Torchbearers for Christ
Tuesday, January 23, 2018
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SONGS OF PRAISE

Singing has always been a means of expressing our feelings. Most of us enjoy singing and although we may not have particularly good voices, to sing can be uplifting. How enjoyable it can be to listen to an accomplished singer or choir!
 
We read in the Bible that, from earliest times, people have loved singing to the Lord. In the book of Psalms alone we read of people praising God in song eighty three times. Believers sang in times of victory (Exodus 15:1, Psalm 126:2, Zephaniah 3:14-15) and they sang in times of difficulty (Acts 16:25). They sang in the morning (Psalm 59:16-17), they sang at night (Job 35:10). People sang alone (Psalm 57:7) and they sang in congregations (Psalm 22:24). In Psalm 149:5 we are even told to sing in bed! 
 
Singing can not only be enjoyed by the singer, but it also pleases God (Psalm 69:30-31). We read of God Himself singing with joy over His people (Zephaniah 3:17) and we remember that Jesus and His disciples also sang shortly before His crucifixion (Matt. 26:30).
 
Six times in the Bible we read of “a new song”. What is the significance of this expression? The “new song” refers to salvation (Psalm 40:3, 96:1, 33:3, 144:9, Revelation 5:9, 14:3) because it flows from a new relationship with God - the finding of a new life and a changed heart.
 
It is interesting to notice that when God’s people were in Babylon, away from their godly environment, they were unable to sing the songs of the Lord (Psalm 137:2-3). However, when their captivity ended and they returned to Jerusalem, their mouths were filled with laughter and their tongues with singing (Psalm 126:2). Have you ever thought of the first thing you will do when Jesus returns and wakes you up at the resurrection? You will sing! Yes, read about it in Isaiah 26:19.
 
Let us think about the first three songs in the Bible. They are very significant. The first time God’s people sang was after He had saved them from their Egyptian slavery (Exodus 15). Moses and the people praised the Lord singing, “I will sing unto the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously....the Lord is my strength and my song, He is become my salvation”. A new life had begun for them and they were on their way to the promised land. Many of us can remember the delight we found when we first knew the Lord and sang His praises. I wonder whether those salvation songs are still as meaningful and as moving as when we first began singing them. The second song recorded in Scripture was when God gave His people water in the desert (Numbers 21:17). They sang, “Spring up, O well; sing ye unto it”. We remember how Jesus promises to give us a well of springing water, referring to the Spirit filled life (John 4:14). Then we read about the song of Deborah in Judges 5:1-2. It was about God giving His people victory when they willingly served Him. This is also very meaningful. God asks us to serve Him gladly (Psalm 100:2), willingly (Deut. 28:47), and for all the days of our life (Luke 1:74-75). Let us gather our thoughts about these three songs; the Song of Saving Waters, the Song of the Springing Well and the Song of Willing Service.
 
So let us keep up our singing because it is a preparation for singing in that glorious heavenly choir (Revelation 5:9-12).
 
This article was written by Pastor Geoffrey Davies. He is a frequent contributor to this column. He lives in Melbourne, Australia, where he pastored a church for over twenty-five years.  Since 1983 he has travelled widely, continuing his ministry of encouragement and Bible teaching.