Her weight shifting from one leg to the other and her arms slightly outstretched and lifted, twenty-two month old Sophia sings, “Alive, alive, alive forevermore. My Jesus is alive.” She learned it by watching a DVD of children singing hymns. Another of her favorites is “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world.”
Does she know who Jesus is? Not yet, but when she does, she will have imprinted on her mind the foundation upon which her faith will be built--the love of God and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The young singer-actors on the DVD are preaching the gospel to Sophia and she is responding by imitation. Someday, we hope, she will mature beyond imitation of others into a genuine trusting obedience to Jesus. A seed of faith has been planted through song.
Sing to the LORD, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. (Psalm 96:2)What an amazing gift music is for the children of God, old and young alike! Music is one of the ways the word of Christ becomes part of our inner thoughts, emotions, and motives:
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. (Colossians 3:16)Music is our gift back to God:
…be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:18-20)As we sing hymns together in our assemblies, we experience a unity we usually fail to achieve in other ways.
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 15:5-6)Celebrations and assemblies are not the only appropriate occasions for singing and making music. Paul and Silas were arrested, severely flogged, and thrown into a prison cell with their feet fastened in the stocks, but instead of complaining, they sang.
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. (Acts 16)What did God do in response? He sent an earthquake that shook the prison; he caused all the prison doors to fly open and everybody’s chains came loose. The jailor and his whole family became believers and were baptized.
The triune alliance of Moab, Ammon, and Mount Seir were invading Judah. The king of Judah, Jehoshaphat sent a choir singing praises to God ahead of his army as they marched toward the battlefield. By the time the army from Judah arrived, God had already defeated their enemies by turning the alliance against each other. All Jehoshaphat’s army had to do was carry off the plunder. You can read the whole story in II Chronicles Chapter 20. Are you facing a formidable foe? Sing praises to God. Those enemies of doubt, discouragement, and sadness will flee. Sometimes we forget that God fights our battles; we don’t have to fight his. True, we must resist; we must march out to the battlefield; but, by the time our singing of praises is done, we may find the enemy has already been defeated. All we have to do is carry off the prizes of victory.
Those who are gifted with an amazing vocal and instrumental talent have the power to inspire and encourage us and to carry God’s message right to the heart. Those of us who are not so talented are still able to delight God our Father because he hears the music in our heart. Music isn’t just entertainment or a pleasant way to pass the time. Music has the power to carry God’s message into a human heart. Songs have the power to teach us to trust and obey God. Singing gives us a joyful means to praise and give thanks to our God. Musicians are a division in the army of the Lord. So…Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. (James 5:13)