- Wednesday, April 27, 2005
When it comes to songwriting, I must begin by saying: God does not need any of our songs. He is not waiting for one of us to write the song that will signal the second coming, but He is worthy of our songs. He is worthy of songs that remind us of who He is, what He has done and what He is going to do. He is worthy of songs that encourage the Church and tell of His greatness.
There are over 100 references in the Bible about singing to the Lord. I would encourage you to read Exodus 15:1-21. It is the song of Moses and Miriam. Some scholars believe it to be the oldest song on record. Of course, there are many references in scripture that exhort us to sing new songs. Psalm 33:3 says, “Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.” Psalm 95:1-7 gives a wonderful invitation to worship the Lord. Psalm 98:1-9 is a song of God’s victory. All of these songs praise God for who He is and what He has done. They paint a large picture of our God.
I am blessed to know that God has not lost his ability to inspire new songs in the hearts of his people. He moved on Moses; He put songs in the hearts of writers such as Fanny Crosby and Charles Wesley; and He is still moving in people like you and me. Praise the Lord for his never-ending power!
As we look at songwriting, I believe there are three important questions we must ask ourselves:
1. What is our motivation?
Worship music has never been more popular than it is right now. It has given quite a financial boom to the Christian music industry. In light of that, it is certainly fair to ask what motivates us.
Remember the story of Annanias and Sapphira in Acts 5:1-10? Annanias sold a piece of property, brought the money to the apostles and said they were giving the whole amount to the church. In reality, they were keeping some of it for themselves. They could have kept it all, but they lied to God and His people. Have you ever wondered what motivated them to lie? Pride? Recognition? Glory for themselves? We do not know exactly what their motives were, but we do know that God killed them for their actions that day.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that God will kill those who are writing songs with wrong, self-seeking motives. I am suggesting something even worse. If our motives are not pure, He might just remove his hand from the talents and gifts that he has given us. He might just leave us to our own devices with powerless songs that lack the authority that only He can give. He will not yield his glory to another (Isaiah 48:11). Our songs must be for his glory alone.
2. What makes a good song from a theological or Biblical perspective?
A lost person who comes to our worship services will more than likely hear two themes in our songs: God is love, and God is Holy. Of course those are true statements, but He is so much more. I could go and find a secular, godless band and ask them to write a song on God’s love, and I bet that they could come up with something. They could just think about their wives or girlfriends and use God’s name instead. I do not take lightly the love of God. I even wrote a song called “You Are My King (Amazing Love.” But God is so much more than love.
Do our songs accurately represent the attributes of God? Do they give us a bigger picture of who He is? There are so many subjects we can write about. We all hear songs about the grace of God, but what about a song that declares that grace teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness (Titus 2:11-12). What about songs on the Word of God, the power of God (Psalm 68:32-35), the sovereignty of God, songs that declare we are no longer enemies of God (Romans 5:6-10). Even more, songs that remind us of the great commission would honor the Lord. Let me take a moment to point out to all of us that Jesus’ last words on earth were, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation” (Matthew 16:15).
3.What kind of preparation should we put into songwriting?
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