How can we deepen our worship for God at church services?
[Bill Cowan] Why did you do that? Anybody have a reason? Why would you do such a thing? Stand up and sing during church services? Take the time to have 3 songs at the beginning of church and then we have a sermonette and then we have another song, then we have announcements and then we have another song. Sometimes we have special music and then we have a sermon and then we have yet another song. Why would you do that? Is it just tradition? Is it something that God has ordained? Is it something that’s pleasing or is it just tradition that we just stand up and we’re supposed to "sing" ? Is there really a point or purpose for it?
You know the average song is about 2-1/2 to 4 minutes in length. We open as I mentioned with 3 songs so that’s about 7-1/2 to 12 minutes that is spent singing those 3 hymns. Then after the sermonette we have another song, so that’s 2-1/2 to 4 minutes. Then usually a song after the announcements another 2-1/2 to 4 minutes and sometimes special music which can go up to 5 minutes or so. Then there’s a closing hymn for 2-1/2 to 4 minutes. The total time that we spend singing as a congregation in church is from 15 to 24 minutes during the church service and that’s not including special music. This time that we spend is time that we spend actively worshipping God. It’s an opportunity to praise God, it’s an opportunity for us to express our feeling toward God. It’s not just a tradition that we stand up, it’s not just something that we do because somebody thought of it; well that sounds nice, that sounds like that might be good, why don’t we stand up and somebody sing, but it is an opportunity to express your love, your appreciation, your adoration toward God and toward His wonderful Son, Jesus Christ.
I want to show you a way today that we can deepen our worship for God at services. Your participation in the worship service or the worship portion of the service by listening to the sermonette, by listening to the sermon, certainly that’s very important because we do show God, like Mr. Dance was talking about, that we appreciate His truth, that we honor His truth, that His truth means so much to us and we really do worship Him and thank Him for His truth. But, we also worship God actively by our participation with the hymns, the singing that we do at church. Actually the singing can be twice as long as the sermonette and up to 1/4 to even 1/2 of the sermon length of the entire sermon. So it is very important, we’re talking about of course singing in church in worship to God. This is your active part, not just a passive part, because not everyone can give sermonettes, not everyone can give sermons, but singing is a vital part and a vital aspect of our worshipping God that we do in services and your part is a vital part of that.
I’m going to show you today how important, I hope I tell you, how important singing is in the worship service of God. I think we’re going to be surprised perhaps at some of the scriptures and what God has to say about it and for that matter how it affects God as we’re going to see a little bit down the road.
Today we see such a misuse of what people call music. It barely fits the term music on it. I was sitting at a traffic light a couple weeks ago and all of a sudden I felt my car start vibrating and I thought, what in the world, and then this car pulls up beside me loaded with young people. They had all their windows up, I had my windows up with the air conditioning on high (it’s always on high) and I had the air conditioner going and all this noise (wom, wom, wom) just filled my car and it started vibrating and I thought wow and I looked over and I saw these young people in this car and I thought every one of them are going to be deaf before they reach adulthood, before they can get out of their teen years. Some of them listen to things that you can hardly, scarcely really use the term even loosely and call it music. So we do see a lot of wrong music, music that puts emotions up wrongly and so forth. But we’re going to see that God has a right purpose for music and that music can be used as a beautiful and wonderful things that God enjoys music and we’re going to see that the heavenly host sing to Him and so forth. I’m going to prove to you that God enjoys you singing to Him when we sing praises to Him.
David wrote in the Psalms 138:1 Psalms 138:1I will praise you with my whole heart: before the gods will I sing praise to you.
American King James Version× . I will praise You with my whole heart; before the gods I will sing praises to You. (We are to praise God with our whole heart, with our whole being, with our whole might, that when we sing we’re to put our heart into it. It’s not just a matter of standing up and just kind of mumbling something, that we’re actively praising the eternal God. If you had opportunity to go face to face and to visit with God, would you mumble, would you speak real softly, would you back up and be real shy and this and that or would you take an active opportunity to really express your love and your admiration for God and for everything that He’s done for you.) He said in Verse 2: I will worship toward Your holy temple, and praise Your name for Your loving kindness and Your truth; for You have magnified Your word above all Your name. Verse 3: In the day when I cried out, You answered me and made me bold with strength in my soul. Verse 4: All the kings of the earth shall praise You, O Lord, when they hear the words of Your mouth. (Some day even all of the kings are going to bow before God, all the kings are going to worship God and all the kings will sing praises to God.) Verse 5: Yes, they shall sing of the ways of the Lord, for great is the glory of the Lord.
What’s your excuse for not singing? Well, I can’t carry a tune in a wheel barrel or I never was very good at singing and it always embarrassed me and I don’t have a sense of rhythm and this and that and whatever excuse we come up with. But, you know, God does not give one scripture about not being able to read music. He doesn’t say one thing about a person who sings off key. He doesn’t say that we are required to sound like Pavarotti or Barbara Streisand or someone else. He didn’t command that we be a professional when we sing praises to God.
Psalms 66:1 Psalms 66:1Make a joyful noise to God, all you lands:
American King James Version× Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth! Verse 2: Sing out the honor of His name; make His praise glorious (Something that’s beautiful, something that’s inspiring, something that’s moving and something that’s motivating.) Verse 3: Say to God, "How awesome are your works! Through the greatness of Your power Your enemies shall submit themselves to You. Verse 4: All the earth shall worship You and sing praises to You; They shall sing praises to Your name." Selah
Brethren if you can talk, if you can utter sounds, then you can make "joyful noise." It’s our job, it’s our responsibility to praise God, to thank God, to love God and to express that to God and to His righteous Son, Jesus Christ. By singing praises and hymns to God is one way that we openly show our love and our respect to Him.
In Psalm 95 we find a psalm written by David that is a psalm actually written about the Sabbath and it’s quoted in Hebrews.
Psalms 95:1 Psalms 95:1O come, let us sing to the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.
American King James Version× Oh come, let us sing to the Lord! (Here we are on the Sabbath and he says:) Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. (Here we raise a joyful sound to God, that we’re excited about it, that its just not, oh hum hum, we’ve got to sing these 3 songs and oh no, not another song, I’m too tired or I’ll sit down or this or that. But no, with excitement he said:) With joy we make our praise glorious to God and we joyfully sing to Him and shout joyfully to Him with psalms. Verse 2: Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. Verse 3: For the Lord is the great God, and the great King above all gods. Verse 4: In His hands are the deep places of the earth; the heights of the hills are His also. Verse 5: The sea is His, for He made it; (He owns everything, it belongs to Him.) And His hands formed the dry land. Verse 6: Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. Verse 7: For He is our God and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand. Today (Speaking about the Sabbath) if you will hear His voice: Verse 8: " Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion, and as in the day of trial in the wilderness." (Because we’re to praise God in psalm, we’re to lift our voice up and worship God. This is actually one of the major ways to show God and to express to Him your love and your affection and your feeling and your worship for God.)
In Psalm 96 I think he kind of gives us an outline here of what I feel like our approach should be in singing praise to God. Should it just be a ho hum mundane day in and day out routine thing? Should it just become habit? Should it just become rote so to speak and we’re going to sing this song and then finally they have a song that you really like and you say well I really like that one. So we kind of perk up and we sing that. How does God feel about it?
Psalms 96:1 Psalms 96:1O sing to the LORD a new song: sing to the LORD, all the earth.
American King James Version× Oh sing to the Lord a new song! (Well we all kind of struggle with new songs. Every time a new song is given I always encourage the song leaders. If we’re going to have a new song, start out with a good rousing song, then we’ll have the new song and then end with a good rousing song. If we use it as the opening or use it right after the sermonette because we do struggle. Usually the pianist will play through it for us and then we try to hum along or come along you know, as we learn it and so forth and then finally we learn it and do pretty well with it.) Sing to the Lord, all the earth. Verse 2: Sing to the Lord, bless His name; proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day. (Do we think about that when we’re singing to God? That we’re actually proclaiming our salvation to be born into God’s family? That we are rejoicing before God for His mercy, His tenderness, His compassion, that we’re rejoicing for the great sacrifice of Jesus Christ and we are spending time thanking God and praising God for giving us those things and looking forward to being born of God into His family?) Verse 3: Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all the peoples. Verse 4: For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods. (Now brethren God does deserve our praise, He does deserve us to raise our voices, our emotions, our feelings to Him and praise Him and give Him thanksgiving and glory when we offer our hymns as a gift to Him.) Verse 5: For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the Lord made the heavens. Verse 6: Honor and majesty are before Him; strength and beauty are in His sanctuary. Verse 7: Give to the Lord, O families of the peoples, give to the Lord glory and strength. (Does your singing represent glory, does it represent strength and power and might and majesty as we pour forth ourselves and our feelings and our emotions into praising God?) Verse 8: Give to the Lord the glory due His name; bring an offering and come into His courts. (You know God looks at our singing, our raising hymns to Him as an offering, as part of giving of ourselves to Him) Verse 9: Oh worship the Lord in beauty of holiness! Tremble before Him, all the earth.
I’ve seen people who actually refuse to sing before God. They have various excuses, well like I said I can’t carry a tune in a wheel barrel or my voice is just raspy or I’m this or I’m that or I’m not that or I’m not this and we come up with all these excuses. We think, well I don’t want somebody around me to hear me because that would be embarrassing, I might kind of sing to myself or mumble a little bit under my breath or hum along as we go. But it says here, God is truly worthy of our praise. That we should open up our mouth and that we should worship Him and His beloved Son and give them the praise and the glory and the honor that they truly deserve.
Now in Psalms 98:1 Psalms 98:1O sing to the LORD a new song; for he has done marvelous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, has gotten him the victory.
American King James Version× Oh, sing to the Lord a new song! For He has done marvelous things; His right hand and His holy arm have gained Him the victory. Verse 2: The Lord has made known His salvation; his righteousness He has openly shown in the sight of the nations. Verse 3: He has remembered His mercy and His faithfulness to the house of Israel; All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. ( And that’s why we’re sitting here today, looking forward to the salvation of God when truly we are born into God’s family and He said as a result) Verse 4: Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth; break forth in song, rejoice and sing praises. (We’re to break forth in song and to rejoice before God and to sing praises.)
You don’t have to be a professionalsinger. You know in most things God does ask and He does expect and He does for that matter require perfection. Not so in singing. He said you can use a shout, He said you can use a loud voice and He said you can do your happy things so to speak. You don’t have to be a professional, you can be off key. I mean I think it’s wonderful if you can sing on key, but if you can’t, that’s not an excuse. He said you make your joyful noisebefore God because you’re not doing it for man, you’re doing it for God. We don’t have to be a professional singer, we don’t have to be perfect in our singing, thankfully. But you’re singing praises to God not to each other. He is glorified, He’s thrilled by the "joyful noise" that we present to Him. If you don’t sing because you’re embarrassed or because you think you’re not good enough or that somebody else might hear you, then you’re not singing praises to God, you’re worried about the man or the woman or the individual sitting around you or by you, you’re singing to men, not to God. Brethren, when we sing praises to God, it is exactly that, we sing to God. It is to glorify Him, it is not to glorify ourselves, it’s not to show what a wonderful voice we have or what a poor voice we have, it is to glorify the almighty God and His beloved Son.
Verse 5 : Sing to the Lord with the harp, with the harp and the sound of a psalm. Verse 6: With trumpets and the sound of a horn; (And by the way, it’s not wrong to use musical instruments in church service. You know some religions that will not allow musical instruments in church, but as we see the example here, David who was a man after God’s own heart, He lists 3 or 4 different things. He said sing to the Lord with the harp.) Shout joyfully before the lord, the King. Verse 7: Let the sea roar and all its fullness, (And all of the noise that comes from the earth and the various elements and things in the world) the world and those who dwell in it; Verse 8: Let the rivers clap their hands; let the hills be joyful together before the Lord, Verse 9: For He is coming to judge the earth. With righteousness He shall judge the world and the peoples with equity. (That even the animals and the rivers and the hills and the mountains, the whole creation shouts and sings praises to God. How much more should we who possess and have and bear God’s holy righteous spirit, how much more should we pour out our hearts in singing praises to God.)
Speaking to God’s church:
Psalms 100:1 Psalms 100:1Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all you lands.
American King James Version× Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! Verse 2: Serve the Lord with gladness; come before His presence with singing. (It’s not a drudgery, it’s not something to dread, it’s not something that you hate and that you want to wait out in the hall until at least the 3 songs are over and then you can dart to your seat and this and that. It’s an opportunity to express your love and your feeling to your Maker.) Verse 3: Know that the Lord, He is God; it is He who has made us and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Verse 4: Enter into His gates with thanksgiving (We’re to come in with a joyful heart. I know we have trials, I know we have tests, I know we have burdens, we have all of these things that many times just weigh us down, but that needs to be left in the parking lot. When you walk through that door you come into His presence with thanksgiving, that your heart is lifted up and you’re ready to give thanks and praise and glory and honor to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.) And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him and bless His name. Verse 5: For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting and His truth endures to all generations. (We’re to give God praise and thanks and glory for that) Then the next psalm.
Psalm 101: I will sing of mercy and justice; to you, O Lord, I will sign praises. (That we are to sing to God, that we are to praise God, that we are to express our love to Him very deeply and openly, that we open ourselves up when we sing to God. It’s not something we’re doing for mankind that we ask God’s presence here and we ask God to accept our praise to Him because we are so thankful for Him.)
Back in Psalm 81, verses 1 through 4 we find that singing is actually commanded on the holy days. Notice He says: Verse 1: Sing aloud to God our strength; make a joyful shout to the God of Jacob. Verse 2: Raise a song and strike the timbrel, the pleasant harp with the lute. Verse 3: Blow the trumpet at the time of the New Moon, at the full moon, on our solemn feast day. Verse 4: For this is a statute for Israel and a law of the God of Jacob. (We’re commanded to come before God on His holy days and of course the Sabbath is the first holy day that’s listed. So we are to come before Him on these holy days as holy time and that we are to come before Him with praise and thanksgiving, that we’re to sing to God and raise our voices and if necessary make our "joyful noise" if you know how to sing well, great, that’s more power, that’s wonderful. If we don’t, we still make our joyful noise.)
Hebrews 2:10 Hebrews 2:10For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
American King James Version×, I find one of the most, to me, the most romantic scriptures in the entire bible. For some reason, this really struck me when I read it and I thought wow, this is like some Hollywood movie of this man who loves this woman so much and he looks down and he kisses her and he takes her in his arms and he begins to sing his love and his respect to his wife. In this chapter we find that Jesus Christ is going to sing to you the church, His bride. Can you even imagine what it’s going to be like?
Hebrews 2:10 Hebrews 2:10For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
American King James Version× For it was fitting for Him, (Christ) for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in
bringing many sons to glory (You) to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. Verse 11: For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, Verse 12: saying: "I will declare Your name to My brethren; in the midst of the assembly (When everybody is around, when everybody is watching, when everybody is listening) I (Christ) will sing praise to you." (Unbelievable, He’s going to do that when we become the bride of Jesus Christ. How much more should we be willing to sing praises to Him and to His glorious Father at this time.)
In Matthew the 26th chapter and verses 29 and 30 we find at the end of the Passover, Christ knew that He was about to die, the very last official "act" that He did with His disciples was to sing a hymn.
Matthew 26:29 Matthew 26:29But I say to you, I will not drink from now on of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.
American King James Version× "But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom." Verse 30 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. (So the very last thing that Christ did with His disciples officially was to sing a hymn. So it must mean something to Him. He must enjoy it, He must respect it, He must desire it. He’s going to sing to you and He must want us in return to sing praises and glory and honor to Him.)
In Acts 16, verses 22 through 26, after Christ was crucified and the new testament church was established, we find that they faced some pretty rough times. They were running for their lives in many, many cases, they were being persecuted and in this particular case, Paul and Silas wound up being thrown in prison and their lives threatened. You know what happened when they were in prison? These 2 guys started praying and they started singing. Now I can’t imagine prison life, other than what you see in the movies and this and that type of thing. But you know you picture theses big old burly tattooed men that are in there for murder and rape and pillage and all this stuff and here these two guys are over here and all of a sudden they start singing at the top of their lungs, praises to God. Can you imagine the look that looked over at what was going on with these two fellows? Let’s pick up the story here.
Acts 16:22 Acts 16:22And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them.
American King James Version× Then the multitude rose up together against them (Talking about Paul and Silas) and the magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded them to be beaten with rods. Verse 23: And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely. (They told the jailer that if these guys escape, then you are dead.) Verse 24: Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. (You’ve heard the proverbial thing, either they’re going to put you so far under that you can’t see daylight. Well that’s where Paul and Silas were. They were right in the middle where they could not get out and they were chained down to the floor so there was no way they could escape.) Verse 25: But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God and the prisoners were listening to them. (Now notice this, the prisoners were listening. Here it was midnight. Here these two guys pray and here they offer their prayers in the form of songs. That’s all the book of psalms is, prayers set to music, that’s what it is. It’s David’s prayers, his thoughts that he put to music and sang them. I would love to hear how they sounded. We have the words, but we don’t have the music and have no idea how the beat went, how the tone went, how the melody went and all of these things. But wouldn’t it be wonderful if we knew how some of these things actually sounded as David wrote them. But here we find Paul and Silas, they were praying and singing hymns and the prisoners were listening to them. They looked over and they saw these two guys and all of a sudden they started listening to the words and they started listening to these men whose lives who were as good as gone, they were as good as dead. These were the worst, the vilest, the worse prisoners of all, they were in the middle of the prison so that they could not get out, they were chained to the floor so that they could not escape. So these had to be some pretty vile characters and everybody was looking over there and they listened at midnight as these two guys were singing praises and hymns to God.) Verse 26: Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed. (God was moved by their prayers and by their singing. It moved Him, it was an emotionally experience to God, to the extent that He opened up all the prison doors. Who knows, maybe if you opened your heart, if you put your feelings and your heart into pouring out your praises to God, He might open some doors for you and free you as Mr. Dance talked about today. This poor guard of course thought his life was over. He was asleep and when the earthquake came he noticed all the prison doors were opened and Paul and Silas said, wait a minute, you’re fine, we’re not going anywhere. God has done this and so you can breathe, we’re not going to "run away and escape." But God was very moved by what these two gentlemen did and the example that they set.
In Ephesians 5, verses 19 and 20, something that strikes a "modern day Christian church" kind of odd. A congregation it says:
Ephesians 5:19 Ephesians 5:19Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
American King James Version× Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, Verse 20: giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Like I said, you leave your worries at home, you leave your worries in the parking lot and when you walk through that door, you walk through the door with joy in your heart, you walk through the door with a melody in your heart, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord because that’s the way God wants us to come to church. That’s how God wants us to deal one with another. I see so many people that when you talk to them, oh woe is me, I’m so down and out, I’ve been riding old Job’s horse, woe is me and oh I’m just so terrible, life is hard and life is bad, my husband is sick or my wife’s got this and I’ve got job problems and blah, blah all the time, just everything, same song second verse. You talk about singing, boy they sing every Sabbath, but it’s not praises to God, it’s not with a joyful heart, it’s not lifting up their spirits and coming before God and offering Him the praises that He enjoys, it’s singing woes and problems and frustration and lack of faith. But here we find this means singing with our heart, that we open our heart up to God, that we think about the words, that we think about the meaning of the songs, that it’s to be a habitual way of life that we constantly pray and sing praises to God. What do you do when you’re going to work? Do you ever sing a song to God, do you ever praise God and glorify His wonderful name? Do you pray on the way and ask God for protection and guidance during the day and do you sing a hymn of praise and thanksgiving to God?)
Colossians 3:14 Colossians 3:14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfection.
American King James Version× But above all these things put on love, (because that’s the greatest, that’s the best, that is the ultimate, that’s the zenith, that’s the height.) which is the bond of perfection. (Because God is love and God is perfect.) Verse 15: And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Verse 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. (Is that the kind of Sabbath we have? Is that the kind of joy that we approach one another? Do we have those psalms and those hymns and spiritual songs singing with grace in our heart? When we talk to somebody does it come out just like a melody, does it come out like a song that there’s a depth, that there’s a river, that there’s a power that is there that is motivating us to grace in our hearts? Do you sing with grace in your heart when you sing praises to God? Or is a ritual? Is it just a waste of time? "Oh I wish we didn’t have but one song, why do we have to have any songs? We start with one and end with one, I’ll be happy." The wonderful fantastic blessing of being able to praise the Almighty God. We should do it singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord, that you sing with feeling, that you sing with power, you sing like you mean it, it’s not just rote, it’s not just "tradition," it’s not just something to do, but you’re singing to God. Have we reached that state of perfection and that state of mind and obtained that depth of the mind of God to the extent that when we sing, we sing with the grace in our hearts? No wonder he talks about perfection here.
David was called a man after God’s heart and I believe that there are many reasons why he was called that and why God loved him so much, but certainly one of the reasons why David was called a man after God’s heart was because of his constant praising of his God through songs. His fervency, his adoration and his love, his exuberance, his emotions, all poured into his psalms or songs that he gave to God in praises to God. David was actually known and became known as the sweet psalmist of Israel. I won’t go through all of the psalms, we went through several of them at the beginning of the service, but showing where David just poured his entire heart into praises, like singing to God, praise Him, come sing to God, make a joyful noise, come sing unto God telling of His mighty deeds and His wondrous works, sing of His wonders, let all the beings sing praises to God, let the hills and the mountains raise their voices and sing praises to God in His holy name and etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. He just loves God. God was David’s passion and music was the passion that David used to praise his God and no wonder God loved him and felt that David was a man after His own heart because David had a passion for God and he showed that passion through and in and with his music. David had a professional choir that was paid full time to sing praises to God. That’s all they did, they practiced and they sang praises to God.
In I Chronicles the 23rd chapter and verse 5 we find that David had 4,000 people that played musical instruments, 4,000 piece orchestra to "praise therewith." Verse 30 points out that they performed their praise to God twice a day, in the morning and in the evening. In chapter 25 we find that 3 entire families were set aside to worship God with musical instruments. Verse 7 points out that there were 288 different ones of this family that were musicians that performed day and night in praising before God. David had choirs, he had orchestras, he had a host of soloists that were an integral part of the worship services of God.
As we read in Revelation 4 and verse 8, God has angels that worship Him, the 4 living creatures, the 24 elders around the throne that sing praises to Him constantly, 24/7 so to speak. They rest not it says, without ceasing, they rest not, day and night saying: Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come. God loves music and God loves praise. He has these beings, these angels, these elders that sing praises to him constantly that never ever stop for all eternity.
I personally think that this might be one area where I can understand just a little bit, a tiny aspect of the mind of God, because to me music is a passion for me, I love music. I could listen to music all day, I could listen to music no matter what I’m doing virtually, I just really, really like music. It’s inspiring, it’s moving, it’s electrifying, it’s powerful, it’s dynamic, to me it’s a wonderful dynamic way to worship God.
Have you ever watched a movie and the sound goes out or you turn the T. V. down or something like this, especially if you happen to see an old black and white western come on, turn the sound off and watch you know, Roy Rogers or Gene Autry or whoever is gallivanting across the prairie and here they go, you know they’re firing at the bad guys, they’re trying to catch the cattle rustlers and this and that. Watch it for just a few moments while they’re chasing the bad guys and then turn the sound off. All of a sudden it just goes blaw. I mean we had all this excitement, you are on the edge of your chair, you’re trying to catch these bad guys as though you and Roy are on the same horse and you’re gallivanting along and come on, you’ve got to get him and you turn the sound down and all of the emotion all of a sudden just falls off the cliff. It is amazing how music adds to emotions and to feelings and to drama.
God appreciates music. God has a passion for music and He loves it and He loves our praise of Him. You know we all know the Sabbath is very, very vital, very important. The word Sabbath is mentioned 116 times in the scriptures, The word Sabbaths (plural) is mentioned 35 times so a total of 151 times that the word the bible uses about Sabbath and Sabbaths. The word sing appears in the bible 179 times, singing 29 times, singers 38 times, song 77 times, songs (plural) 20 times, psalms (not counting the headings and all but the word actually) psalms appear 9 times, psalm appears 237 times, praise which is music, prayer and so forth before God set to music 248 times for a total of 777 times. Seven hundred and seventy-seven times! If God mentioned it once, it should catapult us to action to praise His glorious name, but He mentions it seven hundred and seventy-seven times. God hears our praises and He appreciates them, He respects them. We shouldn’t hold back, we should offer our praises to Him.
In Jeremiah 31, verses 1 through 14. Jeremiah tells us about the wonderful world tomorrow that is coming and it says that the young and the old will be singing songs of joy and be radiant over the goodness of the Lord. So we find in God’s kingdom and that wonderful kingdom that is coming that individuals both the young and the old, are going to be singing praises and psalms of joy and radiant over the goodness of the Lord. You know like I said, we’re not just singing to ourselves, our songs don’t just fill this room, our hymns go to God and God hears our prayer.
In II Chronicles the 20th chapter and verse 19 we find that singers went in front of the army. Now I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure I’d volunteer to be in the band. If you get the picture right, you’ve got this big army of Israel back here and going in front of it is a marching band. Are these individuals playing instruments and singing praises to God?
Now you would think that was a Kamikaze. Express was the name of that band, but it wasn’t because God was so inspired by what they did, He confounded their enemy to the extent that the enemy started killing each other as the army and as the band marched through. God heard their prayers and their praising of Him and He caused the enemy to destroy themselves.
In II Chronicles the 5th chapter, I want to close with this thought. II Chronicles 5 during the time of the dedication of the temple, after it had been built and Solomon had completed the final building of it, he had the Levites who "did nothing" except sing. They were paid out of the tithes for singing. He had 120 trumpets which of course is the loudest musical instrument that is not electrified, that is known even still today. It’s the loudest musical wind or brass instrument and we find just as the music reached this beautiful crescendo when they were all in unison, when they were all as one, it reached an emotional peak with everyone really putting their heart and into their praises and singing that God was so moved by it that He could not contain Himself and He was very, very inspired.
II Chronicles 5:11 And it came to pass when the priests came out of the Most Holy Place (for all the priests who were present had sanctified themselves, without keeping to their divisions), Verse 12: and the Levites who were the singers, all those of Asaph and Heman and Jeduthun, with their sons and their brethren, stood at the east end of the altar, clothed in white linen, having cymbals, stringed instruments and harps and with them 120 priests sounding with trumpets. Verse 13: Indeed it came to pass, when the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord, (So here they were lifting up their voices, they were all in unison, all of the trumpeters, all of the instruments and all of the singers, all praising God and they lifted their voices as one.) and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music and praised the Lord saying: "For He is good, For His mercy endures forever," that the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud, Verse 14: so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God.
Their singing, their emotion, their feeling, their heart that they put into their music moved God so much that He couldn’t even contain Himself without showing His own emotion and appreciation and feeling and He filled the house of the Lord.
In II Chronicles the 6th chapter, continuing we find that Solomon prayed and he dedicated this temple to the Great High Living God. In chapter 7 and verse 1 we find that God was very moved at this dedication service.
II Chronicles 7:1 Now when Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. Verse 2: And the priests could not enter the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord had filled the Lord’s house. Verse 3: When all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the Lord on the temple, they bowed their faces to the ground on the pavement and worshiped and praised the Lord saying: "For He is good, For His mercy endures forever." (Is your praise that meaningful to God? Do you put your heart, your feeling, your emotions, your love into your praising and glorifying God’s wonderful and great name? Does God hear your praise to Him and is He moved and inspired just like He was back then, because of the wonderful love that you put into showing your love to God by singing praise to His glorious and wonderful name?