I want to finish up thoughts today on why God wants us to use music at times to praise Him. I’ve mentioned that music, especially singing, helps us to remember and meditate on God’s word, and also enables us to proclaim truth with heartfelt passion. Finally, We sing to reflect God’s glory.
How does singing reflect God’s glory? I can think of at least three ways. First, singing glorifies God by expressing the unity Christ died to bring us. Of course, gathering in the same room at one time expresses unity, as does reciting a creed together. Music both intensifies and demonstrates our appreciation of that unity. I’ve been told on more than one occasion that large “worship events” would bring unity to the Christians in a city. While such events might have some place in encouraging Christians, we need to remember that music expresses, not creates, unity among God’s people. We are one because Christ has destroyed the dividing wall that once separated us, due to our sin. When we don’t understand this, we argue over which musical style is going to be the voice that “unites” us. We can’t look to music to do what only the Gospel can do.
Second, singing glorifies God because all three persons of the Trinity sing. In Zephaniah 3:17, the Father exults over us with loud singing. Jesus sings the Father’s praise in the midst of the congregation in Hebrews 2:12 (quoting Psalm 22:22). The immediate result of being filled with the Spirit in Ephesians 5 is singing and making melody to the Lord with all our hearts. Our God is a singing God, and we reflect His glorious nature when we lift up our voices to sing His song back to Him.
Third, singing glorifies God because it anticipates, in a faint but genuine way, the song of heaven. When God pulls back the curtain on heaven’s activities, we find that heaven is a very musical place. The living creatures and the elders sing a song in Rev. 5:9 celebrating the Lamb who was slain. They are eventually joined by every creature in heaven and earth. The 144,000 sing a new song before the throne in Rev. 14:1-3. Those who conquered the beast sing the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb in Rev. 15:3. Our songs on earth are a sweet foretaste of what is still to come. But at this point, our attempts to worship God with music are limited. We’re hindered by insufficient hours, restricted mental capacity, and physical weakness. We don’t have the time, the mind, or the strength to worship God the way He deserves to be worshiped. But that’s not how it will always be. A day is coming when every limitation will be removed and we will celebrate before the Father and the Lamb in the power of the Spirit for endless ages. Wise leaders seek to prepare God’s people for that time by combining music with biblical truth NOW in a way that feeds our souls with the glories of God and heightens our anticipation for seeing our Savior face to face.
An effective corporate worship leader, aided and led by the Holy Spirit, skillfully combines biblical truth with music…to do what? We’ll look at that tomorrow.