“Oh, sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth! 2. Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day” (Psa. 96:1-2). Have you ever wondered why we sing in church? I once heard the following story concerning singing praises to God. A little boy goes up to his mom and says, “What happens when we die?” The mother, who was Christian, said, “We will go to heaven, my son.” He thought for a second and asked, “What will we do in heaven?” She smiled as she looked down on her son and replied, “We will sing praises to God forever.” Suddenly he looked concerned. “Forever? Are we going to sing forever? Mommy, I don’t want to sing forever; I don’t like it that much.”
An amusing story, but there is some truth in it as well. Not everyone likes singing. I know people who would enjoy an entire service of just singing, but I also know people who would rather do way less singing and far more reading and studying. And almost always, it is decided on one simple fact – the ability to sing. Those who can sing love it, and those who cannot, well, not so much. So why do we sing in church? Firstly, because God wants us to, and it pleases Him. It is not for no reason that praising God is mentioned so many times in the Bible. Psa. 47:1,6,7, “Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy!…sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises! For God is the King of all the earth; sing praises with a psalm!”
Secondly, because God deserves our praises. Psa. 7:17, “I will give to the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High.” Why would we not want to praise the God of all creation who deemed you and me worthy of the life of His Son? That’s right, for sinners like us, He was willing to sacrifice His perfect Son to save us. Taking that into account, is it not “fitting” or the “right” thing to do. Psa. 147:1, “Praise the Lord ! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.” Are we not duty-bound to sing praises to God who desires it for all He has done for us? Now, before anyone says, “That is all in the Old Testament,” let me quote Rom. 15:4, “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
Of course, there are references to singing in the New Testament as well, beginning with Eph. 5:19, “addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart…”. One of the things Paul is encouraging his readers to do is instruct one another with our singing. There is much wisdom to be gained from the words we sing that are lifted almost verbatim from the Psalms. Even some contemporary songs have great lessons to be learned. Of course, that is only true if we take the time to actually engage ourselves in the words. Too often, songs are sung without considering their actual meaning, which is sad because we miss out on their lessons. A similar idea is conveyed in Col. 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”, but with the added idea of using songs to address our thankfulness for all that He has done for us.
Singing not only encourages us, but it also has the added benefit of creating a sense of community and fellowship as we all lift our voices to God. James also tells us to sing when we are “cheerful.” Sing and let God know how happy you are. Jam. 5:13, “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.” Another reason to sing is to use that time to praise God and direct your mind to the worship service. You don’t have to be a world-class singer, but you have to sing. The person next to you may think you sound like a screeching cat or that you cannot hold a tune in a bucket, but remember, you are not singing to impress them. You are singing to a God who hears your words and loves every “note.” Sing like you mean and sing like He is listening….because He is. Let me know in the comments other reasons you think singing is important. Oh, and one last thought, “Why do we sing verses 1,2,4? Why do we leave out one or more verses?”