A Singing Church
One of the several blessings enjoyed when the church meets is that of singing. When our church did not meet for several weeks because of the pandemic I heard people speak about how they missed singing. They could hear preaching by livestream but something was missing when the church could not sing together.
Singing at church did not come about as the result of an effort to plan an order of service; we see it by example and command in the scriptures. In fact the Bible has a lot to say about singing. The children of Israel sang when the Lord delivered them at the Red Sea. “Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the Lord, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God and I will exalt him” (Exodus 15:1-2). Isn’t that good! Take time to read more of it. The people witnessed this great deliverance. They knew it was by God’s power and not by human strength they we delivered, so they, no doubt with great joy, gave God the glory.
In Nehemiah’s day when the wall was completed the people got up on the wall praising God, giving thanks, singing, and the singers sang loud. “Also that day they offered great sacrifices, and rejoiced: for God had made them rejoice with great joy: the wives also and the children rejoiced: so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard even afar off” (Nehemiah 12:43). What a day! They had faced opposition, ridicule and discouragement but now the wall is up and the city can now be inhabited safely once again. They knew it was by God’s blessing that the victory was won and the work completed, so they sang praises to His name. What a celebration; their joy was heard even afar off.
When we come to the Psalms we find all kinds of songs. Songs of praise, cries for help, songs in the morning and songs at night, songs of mourning and songs of joy. Do we not regularly go to the Psalms to read our experience, to find hope and courage in the darkest of times. Soon we find ourselves singing these beautiful words written so long ago. When Paul addressed the church at Colosse about singing, he Included an admonition to sing psalms.
After Jesus had observed the Passover with His disciples and established the Lord’s supper it says “And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives” (Matthew 26:30). Then we find Paul singing when in jail. “And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them” (Acts 16:25). He and Silas were in jail for the gospel’s sake and what an example they set. They were not complaining because of their unpleasant circumstances, but singing praises to God at the midnight hour.
Then when writing the Colossian letter he emphasizes the importance of singing. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom: teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with melody in your hearts to the Lord” (Colossians 3:16). When the Lord’s people join their voices while making melody in their heart to the Lord, it is a blessed experience. When hymns that express the truth about God are sung, we are “teaching and admonishing one another.”
As and example we see great truth is proclaimed when we sing that old familiar hymn:
Holy, holy, holy! Lord God almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee.
Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!
We are reminded God is Holy, He is Almighty and He is merciful—truth for us to believe and solid reasons for our song of praise to go up unto Him.
So we have seen singing at the sea, singing on the wall, singing in the morning, singing in the night, singing in the upper room, and singing in jail. And what a joy when the church sings praises to God with joy and melody in the heart.
But there is a place where even greater songs are being sung. There is singing in heaven. “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and has redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation” (Revelation 4:9).
I have been in services when the singing was so uplifting, so joyous, such a blessing words could hardly describe it, but what must the singing be like in heaven. No discords, no faltering voices; but perfect songs sung by perfect people. And think of it; if we by grace are in the family of God we will go there some day to join that chorus. How wonderful to consider it, praising Jesus Christ in perfection, forever! May there be beautiful songs of adoration and praise lifted up in the church now as we anticipate that great day when we will sing in heaven.