Thursday, September 1, 2011

MrsDrPoe: The Key to Singing

Once again Theology Thursday is upon us, and as always, I invite you to open your Bibles with me as we examine a portion of God's word. Today we will take a brief look at one aspect of our worship to the Lord- singing.

In several places in the new testament, we are instructed to sing to the Lord:

James 5:13 - Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms.

Eph 5:18-21 - And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.

Col 3:16 - 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.

1 Cor 14:26 - How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.

1 Cor 14:15 - ...I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.

Based on these verses, it seems pretty obvious that we should sing to the Lord. We can also see some of the purposes of our singing- it shows we're cheerful; it shows we're filled with the Spirit; it can teach, admonish, and edify us and our fellow brethren. These verses also show us one important instruction that we must keep in mind when singing to the Lord: we should sing with understanding.

This instruction should make sense to us in the context of teaching, admonishing, and edifying one another and of glorifying God in song. If you were teaching a child to add fractions, would you expect him/her to get anything from your lesson if you didn't know what you were talking about? If I told you, "If you need anything, call me. I'll be praying for you." in Italian, would that be of any comfort to you? If you wanted to get your mother a card for Mother's Day, wouldn't you try to understand what a card was saying to make sure that it conveyed to her the exact sentiments that you wanted to? In these everyday examples, we can see that understanding is crucial to teaching, admonishing, edifying, comforting, glorifying, etc. Italian may sound pretty, but if you don't know what I'm saying it means nothing- just like singing "ye that labor and are heavy laden, lean upon your dear Lord's breast*" is not a comfort unless it is sung (and heard) with understanding. We must take great care to focus on the words of the songs that we sing while we are singing them.

Mr. Poe and I were in a Bible study of sorts several weeks ago, when he brought up his favorite hymn, "It Is Well with My Soul." The song is a beautiful one, due to both the musical notes and the fantastic lyrics. Let's look at a couple of verses as another example:

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought! My sin, not in part but the whole, Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more, Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!"

How encouraging and comforting! Every time we sing this verse, we are reminding ourselves and those around us that Jesus Christ died on the cross in order to redeem us!
"He poured out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He
bore the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors." (Isaiah 53:12) We are no longer slaves to sin because Christ bore ALL our sins on the cross for us!

"And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight, The clouds be rolled back as a scroll; The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend, Even so, it is well with my soul."

How we Christians do long for this day! Christ's glorious second coming... But think about this: suppose you've never become a Christian or suppose you are a Christian who's returned to living in sin AND you're singing along with this 'beautiful song.' By singing these lyrics, you are asking God to "haste the day" of His're asking for your own condemnation to come quickly!

Do you see why we need to sing with understanding?

On a related note, if any of you will be in the Atlanta area during the next several weeks, one of our adult classes will be focused on this topic to help us better praise God in song.

*From "Hark! The Gentle Voice"


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