Sing a Song… is a short series which looks at specific songs of the Bible and their Ah-ha Moments. This is the third installment.
I Want to Give You Everything
Freed by the Lord from a life as a slave to sin, I began to sing the song of my salvation and the Lord’s redemption of my life. There was but one teeny-weeny problem; I wasn’t willing to let go of all my ways and allow His ways to perfect me.
I’d found myself on a nice picket fence and I was happy to jump from one side to the other. Eventually, I was exhausted. Bouncing around was making me crazy and in time my Christian walk looked more like a worldly slide. I was a mess.
I cried out to God. “I want everything you have to give! I’m not afraid of your ways, your power, your Holy Spirit working in my life. I surrender all!”
What a Difference a Prayer Makes
The Lord heard my prayer, just as He’d heard the prayers of the Hebrew children enslaved by
But, you see, though they’d experienced the victory, they’d managed to forget one teeny-weeny point from God: You shall have no other gods before me.[i]
There was another command;
But they did not. They allowed certain tribes to live. They began to co-exist. They got “world comfortable.” The Israelites lived among the Canaanites…they took their daughters in marriage and gave their own daughters to their sons, and served their gods.[iii]
“And served their gods….”
Before You Judge
The book of Judges is filled with these stories.
When Deborah had led the people to victory, she sang a song. “When the princes in
It would be so easy for us to get self-righteous. To read Ancient Israel’s story and to think, “You know, if God freed me in such a way, I’d never allow myself to get sucked back into the muck and mire of sin.” But we know that’s not the case, don’t we? We have all sinned, Paul writes in Romans. We have all fallen short of God’s glory[v]. We all play the game of testing God’s boundaries, sticking our fingers into the frosting of sin only to discover that the sugar is salt and the price is more than we can pay. Time and again we cry out to Jesus, “Save me!” Time and again, He does.
Okay, So We Finally Get it Right
Perhaps you have gotten past this point in your walk with God. Perhaps you have gotten yourself in so many messes and Jesus has had to bail you out enough times already. You no longer want to dally in the world’s delights. You’ve got your eyes on the Cross, your feet on the Path, and your heart set toward Heaven.
So why is it, then, that so many of us still struggle to figure out what it is God wants us to do with our lives? Why do we feel we aren’t successful? That even with all our victories, we still feel defeated?
It’s common. In my ministry, I hear it all the time. “At least you know what God has called you to do. Surely you never feel like a failure.”
I’m Not Alone
I do, and I’m not alone. Zechariah surely felt the same way. Outwardly, he had everything going for him. He and his wife Elizabeth were both of Aaron’s line, above reproach, and he was a priest in the temple of the Lord. But the one thing they truly wanted, they did not have. A child.
What were they to do? Without fertility clinics and with only unanswered prayers, they simply lived day to day doing the next right thing. And then it was Zechariah’s once-in-a-lifetime turn to burn incense before the Lord. In the midst of “just doing his job,” God’s angel met the old priest and told him something magnificent. “Your wife will have a son…”[vi]
And not just “any son.” Their son would be the one who would prepare the way for Messiah, to shout, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near.”[vii]
Zechariah doubted this miracle and the angel struck him mute.
But when the baby was born, Zechariah spoke his first words in months.
They were a song….
The Ah-ha Moment
Sometimes, as with Zechariah, God needs us to be silent. We learn more from our silence than when we speak so much or so loudly we can’t hear or understand what it is God is trying to say and do in our lives. Zechariah’s song reveals the nature of things he learned during his nine months of silence.
There’s a fabulous life-lesson in Deborah’s song as well. “Take captive your captives.”[viii]
Centuries later, Paul the Apostle would give a similar line. “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ”[ix] and “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.[x]
The result? We become more than conquerors[xi].
March on, my soul; be strong![xii]