The “Plague” of Singing

The beauty of singing as a means of praise to God is something that truly cannot be paralleled by any of man’s inventions. Beyond the fact of its commandment by God and his statements that this is what he wants to hear, there are few things that can bring the wonderful sentiments of God’s graciousness and glory to bear like singing.

Unfortunately, we seem to have a plague among the congregations of the Lord’s body in American society today. It seems that many congregations are filled with individuals who are afraid to sing out or unwilling to sing at all. These individuals, many times, do not understand the situation in which they place themselves with their actions.

Singing is a command of God (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16). As such, when we fail to fulfill that command we are sinning because sin, by definition, is violating God’s laws and commands (I John 3:4). We must take very seriously the things stated in Scripture concerning this topic. They are not suggestions, but are commands that must be upheld.

When one does not sing as God has commanded, there are a couple of things that individual cannot complete as commanded. That individual cannot fulfill the command to make melody in/with their heart to the Lord (Eph. 5:19). There is a direct correlation made between “singing” and “making melody in/with the heart.” The degree to which we sing is the degree to which the melody of the heart is made to the Lord. It is the instrument by which the joy of the heart is placed before God. When one refuses to sing, or to sing so as to be heard, they are refusing to use the melody of the heart and thus show an unwillingness to present a heart of gladness to God. It is therefore difficult to understand how some of these individuals can bellow songs from the radio throughout the week or sing in many other places and on many other occasions, but become eerily void of determinable sound in the assembly. Friends, such things should not be so.

A second abstention when one does not sing, or does not sing audibly enough to be heard, is that they willfully refuse to teach through song as they are commanded. Colossians 3:16 commands us to teach and admonish one another through the songs that we sing. These songs are to be mutually beneficial to all who are present. The unwillingness to fulfill this command is just as detrimental to one’s soul as the unwillingness to tell others about Christ. It demonstrates what borders on a fear of teaching others about the one who died that we might live. Yet, there have been individuals who will talk to friends right and left about Biblical matters and teach the truth in Bible classes, but will not sing and fulfill their responsibilities to teach in that manner. Such conduct is inconsistent at best.

There are various explanations given as to why people don’t sing, or aren’t audible in the assembly; whether it be the argument that they “cannot carry a tune in a bucket,” or they can’t read music, or one of the other myriad excuses conjured by the withholder. God will not excuse those who are physically capable, but spiritually unwilling to fulfill his commands.

The Psalmist proclaims, “Sing aloud unto God our strength, make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob” (Psa. 81:1). Though the commandments of the Old Law (such as the use of instrumental music) cannot serve as authority for us today; the attitudes referenced for their worship should be present in ours as well. They are told to make a “joyful noise,” not a melodically perfect noise. It seems that many times we are more concerned with how our singing sounds to our own ears than how it sounds to God. Yet it is the melody of the heart demonstrated through our singing that is important to him. Maybe we do place too much emphasis on the sound of “four part harmony” in our services. The emphasis must be on the attitude, the words, and the action, not on the perceived effect of the output.

Let us therefore look at our singing, not as a plague, but as a privilege. Not as a chore that we must do, but as a cherished part of our worship that we can do. Above all, let us worship God as he commanded, with praise, honor, and glory to his name.

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