It is not until we come to Genesis 31 that we find the word song or singing in Scripture. There Laban used the word song in his rebuke against Jacob. Jacob had fled away from Laban with his two wives, who were daughters of Laban. Laban had treated Jacob shamefully and unjustly, and that moved Jacob to flee and go back to Canaan. Laban was infuriated and caught up with Jacob, rebuked him for his flight and said to him, “Wherefore didst thou flee away secretly, and steal away from me; and didst not tell me, that I might have sent thee away with mirth, and with songs, with tabret, and with harp?”
Quite plainly that is the first time that in Scripture we read of singing. And it is usually when one’s heart is full of joy that one sings. When something hurts us bodily or psychologically we weep and have tears, not singing. And the last time that we in Scripture read of singing is in Revelation 15:3, 4, where we read, “And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are Thy works, Lord Almighty: just and true are thy ways. Who shall not fear Thee, O Lord, and glorify Thy name?” Singing then is glorifying God; and that should be our singing. Is it yours, Young People?
It is interesting, is it not, Young People, that we read of singing in the first and last books of the Bible? We do by the way, also read of it in the books in between, songs of praise to God. Psalm 95 begins with these words, “O come, let us sing into the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.” Then in Psalm 96 we find the psalmist beginning with these words, “O sing unto the Lord a new song: sing unto the Lord, all the earth.” A further explanation we find in Psalm 98, which begins thus: “O sing unto the Lord a new song, for He hath done marvelous things: His holy arm hath gotten Him the victory.”
Singing, however, is very often deceptive. Men sing because they like the music, not the words of truth mentioned in that song. In my childhood days we were taught in a Christian School to sing a Dutch Psalm. We did at a program; but we did not know what we were singing. Sometimes we hear men or women singing over the radio that which utters words of a foreign language. Often what is called a church Choir or Choral Society sings muffled words that are difficult, if not often impossible, for us to understand. Some of the world will sing to make money, and even sing the songs of the Messiah, wherein we have literal quotations from the Word of God. Some singing will produce clapping of hands because of the melody with its rich harmony; not because of the Word of God being sung. And we should not clap our hands and praise the singers. It is God Who should be praised and thanked for the truth sung, and for the gift and talents of singing. We must praise God from Whom all blessings flow. And He does not need or want clapping as praise to men. As we do sing, “All that I am I owe to Thee, Thy wisdom, Lord, has fashioned me; I give my Maker thankful praise, Whose wondrous works my soul amaze” Psalter number 383 and its first stanza. Be sure that if you clap, you are doing it to praise God and not men to whom He has given talents and abilities. And praise Him for the truth that was sung, not for the music, which the unbelievers also can enthusiastically use.
A very important question, therefore, also is about our worship services and singing during them. We are called to sing several times in our worship services. But so often, even though we do sing, the truth is not in our minds and hearts, and we “sing” the words without enthusiasm, without thought even of what we are singing. The lips hardly open. The singing is far from enthusiastic and we are glad when it is all over and we can go home. Our lips sing but not our hearts. And so often when we do sing enthusiastically, it is because of the music, not the words. Hymns that sing false doctrines, doctrinal untruths are for many favorite songs. And Satan uses men to produce songs that do express certain truths in order to get us to sing them with those elements of untruth. He is clever, Young People, and he is trying to get us to adopt these false doctrines because we enjoy singing and hearing the music of them.
There is an awesome truth which we ought to bear in mind, and ought to control all our singing. We should sing God’s praises and sing unto HIM. Yes, we may sing before other people, even as we may in public prayer lead others before God’s throne of grace. God made us in His own image in order that we might be able to sing unto Him. He also caused us to be born again so that we would be able and willing to praise Him. He finds delight in the praise of man.
Animals and plants, the whole earthly creation, were made to serve is. All the needs of life for us are in these plants and animals as far as the food we need is concerned. Rain and sunshine are also necessary as well as the power of gravity that keeps us on this earth, and darkness that gives us refreshing sleep, all this gives us reason to praise God. But especially the gift of His own Son, and the cross with its reward are for His praise.
God Himself declares through Isaiah: “This people have I formed for Myself; they shall show forth My praise” Isaiah 43:21. Get that, Young People. The profound, the deep purpose of man being brought into existence, and especially his being raised to be like Christ through His cross and Spirit, is that God may be praised. Surely then, having been saved from our guilt, having been saved through the death of the Son of God for us to become new men in Christ, calls for His praise in song as well as in prayer and speech.
The serious question therefore is, “What do you young people listen to on your automobile’s radio or the radio or television set at home? What songs appeal the most to you, and to what programs do you run for hearing singing?
We live in a very wicked world today. Even as this world has developed in sin with the amazing inventions of man, Satan has developed sin in the hearts and lives of mankind. And the serious question is how much we fall into them. We who are senior citizens can see so clearly how much more wicked the world is than when we were young people. It is awesome and sad to see how much the church world has fallen farther away from the truth and into allowing and manifesting itself as walking even as the children of the devil are walking.
What many churches sing today, what can be heard in their programs, and over their radio programs, reveals that we are rushing toward the day of the antichrist, and that God will soon come with His holy wrath upon the whole human race that denies Him, hates His church, and will not even let us buy or sell pretty soon, unless we have the mark of the beast. And we should be careful that we are not brought over to the false doctrines not only, but also the worldly singing. Some of the singing, of what calls itself church is today with banging and appeal to our flesh, rather than to our souls which have been born again.
Listen, Young People, to what Paul tells us—No, let us put it this way, Listen to what God says through the apostle Paul—in II Corinthians 6:17. There we read, “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, and touch not the unclean thing: and I will receive you.” Listen also to what our God said through Isaiah in Chapter 52:11 namely, “Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord.”
“Touch no unclean thing” means that with your ears you will not let the false doctrines and the carnal music enter into your soul. Hear them delightfully with your ears and you are bringing them to touch your souls and to corrupt them. It must not be music that thrills your flesh. It must be music that makes your heart rejoice because God is being praised, as is our calling.
Remember that Jesus—to Whom we must listen—taught us to pray, “Hallowed by Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.” He concluded the prayer with the words “For Thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever.” Let these truths be that which you sing and want to sing as well as pray.
And let us hear you young people sing in our church worship services. Not because we want to hear music and singing. This is written to you because our desire is to see and hear you spiritually enthusiastic, and see you spiritually strengthened. Your singing reveals a great deal to us; but it should also serve greatly for your spiritual wellbeing.
Striking is it not? That because these Scriptural truths are remembered more quickly and taken with us more surely when they are set to music, that David also said, “I will sing of mercy and of judgment: unto Thee, O Lord will I sing.” Psalm 101:1. We remember more passages from Holy Writ that are set to song than that which we simply read now and then.
Here is a beautiful example. Sing it from the heart:
“Sing a new song to Jehovah
For the wonders He has wrought;
His right hand and arm most holy
Triumph to His cause have brought.
In His love and tender mercy
He has made salvation known,
In the sight of ev’ry nation
He His righteousness hath shown.
Psalter # 261:1