Saturday nights in our house are usually reserved for Sing-Along-with Robbie. Our friend Mark comes over with his guitar and we gather in the living room for an old-fashioned singspiration—an hour of some of Robbie’s favorite hymns, choruses, children’s songs, and occasionally pulling out an old folk song or music from our teen-age years. Robbie loves those nights. We all do, actually. Our sixty-something voices may not be all what they once were (although Mark still sounds good) but Robbie enjoys his favorite pastime of all—music—and we all enjoy watching him! Mark loves ministering to Robbie in this way, and we are so thankful for it. We gather around the table afterwards and share in some refreshment of both food and fellowship.
Last night’s sing-along was especially fun. Robbie has been doing very well lately with some medication changes and just seems to be jumping back into life with enthusiasm. I’ve noticed this week that he’s been “singing” more—long and loud and zealously! He loves to watch his children’s music on his little personal DVD player. This week he’s been singing along with the music—sometimes for hours at a time! I use the word singing loosely. Robbie has no words, and although his melodies have expanded from one note to three or four notes, he can’t carry a tune in a thimble—nevertheless he is definitely singing in his own unique way.
This time he joined in the singing with his whole heart and soul! He has kind of hummed along on other sing-along nights, but last night he sang with gusto! So what if he couldn’t say the words? God knew what was in his heart! So what if his tune was unrecognizable? He was making a joyful noise! Praise Him, praise Him!
Robbie knows a few signs in sign language—very few. One of those is the sign for music. He pulls it out occasionally, but I noticed this week he was signing music much more frequently. When he wanted his DVD player turned on or when I put him to bed and he wanted me to sing to him or play the harmonica, he would sign, “Music, please!” insistently until I took notice and complied. “Music” 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.
One of the messages of the Psalms, which were mostly written by King David and mention singing more than any other book of the Bible, could be signed by Robbie—“Music, please!” 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.
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.” Good news for those of you who think you can’t sing—it says in your hearts. Whether we’re listening to music, singing in our hearts or simply singing where no one can hear us, music soothes, refreshes and cheers!
God asks of us, “Music, please!” When we give Him that gift—no matter how beautiful or how out of tune our music may be—it blesses His heart, and it blesses ours, as well.