Exodus 15:2 “The LORD is my strength and song (zamar), And He has become my salvation; He is my God, and I will praise Him; My father’s God, and I will exalt Him.”
To the artist or the dancer, music has a form and purpose beyond the simple pastime of listening for enjoyment. There are those who study better with the earbuds in and their mind tuned out to the world. There are others that use music as an identity or to make a statement, and while few can play it well and others write it well, the purpose of music was intended for a purpose many have missed.
The idea behind music can be entirely different than what people have made it.
The story of God redeeming the Israelites from the hand of the Egyptians is one of the greatest acts of God in Israeli history. From the ten plagues of Egypt, to the people He used to do His bidding, the magnanimous display of God’s power has reverberated throughout time. Bible teachers have been digging through this script for ages, uncovering gems of truth that reach across every facet of truth and into our relationship with God today.
With the miraculous crossing of the Red Sea, the entire nation of Israel rejoiced. They placed pillars on the shores of the crossing and established a memorial to God’s faithfulness. With songs of rejoicing echoing from their camp, Israel paid testament to God’s faithfulness throughout the land by singing the song of Moses.
What was the song of Moses?
Moses and the people remembered the multitude of miracles, the splendor of God, and the display of supernatural protection. The Exodus of Israel has echoed of God’s faithfulness throughout history and while each display of God’s power was sung in detail, Moses used a reference to God Himself as His song; From the root word zamar, the goal of Moses’ song is worship and praise to God.
There are certain words in the Bible that have a much deeper meaning than their current form….praise is one of them.
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens;
Praise Him in the heights!
Praise Him, all His angels;
Praise Him, all His hosts!
Praise Him, sun and moon;
Praise Him, all you stars of light!
Praise Him, you heavens of heavens,
And you waters above the heavens!
Praise the Lord!
Music is meant for God!
Music exalts…it either exalts man or it exalts God. Look closely at the lyrics or title of a song and you might see the intent behind the rhythm and sound. It’s not uncommon to hear a top 40 hit on the radio that espouses the pain of heartbreak or the happiness of finding another lover. Country music has been notorious for its folk type approach to modern day people and all of the ill’s that go along with living. It’s even been said that if you were to play country music backwards you’d get your wife back, your dog would return home, your truck would still be working and so on.
Psalm 105:2 “Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works!”
Classical music reveals another aspect of music’s form and function but has been a bit of a misnomer when it comes to relating to God. Listen to it for a few hours and what effect does it have? Soothing in its complexity and nuance, it’s masterful art magnifies the composer and conductor while leaving its hearers forgetful of the chaos that surrounds them, but is God in it?
There are many other forms of cultural and indigenous music that adds a flair consistent with its people, each in their own right are beautiful and interesting to hear.
Do any of these forms of music conform to God’s purpose?
James 5:13 “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.”
To the world, the implication that music has a God given purpose, is to confront their idolatrous lack of perspective. I mentioned the topic of music to a guy I once knew, I said that God’s true intent for music was worship and he looked at me like I was crazy.
Music brings joy, happiness, and thanksgiving, or it can bring sorrow. Music can rejoice in love or exalt in hope, but in each circumstance the way the message is received is determined by the position of the heart.
If we have a sinful heart that is reliant upon our old nature, our spirit within us relates the message to our point of focus… namely ourselves.
A person full of the Spirit can hear a classic symphony and relate the beauty of the sonata to the beauty of God.
Praise originates with God and is manifest to His people.
Psalm 108:1 “O God, my heart is steadfast;
I will sing and give praise, even with my glory.”
Praise springs forth from the hearts of those steadfast in God. The heart of a believer is unmoving in its position, it is unwavering in its purpose, and it is undeniable in it’s commitment. Regardless of the circumstances, praise continues to echo from the mouths of those whose strength is in Christ alone.
Psalm 40:1-3 “I waited patiently for the Lord;
And He inclined to me,
And heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit,
Out of the miry clay,
And set my feet upon a rock,
And established my steps.
He has put a new song in my mouth
Praise to our God;
Many will see it and fear,
And will trust in the Lord.”
The knowledge of God’s enduring faithfulness resounds among His beloved. Any who have experienced the transformation from death to life can associate with David in Psalm 40. Brought up from the pit of darkness, hopelessness, and sorrow and given a New Song—God’s people rejoice!
The Purpose of our Song?
Arising from the testimony of God’s goodness and a heart of thankfulness, God’s people extol His praise. The testimony can be to those who are burdened by this world as an encouragement or to those who walk in darkness, as a testimony.
Psalm 29:2 “Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness.”
The measure of God’s worth is impossible for mankind to comprehend and there’s times when words just aren’t enough…worship fills that void. God’s Holiness cannot be comprehended, worship seems to echo His splendor and touches places we cannot see. The magnitude of God’s goodness is unfathomable, and yet praise resonates from the realm of the unknown and shouts of His greatness.
Music fills what we cannot see and do not know.
Psalm 34:1 “I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.”
The life of a believer should maintain a heart of worship —continually. Praise not only denotes thanksgiving but can also be a testament to unbelievers of God’s goodness. Where light can be difficult to shine, praise might be the opportunity to impact the lost.
Praise the Lord!
Praise God in His sanctuary;
Praise Him in His mighty firmament!
Praise Him for His mighty acts;
Praise Him according to His excellent greatness!
Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet;
Praise Him with the lute and harp!
Praise Him with the timbrel and dance;
Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes!
Praise Him with loud cymbals;
Praise Him with clashing cymbals!
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!
Worship doesn’t need to always be with our voice….
Whether your song is displayed within the mastery of an instrument or simple the clamoring of a cymbal, worship expressed is made good from those who love the Lord with all their heart.
Creation itself gives praise to God, the beauty, complexity, and fine tuned precision by which Creation was ordered offers worship to the Creator. I’ve often thought about those who love camping, the great outdoors, a beautiful hike, or a peaceful sunset and yet they do not recognize the Creator behind all they relish. The beauty they clamor for is a reflection of the beauty of God’s love, if they only knew that there was so much more.
Psalm 19:1 “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the expanse proclaims the work of his hands.”
There are so many ways and reasons to praise the Lord, but the simplest purpose can be found in the quiet power of God’s rule and reign.
Psalm 22:3 “But You are holy, Enthroned in the praises of Israel.”
When I worship the Lord, I sense His presence and His pleasure. There is nothing on earth like dwelling in the presence of God, and worship seems to be a gateway to that reality. When we worship, we must come before Him in the right Spirit.
John 4:24 “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
A heart that walks in obedience to the Spirit recognizes the value of worshipping in the Spirit. Praise, initiated by God in the hearts of believers, emanates forth with the splendor in which He created it.
The song of the redeemed has its roots in the very framework of Creation. If you don’t like worshipping the Lord, you probably won’t like Heaven.
Revelation 4:8-11 “The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: “Holy,holy, holy,
Lord God Almighty,
Who was and is and is to come!”
Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying:
“You are worthy, O Lord,
To receive glory and honor and power;
For You created all things,
And by Your will they exist and were created.”
One day we will behold the Lord in the fullness of His glory and we will be compelled to worship Him. When the Lord inhabits His people the natural response is worship. All of our being will radiate His glory when we are made new.
If Heaven is in your plans, there’s no better time to start worshipping than now.
He is as Worthy now as He has ever been.