Sing to God

worship-435108_640Psalm 105:2: Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works!

A song is melody added to words. Music is such a powerful tool of self-expression that defines different culture in the world and is constantly evolving. There are different musical instruments and different genres which represents how they are used, but when we sing to the Lord it is an act of faith because we cannot see him but we recognise him with our words.

He is the one who inputs musical creativity in man. The Bible shows that he has special affinity to music, saying that he inhabits the praises of his people (Psalm 22:3). He makes himself manifest specially, in the context of praise.

Music is both a means of rejoicing, repentance and praise in the Bible; rejoicing for what we are received or seen; repentance for what we have done wrong; and praise for who God is.

Rejoice

There was joy when the children of Israel left Egypt as their enemy was drowned in the Red Sea and they walked free. The enemy sunk in the sea never to rise again (Exodus 15). What joy on that day!

They were indeed free, with no possibility of that enemy dominating them again. So they rejoiced for their positive reversal of fortune and made music, sang songs, rejoicing for what God has done.

Music marked major epochs in the life of the children of Israel. When temples in the Israel were dedicated in the Bible, music was played. And eventually David made music structurally part of temple service.

The Bible says there is joy in the presence of God when one sinner repents (Luke 15) there is rejoicing for what God has done in that life.

When Jesus was born, angels busted into singing, saying: Joy to the world! It was an epoch, God was coming to dwell with man, things were about to change, light has come down (Luke 2:13-14). At creation, the Bible says that the morning stars sang together which is definitely a reference to what the angels rejoicing over the beauty of the work of God (Job 38:4-7).

Music communicates emotional reality and speaks of joy, life and light. The Bible says that we should sing with melody in our heart to God (Colossians 3:15-16).

We are to rejoice in the Lord (Philippians 3:1, 4:4), also in tribulation (Romans 5:3, James 1:2), because we know something that others do not know. We respond to the reality of the unseen God, looking beyond our present situation. That means we are functioning the way we should, not complaining or murmuring, like the children of Israel did in the wilderness and they suffered for it (Numbers 21:1-7).

For complaining, they were allowed to be bitten by snake, put on the path of death. Therefore, rejoicing in the Lord is the path of life. Murmuring and complaining caused the injection of snake poison into them, which represents the working of Satan, but rejoicing injects divine life into us, as it represents looking up to God, and away from our situation.

Eventually the Israelites had to lift up their eyes and to a broken serpent made by Moses and they were healed.

Repentance

Psalm 51 is a massive repentance song. The book of Lamentation was also a massive poetic expression of repentance which can be put to music. The two made a big deal of the process of repentance. They reflect how expressive repentance should be. But the outward show of repentance should not be mistaken for the inward intention for change because many call Jesus Lord, but their hearts are far away from him (Luke 6:46).

However, because music is about expression, it can help to capture the state of the repentant heart. In this case, the sinner does not give any excuse, he comes clean. Adam and Eve “sang the song of excuse,” refusing to take the path of repentance, and thereby sealing their fall from grace (Genesis 3). King Saul was full of excuses when he sinned sealing his own fall too (1Samuel 13, 15).

The Bible says that when we do not confess our sin we have chosen not to prosper (Proverbs 28:13). But David was wise, when he sinned, he jumped on the repentance highway and the judgment of death was not laid on him (2Samuel 12:1-15). To not follow the path of repentance is to be blind. It is to embrace a lie that there is a solution to the problem of sin order than true repentance, coming clean. We are even admonished to confess our sins one to another the way.

We are called to minister one to another in songs, to communicate the truth of God in its fullness through it (Colossians 3:15-16), which will lead others to change their mind, make a turn to God, change their ways as they are confronted with the errors of their ways and the gate of life is shown to them for them to pass through.

Praise

Praise is God-focused, it is about him, his name, his word, his acts. God’s acts are seen throughout the Bible and in our lives, and the climax was the salvation work of God through Jesus in the miracle of the incarnation, i.e. God becoming man.

To praise God is to lift him up with our words. A blind man called Jesus the Son of David (Luke 18:35-43), connecting him with the revered king of Israel. That is praise which connected him to the past.

John called him the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29). That is praise that connects him to the future, what was yet to happen then.

In praise, we shift our attention from ourselves to God, and that helps us stir up faith in us, and with that we can experience the power of God in a great measure. In praise, we look unto Jesus.

Conclusion

Music involves all the aspects of our soul. There are the elements of emotion, will and thought. The Bible says that we should praise God with understanding (mind) (Psalm 47:7).

Also, music is packed with feeling, hardly can you sing without it communicating feelings, the depths of it (emotion).

And there has to be a wilfulness about singing songs to God (will). We choose to praise the Lord. Habakkuk, though things were not looking up for him in the realm of the seen, said he will choose to praise God, and composed a song to God, for others to share (Habakkuk 3:17-19).

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