April 20, 2016
The Power of a Song
For the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation” (Isaiah 12:2b, ESV).
Friend to Friend
Just try to keep my daughter from singing. Go ahead and try. You will fail. She must sing. It’s just her thing. Some days when I’m writing, or simply trying to piece together a coherent thought, I dream that she could travel to a land far, far away from me and hang out in a sound proof room.
Shhhhhhh! Embrace “quiet” already, girl.
I know. When it comes to 24/7 musical expressions, mother-of-the-year I am not.
And I’m okay with that.
The irony, of course, is that I, too, love to sing—just not all day every day like my daughter, and certainly not when I’m writing.
Oh, but I do love music. It’s central to who I am as a person. I love writing songs, singing songs, learning songs, and playing songs. If my iTunes library were in book form, it would fill the Library of Congress.
In many ways my life is processed through melody and verse. I can scarcely pick up my Bible and spend time in God’s presence without having to run to the piano in responsive worship. When His deep calls out to my deep, I just have to chase it musically!
Why? What is the big deal about songs?
I could never hope to understand the full scope of the answer, but I know this: music is powerful. It heightens our emotions and allows us to feel our way through a thought.
Think back to the first time you heard Judy Garland sing “Over the Rainbow”…or Darlene Zschech singing “Shout to the Lord”…or Ray Charles singing “Georgia on My Mind”…or Gloria and Bill Gaither singing “Because He Lives”…or Aretha Franklin singing “Respect”…or Celine Dion singing “My Heart Will Go On”…or Chris Tomlin singing “How Great Is Our God.”
Pure melodic magic.
Notes and words strung together in excellence can raise us to our feet or push us to our knees.
Because music touches something at the core of our being, it should come as no surprise that one of the names of God found in Scripture is My Song. First seen in Exodus 15:2, My Song is a name that Moses used to describe God as he celebrated the miraculous deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt.
Can you imagine how his heart swelled as he watched God turn a massive body of water into a walking trail for millions of Israelites? So Moses and his people threw down a big ol’ God-party on the victory side of the Red Sea!
Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the Lord, saying,
“I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea. The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him. (Exodus 15:1-2)
Moses had to sing because his heart couldn’t contain the gratitude and awe he felt for God. He called the Lord My Song. He was compelled to worship. I totally get that. God had freed His people through a medley of miracle after miracle. How could they not respond in grateful worship? How could He not be their Song?
How could He not be ours, as well?
The greatest commandment of God to His people is not vague. It is crystal clear. Both the Old and New Testaments tell us that the most vital calling in life—your greatest purpose—is to “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment” (Matthew 22:37-38).
Bam! That’s it.
What better way for us to express love to God than by living out a life that sings His praise and features Him as the ultimate object of our desire?
I will be the first to admit that my feeble attempts to live out the greatest commandment fall short every single day. I want to love Him perfectly, but I’m just not able to. I want to love Him with all of my heart, soul, and mind. Sincerely. But the reality is I can’t because I am a distracted worshiper.
My life is busy with ordinary. The laundry never ends, the family activities never cease, dust dominates, and dishes fill my kitchen sink, even when I’ve just cleared it out. To sprinkle special on our ordinary days, we add music. We sing. We dance. We worship.
So, as much as my daughter’s constant melodious outbursts may wear me out, maybe she’s on to something after all. If God is our song, then how can we not sing? How can we not find a song—our Song, God—in both the mundane and the miraculous of our lives? If He is our song, then let’s raise our voices with His praise!
Dear Lord, You are my Song. Thank You for giving us music! Thank You for inviting me to honor You in praise with instruments, voices, verses, and melodies. Help me to love You with my heart, mind and soul…more today than yesterday…and more the next day than tomorrow.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
In Psalm 40:3, King David expressed God’s loving deliverance this way, “He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.” Has God given you a new song? Give Him thanks! Praise Him!
If you had to pick a song that captured your feelings for God today, what would it be?
Leave a comment on my blog.
Click here to listen to a song I wrote called “My Strength, My Song,” that was inspired by this very Scripture.
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Today’s GiG devotion is adapted from Knowing God by Name by Sharon Jaynes, Gwen Smith, & Mary Southerland by permission of Multnomah, division of Random House, Inc.
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