In the middle of this series on “Why Do We Sing?” some of you may be asking, “Why is he making such a big deal about singing? Don’t we sing because we want to sing? It sure beats talking for the whole meeting!”
Yes, it certainly does. And so far in this series, we’ve discussed how God gave us singing to help us remember and meditate on truth about Him. But the purposes for our singing go far beyond that. Singing is also one of the Christian’s primary means for expressing objective truth aboutGod.
Psalm 66:2 says, “Sing the glory of his name; make his praise glorious!” When we sing the glory of God’s name, we declare and reflect on who He is, what He has done, and what He will do. God wants us to sing the glory of His name because He is like no other. He is the I AM, Redeemer, Shepherd, Almighty Lord, God our Provider, Deliverer, Holy One. He wants us to sing about His unique work as Redeemer, Creator, and Savior. Each name represents a unique aspect of God, and each draws us to worship Him in a slightly different way. He wants us to describe over and over again the specific ways He has proven His faithfulness, goodness, greatness, majesty, purity, compassion, love, and mercy. He wants his name and character to be set apart.
That’s why the songs we sing ought to be derived from or thoroughly tested by Scripture. A friend pointed out to me that if most of our songs can be sung just as well by Buddhists, Muslims, or Hindus, we need to change our repertoire! This doesn’t mean that the songs we sing are intended to be a systematic Christian theology, but they should help us clearly and accurately glorify the only true God. That’s why, when we’re choosing songs for the Sunday service or our small group, the lyrics are of greater concern than the chords and the beat!
It’s also a good idea to memorize songs as we’re able. You’ve heard of A.D.D? That’s Attention Deficit Disorder. Well, I think on Sundays many of us can suffer from a modern affliction called O.D.D. – – Overhead Dependency Disorder — which is closely related to a much older maladyknown as H.F.S., or Hymnal Fixation Syndrome. I’ve watched people keep their eyes glued to the screen or printed page throughout the worship, even when they’re singing songs they know by heart! How much more valuable it would be to learn some of these songs, and then sing them, from memory! The more words about God I can store up in my heart, the more I can be helped by them throughout the day.
Some years ago I realized I had a very limited knowledge of hymns. So I started using a hymnal in my devotional times. What a difference it made! My prayer life received a fresh infusion of truth, passion, and depth. Over time I’ve tried to memorize a number of the hymns, and thishas benefited me immeasurably by expanding my vocabulary for singing God’s praise.
What an amazing gift God has given us in singing. Next time we’ll look at a second way in which singing helps us respond to God. Until then, remember how much we have to sing about — because of Jesus.
By Bob Kauflin, Sovereign Grace Ministries