship and adoration is achieved, being as the heart is drawn after Christ and not the singers themselves. Thus, it is with total confidence and great satisfaction that I can truly say that this album is a true encouragement for such a time as this.
I end with these powerful words from “the man of granite” himself:
“Let us worship on, pray on, praise on, and read on. Let us contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints, and resist manfully every effort to spoil Scriptural worship. Let us strive earnestly to hand down the light of Gospel worship to our children’s children. Yet a little time and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry. Blessed in that day will be those, and those only, who are found true worshippers, “worshippers in spirit and truth!”
– Worship: It’s Priority, Principles and Practices by J C Ryle