(NOTE: I’m very grateful to Bob Kauflin for a wonderful article in a recent Worship Leader Magazine. Many of the thoughts here come from Kauflin’s article.)
Singing…you don’t find group singing just anywhere. But no matter your denomination, no matter your worship style, you almost always find group singing in Christian worship. Over 50 times in Scripture we are commanded to sing. Psalm 47:6 says, “Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King! Sing praises!”
Bob Kauflin says, “God evidently wants us to do more than simply declare His praise. He wants us to sing it. And because God is infinitely wise and loving, His commands are always for our benefit. As Psalm 147 puts it, ‘It is good to sing praises to our God.'”
There are four ways that singing affects our relationship to God and with others.
Singing Enables Us to REMEMBER God’s Word
Colossians 3:16 reminds us to “let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly” as we sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Have you ever noticed that some songs get stuck in your mind (By the way, to clear that song out, simply start singing “Kung Fu Fighting.” Works every time for me!). How about that college fight song (“Rocky Top, you’ll always be…”) OK, you get the idea. We remember what we sing. God designed music that way for our benefit. Check out Deuteronomy 31:21. Allowing the Word of Christ to dwell in you richly is the purpose of our singing. Sometimes a fresh new arrangement or a new melody to those familiar words we sing will give birth to a fresh expression and will recall the texts of the songs anew. What a great experience in worship!
Singing Enables Us to RESPOND to God’s Grace
Colossians 3:16 tells us that as we sing, we do so with thankful hearts.
John Piper states, “The reason we sing is because there are depths and heights and intensities and kinds of emotions that will not be satisfactorily expressed by mere prosaic forms, or even poetic readings. There are realities that demand to break out of prose into poetry and some demand that poetry be stretched into song.”
Emotion is one third of who we are (mind, will, emotion). Music affects our emotion. It is meant to move us. Think of how “your song” affects you and your spouse/lover. It always conjures a special feeling to which we respond. Because of God’s great grace, music is the God-created medium to offer expressions of thanks to God. Kauflin says that singing allows us to connect:
- doctrine and devotion
- intellect and emotion
- truth and response
Singing Enables Us to REFLECT God’s Glory
Look at the examples of God Himself.
Zeph. 3:17 – God the Father sings over us
Heb. 2:12 – God the Son sings the praise of the Father
Eph. 2:18-19 – Being filled with the Spirit leads to “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.”
When we sing together, the Holy Spirit is here with us inspiring our songs. That’s why you often hear people report at how they could sense the presence of the Holy Spirit in a worship service. “In the Presence of Jehovah” (Geron Davis)
Singing Offers a Glimpse of Heaven
Read Isaiah 6 and Revelation 4. These are perfect pictures of perfect worship. The worship of heaven is described in both. Our worship–this side of heaven–will never be perfect. But with the example from Scripture, we can certainly strive for that perfect activity. We will be made complete, and our heavenly worship will be perfect–offered eternally to a perfect God.
So, when you go to your church this weekend, remember what God has created through music. Remember the command to sing to Him. Remember the benefits of obedience to Him through singing His praise. I can’t wait to join you as we sing His glory and magnify His name.