June 30, 2016

Psalm 59:16-17 But I will sing of your strength,
in the morning I will sing of your love;
for you are my fortress,
my refuge in times of trouble
O my Strength, I sing praise to you;
you, O God, are my fortress, my loving God.

Reading through the Psalms, I think it’s pretty clear why the Lord allowed Saul to pursue David for several years. Time and again David was put into situations where he could easily be killed, and God was his only recourse. David’s response was indeed to turn to God, and he often did it poetically. I’m not sure he was very creative as a musician, because several of his Psalms indicate they are to be sung to certain standard tunes. This one, for example, goes to a tune called “Do Not Destroy.” Even so, David obviously loved to sing to God, and that had a profound impact on his life. Considering the musical instruments of the day, with their limited tonal range, his singing would probably sound pretty monotonous to us today, but that’s not the point. The whole point is that David committed himself to God in song, and God responded. Many studies have shown the profound influence music can have on us, especially emotionally. We speak of “singing the blues,” and indeed, some songs can make us sad just by listening to them. David chose to sing thanks and praise to God, and that echoed through his life. I can’t help but think that it had been a while since he had sung to God when he got into the mess with Bathsheba, because if he had been practicing what he says here, I don’t think he would have been very easily deceived by the devil’s trap.

This has certainly been my experience. When I encounter temptations, either to do things not pleasing to God or to despair and lose hope, if I will choose to sing to God, He straightens me out. I was blessed by being raised in a musical family by parents who loved God. Some of my sweetest memories are of being gathered around the piano singing hymns together. I’m sure that’s why I could read music before I could read the words. Relatively few people are so blessed, so I must not presume on people’s background, but I am to teach them how to sing to God. So many churches today have been caught in a performance mentality, with the “worship team” up on the stage performing and the congregation as no more than the audience. That is a terrible trap of the devil! It has been shown that very few people are actually tone deaf, unable to hear differences in pitch, but very many people are so lacking in training and opportunity that they “can’t carry a tune in a bucket.” I’m not to put them down for that, but rather give them as much support and training as possible so that they can make the best use of what they have. The biggest thing is in removing the embarrassment of not singing as well as someone else. That will come when they learn to focus on the One to whom they are singing rather than on people who might overhear them. I need God’s wisdom, because to this point people have tended to be intimidated by my singing and so be as quiet as possible. That’s no way to raise up a praising congregation!

Father, You started talking to me about this yesterday, and now You’re making it very clear. However, at this point I have the “what” but not the “how.” Help me listed to You carefully and accurately, being neither presumptive nor hesitant, so that the Body of Christ may be built up as You intend, for the blessing of many and for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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