I love to sing. In fact, I enjoy music immensely, as does my family. We usually will have some kind of music playing throughout the day, from praise and worship to Disney music to seasonal, classical, etc. But there is a huge difference between passively listening to music and actively singing music, especially when it comes to worshipping our Lord. Isaiah 12:5 says this: “Sing praises to the LORD, for he has done gloriously; let this be made known in all the earth.” I like how the HCSB keeps LORD as “Yahweh.” It’s the name of our God, the only God in the universe, and the only One in Whom we can find salvation. And so we are commanded to sing to Him. A few things jump out.
- We are commanded to sing. I know people who don’t sing much in Sunday worship. I have no idea what their praise life is like outside of church, but I’m guessing it’s probably not much better. Notice that we aren’t commanded to be great singers (something outside of our control), or to sing only the best songs (though I am a firm believer in singing good, theologically rich music). We are commanded to do one thing- sing to God. Read the Psalms. They are songs to Yahweh. Songs of joy, praise, thanksgiving, weeping, lament, pain. It’s all there, and it all magnifies the One Who created all things.
- The command to sing is rooted in history. We aren’t just given some arbitrary command. The command to sing to Yahweh is rooted in the fact that He has “done gloriously.” This phrase points to the works that God has done on behalf of those who follow Him. The call is to bring to mind the things that God has done- salvation, provision, protection, comfort, showing His love, grace, mercy, kindness, His judgment of the wicked, etc. We could go on and on, especially as you narrow down those things to your own particular circumstances. I am healthy, have a strong marriage, two great kids and a little one on the way, a sweet fellowship of brothers and sisters to worship with, enough to eat, opportunities to evangelize, and that’s just what came to mind in 30 seconds! The point is this. We are not to sing mindlessly. We are to remember Who God is and what He has done, and from the overwhelming gratitude and awe that His works generate, we explode in praise to His glorious name. In honesty, sometimes that explosion is a little more like one of those little “popper” thingies you throw on the ground around the Fourth of July, but that’s part of the Christian life. It’s not all high points and candy canes. There are plateaus and valleys along the way as well.
- This is not to be a private thing. Our praise (rooted in the majestic works of God) is something the world should see. All the nations of the earth should be able to look at us and see the hand of Yahweh at work. Not us showing how pious and spiritual we are by how loud we sing and big we smile. No, they should look at us and see absolutely nothing fake whatsoever. How do we accomplish that? See steps one and two above. It’s like the shampoo bottle- apply, rinse, repeat. Except in this case it’s “remember, pour out in worship, remember again.”
Just a good reminder. I was challenged when I read this text in my quiet time. I’m not suggesting this will take our worship from 0 to 100 in no time flat, but that it will help us to better worship our Lord, and more accurately give Him the glory due His name. Do that today, and tomorrow, and make sure to gather with other brothers and sisters Sunday to corporately express the praise that He is deserving of above all others!