I attended a beautiful Independence Day concert last night, performed by our eldest daughter Marie.
The concert took place in our living room, where Marie retreated after the day's activities. For more than an hour, she played hymns on our piano, as I listened while sitting in our den (she didn't know I enjoyed her performance). Marie is an extremely gifted musician, plays numerous instruments, and sings beautifully.
I have no doubt she could be a concert pianist if the Lord had chosen that path for her life, and I still won't be surprised if down the road, He takes her in that or some other musical direction.
As Marie played, I was reminded that during her college and law school days, she often relaxed by going to the music department at the University of Alabama, where she did the same thing as she did last night. As her father, it blesses me beyond measure to think of my daughter filling a piano studio of a secular university with the melodies, harmonies, and rhythms of the ancient and enduring hymnody so obviously given to the church by God. Indeed, in a day when even "Christian" music often seems devoted more to stimulating human emotions than exalting Divine glory, we do well to give thanks for the old hymns. I'm grateful that Marie does, and I also give thanks that her "concerts" now often grace our living room.
When pondering music, born again believers must rejoice in the truth that God created this beautiful gift, and that He is Himself musical. "He will joy over thee with singing" (Zephaniah3:17). However, we also do well to remember that our enemy Satan was created by God with musical instrumentation apparently woven into his very being. "The workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created" (Ezekiel 28:13). Little wonder then that the same beautiful creation of the Lord can also serve as such a destructive and deceiving influence when exercised by a cunning devil who distorted the gift intended to be used as a vehicle of praise to God. Indeed, the first thing and the main thing to remember about music is that it exists not for our enjoyment, but for the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. Certainly, this does not preclude the pleasure we find in so sublime a Divine creation, but it does means that we must establish in our hearts the proper priority and purpose in both listening and performing. "Whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God" (I Corinthians 10:31).
I wish you could have attended the concert with me last night. However, I also find joy in being blessed with so private a performance that even the musician didn't know I was listening. Most of all, I rejoice in Marie's selection of music, and in her love for the Lord that motivates it. I have no doubt, in fact, that Marie's primary Audience and Father rejoiced that His daughter played for Him last night. Yes, I am sure that He was even more blessed than was her human dad.
"Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in His sanctuary: praise Him in the firmament of His power. Praise Him for His mighty acts: praise Him according to His excellent greatness. Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet: praise Him with the psaltery and harp. Praise Him with the timbrel and dance: praise Him with stringed instruments and organs. Praise Him upon the loud cymbals: praise Him upon the high sounding cymbals. Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD" (Psalm 150:1-6)