Posted by George Morrison

Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs   Word on the Week   12th June 2021.

Christians sing!   The singing may not always be very musical but since it comes as an expression of the heart it will express profound feelings.   The King James version of the Bible translates Psalm 100 ‘Make a joyful noise unto the Lord’!   It is an exuberant call to ‘all the earth’ i.e. including the Gentile nations to join in thanksgiving to our Maker for his love and faithfulness extend to all generations.

Hymns do not need to be sung!   The Apostle Paul writes in his Ephesian letter to “Speak to one another in Hymns”.    In a testimony which we heard this week the speaker punctuated the different episodes of his life with a hymn which summed up his relationship with the Lord.   Sinclair Ferguson, in his book dealing with the 20 centuries of Christian witness since Christ, concludes each chapter with a hymn written in that century.   Some of these hymns are still being sung today!

One of the earliest accounts of singing in the Bible is Miriam’s song recorded in Exodus Chapter 15 verses 1 to 18.   In it she rejoices in Jehovah’s display of power in delivering the Israelites out of the hand of the Egyptians.    Never before nor since has an entire nation been brought out of another after hundreds of years of captivity.

The book of the Psalms is the ‘songbook’ of the Bible.    During a second period of exile the Israelites find themselves being taunted by their Babylonian captors to sing to them the songs of Zion.   These must have been known to the Babylonians who wanted to hear them.   Indeed, in recent years the words of one of these songs have been recast to produce the popular “By the waters of Babylon we sat down and wept – when we remembered Zion” (Psalm 137 verses 1 to 6)! 

It was music and singing that marked the celebration at the sinner repenting.   The joy was not found in the elder brother who saw only the misdeeds of his young sibling.    We are told that even the angels in heaven join in the rejoicing on earth when a sinner repents (St Luke Chapter 15 verses 10 & 25).

This is the redemption which Jesus accomplished for all those who repent and believe the gospel.   It will culminate in that great festal gathering in heaven when the redeemed will sing a new song of praise to the Lamb of God (Revelation chapter 5 verse 8).

Why do Christians sing?   Because they have plenty to sing about!