By Mike Gilland
I can’t imagine a world without singing. Let’s face it, both vocal and instrumental music are part of our daily lives, no matter where we live, and no matter what we do. At some point of the day, in some context, we are all going to encounter a song. And, I for one am very happy about that! In fact, in these crazy times of quarantine, most of today’s big time music artists are recording songs from their own home, and sharing them with us on YouTube!
I don’t remember how old I was when I first learned that the book of Psalms was really a book of songs, but knowing that made an impact on my life. The realization that the people of God in the Old Testament had an organized songbook that was inspired by God was fascinating to me.
Now, I grew up in a church that sang from songbooks, or hymnals, and it was a regular occurrence for the “song leader” (as he was known back then) to direct us to sing the first, second, and fourth verses of the song. (I always wondered why they did that, and what was wrong with verse 3? Hmmm.)
Some of those songs that we sang spoke of the blessings of God. Some were about heaven, and our longing to go there. Some songs were written based on the teaching in the book of Psalms, and those were some of my favorites, and still are.
The reason that the early church sang… the reason that Israel had a book of songs… is because God loves music! Can you imagine what kind of experience it would be to hear HIM sing? And what is so amazing – He, the Lord God Almighty, sings over His own people. Check out this passage in the Old Testament:
The Lord your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.
(Zephaniah 3:17, ESV)
That concept is overwhelming, but it is true. If you are a believer, God sings over you…loudly! And God delights in our singing and offering up praises to Him.
As a pastor, I was privileged to study the writings of Derek Kidner, a British theologian of great renown, whose works and study on the Psalms are legendary. He passed away in 2008, but not before giving us great commentaries, including some on the Psalms and Proverbs.
One of my favorite quotes from Kidner is this:
“Where God rules, where God is, there is singing.”
Today, regardless of what you are facing in your life, I believe that you will benefit from remembering these simple truths – first, God inhabits the praises of His people, and second, He is singing over His people as well.
It’s no wonder then that true worship is so fulfilling… God’s people are being blessed by the Singing God.
So, remember that. And, when you can, check out some of those third verses in those old hymns. They’re actually pretty good!
Mike Gilland is Operations Manager for The Shepherd Radio Network, a group of radio stations in Florida that features the “Christian Teach/Talk” format. Mike hosts a daily talk radio show in the 2 PM hour called “Afternoons with Mike”, talking to local pastors and newsmakers. In Orlando, The Shepherd is heard on WIWA, AM 1270. In addition to his broadcast experience, Mike spent 36 years in full-time ministry as a pastor and worship leader. As a guitarist, Mike performs at concerts, restaurants, private parties, etc. He is married to Cindy, the father of four grown children and grandfather to seven grandchildren.