Herald Journal Columns
July 31, 2006, Herald Journal
Pastor's Column

Looking for upliftment? Sing the praises of God

Pastor Robert Ramphal, Oster First Covenant Church, Waverly

One of the integral parts of conducting a worship service is music of praise and honor to God. This time of music is done in many different ways, and many parishioners attend churches that suit their particular taste in Christian music.

The history of music in the church goes all the way back to the Old Testament. Musical instruments used in the Bible were many and included the lyre, pipe or flute, tambourine or timbrel, bells, shofar or horns, trumpets, harps, psaltery, oboe, rattle, cymbals, and others.

One of the most famous people to promote music of worship in the Bible was David, the psalmist. When we read Psalm 9:1-2, we hear David say, “I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart, and tell about the wonders you have worked. God, Most High, I will rejoice. I will celebrate and sing because of you.”

Again, he says in Psalm 33:1-3, “You are the Lord’s people. Obey him and celebrate! He deserves your praise. Praise the Lord with harps! Use harps with 10 strings to make music for him. Sing a new song. Shout! Play beautiful music.”

Throughout the Old Testament and the New Testament, musical instruments were used to praise and honor God, and in doing so, the people of God were very much blessed and their hearts were uplifted. They felt good.

In today’s churches, we have those who like to sing old and new hymns, choruses, and a lot of pop music. In addition, many dance, clap their hands, shout for joy, and play all kinds of musical instruments to express their love for God and to share the joy of singing beautiful songs to God for what He has done in their lives.

One of the most interesting things about singing for God is that we do not have to know music to sing, nor do we have to know precisely how to play an instrument. All the singing and playing of instrumental music, if done in the right spirit and in a worshipful manner, regardless of whether it is on key or off key, is a beautiful sound in the ears of God. Singing, whether loud or quiet, is pleasing to Him. He does not reject any of the ways in which we praise Him with music.

Sometimes, we feel discomfort because hymns are sung loudly. While we may have no trouble expressing ourselves by shouting for our team or favorite player at ball games or sporting events, or by marching in protest for a religious or political cause, in church, we find it difficult to sing and shout praises to God, who has done wonderful things for us through his son, Jesus Christ, who died to save us all.

Now, this is not an issue of loudness or quietness, but an issue of expression that suits our needs to let God know how we feel about Him and the joy He brings to us because we belong to Him. It is almost impossible to sing and play music in the ear of God and not feel uplifted in spirit.

Music is medicine to the soul. We all have experienced that in our secular lives. We can listen to the radio day and night and find that most of the music has a message that either speaks of love, the loss of love, or an event that brings wonderful feelings of something we have experienced. To think of these human experiences and to compare them with the divine experience is certainly no match.

Whatever your preference is for singing praises to God, He does not want any of us to put down another person for their choice of praise and honor. All singing to God is sweet music to the ears of God. He is delighted in our different ways of worship, because we are reverencing and honoring Him. We must make sure that we always do this. Singing or playing music at church to show off brings praise to ourselves and not God, and thus the music becomes idolatrous.

The church understands the role of music and song in its worship service, and no matter how many times we sing a particular hymn or chorus, it never becomes boring to God. He is always pleased when He hears our voices.

God will never tell us to be quiet. – how can we go wrong praising him? The more we sing, the better we will feel; and the better we feel, the better others will feel in our presence.

So, keep on praising God without ceasing. Your prayer in music is being heard by God, who will reward and bless you.

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