I Will Sing of My Redeemer
Throughout the Scriptures there are numerous commands to sing praise to the Lord. There are several reasons for this, the primary being that He is worthy of our praise. Second, He has given us minds to understand His worth and voices to proclaim it, and it is our duty as His creatures to do so, and He holds us to account when we do not. And, third, it is our privilege as the redeemed among His creatures to be able to sing praise to Him out of the gratitude and joy of our hearts.
Not all of us think of ourselves as singers. Some don’t derive much pleasure from music. As one who has spent a lot of time up on the platform during services and able to observe, I am often surprised by how many people do not participate in the singing during services, and I have wondered why those individuals abstain—not in a judgy way, but out of curiosity. What is going on in their minds and hearts that hold them back from worshiping in song with those around them?
Regardless of how we view the quality of our voices, Scriptures never say, “Those who are fine of voice, and those who are trained, sing praise.” Nor does it say, “If you are tone deaf, under pitch, or can’t carry a tune in a bucket, you are exempted.” In fact, what it says is, “Make a joyful noise.” If we feel our vocal qualities aren’t up to snuff with those around us, we are still under God’s command to sing praise (or at least make noise joyfully), and if it humbles us to obey that command, perhaps we are worshiping with a truer heart than someone around us who is more thrilled with the sound of his or her own voice than the God to whom they are singing. Just a thought.
The commands to sing, like the verse above, also often require an accompanying attitude—joy! That’s another thing often absent, whether we are gazing out at a congregation, or looking at the choir (something Pastor Doug often tries to correct in his choir members). There seems to be a disconnect between the words that are being sung and the faces of the singers. That disconnect can happen in either mind (engaging in the meaning of the words being sung), or the heart (responding to the meaning), or both. As a choir member I often struggled to engage while in rehearsing, because I was concentrating on the musicality, but I attempted to communicate the meaning of the words by countenance when it came time to sing in service—one was work, the other worship. However, as a congregation, our business on a Sunday morning is all about gathering to worship, and we really ought to come into the worship center prepared to engage our minds and hearts to intentionally and joyfully obey the command to sing with joy to the Lord in sincere worship.
This song makes it easy to rejoice in the great truths of our redemption, because it is so celebratory in its expression. It reminds us that we have been redeemed and purchased through the extreme price of His own blood. It reminds us that we have been forgiven—pardoned forever—our unpayable debt fully met, and our freedom sure. Do those truths still thrill us, or have we come to the point that we take them for granted? Have some of us been believers so long that we no longer see ourselves as the great debtors we are; forgetting that we still need His tender mercy every day of our lives? Do we realize that there is still a great gulf between our daily sinful tendencies and His great holiness that only His “grace in which we stand” spans? We would do well to cultivate more humble gratitude for what we receive from Him each day.
Our salvation is sure, but it is not a “one and done” kind of event where we can claim His redemption, then go on with life as usual, just feeling our ticket has been punched for some day, giving little thought to Him or what He has done for us from day to day. Our salvation is about both now and then. It is a “ticket” to enter into the abundant life He promised now—experiencing the joy of knowing we have been saved to be in relationship with Him. It is a “ticket” to finder deeper union with Him each day, to understanding more and more what it means that He has redeemed us, to knowing what pleases Him and finding joy in doing that. In fact, if we do not have joy in our salvation, find Him to be the center of our desires and intentions, and desire His glory in our lives, we need to seriously examine our hearts, for we are in danger of the judgments Jesus spoke against the church of Ephesus because they had lost their first love of Him (see Rev.2:1-7). If we don’t enjoy Him now, why would we want to spend eternity with Him? If we aren’t grateful for His redemption now, have we really understood from what we were saved, and for whom?
If praising our Lord does not activate our joy buttons, it is time to prayerfully evaluate our spiritual temperature and discover the reason for any coolness that may have set in. We should begin with preparing our minds and hearts for our next opportunity to worship corporately, and that starts by amping up our times of private reflection and worship. We should remind ourselves why we needed the Lord’s salvation, and where we’d be without that. We should remember who He is, and what He has done for us, especially the great price He paid to redeem us. We should ask the Lord to reveal to us the reasons He has given us to rejoice in Him, and to “tune our hearts to sing His praise.” If we are intentional, it shouldn’t take long for us to express more true joy in our worship of this loving and awesome Redeemer!