I was sitting at the table with the kids yesterday – we were doing schoolwork – and one of them made some crude comment and I said, “Kids, what is your motto??”
To which the boys recited, in unison, “Let no corrupt thing come out of your mouth!” Then remembering a friend’s concession that if I’m going to have them memorize it, I should probably have them learn the ACTUAL verse, I pulled the Bible out and we memorized Ephesians 4:29, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”
Then I quickly remembered that verse was part of a really great song on our favorite scripture song cd of all time.
**side note: i am not endorsing the “ministry” that produced that cd since i believe they are akin to a cult…have you seen THE VILLAGE??… but the music is really good and it’s all scripture and very high quality.**
Anyway – we had fun singing along to the song that correlated with our memory work and I let the cd keep playing and pretty soon it was on track #11 titled “The One I Esteem” which caught me totally off guard. It is a really melancholy tune. The repetitive part of the song goes, “This is the one that I esteem: he who is humble, contrite in spirit and trembles at my Word.” It is sung very softly, very tenderly, and though it is sung by a child – it made me stop and imagine our Father up there softly and tenderly speaking that truth into our very spirits to encourage us, to affirm us, to strike a Godly fear in us, to cause us to reverence Him, to cause us to fall at His feet and pray for the Holy Spirit to move in our hearts.
However, I’ve read that verse before, but I didn’t tear up. Why was I reacting like this now? And then it struck me how very powerful music is. The music had definitely stirred my emotions.
Now some of my legalization minded friends would stop right there and declare that THAT (the fact that music stirs your emotions) is exactly why ALL music is inherently evil and Christians should only listen to a cappella versions of the Psalms set to the tune of doctrinally sound hymns.
WHAT? I know…that’s my response too…. I’m with ya on that one, sister.
But not me. I have to think over these things for a long time before I solidify my thoughts on such topics. So this post will definitely not have any kind of conclusion. This is only the ramblings of my thoughts this afternoon.
What is music? A gift from God
What is the purpose of the gift? A means of praise and worship
Why is this a means of worship? Music is pleasing to God
How do we know it is pleasing to God? Just listen to the crickets on a warm summer night, the birds on a crisp spring morning, the sound the leaves make when the wind rustles them…
What does that have to do with God? He created them, He gave them their musicality-it is an innate part of their creation
Why did He give them musicality? Because it pleased Him to do so
Why? Because music is pleasing to God
So, God gave the crickets song because it pleased God. Yes.
So God gave us musicality because it pleased God. Yes.
But how does that make music a means of praise and worship? We’ll get there…
Is the cricket cognitively aware that his noise brings glory to God’s throne? No.
Does it matter that the cricket is unaware of his worship? No.
Why? Because he is a cricket. He will not stand in the seat of judgment nor in the congregation of the righteous. He’s a cricket.
Ok I’m not following…
IF the cricket, in his natural state, pleases God when he produces music with his legs, then music can not be fundamentally evil. God created it…and it was good.
**side note…yes…dear reader…this is how i process information…scary…i know…**
Ok…backtrack…what I was trying to show with that exercise is that if the cricket unknowingly brings praise and worship to the very throne of God when he rubs his legs together – how much more valuable are our songs of praise and worship to God? How much more pleasing is it to God when we PURPOSEFULLY bring praise and worship to His throne. Not out of a sense of duty – but out of sheer love and admiration for our Father.
I have heard it suggested that when we all get to Heaven, we will spend our days literally PRAISING God with music. I don’t know how Biblical it is to say that’s ALL we will be doing – I kind of hope not – not because I don’t want to praise God, but I really want to talk to my Gramma and Grampa again! LOL!
Anyway – I digress.
Now that we have established that music is not inherently evil (and I do plan to go back and qualify those statements with scriptural references) – the next thing to ask is: If music is a gift from God – what is it’s purpose, how do we handle it, how do we qualify good vs. bad music, and most of all – what does God’s Word have to say about all this!
I guess there’s more than 1 question there….