Singing to the Lord; September 8, 2022


Psalm 89:1 I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever;
with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations.

This Psalm progresses from a joyful declaration of God’s faithfulness, in this verse and following, to an impassioned plea for God to demonstrate His faithfulness to whoever the king was at the time this was written. This verse and several others have been set to music and as such are very familiar, but the flow of the Psalm as a whole indicates to me why the nation was in trouble. Verse 6 indicates that the Psalmist considers Yahweh to be the greatest of the gods, but not necessarily the only one. That’s dangerous territory, and was a persistent problem for Israel. It’s like the people today who pray to various saints, rather than to the Trinity, and then they say, “Saint so-and-so helped me,” if things turn out to their liking. We seem to have trouble with genuine monotheism! It is good and appropriate to sing of God’s love and faithfulness, as this verse says, but we need to have it clear in our heart and mind just who the Lord is, and not give glory to anything else.

The version of this verse that I have sung for many years says, “the mercies of the Lord,” where the NIV says “love” and the Japanese says “grace/blessings.” (The Japanese word carries both meanings.) Evidently the original Hebrew fits somewhere in the middle of that Venn diagram! I feel like I am called to inform people of God’s reality, His character, and actually, singing has a good bit to do with that. My vocal quality is declining somewhat with age, but people still tend to take notice when I sing. I need to be careful that my singing directs attention to the Lord more than to me! I use music in teaching vocal production and pronunciation to budding speech therapists, and one song I use with them is You are the Words and the Music. As I tell them, it expresses my attitude toward music beautifully. My singing, and my life, aren’t to be focused on me and what I want, but on my Lord who does all things well. All sorts of things happen that I would rather be different, but the Lord assured me over 20 years ago that He feels the same way, and He’s got the perfect plan for the resolution of everything. My response to everything in my life should be gratitude and praise toward the One whom I know loves me so incredibly, not only because He deserves no less but also so that those around me may likewise be turned and tuned to Him, for their salvation and His glory.

Father, thank You again for music and the huge part it has in my life. May I make the use of it that You intend, on every level, so that Your plans for me may be fulfilled on Your schedule 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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