Music, Revelation, and Instruction

“Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint; but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction.” (Proverbs 29:18, NIV)

Every now and then, I come across a worship song that is so rich in its music and lyrics that it feels like a feast. When an artist is able to match the revelation of God in Scripture with music that fits the message in tone and emotion, something amazing happens. Some of these songs become timeless classics, like Amazing Grace, How Great Thou Art, Because He Lives, and How Great is Our God. Others may be less well known or less often sung, but are no less moving. Some of my favorites are Great Are You Lord, This is Amazing Grace, Christ Be All Around Me, and This I Believe (The Creed).

Music has long been recognized as a powerful tool for instruction. It brings together mind and heart, word and emotion, and it seems to stay with us–ever had an annoying song stuck in your head? I believe the power of music to serve as an expression of our hearts, a reinforcement of our faith, a remembering and retelling of the great saving works of God in the world, and a tool for instructing new believers in the faith are all reasons why God tells us to sing (see Ps. 5:11; 33:1-3; 101:1; and too many others to list here). Music is a powerful medium of God’s revelation and wisdom’s instruction, and we are blessed when we participate by singing in worship.

Here’s a new song I found recently by Chris Tomlin. The style is a little different and the lyrics are a wealth of truth, revelation, and wisdom that bring glory to the One who is worthy. Take a few minutes to listen and let the Spirit soak your soul as you do. My prayer this week is that this song will bless you as much as it has blessed me in recent days.


The Language of the Soul

“It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, O Most High, proclaiming your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night, to the music of the ten-stringed lyre and the melody of the harp.” (Psalm 92:1–3, NIV)

I have loved music as far back as I can remember. It’s in my DNA, part of how God created me to be me. It is commonly said that music is the “universal language” that transcends culture, history, and linguistic barriers, and unites humankind in a common expression. There’s just something about music that moves the heart and the mind in ways that words alone cannot.

Music has the power to engage us at the heart-level. It can stir emotions in us that well up from deep within. Music gives form to the expression of our souls; we create, listen, and engage with music in every area, in every season of life. Music can be an instrument (pun intended) to express our joy, our sorrow, our anger, our pain, and our love. And I think that’s exactly why God gave us the gift of music: to give a language to our souls for creating beauty, moving emotion, venting stress, and most importantly, for expressing worship.

I have had friends over the years who believed that emotion in worship was dangerous and best avoided. The music that characterized their churches was robotic and expressionless. And sad. If I can’t bring my feelings to God, where can I take them? Reading through the Psalms, I don’t get the impression that David suppressed his emotions, rather, at times he seems like an emotional hot mess! And he expressed his soul to God through music.

My prayer this week is that we will open our hearts to God through the gift of music, whether it’s something we play or sing ourselves or something we listen to. When we come next Sunday to worship together, allow your soul to speak the language of music in praise to the Risen Lord.

Yesterday in worship, I was moved deeply by the song Death Was Arrested. I hope you enjoy this song this week!


Photo by Mohammad Metri on Unsplash