Praise the LORD with the harp; Make melody to Him with an instrument of ten strings. Sing to Him a new song; Play skillfully with a shout of joy.”Psalm 33:2-3
One of my favorite forms of worship to the Lord is through the venue of music. Although I am not a musician and have no real talent for singing, my heart and voice always rise to the occasion each Sunday morning as we come together to worship the Lord. What a blessing it is to hear our musicians assemble in unity and harmony playing cords of joy through brass, woodwind, and string instruments. But I believe as the music sounds forth on any given Sunday morning, it is more than just a blessing to us, it is a message of hope for us and a display of our thanksgiving and praise to the God of Hope.
Samuel Rutherford once said, “We may sing beforehand, even in our winter storm, in the expectation of a summer sun at the turn of the year; no created powers can mar our Lord Jesus’ music, nor spill our song of joy. Let us then be glad and rejoice in the salvation of our Lord; for faith had never yet cause to have wet cheeks, and hanging-down brows, or to droop or die.” As I think about Rutherford’s words, I realize that music for the Christian is more than a talented way of expressing ourselves through sounds of harmony and melody. In many ways it is what gets us through the storms of life, those wintery dreadful days of darkness, when our hope in Christ is challenged by our outward experiences. There is something about music that seems to calm the soul, and for a moment in time, giving us relief from the storms and gives glad expectation of future sunshine in Jesus our Lord.
The hymns and choruses we sing on Sunday morning are reminder of why we do what we do. Our why is always found in Jesus Christ and is the sole reason we make music in the first place. Psalm 33 commands us to bring melody before Him. Why? Because God wants us to demonstrate to Him that our focus is on Him when life is good and when life is not so good.
For most of us it is not difficult to sing a hymn when everything is going well, going according to our personal agenda. But try to sing when the hurts, frustrations, roadblocks, and pitfalls come our way and singing can become superficial at best, and impossible at our worst. But that is when we need to bring Christ into our focus, realizing that our melody is towards Him and not ourselves. Do I look forward to being affected by what is being played? Absolutely! If the previous week was not what I would call a great week and I am in an off mood, (polite way of saying I am in a bad mood), I really look forward to blocking out all the effects of that bad week, as I focus my attention on singing and listening to hymn writer’s words as our orchestra leads us into thoughtful worship of our Lord.
The Psalmist tells his readers that all those who play music for the Lord must play skillfully with a shout of joy. Another way of saying it is, “If you are singing, make sure that everyone around you can hear you as if you were shouting out your song.” We sometimes use the phrase, “That person really knows how to belt out a song.” Belting is a singing term that refers to singing notes in your head voice range with the power of your chest voice—(definition off the Web). The way I view it is, if you can hit the high notes then go for it… Belt it out by all means! To me, that is what I believe “play skillfully with a shout of joy” is all about. And each Sunday we have that opportunity to be led by our music leader and musicians to do just that.
But I guess the question should be asked; What about the rest of the week, do we come before the Lord singing a new song, belting it out to Him with shouts of joy? If you are anything like me, probably not so much. But I do find myself whistling the hymns of Sunday on Monday. And I believe it is a good thing. Belting out a whistle to the Lord helps me keep my focus on Him. I believe every instrument played, every hymn or chorus sung, every new song we make up in our head and heart, every shout of joy we make, not only brings a smile to our soul, but brings joy to the ears of God.
The Apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 5:19 to, “be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts.” (NLT) Could there be anything better than to bring a smile to God’s face than to bring sweet music to His ears? So, give it a shot, what do you have to lose? Pick up that old musical instrument and dust it off, put on some music Christian music via old school radio or new tech media. But whatever method you choose, let us, as Samuel Rutherford says, “Let us rejoice in the salvation of our Lord.”
This is Pastor Pat FROM BEHIND THE PEN, wishing you Joy in Jesus!