Another Year of Choices
By Barbara Dahlgren
Some of us love to sing. When we’re alone in our Honda Civics we crank that music up loud, sing to the top of our lungs, bob our heads to the rhythm and “shake it off, shake it off” like we’re at a Taylor Swift concert. Then we make eye contact with the person in the BMW next to us and get all embarrassed. Well… I’d rather sing and get caught than not to sing at all.
Okay, so you can’t carry a tune and singing’s not your thing, but you can still make a joyful noise. (Psalm 100:1) Psalm 98:4 says, “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth…” It even says, “…make a loud noise and rejoice and sing praise.”
Music and/or singing is mentioned over 800 times in the Bible. The Psalms teach us that music was used to offer thanks, to praise and to worship God, but it was used for other purposes as well. It was used to…
- Soothe the soul (1 Samuel 16:23)
- Stir up the gift of prophesy (2 Kings 3:15)
- Inspire (2 Chronicles 20:21-22)
- Celebrate (Ezra 3:11)
- Express love (Song of Solomon 1-8)
- Teach God”s Word (Colossians 3:16)
- Release power of God (Acts 16:25-26)
- Etch the mighty power of God in our memories (Exodus 15:1)
- And much more
Yes, music is powerful! Today, studies show that music can…
- Affect your mood
- Alter buying habits
- Make you work more efficiently
- Relieve pain
- Reduce stress
- Increase stress
- Affect your eating habits
- Enhance athletic performance
- Teach children
- Help stroke patients regain speech
- Decrease stuttering
- And much more
God created music and it is good. While it’s true that man has polluted the good things God created, it doesn’t mean we can’t still enjoy music the way God intended. Every song we listen to doesn’t need to have religious overtones, but we would be better off staying away from music that incites conflict or promotes negative feelings. We know those attitudes do not come from God. Music can reflect moods, but it can influence moods as well. So we should think about what we listen to.
Consider this… God sings! Zephaniah 3:7 tells us God rejoices over us with singing. I don’t know if God breaks out in song when He thinks about us, just like in a musical, but I love how the Living Bible paraphrases this verse. It says, “Is that a joyous choir I hear? No, it is the Lord himself exulting over you in happy song.”
What about us? When we think about God do we sing a happy song. Perhaps we should. And when we do, there’s nothing wrong with pumping up the volume once in a while – especially if we can’t carry a tune.
Suggestions for practicing this choice…
- Don’t judge others based on their music preferences.
- Don’t presume God likes what you like and dislikes what you dislike when it comes to music. In other words, don’t set up your standards as God’s standards. There is nothing wrong with having likes and dislikes, but remember that even God enjoys a “loud” song once in a while. (Psalm 98:4)
- Don’t assume God likes the old hymns more than the new contemporary worship songs. There is nothing wrong with singing old hymns, but there is nothing wrong with singing a new song or even an old song in a new way. (Psalm 98:1)
- Try to appreciate all types of music. Remember that appreciating something is not the same as liking it. If we can’t truly appreciate all types of music, at least we can be tolerant. The message being conveyed is more important that the style.
- Think outside the box. That’s what I love about the Go Fish Guys. Sure their music is intended for kids but when I’m feeling a little low I pop one of their CDs in and listen to something like their Ten Commandment Boogie. Pretty soon I turn up the volume, sing along and bop until I drop – and guess what? I imagine that God is singing and dancing with me.