Following in the footprints of Jesus

I Will Sing


Do you know what separates the saved from the rest of the world?  A song.

In Revelation 14:3, as John saw a vision symbolic of God's servants, marked and set apart from those who were sons of disobedience, the Spirit included a distinction.  The saints knew a song no one else knew.  I am intrigued by this symbol, chosen by the Spirit to distinguish the saved and the lost.  The saved knew this song.  The lost did not.

Singing has long been a part of worshipping God, mentioned as early as Exodus 15 and continues to be a part of worship today (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16).

I may not understand everything about the symbol in Revelation 14:3, but I understand this, what makes us different from the world is worshipping God and when God wanted to symbolize that difference, He chose singing.

The important place of singing in the life of the Christian and in the corporate worship of Christ's church is clearly demonstrated by this.  I think we may sometimes take singing for granted without fully appreciating its place in our spiritual lives.

Examine what scripture says about singing and its place in our lives.


What was singing for?

A. The most basic use of singing has always been to praise God, extolling His virtues, blessings, character, greatness, etc.
  Throughout the Psalms, statements about singing and praise are made (i.e. Psalm 7:17).
  Paul and Silas sang hymns of praise while imprisoned (Acts 16:25).
  Consider Psalm 8 as an example of praising God in song.

B. Akin to the praise offered God was the thanksgiving His followers offered.
  When the command to sing was written in Colossians 3:16, it was commanded to be with thankfulness in our hearts.
  The first song recorded in scripture is a song of thanksgiving for delivering the children in Israel from Pharaoh through the Red Sea (Exodus 15:1-19).
  In Judges 5, the song of Deborah and Barak is also a song of thanksgiving.

C. Singing has always been popular among mankind because it stems from, expresses and evokes emotion.
We are not surprised to learn that singing, even as worship to God, has been used to express the emotions filling man's heart.
  The overwhelming emotion we see expressed is joy (Psalm 5:11; 20:5).
  The scripture presents singing as the natural expression of the joyful heart (James 5:13).
  But we also see despair (Psalm 22:1), sorrow and regret (Psalm 51), etc.

D. Singing was used to petition God.
  One of the most famous psalms, Psalm 51, was a petition for forgiveness.
  Psalm 5 is another example, petitioning for God's help.

E. We know singing is worship.
Therefore, we automatically consider it a Godward activity.  However, there is a manward aspect to singing which is also considered worship.  As early as the conquest of Canaan, we see singing used to teach others.
Deuteronomy 31:19 says the song recorded in Deuteronomy 32 was to be taught to the Israelites to be a witness for God against them.  That is, it was teaching them something.
Consider Psalm 1.  Is it not a song of teaching?
When Christians were commanded to sing, they were commanded to speak to one another in Ephesians 5:19 and teach and admonish one another in Colossians 3:16.

F. Finally, consider I Chronicles 16:23.  Singing was used to proclaim good tidings.
I recognize the context here is an Old Testament one.  However, we can see a parallel for the New Testament.  We have heard enough lessons to know "gospel" means "good tidings."
Remember Romans 10:15 about the feet of those who bring glad tidings of good things.  One way that was done was in song.
Consider a clear example in Acts 16:25.   We don't know the words Paul and Silas were singing.   But it must have proclaimed some good news inciting the guard to ask how to be saved after the earthquake.

G. Recognize this, when we sing, we are doing more than just singing.  We are accomplishing something.
We are working.  We are praising and thanking God.  We are proclaiming the Gospel to the lost and edifying the saved.
Have you found yourself asking, "What job is out there for me to do in the church?"  How about start with singing and I mean really singing.  With each song, ask, "What am I doing with this song?  Am I praising, thanking, expressing emotion, petitioning, edifying, proclaiming?"

Singing is not a punch card activity to mark off our list of duties.  We sing to accomplish something.  Consider what you are trying to do in the song and sing it that way.