Songs of Deliverance; August 19, 2022

Psalm 32:7 You are my hiding place;
you will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance.

I know that “shouts of deliverance,” as the Japanese has it here, is probably the more accurate translation, but I still like “songs,” because of how much music is part of me. Considering David, “songs” might really have been what he was thinking, because of his poetic gift. He had been writing songs ever since he was a young shepherd boy, watching over his flock by himself out in the wilderness. (I would be fascinated to know what tunes he used, but those are lost to us.) That experience also gave him an awareness of hiding places, because there were many dangers of various sorts, from scorpions to snakes to bigger animals that could do him harm. Growing maturity had taught him that such physical dangers were relatively minor compared to the spiritual dangers of sin. He had encountered men who were worse snakes than any pit viper! At the same time, he had recognized his own tendency to sin, as he mentions in this Psalm. His own lyrics probably helped him recognize and resist temptations and sin, since his anointing caused those lyrics to be included in the Bible. Setting Scripture to music is an excellent way to remember it, and it is never a bad idea to store up Scripture in your mind and heart. (Psalm 119:11) These days it’s easy to hear physical recordings of such songs, but it’s even better to let them “play” in our memory, because that encourages us to think about what they say. Doing that really can keep us out of a lot of trouble!

As I said, music is very much part of me, and I am grateful. I can’t really imagine what it’s like for those who don’t have a musical background, but I must not let that puff me up. Rather, I am to meet people where they are, teaching them simple songs that will act as “ear worms,” repeating God’s truth to them. I have always said that you can tell a church’s theology by what they sing, and teaching songs is far more effective than lecturing. I want people to know, and sing, songs that will draw them into right relationship with their Creator, comforting and building them up, but also admonishing them and encouraging them in active discipleship. That’s a tall order, and obviously one or two songs aren’t going to do the trick. In this church we generally sing six or seven songs per service, some of them multi-verse traditional hymns, some very simple choruses, and most somewhere in between. We’ve got a lot to choose from! The Lord has blessed me with translating quite a few songs in all of those categories, both from English to Japanese and from Japanese to English. Sometimes that gets convoluted, as in the Indonesian song that I know only in Japanese, that I translated into English. Sometimes translating allows me to “clean up” the theology of the original! It’s interesting to see songs that are better in translation than they are in the original language, and I’m not at all just talking about my work. That’s an indication that the Holy Spirit is at work in it all, and He is the one we need to teach us God’s truth. (John 14:26) I am to seek to be His agent, and allow Him to sing His songs into my mind and heart.

Father, thank You indeed for songs of deliverance. May I be the singer You want me to be, drawing others to sing Your songs, so that we may resist the devil and walk in all that You have for us, 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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