Music; October 8, 2020

Isaiah 33:17 Your eyes will see the king in his beauty
and view a land that stretches afar.

It’s interesting to identify the Scriptural sources of songs we’ve known from childhood. This obviously forms the basis of We Shall See the King Someday, which is a chorus about the joys of heaven. It is slightly more tangentally related to Glory For Me, a hymn about heaven. Music has amazing power, both for us and over us. Recently one of my childhood friends posted a list of popular songs from the ’60s, and just seeing the titles immediately made the songs “play” in my head. That is essentially neutral in itself, but the content of the songs can influence us more than we realize. One song that I despise for the lyrics has amazing staying power in my brain because of the skillful music. I won’t honor it by quoting it or even giving the title, but we need to be careful what we invite into our minds and hearts. That points out the huge benefits of an environment of faith, especially for children. As it says in Proverbs, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” (Proverbs 22:6) There are an enormous variety of musical styles, not to mention ethnic varieties, but we need to be very careful as to what lyrics we are taking in, as I’ve already said. There are some incredibly foul lyrics out there, and cultural norms as to what is acceptable for public consumption are degrading badly. However, when we take in encouraging lyrics, and especially Scriptural lyrics, we are strengthened and protected, better able to resist the devil and his lies, and that is desirable indeed.

I am frequently impressed with how incredibly blessed I was in my upbringing. We were both a household of faith and a very musical household. We all sang, and it was assumed that each person would play at least one musical instrument. I’m very grateful for that. I have met a person who literally did not know how to make their voice change tones to sing a melody! Some of the best memories of my childhood are of my family singing together, either just gathered around the piano “singing through the hymnal” or in a regular family worship service we shared with a Japanese family that was close to us in many ways. I am very aware of the power of music. It thrills me when music lifts me into the presence of the Lord, but it grieves me to see “worship leaders” manipulate congregations emotionally to make them think God is moving when He’s not. It likewise grieves me to see Christian singers, or even worship teams, simply performing, rather than worshiping God through music. Skill is valuable and to be worked for, but it is no substitute for a heart submitted to God. All that said, I must be careful that I myself worship in spirit and truth through music, and not just go through the motions.

Father, thank You for the blessing of music. May I always use it as You intend, strengthening myself and those around me in faith, drawing us all closer to You, 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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