A few weeks ago, a friend at church, Lauren, was telling me how the idea of the Lord being our Song really moves her spirit deeply- an idea that is difficult to even grasp, yet so beautiful. I'm ashamed to say, that was the first time the concept really had captured my attention- how could I have passed by this incredible truth, poetically pictured in Scripture? The interesting thing to me, is that every time it is written in God's Word that the Lord is our Song, it is also written that He is our Strength and Salvation. Take a moment and fix your attention on these verses from the Old Testament, and let your mind and heart be unlocked to this unique and breathtaking image of our Mighty Lord being our song.
"'Behold, God, my salvation!
I will trust and not be afraid,
For the LORD GOD is my strength and song;
Yes, He has become my salvation.'
Therefore with joy you will draw water
from the springs of salvation.'"
"The LORD is my strength and my song;
He has become my salvation.
Glad songs of salvation
are in the tents of the righteous:
'The right hand of the LORD does valiantly.'"
"The LORD is my strength and my song,
and He has become my salvation;
this is my God, and I will praise Him,
my father's God, and I will exalt Him."
Another friend, Joan, went home to be with Jesus recently. She gave me the book Jesus Calling by Sarah Young a couple years ago. It is a devotional written as if from the perspective of Jesus speaking to one of His followers. This is an excerpt from one page: "Trust Me and don't be afraid, for I am your Strength and Song. Think what it means to have Me as your Strength. I spoke the universe into existence; My Power is absolutely unlimited! Human weakness, consecrated to Me, is like a magnet, drawing My Power into your neediness....Remember that I am also your Song. I want you to share My Joy, living in conscious awareness of My Presence. Rejoice as we journey together toward heaven; join Me in singing My Song."
Not only are strength and salvation bound up with the image of our Lord being our song, but joy and praise are also both inextricably interwoven into this truth. When God becomes the song of our life, we find strength and salvation in Him. When we praise the Lord in song, joy naturally fills our soul. The joy of the Lord is our constant strength if we abide in Him, and we cannot help but burst into song when our hearts are overflowing abundantly with such joy!
I love and cherish the timeless hymns of the Christian faith. I've so enjoyed adding some of my favorite hymns to the set list of songs at my recent concerts. The Hymn, "Be Still My Soul", was an anchor to my soul last year when I faced brain surgery, as well as during my recovery and during Jamie's cancer treatment. The celtic hymn ,"Be Thou My Vision", was the song we chose for our wedding day, led by my Father-in-law's rich, booming voice. There are a few hymns that my mom always says to me with nostalgia, "Your great-grandmother used to play this on the piano!" "Of the Father's Love Begotten" was a hymn dating back to the 4th Century A.D. which defended Christian truth against heretical teachings. These hymns have lasted the test of time, drawing from the deep wells of Scriptural truth as well as the experiences of saints through the centuries. The worship songs coming forth from songwriters today are being released in an exponential way, song after song after song, limitless in praise to our Mighty God! Could there be one song, a chord tying them all together in timeless fashion? Randy Peterson, author of Be Still My Soul: The Inspiring Stories Behind 175 of the Most-Loved Hymns, seems to express such an idea:
"So as we worship, we are entering an ongoing song, composed long before our time and continuing into eternity...The music itself lifts us and calms us, drives us and stretches us...There's a language here beyond words, but it also works with words. Together these tunes and texts lead us to worship even when we don't know how."
Have you caught the tune? Has His song captured your heart and become your strength and saving grace? Has His joy turned your heart to praise?
In Pope John Paul II's Letter to Artists, he quotes this succinct and stunning statement by Paulinus of Nola: "Our only art is faith and our music Christ." The depth beyond these words lies in eternity. Our Creator God made us to bear His glorious image, and designed us to take part in His work by creating new art and new songs. Each one of these songs, though, is meant to be a reflection of His Song, His masterpiece of art, and His gift of salvation. I encourage you to read this letter by Pope John Paul, as well as to dig into the perennial hymns of the faith. May your soul be refreshed and your heart be singing the Song of our Lord!