Revelation 15:3-4 and sang the song of Moses the servant of God and the song of the Lamb:
“Great and marvelous are your deeds,
Lord God Almighty.
Just and true are your ways,
King of the ages.
Who will not fear you, O Lord,
and bring glory to your name?
For you alone are holy.
All nations will come
and worship before you,
for your righteous acts have been revealed.”
It has always struck me as amusing that the tune to which this has been set is Pearly Shells, by Hawaiian singer Don Ho. I guess that just goes to show that any musical style can be used to praise God! That aside, this is an illustration of the reality that praise and worship are the highest privileges of the saints. Those who decline to praise and worship God now are excluding themselves from the ranks of the redeemed, because such refusal is a statement that we think we don’t need redemption. That’s why Jesus said more than once, in more than one way, that He didn’t come to save the self-righteous, but those who acknowledged their need. (Luke 5:31-32; 19:10) When you know how much you need salvation, the awareness that God loves you so much that He gave His Son to provide that salvation is going to provoke praise and worship! The Church has always praised and worshiped God, and it is widely acknowledged that all Western music has its roots in the songs of the Church. That’s not to say that you have to use music to praise God, but it certainly helps! Certainly some people are more musical than others by gifting, but it has been demonstrated that only an extremely small fraction of people are medically tone deaf, unable to distinguish different pitch. From that, it becomes evident that the biggest differences come from exposure and training. Some are indeed more gifted than others, but you don’t have to have perfect pitch to praise God. Different people will gravitate to different musical styles for various reasons – even Hawaiian – but all may be offered to God as a sacrifice of praise. (Hebrews 13:15) Failing to do so is our loss on many levels.
I was enormously blessed to be raised in a musical family of faith. A strong and pleasant memory is of gathering around the piano and just singing through the hymn book. (That’s why I could read music before I could read the words.) That said, my experience of praise and worship took off when I was exposed to the Charismatic Movement in the ’70s, and I continue to delight in it. Yesterday was the Kyushu Revival Conference in Fukuoka. Usually that’s a 3-day affair, requiring hotel accommodations for those coming from a distance, as we do, but this year the usual venue wasn’t available, and the committee opted for a 1-day conference at a large (for Japan) church. (I was thrilled to discover after we got there that, though the name has changed, it is a church that was pioneered by my father.) As a day trip, it was much easier for more people to attend, and three of our members joined Cathy and me. In the afternoon the speaker had a ministry time of praying personally for those who requested it. I don’t usually approve of prayer lines limited to one “pray-er,” but God had His purposes in having it that way yesterday. With easily 200 people in line it took a couple of hours, and a pastor who is gifted in music and has a heart for worship led us in singing and praying the whole time. It was marvelous! I think that factor probably accomplished more in the hearts and lives of the participants than anything else. As a pastor I desire that all of the believers discover the incredible privilege of praise and worship, and enter into it wholeheartedly, for their great blessing and the glory of God.
Father, thank You for yesterday, and for those who went with us. You are working on so many levels! May we indeed be transformed into the people of praise that You desire, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!