Advent 2014 – Week 1 Day 3
1 My heart is steadfast, O God! 2 I will sing and make melody with all my being! 3 Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn! 4 I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations. 5 For your steadfast love is great above the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. 6 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth! 6 That your beloved ones may be delivered, give salvation by your right hand and answer me! ~ Psalm 108:1-6
The Power of Singing
David, the writer of this Psalm, has seen and experienced God’s faithfulness and blessing throughout his life in ways that most of us never will. David has seen God use him to protect his flock from wild animals, defeat Goliath and rout the Philistines, cleanse the Promise Land of invaders, and establish a kingdom of peace among God’s chosen people. How does he respond? With singing.
Most who had accomplished the great things that David had would write songs about their own exploits and their own greatness. David, however, was quick to identify the source of his victories. He recognized that it is the steadfast love and faithfulness of God that upholds the people (v.4), that God’s glory and not his own will be made known (v.5), and that God is the one who delivers and saves (v.6). When we recognize and remember God’s faithfulness and love toward us, the proper response is gratitude.
Singing is a critical part of responding to God for the great things he has done. Songs are comprised of two main components – the words and the music. Good songs use the words to communicate the truth of who God is and what he has done, while the music stirs our affections, helping us to know how to feel or how to internalize the truth being communicated. Good songs should move us, not just for the sake of having an emotional experience, but to help us own the truth and cling to it in times of need. Poor words with good music only serve to misguide our thoughts; good words with poor music can be easily ignored or forgotten; good words with good music become a powerful tool of communication.
The first half of Psalm 108 serves several purposes: It communicates praise and adoration, prompts a reminder of who God is and what he has done, and expresses a crying out for God’s continued deliverance. All of this flows from a posture of gratitude, recognizing that it is God who rescues us in spite of our unfaithfulness. During Advent, we sing for the same reasons – praising God for sending his Son into the world as a man, remembering his love for us that he demonstrated by taking on the form of a servant (Phil.2:7), and longing for the day he returns and makes all things new.
Remember, “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” So look for good songs, make them your own, then sing out!
“So sing out with joy for the brave little boy / Who was God, but he made himself nothing”
Andrew Peterson “Gather Round, Ye Children, Come”
Additional songs for reflection: “Joy to the World” and “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus”