March 27, 2015

Psalm 28:7 The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.
My heart leaps for joy
and I will give thanks to him in song.

This particular thought is so common in the Bible, particularly in the Psalms, that we tend to overlook it. However, it’s popular for a reason, and that is that the Lord is indeed a strength and shield to those who depend on Him, and it is entirely appropriate to sing praise to Him in thanks for all He does. Sadly, “familiarity breeds contempt” is a truth and not just a proverb. When we fail to depend on God we don’t experience Him as our strength and shield. When we ignore Him and at the same time take His protection for granted, we get all in a huff over receiving the consequences of our actions, and think He is unreliable or even imaginary. How foolish! It is when our hearts genuinely depend on Him, rather than us going through religious motions, that we discover Him to be all that the Bible, and generations of saints who have gone before us, have said He is. The result is salvation indeed. When we experience Him like that on a personal level, it’s the most natural thing in the world to sing praise and thanks to Him, because it just wells up in our hearts. I don’t think this is a matter of musical ability, but simply heart attitude.

Since I grew up in a home that was filled with faith and music, this goes without saying for me. However, I find that even people who are distinctly non-musical, when they encounter Christ personally, are deeply moved to joy by praise and worship in song. There is power in music, and it is no accident that Western music originated in the Church. The devil doesn’t want to let God receive the glory He deserves, so he does all he can to pollute music and turn it to ungodly ends. It takes no spiritual sensitivity to realize that! We however have the privilege of returning music to its rightful use, praising God and building people up. I have been associated with music a great deal throughout my life, and expect to continue in that as long as I am here. It is a joy and an anticipation to hear my wife and others report that in heaven, even the rocks, the trees, and the grass sing praise to God! I am to use the musical gifts I’ve been given to point people to God, keeping my own focus on Him in gratitude and obedience.

Father, thank You indeed for music, and for the absolute faithfulness You demonstrate to those who depend on You. I ask for Your special anointing this Sunday as we have a music-and-Scripture-only service for Palm Sunday. Thank You for guiding Cathy in preparing the music part. I ask for clear guidance in which Scriptures to use at which point, so that everyone may be led to worship You in spirit and in truth, in ever-deepening commitment, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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