December 22, 2013 – December 28, 2013
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” Colossians 3:16.
Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 1, 506, 509, 510.
“Let there be singing in the home, of songs that are sweet and pure, and there will be fewer words of censure and more of cheerfulness and hope and joy.” Education, 168.
1 MUSIC IN BIBLE HISTORY
- What power is inherent in Christian song, and how was it used in Bible history to the believer’s advantage? Exodus 15:1, 2, 11; II Chronicles 20:21, 22.
Note: “As the children of Israel, journeying through the wilderness, cheered their way by the music of sacred song, so God bids His children today gladden their pilgrim life.” Education, 167.
- Why were important Bible passages arranged to music and sung by the Israelites? Deuteronomy 31:19.
- What effect did this type of music have on their characters? Proverbs 22:6.
Note: “Moses directed the Israelites to set the words of the law to music. While the older children played on instruments, the younger ones marched, singing in concert the song of God’s commandments. In later years they retained in their minds the words of the law which they learned during childhood.” Evangelism, 499, 500.
2 MUSIC IN REPENTANCE AND WHEN TEMPTED
- How did “Israel’s sweet singer” express genuine repentance for his sin? Psalm 51:1–8. What effect did this song have on his people?
Note: “The fifty-first psalm is an expression of David’s repentance, when the message of reproof came to him from God: ‘Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Thy loving-kindness: according unto the multitude of Thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions’ (Psalm 51:1). …
“Thus in a sacred song to be sung in the public assemblies of his people, in the presence of the court—priests and judges, princes and men of war—and which would preserve to the latest generation the knowledge of his fall, the king of Israel recounted his sin, his repentance, and his hope of pardon through the mercy of God.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 724, 725.
- How effective was song in softening the heart of king Saul? I Samuel 16:15, 16, 23.
- How did Christ use song as a source of strength in an hour of temptation? Mark 14:26.
Note: “With a song, Jesus in His earthly life met temptation. Often when sharp, stinging words were spoken, often when the atmosphere about Him was heavy with gloom, with dissatisfaction, distrust, or oppressive fear, was heard His song of faith and holy cheer.” Education, 166.
“He [Jesus] held communion with heaven in song; and as His companions complained of weariness from labor, they were cheered by the sweet melody from His lips. His praise seemed to banish the evil angels, and, like incense, fill the place with fragrance.” The Desire of Ages, 73.
“I saw we must be daily rising, and keep the ascendancy above the powers of darkness. Our God is mighty. I saw singing to the glory of God often drove [off] the enemy, and praising God would beat him back and give us the victory.” The Voice in Speech and Song, 409, 410.
3 ELEMENTS OF GOOD MUSIC
- What elements are needed to make our singing a blessing to human and heavenly ears? Ephesians 5:19. Why? II Corinthians 4:15.
Note: “It is not loud singing that is needed, but clear intonation, correct pronunciation, and distinct utterance. Let all take time to cultivate the voice so that God’s praise can be sung in clear, soft tones, not with harshness and shrillness that offend the ear. The ability to sing is the gift of God; let it be used to His glory.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 144.
“There are few means more effective for fixing His [God’s] words in the memory than repeating them in song. And such song has wonderful power. It has power to subdue rude and uncultivated natures; power to quicken thought and to awaken sympathy, to promote harmony of action, and to banish the gloom and foreboding that destroy courage and weaken effort.
“It is one of the most effective means of impressing the heart with spiritual truth. How often to the soul hard-pressed and ready to despair, memory recalls some word of God’s—the long-forgotten burden of a childhood song—and temptations lose their power, life takes on new meaning and new purpose, and courage and gladness are imparted to other souls!” Education, 167, 168.
- Why should not musical items and other aesthetics take pre-eminence in our worship service? Ezekiel 33:32. How are golden moments sometimes wasted during camp meetings?
Note: “In some instances much time was devoted to singing [at camp meetings]. There was a long hymn before prayer, a long hymn after prayer, and much singing interspersed all through the meeting. Thus golden moments were used unwisely, and not one-half the good was done that might have been realized had these precious seasons been properly managed.” Evangelism, 511.
4 MUSIC AS A CURSE
- What type of music was used by the Israelites when they decided to go back to Egypt? Exodus 32:17–19. What music will be performed in many churches just before the close of probation, and what type of adverse effect will it have upon the people?
Note: “The things you have described as taking place in Indiana, the Lord has shown me would take place just before the close of probation. Every uncouth thing will be demonstrated. There will be shouting, with drums, music, and dancing. The senses of rational beings will become so confused that they cannot be trusted to make right decisions. And this is called the moving of the Holy Spirit.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 36.
“The Holy Spirit has nothing to do with such a confusion of noise and multitude of sounds as passed before me last January. Satan works amid the din and confusion of such music, which, properly conducted, would be a praise and glory to God. He makes its effect like the poison sting of the serpent.” Ibid., 37.
- How does God warn us all, and the youth especially, against endangering our Christian experience by listening to and/or singing songs which heaven does not approve? Ezekiel 26:13; Amos 8:10–13.
Note: “I was shown that the youth must take a higher stand and make the word of God the man of their counsel and their guide. Solemn responsibilities rest upon the young, which they lightly regard. The introduction of music into their homes, instead of inciting to holiness and spirituality, has been the means of diverting their minds from the truth. Frivolous songs and the popular sheet music of the day seem congenial to their taste. The instruments of music have taken time which should have been devoted to prayer.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 497.
5 MUSIC IN HEAVEN
- How is the angelic choir intimately connected with us on earth? Hebrews 1:14; 12:22.
- Describe the music and the musicians in heaven, and the way they can inspire our anthems of praise. Luke 2:13, 14; I Corinthians 14:40; Revelation 5:11–13.
Note: “I have been shown the order, the perfect order, of heaven, and have been enraptured as I listened to the perfect music there. After coming out of vision, the singing here has sounded very harsh and discordant. I have seen companies of angels, who stood in a hollow square, everyone having a harp of gold. … It cannot be described. It is melody, heavenly, divine, while from every countenance beams the image of Jesus, shining with glory unspeakable.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 146.
- Describe the experience of the redeemed who will be singing the song of Moses and the Lamb. Revelation 7:14, 15; 15:2, 3. How can we daily prepare to sing that song that has never been sung in heaven before?
Note: “Those who in heaven join with the angelic choir in their anthem of praise must learn on earth the song of heaven, the keynote of which is thanksgiving.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 244.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 What are the potent benefits of Christian song?
2 When is it especially helpful for us to sing praises to God?
3 What factors are important in planning music for worship services?
4 How can we keep prayer and the study of God’s word above music?
5 How does our daily speech affect our preparation to sing the song of Moses and the Lamb?
© 2007 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.