BEING “SOLD OUT” to God’s Character in SONG

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.

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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-0utsold 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.

An INSTRUMENT of PRAISE
An INSTRUMENT of PRAISE

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”:

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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:

[23] “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.’

[24] “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.

Carelessness of spirit can happen!

I’ve been reading and studying lately in The Book of Psalms.  Of course, this isn’t the first time I’ve done so, but it had been awhile.

Reading in the PSALMS can be uplifting, encouraging, convicting by the Spirit of God and this study was no exception.  However, the “this time” was more than a casual read, the underlining of verses…it became an eye opener to my spiritual well-being.

My hope for you is… this word study may just bring attention to your the “carelessness of spirit”; while attending Worship Services on Sundays, or whenever we sing and give our praises to Almighty God, all along while pretending we got everything down pat.  After all, we do the same thing–the “same- O, same-O”, when we attend church.  In fact, I’ve heard some people exclaim, while holding a 46 oz. travel mug of coffee, “I can’t sing, so I just ‘lip-sing’ ; no one around me even knows, and besides...the music is too loud anyway.”

I’ve come to learn, while in PUBLIC WORSHIP… is not about me…or you.  It’s not centered on us, but on God.  Though WORSHIP may have some benefits for us, it’s not about us.  It is never based on whether we FEEL like it, whether the music is to our liking, or whether we are pleased with the situation we find ourselves in.

PSALM 47:  To the Chief Musician

Unusual and Enthusiastic Expressions – 

VERSE 1:  O CLAP your hands, all you peoples!  Shout to God with the voice of triumph and songs of joy!

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Associated Press Photo

I find myself watching the 12th Man  parade this morning on local television, celebrating the NFL World Champions, the Seattle Seahawks.  As they proceed , surrounded by the throngs of fans cheering (700,000) uncontrollably for their hometown sport heroes,  for all they’ve accomplished.  It seems like the jubilation will be going on all afternoon.  Are the all the people weirdos? No! Most are sincerely excited, and besides…doesn’t everyone need a hero in their lives at times?

Verses 1-4:

[1]  O CLAP your hands, all you peoples!  Shout to God with the voice of triumph and songs of joy!

[2]  For the Lord Most High excites terror, awe, and dread; He is a great King over all the earth.

[3]  He subdued peoples under us, and nations under our feet.

[4]  He chose our inheritance for us, the glory and pride of Jacob, whom He loves.  Selah  [pause and calmly think of that]!

We Can See JOY in the True Spirit of Worship–

JOY in God’s character…

JOY in His reign…

JOY in the triumphs of His Word (the GOSPEL)…

“O CLAP YOUR HANDS!”

Such expressions by the casual observer may seem a bit over zealous, but it shouldn’t be hastily censured and condemned, much less ridiculed; because if they come from an upright heart, God will accept the strength of the affection.

[Verse 1]  “Peoples” in the plural here, is used in calling both Jews and Gentiles–all nations.  And “Shout to God” – Jubilate Deo: 

In GOD, and concerning GOD, and in honor of GOD.

GOD doesn’t excite us to carnal JOY.

JOY in His favor, His blessing on His saints.

“The terrors of the Lord” – [Verse 2]:

“For the Lord Most High excites terror, awe, and dread; He is a great King over all the earth.”

When I first came upon the word, “terrors”, I must admit I was puzzled at first.  Being in terror would most likely curb the enthusiasm, the excitement of clapping and shouting.  Can you imagine the effect terror would have on 80,000 football fans, enclosed in a stadium, while there was the treat of terror in the building?

For the Lord most high is Terrible…

Christians celebrate Christ’s ascension–the Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus–and He was “highly exalted!”  Then, He became TERRIBLE to His enemies, all power in heaven and earth being committed to Him.   

And then He began to display the excellent Majesty, His universal kingdom for all to see, being crowned King of kings, and Lord of lords.

None can resist His POWER or stand before His vengeance; yet as these terrors are carried out in behalf of His subjects.  All fit reasons for REJOICING!  His Omnipotence is terrible to crush, is almighty to protect!

God’s Omnipotence…

God is “all-powerfulness,” “almighty”, in other words, when God wants something done, it is done!  The apostle Paul wrote of God’s omnipotence--it is the sense that He is “above all,and through all, and in all” (Eph. 4:6).

THE UNUSUAL REIGN OF CHRIST, as it is, and is to be!

The Hope of Victory to the Church – [Verse 3]:

“He subdued peoples under us, and nations under our feet.”

What shall be subdued?  By whose means?  –  Us.

By whose power? –  His.

When shall it be accomplished and what is the symbol? –  The Ascension (Psalm 47:5).

The final triumph for ALL BELIEVERS in Christ Jesus IS… all enemies are subdued under them in earth, and hell, within and without–gradually at first, then completely.

God’s Willingness – [Verse 4]:

“He chose our inheritance for us, the glory and pride of Jacob, whom He loves.  Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!”

His willingness to choose our inheritance in time and eternity.

His choice is better than ours–the excellency of Jacob.

He will leave us to the consequences of our own choices.

He will help us in obtaining that which He chooses for us by His Spirit.

The Ascension – [Verse 5]:

“God has ascended amid shouting, the Lord with the sound of a trumpet.”

It’s publicity, solemnity, triumph, and joy!

Jesus, who went up…

Where He went up…

To what purpose…

With what result…

“O clap your hands people and shout…with the voice of triumph and songs of joy!”

The Importance of Songs of Joy [Verse 6]:

“Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises!”

Why do SONG LEADERS in our worship services today, repeat the choruses over and over again?  The same question was probably asked years ago, when the worship leaders would have us sing every verse to a hymn on Sunday mornings.

Repetition can censure at times our slackness– that implies earnestness, frequency, delight and joy in singing, which should characterize the PRAISES offered.

Sing Praises with Understanding – [Verse 7]:

“For God is the King of all the earth; sing praises in a skillful psalm and with understanding.”

How can we make JOY in our hearts to God singing?

According to Psalm 47:7, we must sing with UNDERSTANDING, not by the watches on our wrists but by the WORDS OF THE SONG; we must give our attention to the content more than the music and consider WHAT WE SING as well as HOW WE SING;

“the time may affect the fancy, but it is the matter that affect the heart, and that…God principally sees.”

The word MASCHIL is used in the Psalms many times and Psalm 47 is not an exception.  It means to instruct with understanding, denoting a song which enforces some lesson of WISDOM or PIETY; a didactic song or Psalm [BibleStudyTools].

So, with that in mind, we must sing wisely to prevent a “carelessness of spirit” in our Worship & Praise services each week.  If we will sing gratefully, then we will ENJOY what we sing.

In other words, we should SING as we should PRAY:

“The what am I to do? I will PRAY with my spirit [by the Holy Spirit that is within me], but I will also pray [intelligently] with my mind and understanding;  I will SING with my spirit [by the Holy Spirit that is within me], but I will SING [intelligently] with my mind and understanding also”  (1 Corinthians 14:15 AMP).

If we don’t understand what we sing, it promotes carelessness of spirit, hardness of heart; and this makes the worship service immaterial and impudent.

THE GATHERING…

Psalm 47:9:

The princes and nobles of the peoples are gathered together, a [united] people for the God of Abraham, for the shields of the earth belong to God; He is highly exalted.

Christ’s GATHERING of the saints together with Him, will be at His second coming; His coming judgment, and His return will be as He ascended…“with the sound of a trumpet” [See 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18].

BUT RELATIVE to the coming of

our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah)

and our GATHERING together to [meet] Him…

~ 2 Thessalonians 2:1~

The Covenant Promise Will Be Fulfilled…

“In thee and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed” – “to Him shall the gathering of the people be.”

“For the Shields of the Earth Belong to God” [vs. 9]

All te Pomp & Circumstance, the emblems of rank and position, weapons of war,  ALL WILL pay homage and bow down to the King of all.

Those who are the earth’s protectors, the shields of society, derive their might from Him and are His.  ALL principalities and powers will be  subject to Yahweh and His Son, for He is greatly exalted in nature, in power, in character, in glory, NONE to compare with Him.  Oh, the vision of things to come!

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The Blessed Hope!

“Applause, everyone.  Bravo, bravissimo!

Shout God-songs at the top of your lungs.”

Clapping Your Hands In Joy
Clapping Your Hands In Joy

~ Psalm 47:1 The Message Bible ~