I’m dating myself here, but in the late 50’s, early 60’s, I was obsessed as a teenager with the music, popularity and personalities of a men’s trio who sang folk songs. I bought their records, attended their concerts when in town. They made me smile every time I heard one of their tunes on the radio.
On April 4, 1960, The Kingston Trio (Dave Guard, Bob Shane and Nick Reynolds) put out a vinyl LP record that was #1 on the Billboard Charts for 40 weeks: The Kingston Trio SOLD OUT.
The Free Dictionary defines SOLD-OUT: Having all tickets or accommodations completely sold especially ahead of time.
How does all this apply to our Bible text?
1 Chronicles 25 – Dedicated to the Song Leaders, Singers and Instrumentalists in the Assembly–
God works through those of us who are sold-0ut—sold out completely to His will and purposes. God doesn’t work through buildings, plans or fads.
According to the following verses we’ll look at, it is His will that we PRAISE Him in song proclaiming His truths with music–sold out completely ahead of time.
1 Chronicles 25:1 (NIV):
DAVID. TOGETHER with the commanders of the army, set apart some of the sons of Asaph, Heman and Jeduthun for the ministry of prophesying, accompanied by harps, lyres and cymbals.
Understanding The Character of the “Song Service” –
What do I mean by “the character”? The New Roget’s Thesaurus says it this way: character, nature, make-up, mood, bent, frame of mind, emotions, disposition, caliber, quality, mannerism…
The character of the “Song Service” in churches today is to reflect singing that praises God in such a way that it prepares the spiritual heart to the presence of God into worship; and all in accordance to that which brings Glory to God.
That is my opinion and I’m sticking with it. It’s what my CHARACTER needs to be before the worship and praise even begins.
The Pleasure of Music in the house–
MUSIC has always been a part of my life since I was three years old, hearing the stories from my mom and dad growing up.
One afternoon my mom came into our living room, and there, a three-year old little boy was standing on a chair in front of the radio, waving his arms and hands in every such way in directing the Philadelphia Philharmonic Orchestra; totally unaware of the audience of one. And my music appreciation went on from there…according to my mom. That was 70 years ago and I still occasionally wave my arms and hands directing music from CD’s; but not standing on a chair.
There are many INSTRUMENTS found in the Bible–
And as you read along in Chapter 25, they are used by man for prophesying by singing about the TRUTHS & WORKS of God.
What does it mean,”PROPHESYING” – Hebrew word is han-nib ba – “to prophesy under the influence of divine spirit. [a] in the ecstatic state, with song.” [*Note: See Footnote [i] for reference.]
In the book of 1 Samuel, chapter 10, we read of a “…procession of prophets coming down from the high place with lyres, tambourines, flutes and harps being played before them, and they were prophesying” (1 Samuel 10:5).
I’m in agreement with those who say PROPHESYING here is not a prophetic utterance of future events, but singing the praises of God through songs proclaiming truths already revealed.
How can this be applied to the New Testament church in our song services? The twin epistles of Paul to the churches at Ephesus and Colossae speaks to this matter:
“Speak out to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, offering praise with voices [and instruments] and making melody with ALL YOUR HEART to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19 AMP).
“Let the word [spoken by] Christ (the Messiah) have its home [in your hearts and minds] and dwell in you in [all its] richness, as you teach and admonish and train one another in all insight and intelligence and wisdom [in spiritual things, and as you sing] psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, making melody to God with [His] grace in your hearts” (Colossians 3:16 AMP).
THAT’S BEING “SOLD OUT” to Christ before and during the church Song Services!
That is “prophesying” in a nutshell! To who? The people all around you on Sunday morning.
God Works Through Those Who Are “SOLD OUT!”
I believe that one of the character traits of the song service PRAISE TEAM is to lead and sing songs that please the LORD; to proclaim His mighty works. When done correctly, SOLD OUT to Jesus, the devoted children of God can expect the presence of Holy Spirit in the house that will empower others to sing praises to the LORD and the mighty works of God.
The Human Voice: My Favorite Wind Instrument [*See Footnote [ii] ]
In studying this past week in 1 Chronicles 25, I ran across an article by Cheryl Hodge that lined up perfectly with my own musical past. I have been asked many times over the years if I play an instrument based on my musical background. My answer is “NO”:
“Hey, what instrument do you play?”
Cheryl Hodge stated, “Whenever I answered that I was a singer or vocalist, I would see their faces fall.” Finally, I started to answer, “I play the VOICE.” Often they would quip back to her, “What d’ya mean you play the voice?” I love her reply and of course the answer was always obvious– “It’s a wind instrument, rigggghhhht?”
Biblical Truths Regarding Our Song Services Coinciding with Worship and Praise–
PSALM 98 clearly shows the TRUTHS that deserve our attention; in meditation, obedience and endurance, grasping the wisdom of God regarding today’s contemporary song services:
“O SING to the Lord a new song, for He has done marvelous things; His right hand and His holy arm have wrought salvation for Him. Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth and sing for joy, yes, sing praises! Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre, with the lyre and the voice of melody. With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord!” (vs. 1, 4-6 AMP).
HAVING A “SINGING FAITH”:
QUESTIONS THAT NEEDS AN ANSWER:
What is it meant by having a “Singing Faith”? Is our singing in faith just for the “upfronters,” or for all of us in the body of Christ?
The Song Service that has Biblical Character, is the service that has songs which are theologically literate. Did I confuse you here?
The CHARACTER of the song service is to worship unto the LORD in accordance to that which brings Glory to God–not ‘which brings glory to the congregation; or to the song leader and musicians–but that which brings Glory to God.
Psalm 29:1-2 (AMP):
ASCRIBE TO the Lord, O sons of the mighty, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Give to the Lord the glory due to His name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness or in holy array.
“ASCRIBE TO” simply means when you sing in worship and praise–when you are instrumentally praising God–you are referring to God’s glory! Is that a challenge for most in a song service? Perhaps, but that’s not the Holy Spirit’s doing. It is simply a lack of preparation on our part.
In my studying this week, a Bible verse stuck out to me, one illustrating the character of the SONG SERVICE; our singing faith:
John 4:23-24 NASB:
 “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshippers.’
 “God is spirit, and those who worship Him MUST [I capitalized for emphasis] in spirit and truth.”
Those who truthfully desire the Lord to be manifested in their song service agree with the psalmist who wrote “Your decrees are the theme of my song…” (Psalm 119:54).
PSALM SINGING–(Ephesians 5:19)
With “psalms” we are to sing songs that consist of short sentences expressing praise for the Lord’s character or actions.
Several years ago, I attended a small church in Bellingham, Washington where the pastor occasionally would come up on the platform during the song service and express praise by singing prophetically in psalms. He wasn’t a trained musician, vocally trained, but a man of God who displayed the Lord’s character in front of the body of Christ.
I am part of a church teaching ministry on Friday afternoons at a Alzheimer/Dementia unit nearby. I was giving a devotional from Psalm 103 and at the end of teaching, we always like to sing. This one particular Friday is sang a solo–I made up a tune that gave a foundation to God’s character–in spirit and truth:
Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me,
bless His holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.
Was the tune elegant? Probably not but I sung it in “spirit and truth.”
With “hymns” we are to proclaim the wonderful works of God (Colossians 3:16):
Some say a HYMN is an anthem but a “hymn” can also be a proclamation to the promises and works of God. I’m thankful that the church we are currently attending, the song leader brings into the song service old hymns. Being in a young congregation, I hope it is not done for all of us ‘old folk’. And no, I don’t actually believe that it is.
We are to allow time for “spiritual songs” brought forth as the Holy Spirit moves on those who are gathered together on Sunday mornings (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16):
There’s my take on the SONG SERVICES in churches today. If you are a BELIEVER in JESUS, are you “SOLD OUT!” before coming to the worship and praise SONG SERVICE? Spend some early time by reading in the Psalms before starting time, be in an attitude of prayer–praying that God will work through the gathered believers by His Spirit. Song Leaders, Musicians, if you find yourself a bit discouraged on Sunday mornings because of the assembly’s response to the song service, maybe you might need more CHARACTER brought into the music. Just a thought. Remember, true revival begins with you…me first.
CREDITS & FOOTNOTES:
Footnotes: [i] Bible Hub/Strong’s Concordance #5012; [ii] The Human Voice: My Favourite Wind Instrument vocals:songstuff.com
Photo Credits: Google Images; People Singing Photo is from Photo Pin.
Bible Translations: Amplified Bible, except where noted in the text.