Julie and I sat up late one night talking when she was here about a month ago. Robbie was sitting next to us, listening to his children’s music DVDs. Finally, around one in the morning, Robbie’s video ended and Julie stood up and said, “Well, I guess we’d better get to bed.”
The party was over. Robbie looked up with a pout on his lips and a furrow across his brow and suddenly did something he hadn’t done in over twelve years. He signed, “Mommy, Sissy! Music, please!”
Robbie has never talked except to say an occasional “Ma!” and, years ago, “Da!” Over the course of his school years, we attempted to teach him sign language. He learned to recognize about a dozen signs, and actually do six or seven—mommy, daddy, sister, Robbie, please, more, music… Of those, the only one he really retained after he got sick and had more brain damage was “please.”
Now here he was, suddenly putting four signs from his past together in a phrase! I wondered if I had imagined it, or if it was just a fluke, but no—he repeated it several times with a big grin on his face when he realized I recognized what he was signing. Needless to say, I was thrilled! Over the years I had tried to get him to do those signs, but he never would. I suspected he could if he wanted to, but he was pulling my chain and being stubborn about it—when and if he did them it would be on his terms! Now, sure enough, our little party animal didn’t want to go to bed so he pulled out his secret trick! “Mommy, Sissy! Music, please!”
That was a month ago. The other night I was sitting next to Robbie when Julie called. I put her on speaker phone so he could hear her voice. “Hi, Robbie!” she said. He immediately began signing, “Music please!” Julie often sings to him over the telephone. I told her what he was doing, so she laughed and sang him a song. When it ended, he signed, “Music please” again. She sang another song. Over and over again, as soon as she stopped, he would sign his request and she would oblige. Finally she said, “Okay, Robbie just one more and then Mommy and I get to talk. When we’re finished, I’ll sing one more before we hang up.” That seemed to satisfy him.
He’s been signing “music” now fairly frequently. It is the most difficult of his signs for him to do because it requires a more complex motion. The right hand sweeps back and forth over the left forearm—as if one were playing a lute, or David’s harp.
Speaking of David—I and II Chronicles, which tell the story of David, are full of instances when he sang and led the nation in singing praises unto God. One of the messages of the Psalms, which were mostly written by David and mention singing more than any other book of the Bible, could be signed by Robbie—“Music, please!”
Music is as much a part of God’s awesome, beautiful, intricate, varied creation as the mountains’ grandeur, the colorful plant world, the beauty of the tropics, the vastness of the oceans, the amazing variety of animals and the mystery and complexity of humans. God gave us music as a gift—and He wants us to give it back to Him as an offering of worship, praise and thanksgiving to our Creator. Music, please!
When we take a look at the Psalms we see several purposes for music as our gift back to God. The first is as an avenue of worship simply for who He is—His attributes. It is an acknowledgement that He is righteous; His name is glorious, honorable, and most high; He is strong and powerful and holy; He is merciful, and our defense and refuge; He is true and faithful, He is our rock and salvation; He is good; He is just. (Psalms 7:17; 9:2; 21:13; 30:4; 59:16-17; 66:2; 71:22; 81:1; 89:1; 95:1; 96:2; 101:1; 138:5; 145:7)
Our music should also be a testimony before others of His greatness; of His power and the marvelous things He has done and wondrous works He has wrought; of His victorious, righteous and just rule. It should be a testimony to those around us, to our enemies, to the nations and to the heathen. (Psalms 9:11; 18:49; 57:9; 67:4; 98:1; 105:2l 108:2; 126:2; 138:1; 149:1)
Our gift of music back to God should reflect thanksgiving. He gives abundantly and bountifully far above what we deserve. He gives us victory and redemption. (Psalm 13:6; 27:6; 71:23; 92:1) Psalm 147:7 says, “Sing unto the Lord with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God.” and then to keep singing! Psalm 30: 12 tells us, “To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks unto thee forever.”
Many of the verses in Psalms tell us to simply praise and rejoice in Him with singing, with musical instruments and even in dance! Sing loudly! Sing joyfully! Sing for it is good and pleasant and beautiful! Sing upon your bed! Sing with all your being as long as you live! (Psalm 33:2-3; 47:6-7; 57:7; 61:8; 65:13; 66:4; 68:4, 25, 32; 75:9; 92:1; 96:1; 98:4-5; 100:2; 104:33; 108:1; 135:3; 144:9; 146:2; 147:1; 149:3, 5)
You may be wondering why I listed all these references. I read every one of these verses—several times, in fact—and it just made my heart happy. Two verses in the New Testament mention psalms and singing and how they encourage, edify and uplift us and those around us. Ephesians 5:19 says, “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” Likewise, Colossians 3:16 says, “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 grace in your hearts to the Lord.”
God asks of us, “Music, please!” When we give Him that gift—no matter how beautiful or out of tune our music may be—it blesses His heart, and it blesses ours, as well.