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Why Do We Have Music?

Why do we have music? Hopefully, we can all acknowledge that when looking at spiritual songs, the words are the most important. So then why even bother putting it to music? Many passages tell us to sing, but why did God tell us to sing? He knows everything so there must be a reason why He knew we would need it.
By KRISTIN ATWOOD, VERDUGO HILLS, CA
Read Time: 4 minutes

Why do we have music? Hopefully, we can all acknowledge that when looking at spiritual songs, the words are the most important. So then why even bother putting it to music? Many passages tell us to sing, but why did God tell us to sing? He knows everything so there must be a reason why He knew we would need it.

Music can calm us, uplift us, motivate us, and connect us to our Heavenly Father in a way that is hard to describe in words.

What does God want from us and in what way does music help us in our relationship and connection to Him? Music is powerful. Yet it is so simple. For any of you who know a little bit about music, there are only 7 notes. Yet from that handful of notes comes a large variety of chords and a huge span of different genres of music. Could someone even count the number of songs created over time?

It may seem a cliché to say music is “good for the soul.” But it can calm us, uplift us, motivate us, and connect us to our Heavenly Father in a way that is hard to describe in words. Let’s take a moment to look at Psalm 57 which beautifully describes how music can connect us to God:

“Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast. I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me. He shall send from heaven, and save me from the reproach of him that would swallow me up. Selah.
God shall send forth his mercy and his truth. My soul is among lions: and I lie even among them that are set on fire, even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword. Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens; let thy glory be above all the earth. They have prepared a net for my steps; my soul is bowed down: they have digged a pit before me, into the midst whereof they are fallen themselves. Selah.
My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise. Awake up, my glory; awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early. I will praise thee, O Lord, among the people: I will sing unto thee among the nations. For thy mercy is great unto the heavens, and thy truth unto the clouds. Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens: let thy glory be above all the earth.”

If you step back and think about how music is used in the brotherhood, it is in many ways like a thread woven throughout our ecclesias. If you were asked how we use music the most, a majority would probably say we use music to praise God. We love to praise God when we feel thankful, when we are full of joy and when we feel God’s presence in our lives. We praise Him when a new brother or sister is joining the brotherhood through baptism and when a couple decides to join their lives together in marriage.

Wouldn’t it be beautiful if we always had a spiritual song stuck in our head?

We also know we need to come to God when times are hard. We come to God in music when our hearts are distressed: when a loved one has fallen asleep, when we are in a difficult situation and we can’t see the way out, or when life is just plain hard, and we feel alone.

We also love to use music with our children. We love it when we see children lifting their voices to God in Sunday School or just in everyday life. We try to teach them God’s word through song to help them memorize scripture. There is something so pure and beautiful about children singing spiritual songs.

Our CYCs join around the campfire at gatherings to sing to God with great joy and with a solemn appreciation for His greatness. Many of us love to sing or listen to a choir at Bible schools or during special presentations at the meeting. Many of us listen to spiritual music at home while we are cooking a meal, getting ready for the day, or driving in our cars. Music is a huge part of our life in the Truth.

Many of us attend a Bible School during the year. There is something so special about that first hymn at a Bible School, having a few hundred people gathered singing to God communally. Singing together in the kingdom is probably my favorite kingdom vision. Can you picture it? Singing with thousands of brothers and sisters from around the world and throughout time joining with our hearts, minds, and souls to our Heavenly Father. “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory.” (Isa 6:3).

Quarantine life is a real thing for most of us at this point. Although there are many things to value about this time and while there are always ways we can serve God, singing on a Sunday morning now is just not quite the same. Don’t get me wrong. We sing the hymns on Sunday but sitting in our living room and singing then is when I feel emptiness and loneliness the most. Music can take our worship to a whole other place. Deut 6:4-7 talks about how God wants our ENTIRE life! He wants us fully dedicated to Him.

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”

Personally, when I read these verses, I think about how hard it is to have God involved in every aspect of my day, but when music is involved it definitely helps. How often do you have a song stuck in your head? Wouldn’t it be beautiful if we always had a spiritual song stuck in our head? Something to dwell on to get our minds out from being focused on the cares of this life.

God tells us to

Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1 Thess 5:16-18)

Our songs are prayers. We can be thinking and singing and praying to God throughout our day. So, let’s take the opportunity now to get the word of God inside of our being and lift up our voices in praise to Him.

 

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