Matthew R. Perry

Why In The World Do We As Christians … Sing?!?

In Church Life, Devotional, Sermons, Worship on July 9, 2007 at 8:00 am

Notice in Nehemiah 12:27.

And at the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought the Levites in all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem to celebrate the dedication with gladness, with thanksgivings, and with singing, with cymbals, harps, and lyres.

This celebration was filled with singing. In fact, the entire dedication service was geared primarily around singing — both improvisational and structured. The Levites were summoned from their homes to come and lead the celebration “with gladness, with thanksgivings, and with singing, with cymbals, harps, and lyres.

Have you noticed that when the people of God celebrate, there is always singing involved? Consider singing took place when the world was created. In Job 38:4-7

“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.
Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?
On what were its bases sunk,
or who laid its cornerstone,
when the morning stars sang together
and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

When God brought the people of Israel through the Red Sea and delivered them from the Egyptians, it says that:

Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the Lord, saying,

“I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously;
the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea.
The Lord is my strength and my song,
and he has become my salvation;
this is my God, and I will praise him,
my father’s God, and I will exalt him (Exodus 15:1-2, ESV).

When David slew Goliath, the Word tells us that “the women sang to one another as they celebrated, ‘Saul has struck down his thousands, and David his ten thousands.’ (1 Samuel 18:7). Note too that the Psalms, the largest book in our Bible, was basically the Jewish songbook — and this is just a portion of the collection. Song of Solomon celebrates God’s gift of marital love.

Yet, the sweetest songs in all of Scripture have to do with the coming of our Savior Jesus Christ. We have songs by Mary (Luke 1:46-55), Zechariah (Luke 1:67-80), the angels (Luke 2:14-15), and Simeon who rejoiced at seeing the baby Jesus (Luke 2:29-32). And notice in Revelation the continual singing of the angels, the 24 elders, and all the inhabitants, exclaiming and praising the glory of our risen and exalted Savior.

You see, among Christians, they personally cannot help themselves. It just erupts. It’s much like what Psalm 30:11 says:

You have turned my mourning into dancing;
You have loosed my sackcloth
And clothed me with gladness,
That my glory may sing your praise and not be silent (Psalm 30:11-12a, ESV).

But the Scriptures also talk about a more formal leading of singing. In 1 Chron. 25:1, we see David setting up the worship service of the Temple:

David and the chiefs of the service also set apart for the service the sons of Asaph, and of Heman, and of Jeduthun, who prophesied with lyres, with harps, and with cymbals. The list of those who did the work and of their duties was:

They were all under the direction of their father in the music in the house of the Lord with cymbals, harps, and lyres for the service of the house of God. Asaph, Jeduthun, and Heman were under the order of the king. [7] The number of them along with their brothers, who were trained in singing to the Lord, all who were skillful, was 288. [8] And they cast lots for their duties, small and great, teacher and pupil alike.

So this is one of the reasons why we sing songs in a particular order in our worship services: David was a man after God’s own heart who led God’s people in unified praise and thanksgiving. And this is important.

Notice that when these choirs were singing, they always had this description: “Who gave thanks.”

People like to sing for different reasons. Sometimes, we enjoy songs because of the memories that come up. While a minister of music, I would ask folks to pick out a song, but one Sunday night I made them tell me why they picked them. I was a naïve seminary student who expected them to talk about some deep theological truth. Nine times out of ten, however, they would connect that some to some memory from their childhood or from a very moving service in the past.

Some like to sing, but only if it’s a certain style. Some only like the hymns — others only like newer sounding music. Some like choirs, others like praise teams. Some like piano and organ, some like more modern instrumentation.

Our reason for singing should be singing unto the Lord. We don’t just sing because of certain styles — we sing because of faithfulness to the Lord.

  1. My favorite is this:

    2 Chronicles 20:20 So they rose early in the morning and went out into the Wilderness of Tekoa; and as they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, O Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem: Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.” 21 And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the Lord, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying: “Praise the Lord, For His mercy endures forever.” 22 Now when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated.

  2. Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

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