|Volume 21 Number 12 December 2019||
Cecil May, Jr.
An honest young man saw the truth from the Bible that he needed to be baptized into Christ to put on Christ (Galatians 3:27). He hesitated, though. He loved and honored his honest parents, and they had never been baptized. He could not bring himself to do something that might imply they did not go to Heaven.
His parents owned a country store. The teacher suggested, “Suppose, unknown to them, their scales were not correctly calibrated. Every time they charged for a pound, absolutely incorrect, the customers received less than for which they paid. Then, suppose a man from the State Bureau of Weights and Measures came by and showed them their scales were off. Wouldn’t they immediately change them?“
If they saw the truth that you now see, wouldn’t they obey? Wouldn’t they want you to obey the truth?
Worshipping the Lord in Song
Ronald D. Reeves
Christians have been commanded to take an active part in congregational worship in song (Ephesians 5:19). I trust we know that singing is truly a morally upright spiritual activity (Psalm 92:1). In the Old Testament, those who were encouraged to sing included the saints (Psalm 30:4) and the righteous (Psalm 33:1-2). On various occasions, the record indicates that all of the children of Israel sang, including Moses (Exodus 15:1), the Levites (2 Chronicles 29:30), King David (2 Samuel 22:1), Deborah and Barak (Judges 5:1), and the singers of Israel (2 Chronicles 29:28). In the New Testament, members of the church are commended to sing in worship (1 Corinthians 14:15, 26), including every member (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16). This is supported by the example of Jesus singing with His disciples (Matthew 26:26-30) and by the example of Paul and Silas singing in prison (Acts 16:23-25).
Both in the Old and New testaments, the record indicates that righteous men and women should direct their worship in song unto the Lord (Psalm 7:1; Ephesians 5:19) and unto one another (1 Samuel 21:11; Ephesians 5:19). Such stirring spiritual activity should be engaged in the assembly of the church (1 Corinthians 14:15, 26; Hebrews 2:12) and even at unexpected times of duress (Acts 16:23-25).
The biblical portrait of the character of our singing is manifestly clear. We should sing with the whole heart (Psalm 9:1), with understanding (Psalm 47:6-7), with reverence (2 Chronicles 29:30), with gladness (Psalm 9:1-2) and with joy (Psalm 6:1). The New Testament, in addition, directs that we worship in song in spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24), employing spiritual songs (Ephesians 5:19) as we sing praise unto the Lord (Acts 16:25), singing with the spirit and the understanding (1 Corinthians 14:15), with grace in our hearts (Colossians 3:16), as we teach and admonish one another (Colossians 3:16).
Should singing be a spiritual activity relegated to second-class status? The above biblical commentary suggests not. May we, as the psalmist, sing “as long as I live” (Psalm 104:33), even “forever” (Psalm 61:8). Long before Ephesians 5:19 was penned, righteous persons have been motivated to joyfully engage in spiritual singing as a response to the contexts of life. We note some of them from the Old Testament record.
Jews of past generations were motivated to sing because of things intimately related to the Lord, such as the position of the Lord as the King of all the earth (Psalm 47:6-7) or the character of the Lord, whether it be His righteousness (Psalm 7:17), His faithfulness (Psalm 89:1), His holiness (Psalm 30:4) or His honorable status (Psalm 6:1-2). Their past activity in song was also motivated by their perception of the power of the Lord as it was exercised (Psalm 21:13) and also by the consequences of such power (Psalm 9:1). The Word of the Lord also motivated them to sing. As they had personal faith in His Word, they responded in song (Psalm 106:12), especially when His Word prophesied victory over their enemies (2 Chronicles 20:21-22). Jews of past generations were also motivated to sing because of activity in association with the Temple, such as the laying of the Temple’s foundation (Ezra 3:10-11) or the sanctifying of the Temple in Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 29:1-28).
They especially were motivated to express themselves in song as they came to better realize the potential and actual working of the Lord in their personal lives. They broke out in song as they sought help from the Lord to protect them from enemies (Psalm 7:1) and to express their dependence upon the Lord (Psalm 57:6-7). They broke out in song as they received blessings from the Lord, whether such were manifold (Psalm 18:48-49) or bountiful (Psalm 13:6). More specifically, they broke out in song when they were blessed with needed water (Numbers 21:16-17), and when they were delivered from the Egyptians (Exodus 15:1, 21) and from the Canaanites (Judges 4). Yet, their song service was not limited to such matters. They were motivated unto their service in song because of their redemption (Psalm 71:22-23), their deliverance from sin (Psalm 51:14), their salvation (Psalm 95:1), divine mercy (Psalm 59:16-17) and the righteous judgment of the Lord (Psalm 67:4). Having been blessed in like manner, let every child of God sing personally, qualitatively, with positive impact upon others, with a historical perspective, to the Lord and to one another, throughout life and with godly motivation. The grace of God demands no less (Ephesians 2:8).