“Sing aloud to God our strength; make a joyful shout to the God of Jacob. Raise a song and strike the timbrel, the pleasant harp with the lute” (Psalm 81:1-2).
These words call for God’s people to make music with great enthusiasm. The “raise a song” was often used to greet a king (e.g., Saul in I Samuel 10:24) or celebrate victories in war (e.g., Judah over it’s enemies in Zephaniah 3:14). It was done with great fanfare and noise. In other words, when you sing, you should REALLY SING.
Some of the loudest singers I have known in church are bad singers. But they don’t care and neither, 0I would argue, neither does God.
Nothing in the Christian life should be half-hearted! And that includes our singing to God. So, why don’t people sing out? Why aren’t people louder when they sing? Why don’t people open their mouths wide? I want to give you some other reasons that people aren’t louder when they sing and aren’t as expressive as they should be. Let me give you four reasons to meditate on today:
- We don’t understand (or accept) that physical expression is an acceptable form of worship both privately and publicly. This is an issue of ignorance. Worship is not only a mental engagement. We worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). And if we are to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength then that must include how we sing too. When you study how people worshipped God in the Scripture you will find people clapping, bowing, kneeling, raising their hands, shouting, playing instruments and dancing. Physical expression is a biblical means to worship God in song. Some are comfortable swaying their bodies; some enjoy raising their hands; some enjoy singing with loud voices.
- We care too often what others think. This is mostly an issue of pride. We grow concerned that people might think we are weird or strange for expressing ourselves in some physical fashion. “What if I sing loud, but off key?” “What if I start clapping and get the rhythm wrong?” “What if I start to kneel over and fall instead?” May I suggest that these are the types of questions coming from someone who thinks more about pleasing man that living transparently before God in their worship? Our worship is not to be driven by man’s expectations of us; if that was the case that we should wonder what others think when we sing, it wouldn’t be worship. At best, it’s worshipping what others think of us.
- We interpret reverence or awe of God as emotional and physical stoicism. In other words, because worship is a reverential act, we think we must be quiet and monotone when we open our lips. Thus, our singing becomes can be like a funeral dirge.
Keith Green sold out for Jesus in his music. He loved Jesus more than anyone I know who has ever sung a song … period! One time, he said at a concert,
“If your heart takes more pleasure in reading novels, or watching TV, or going to the movies, or talking to friends, rather than just sitting alone with God and embracing Him, sharing His cares and His burdens, weeping and rejoicing with Him, then how are you going to handle forever and ever in His presence…? You’d be bored to tears in heaven, if you’re not ecstatic about God now!”
He was never bored with God in his music and it showed. Making music with enthusiasm includes not only voice volume or physical expression; it also includes frequency.