The Christian Life is a Musical
Jim and I have both made the point that Psalms is God's hymn book. God gives His people a hymn book because He ordained for them to be a musical people.
When Adam first saw his new bride, his response (in the Hebrew text) is poetic: "This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man" (Gen 2:23). This is essentially the first love song. Our bent for poetry is as old as creation.
When Israel crossed the Red Sea, they sang a hymn of triumph (Ex. 15). Throughout Hebrew history, it was a tradition to sing when God gave them victory. They also sang when they suffered defeat.
King David became the sweet psalmist of Israel. Imagine a king who is also your nation's most prominent singer-songwriter. He also ordained musicians and choirs to perform his songs.
King David point us to King Jesus, who also was, and is, a singer. In Psalm 18, David thanks God for causing him to triumph in battle. He writes, "For this I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations, and sing to Your name" (v. 49). The Apostle Paul says that Christ's victory over sin fulfilled the words of David "in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy. As it is written, 'Therefore I will praise You among the Gentiles, and sing to Your name'" (Rom. 15:9). Christ's suffering and death, according to Paul, was a love song of praise performed in front of the nations. It's fitting, therefore, that Christ's final moments with the disciples on the night in which He was betrayed involved singing a hymn (Matt. 26:30). And He quoted a psalm with one of His dying breaths (Mark 15:34).
Paul tells us that the Spirit-filled life produces music. Christians are to be constantly "addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart" (Eph. 5:19). Singing and making melody are different. Singing is self-explanatory. But the making of melody is to be done "with" or "in" the heart. He means that our hearts have to provide the melody for our words. God wants to pluck our heart strings, not just our vocal cords.
Music is one of the most important things we do as a church. And it's something we should carry into our homes and work. It's an act of obedience. It's also a way of addressing the world. A while back I heard a story of a famous actor who became a Christian because his housekeeper was constantly singing hymns. After hearing these songs over and over, and being somewhat annoyed by them, he asked her, "Why do you keep singing these songs?" This was an open door for her to share the gospel. And the gospel changed his life.
I tell my daughters that the life of a Christian should be like a musical—a song could break out at any moment—even when it feels ridiculous. And the gospel should be the soundtrack of our lives.
I look forward to hearing your voices this coming Lord's Day.