What’s With all the Singing?

“It is good to praise the LORD and make music to your name, O Most High” (Psalm 91:1).

Why do Christians sing praises?

Why do we sing hymns or praise songs at church?

Is it to get us in the right mood to worship and listen to God’s word?

For new Christians and new people exploring the faith, the singing bit is one of the most awkward things about worship. In no other contexts do people collectively just bust out in song. Well, actually people do that in concerts when their favorite song is played. But that’s for a different day.

For this day I want us to explore the reason why we sing praises to God in worship.

First, it is because God is worthy. If there is anyone in the universe that is worthy of our worship and praise it is God. God wouldn’t have to do anything and God is worthy of praise. You know why? Because he is God!

But, not only is he worthy of praise because he is God, but our God is worthy of our praise because he is such an awesome, gracious, loving, forgiving, kind God. He doesn’t have to be. He could be anything he wants and he is still God, and as God is worthy of praise. But he is our God and our God is awesome!

Our God is absolutely worthy of praise.

Second reason why the church sings praise songs is because it is a form of spiritual warfare. Satan hates it when we praise God. Satan hates it when God’s people sing praise to God because we are most fully who we were created to be when we worship God. Satan hates that.

So, you know what we do every time we gather to worship? We praise God.

Yup. The psalmist had it right. “It is good to praise the LORD and make music to your name, O Most High.”

He Wept

“Jesus wept” (John 11:35).

When a spouse dies, when something terrible happens it’s okay to be sad. It would be wrong not to be sad in such situations.

It is absolutely possible to be full of hope and confidence in the promise of the resurrection AND be totally and absolutely devastated by the pain of death and momentary separation.

I don’t know who wrote this, but I’m really glad they did. It’s called “He Cried”

He cried…
He knew Lazarus was dead before he got the news…
But still, he cried…
He knew Lazarus would be alive again in moments…
But still, he cried…
He knew death here is not forever. He knew eternity and the kingdom better than anyone else could…
Yet he wept…
Because this world is full of pain and regret, and loss, and depression, and devastation.
He wept because knowing the end of the story doesn’t mean you can’t cry at the sad parts.

Listen to Him

“Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance” (Proverbs 1:5).

John Ortberg tells a story of a friend who went cave diving:

My friend Danny went spelunking in the caves of Iowa. The man guiding took him deep underground, then said he would lead Danny through passageway into a spectacular chamber. The passageway was small enough that Danny had to stoop at first. Then as it grew still smaller, he had to get on his hands and knees. Eventually the only way to go forward was to lay on his back and push his body forward with his fee. Then the ceiling was so low that when he inhaled he could not move at all! He had to stop, inhale, and exhale, and only then was his chest low enough to allow him to move. By this point it was physically impossible to back out. If the passageway had gotten any smaller they would have lain there and died in that cave.

Danny is a sky-diving, mountain-climbing, hang-gliding thrill-seeker, but there in that cave he felt sheer panic. He was terrified. He tried fighting his fear, but he kept picturing his dead body moldering in the cave. Finally, he told his guide he was about to lose it, and the guide said, “Danny, close your eyes and listen to my voice. I will keep talking, calmly, and guide you through this. We will be okay. I have been here before. I will get you to the other side. But you must listen to my voice. It will not work for you to let your thoughts run wild. Just focus on my voice.”

Danny did so. What freed him from panic and fear was not trying hard to quit thinking fearful thoughts. It was listening to another voice.

What is true for Danny is true for us. When things are spiraling out of control, when our thoughts are racing, going inward, seeking what our heart desires, etc. only gets us deeper in trouble. What we need is not more of our thoughts, ourselves. What we need is God’s voice.

Listen to him.