Song & Study

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(Part 2)

We began last week with a study on the significance of music and our end goal is to see why and how we should incorporate hymns into our daily study time in God’s Word. We’ve seen the significance of singing from God’s perspective, examples of the important place that song is given in Scripture, and examples of some beautiful songs sung by saints we will meet in heaven.

Lastly, we took away three observations that ultimately boil down to one main focus:

Song is always about God and never about man.

How song is used in service.

In this week’s article, the focus is “song and service”, and all throughout the Bible music is very often spoken of in terms of service in either the Temple or the Tabernacle. In fact, there were entire families that were devoted to music that had come from the tribe of Levi.

For example, there were Levites that were appointed to song in tabernacle service by King David in 1 Chronicles 6 & 9, and instrumentalists were delegated in chapter 25.

“And these are they whom David set over the service of song in the house of the LORD, after that the ark had rest.” (1 Chronicles 6:31)

The singers in 1 Chronicles 9 were so busy with their ministry of song that they could not take part in any other Temple service. Verse 33 says, “And these are the singers, chief of the fathers of the Levites, who remaining in the chambers were free [from other duties]: for they were employed in that work day and night.” It goes on to say that they were chief throughout their generations; no, these were significant individuals, not just any old guy off the street would do for this crucial position of service.

In Nehemiah 11:23, during the process of rebuilding Jerusalem and the Temple, returning to Jehovah worship, it is stated that “a certain portion [a fixed share] should be for the singers, due for every day”. These were men of the tribe of Levi (the tribe that priests came from and who oversaw all aspects of Temple worship) and specifically the family of Asaph. Music was their sole responsibility and others were delegated to care for their other needs so they could focus on their service.

We also see that songs were very important for special occasions, such as for the Sabbath days. Psalm 92 is a beautiful song of thanks and praise to God, and it was written specifically for the Sabbath day. The first few verses go like this:

“It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High: to shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night, upon an instrument of ten strings, and upon the psaltery; upon the harp with a solemn sound. For thou, LORD, hast made me glad through thy work: I will trump in the works of thy hands. O LORD, how great are thy works! And thy thoughts are very deep…” Psalm 92:1-5

Another occasion song is Psalm 30, which was sung at the time that David’s house was completed and dedicated to Jehovah. How does this fit in with song as service? Well, a song isn’t very useful unless there’s someone to sing it! And of course, the appointed singers would have been responsible to bring this song of dedication before the people and to God.

Psalm 87

There are more mentions of singers and instrumentalists being appointed (see 2 Chronicles 5 & 20), but a reference to music that I love is found in Psalm 87. This Psalm speaks of a day that hasn’t come yet, a day when Zion will be the centre of the Messianic Kingdom and even the Gentiles will be there, worshipping God.

This song speaks of the love that God has for Zion and its glorious reputation. Not only will it be noted who was born in that great city, but specifically, “As well the singers as the players on instruments shall be there: all my springs are in thee.” (Verse 7) It will be an incredible place and full of new life, established by the Highest Himself (verse 5).

Concluding thoughts

If it isn’t clear to you yet that song is so, so important, I hope that next week’s article will bring that point home, but I’m sure you are at least coming to see that music isn’t just something to play around the house or a little ditty you might have stuck in your head. It isn’t about concert halls or even church auditoriums. It isn’t about perfect pitch and amazing vocalists, or who can put on the best performance. And it definitely isn’t about making ourselves feel some kind of way, or trying to achieve an emotional high.

Always in Scripture, music is about God and for His glory. It gives us, His human creatures, the opportunity to give ourselves to serving Him while at the same time allowing us a creative outlet for our worship.

I pray that you have been challenged and encouraged as we study this out together in Scripture – and I hope that this inspires you to do your own study! Figure out what the Bible says about music and let God show you what you should be listening to and singing. After that, the controversy that others choose to engage in on this topic really won’t matter any more.

Don’t forget to come back next week as we wrap up Song & Study and check us out on Instagram @walkworthy_kjh for weekly hymn suggestions in the month of August.

Click here for a Petersen’s Be Still My Soul, a great resource to get you started in adding hymns to your everyday Bible study time!

Click here for last week’s article.

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