October 6, 2013

Sing praise

Lately I’ve been listening to Pavarotti and even without knowing Italian, his voice provokes strong emotions, mostly joy. Other singers move me to similar responses, like Josh Groban and Celine Dion.

While I wish I could sing with greater skill, worship leaders say that making a joyful noise unto the Lord does not mean being a good singer. I can worship God without being on key, and even without making music. Yet I know the impact of a voice singing a powerful song.

Mary’s song was powerful. It begins with a very personal line . . .

And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior . . .  (Luke 1:46–47)

She praised God from the depths of her being, from her “soul” and her “spirit.” This song pleased God and it made it into His Word for us to study and read and enjoy.

Charles Spurgeon wrote today’s devotional and says we must join other Christians in songs of praise, yet never omit this personal note that marked Mary’s song. The hymns we sing as a group in church are not to be sung in a mindless ‘follow along’ with others, but in an intense and heartfelt personal worship. He says, “The music is delightful to us as it rises from thousands of voices, but to God it can be pleasant only as it comes from each heart.”

This reflects the personal relationship each Christian has with Almighty God. I do not have a grand voice and the music may not be perfectly performed (although it usually is), but the heart that worships knows and expresses praise because of that personal union between Him and itself. My heart can say in a song that, “I love You and you love me; even if all other voices were still, my soul glorifies You.”

Spurgeon says to never be satisfied with any kind of worship that does not take up the whole of the inner and higher nature, my soul and my spirit. It is what I am within that I really am before my God, the Living God that I worship. How loud I sing, or how sweet my tone, or how my voice blends with the others is nothing to God unless my spirit and soul truly praises Him.

Who knows, when it does, I might sound better to His ears than all the music award winners combined!

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