Thursday, March 4, 2010

"His Song"

"We are hardwired to sing" (Dr. Robert Greenberg).

I am currently studying a course on music by Dr. Greenberg, whose statement refers to the fact that every human culture ever discovered has some form and tradition of vocal expression of melody.

This is no surprise to the Bible believing Christian, whose God is Himself "hardwired to sing" (hardwired by Himself, of course). The Lord Jesus Christ sang during His earthly lifetime, and "the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do: for what things soever He doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise" (John 5:19; Matthew 26:30). The Bible also prophecies that one day the Lord will rejoice in His earthly people Israel "with singing" (Zephaniah 3:17). Thus, it is a musical God who rules the universe, and it is natural that the race of beings created in His image would find melody, harmony, rhythm, and all the wonderful components of song to be innate in our being.

There are countless implications that proceed from this blessed truth. We begin with the musical God. The musical God? We don't often think of Him in these terms. But we should, because the beauty of music is the direct expression of the beauty of its Creator. Indeed, of the infinite variety of confirmations that God exists, music is for me at or near the top of the list. Human beings could not have created music! It is far too complex in its components, far too capable of expressing both profound truth and sublime emotion, and far too possessed with the potential for both good and evil. Most importantly, music speaks to and from the deepest part of us, and often gives us a sense of realities that we could never explain, but which we intuitively know and feel. God is the reason for this, the musical God. He made the music in humanity from the melodic and harmonic streams that flow and sparkle in His glorious being.

Our response to this truth must be to think always of music in the light of our Lord. When we hear music, be it consonant or dissonant to our ears, be it expressive of good or evil, or be it joy or sorrow inducing, the primary implication is God, the musical God. This does not mean, of course, that all music is beneficial to us, or that a fallen human race has not often distorted the beauty of song. Some music exists to directly worship Satan (who is himself hardwired to sing - Ezekiel 28:13). Some exists to mislead, deceive, and motivate sinful thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. And much music exists that was written and is performed with no appreciation whatsoever of the great Giver of music. Still, every note we will ever hear somehow proclaims the musical reality of God Himself, and of our need to view Him in the beautiful terms that such truth proclaims and implies.

I close with one of those implications. For me, the most wondrous aspect of music is that since God is the musical God, it must surely be that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit have eternally sung for each other, and to each other. Indeed, I believe with all my heart that there are times when sublime melodies and harmonies sing to us of eternally ancient glories that have forever existed in the triune God, and which now exist in us. The Lord Jesus prayed for believers that the Father's love for Him would become resident within our very being (John 17:24). There is music in that love, and it sings to us strains of beauty and of "the Lord's song" that we can experience in no other way (Psalm 137:4).

"The Lord is my... song."
(Exodus 15:2)

"Yet the LORD will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me."
(Psalm 42:8)

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