Glimpses of grace seen in the everyday

Posts tagged ‘worship music’

The Bible’s Theme Song

What kind of song does God prefer?  “Worship wars” have waged long and hot over the style of songs God’s people prefer.  Maybe we should be asking what kind of songs God himself prefers.

In the hymnbook of the Old Testament, the Psalms, one song appears over and over again:   Note 

“Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, for His faithful love endures forever.”  (Psalm 86:5; 100:5; 106:1; 136; and many more.)

This was the song sung on these notable occasions:

–The dedication of Solomon’s temple (2 Corinthians 5:13)

–The choir leading God’s people out meet attacking armies.  What a story!  As soon as they started to sing, God cause the enemies to attack one another, leaving only a sea of dead bodies and booty for the Israelites to clean up when they reached the scene.  (2 Chronicles 20:21-26)

–When the foundation of the second temple was laid after God’s people returned from exile (Ezra 3:11)

–When God brings His people back from exile and restores their fortunes and their land.  (Jeremiah 33:11)

This song is based on God’s self-description to Moses on the mountain, and it’s echoed also throughout the Bible:

The LORD passed in front of Moses, calling out,
“Yahweh! The LORD!
The God of compassion and mercy!
I am slow to anger
and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.
I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations.
I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin.
But I do not excuse the guilty…. (Exodus 34:6-7a)

Whatever tune or instrumentation they may have used, God loved their song! Note

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When you don’t know the words…

No, the answer isn’t “hum”!  It’s “just substitute a different word that you do know.”  Malapropism is one of my favorite kinds of humor:  the ludicrous misuse of a word, especially by confusion with one of similar sound (American Heritage Dictionary).

As a child, “Bringing in the cheese” made made more sense to me than “Bringing in the sheaves.”   I loved cheese and had no idea what “sheaves” were. 

A few years ago someone mentioned that he was deeply concerned about the theology in a song that says:  “…When my will becomes enthroned in Your (i.e. God’s) love…” What a relief to find out that “enthroned” was supposed to be “enthralled.”  Do you suppose that someone who sang or copied the lyrics didn’t know what “enthralled” meant and just substituted another word without thinking—a word with exactly the opposite meaning?    So instead of my will being captive to God, it’s on the throne!  The dictionary gives the following senses of “enthrall.”  I suspect that the second is what the song writer intended:

  1. To hold spellbound; captivate.
  2. To enslave.

So when we sing, do we spout forth nonsense or even heresy because we’re not thinking?  Are our minds as well as our hearts engaged in praising God and voicing our commitment to Him?  (One more thing:  It’s worth checking out the theology in a song before singing it.)

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