To understand the relevancy of music in our worship of God, one need only do a quick word search at an online Bible website. Search for “music” — 128 instances. Try the word “instrument” or actual instrument names — 280 in all. How about “song,” “sing” or “sang” — nearly 300 in various iterations! The scriptures are filled with account after account of music being used to praise and worship God, often even stated as a command. Just read Psalm 150! God wants us to draw near to Him when we worship, as close as humanly possible, and He knows that music has a way of drawing in the hardest of hearts. We melt before the Savior when we engage in worship through song, especially when that song has a deep meaning for us. And when we find ourselves not as enthused with particular songs, we can still find joy in hearing the truths of our faith proclaimed in beautifully written lyrics while witnessing our brothers and sisters in Christ embrace the presence of the Holy Spirit in our midst.
So how is that relevant to our worship? Perhaps the question to ask is “How is that NOT relevant?” Read this: “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” – Philippians 2:9-13 (NIV, emphasis added)
This passage was never intended to make a connection to music used in worship, but nevertheless I think it reveals to us two key factors in our use of music in worship. First, the name of Jesus is proclaimed in our singing, our playing of instruments, and in the offering of our musical gifts used for God’s glory. As we proclaim His name as our Lord and Savior, we place ourselves under Jesus and give of ourselves to Him completely. We submit to His authority as we worship in song, and if done “in spirit and in truth” then the Holy Spirit is revealed to us in the midst of our worship. God Himself makes His presence known to us as we worship Him! WOW! How humbling is that? Shouldn’t we want more of that when we gather together in His name?
Second, this passage points out (among many) that as we are worshipping, singing, praying together, and as the Holy Spirit manifests Himself in our midst, we are charged to “continue to work out [our] salvation with fear and trembling.” As our hearts and minds are moved closer to Christ, the Holy Spirit convicts us of our need for salvation and in a sense we are meant to be overwhelmed by the magnitude of what that means, of what Jesus has done for each and every one of us — taking our sin upon Himself and carrying that burden to the cross. God doesn’t want us to be “afraid” of our salvation, but to take it seriously and be in awe of it! And when we do . . . oh boy! “For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” Through His salvation, He blesses us by working inside us to fulfill his good purpose. How can we go wrong? Let us commit together to passionately seek the Lord in our worship as we sing and make music in honor of Him. Trust that our GOD is relevant like no other.
May God be glorified and His music continue to touch our hearts and lives.
– Peter Vantine