Zephaniah 1:1-2:15; Revelation 10:1-7; Psalms 138:1-6; Proverbs 29:9-11
Psalms: “I will give you thanks with all my heart; I will sing your praise before the heavenly beings. I will bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your constant love and truth. You have exalted your name and your promise above everything else. On the day I called, you answered me; you increased strength within me. All the kings on earth will give you thanks, Lord, when they hear what you have promised. They will sing of the Lord’s ways, for the Lord’s glory is great. Though the Lord is exalted, he takes note of the humble; but he knows the haughty from a distance.” (Psalms 138:1-6 CSB)
When I was in Kenya, sitting under a mango tree teaching a group of people about worship, I was asked an interesting question: what is so important about singing? Why do we sing? I began those teaching sessions by explaining that worship is far more than the songs we sing to God – for often times we equate our singing with worship. While worship is far more than singing, singing is a key way that we express our worship to God and to one another.
To answer their question, I asked them a question: What role does singing play in our worship services? After they thought about that question for a minute, I answered the question by saying a primary function of singing in a worship service is to bring unity amongst all the people in the congregation. People will walk into a worship service from all kinds of situations. Some may have quarreled with their family on the way to church. Some may be experiencing a financial set back and are wondering where they will get the money they need to meet their needs that week. Some may be going through a physical trial. Some may be experiencing God in a most profound way. Some may be wondering if God even exists. But when the music starts playing and we all start singing the same words together, the things that we came in with vanish away and we are all unified (to some degree) as our attention is turned heavenward to extol the Lord our God in song.
Singing does more than unite a congregation. Singing also unites our hearts individually as well. David the psalmist wrote, “I will give You thanks with all my heart; I will sing Your praise before the heavenly beings.” He went on to say, “When the kings of the earth hear of what You have promised, they will sing of the Lord’s ways.” For David, thanking the Lord and praising Him with all his heart involved singing. I often tell people that singing is both a right-brained and a left-brained activity. Singing involves the logical side of our brain by using words to communicate truth, concepts and ideas, and it also involves the creative and expressive side of our brain by expressing those words through music. Jesus taught the Samaritan woman in John 4 that true worship is both spirit and truth. There is a rational, logical, thought provoking side of worship where we declare what is true, and there is a spiritual side of worship that transcends the rational things that we can express through words to include those visceral and spiritual convictions and unctions that cannot be expressed through words. Singing songs helps us with that by connecting the rational to the visceral and spiritual to form a whole-hearted way of expressing our worship to God.
As we stop to consider the goodness and greatness of the Lord God, and those considerations lead to feelings of thankfulness and humble gratitude for all that God has done for us – let us, like David, lift up a song of praise to the Lord and worship Him with all our heart.
Prayer: Lord, I thank You for the goodness that You have shown me and continue to show me. I thank You for loving me so much that You gave Your life that I may have life in You – free from sin and abounding in all the blessings of heaven. I also thank You for the gift of song that allows me to fully express my thanks and praise to You with my whole heart. May my life be a continuous song of praise, whole heartedly lifted up to You as I humbly bow down before You in worship. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.