addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart,
(Ephesians 5:19 ESV)
Yesterday we learned that it is God’s desire for His children to live lives that are directed by the Holy Spirit rather than by the sinful temptations that surround us. The result of that will be lives that are characterized by the fruit of the Spirit, including love, joy, and peace [Galatians 5:22].
Another result of being filled with the Holy Spirit is the desire to praise God. Praise can take many forms. In today’s verse we see that one way to praise God is through music. This includes singing and playing instruments (making melody).
When we sing and play music we are displaying enthusiasm for God. Sadly at some churches there is no excitement for God. Some churches don’t even sing (which is disobedience) and some that do do it in such a boring way that you get the impression that no one there has been saved. Praise should originate from our heart. It is not something that should be, or can be, manufactured.
Being a child of God is exciting! Those who have admitted their sinfulness and recognize their need to be forgiven have a tremendous future awaiting them in heaven [John 3:3]. Such people should be very thankful and full of praise for the God who saved them from an eternity surrounded by even more sin that we experience on this earth currently. This is a great reason to praise God with music.
Singing songs of praise has always been a part of God’s design. We see people singing to the Lord all throughout the Old Testament including Moses, Miriam, and Deborah [Exodus 15:1-21; Judges 5:1-31]. Not to mention all the psalms written by David and others that praise God [Psalm 9, 145, 150 et. al].
As I was studying for today’s blog post, I read one pastor who claimed that “Sing!” is the most oft-given command in the Bible. I haven’t confirmed this, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it were true [Psalm 5:11, 95:1, 96:1-2, 149:1 et. al].
Its important to note that when we sing songs of praise to God we are not ministering to Him. God does not need our praise. Instead our songs are actually addressing one another. When we sing to God in the presence of other believers, we are encouraging each other and sharing our corporate excitement at being part of His eternal family.
In his classic book, Systematic Theology, Bible scholar Dr. Wayne Grudem ends every chapter with the lyrics from a Christian hymn. He explains why in the preface: “Theology is meant to be lived and prayed and sung… theology that is studied rightly will lead to… worship” (page 17). Additionally, for eleven years Dr. Grudem taught a class on Sundays at Scottsdale Bible Church in Scottsdale, Arizona. At the end of every class he would lead everyone in the singing of a hymn. The point being, when we get to know God for who He really is, the right response is to worship Him. Music is a great way to do that.
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