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Sunday, November 20, 2016

Thoughts from the Past – Sing Unto the Lord

Source unknown.

Here is another old post from the past for us to reconsider, especially as this week we will be observing Thanksgiving here in the U.S.

Feb. 4, 2006
Sing Unto the Lord

Psalm 147:1 Praise ye the LORD: for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant; and praise is comely.

In his hymn "Come, We That Love the Lord" Isaac Watts wrote the words:

"Let those refuse to sing who never knew our God;
But children of the heavenly King may speak their joys abroad."

There are various excuses given for not singing in the assembly of the saints. There are people who excuse themselves with, "I can't sing" and refuse to participate. Some “don’t know the songs”.  (Well, if you don’t sing them, you never will.) Some consider singing boring.

Years ago my family met an evangelist and pastor who appeared to hate singing whenever Christians were gathered together. He declared it a waste of time and didn't want more than one hymn, or so, to be sung at any service where he was speaking so that he could get on with his preaching. To him, what he had to say, even in private conversation, was obviously much more important than praising and singing unto our God. Not knowing his attitude, we suggested that our families get together sometime in a home for hymn singing. He was absolutely struck dumb and couldn't even answer us - quite a feat for him, truthfully. Others of his family had to explain to us that he had no use for that. The question arose in our minds later as to whether a man with that kind of an attitude toward praising and worshiping God could even be saved. Only the Lord knows if he is. He surely doesn't show it by his obedience to the word in that area. (In retrospect I am inclined to think the man a narcissist, which would account for the self-importance at the expense of praising God.)

As the verse above states, singing praise to our God is pleasant and comely. His saints should find it enjoyable. I've known many saved folks who loved to sing praise to the Lord. Some of them "couldn't sing" either, but they growled or droned or hopped up and down the scale in spite of that and seemed to be have the greatest time - a pleasant time - singing unto the Lord!

Isaac Watts' comment "Let those refuse to sing who never knew our God..." somehow crystallizes the thought here. When people who profess to follow Christ have no desire, no pleasure, no joy in singing praise to Him and His Father, it may be that they "never knew our God". I understand that some people really cannot sing for some physical reason, and sometimes for some emotional reason. I'm not talking about that. But what of those who refuse to sing, and who refuse to be blessed in listening to others sing?

The best we can say for them is that they are saved but not filled with the Spirit nor the word of Christ.

Ephesians 5:18-19 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 

Colossians 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.

The "natural" outflow of being filled with the Spirit and the word of Christ is to sing! Have you ever pondered that? Even if it's "only" in our hearts, it's the reaction that God desires. Obviously it is not a proof of salvation or filling of the Spirit since there are those who can fake this quite well. But, God intends for us to minister to each other through music! He desires our sung praise. In the Old Testament we are told that He inhabited the praises of Israel! (Psalm 22:3)

How is it with you? Do you sing as you go about our work? Do you sing in the assembly of the believers - sing as if you meant it and had someone worth singing about? Those who don't have the greatest voices can hum or whistle as they work. We can all make melody in our hearts to the Lord.

A friend of mine who suffered from years of depression was so thankful when she could again wake up in the morning with a spiritual song or hymn going through her mind. She had prayed for a restoration of that from the Lord, and as she recovered from the depression it came back.

One young man my family knew whistled hymns on his job. A coworker recognized him as a fellow believer and they took turns whistling hymns as they worked together. They were ministering to each other even in the midst of the ungodly! (Psalm 23:5)

These are things to ponder. How can we include music and singing praise to the Lord more in our daily lives? Ask the Lord to show you. He will always aid us in doing His will as revealed in His word.

Hebrews 13:15-16 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

(First published here 8/7/2011.)

Click here for more "Thoughts from Hymns".

1 comment:

  1. Mary, this is a blessing to me. The one thing I miss when we don't get to services is the singing and hearing music. I look forward to heaven because there will be singing praises to our God. I'd like to think it will be all the time (oops, no time in heaven!). We will never get tired of singing praises to our Savior.