December 18, 2017

Singing (Part 2)

George Stiekes

[See here for Part 1]

I will praise Thee, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will show forth all Thy marvelous works. I will be glad and rejoice in Thee: I will sing praise to Thy name, O Thou most High. Psalm 9:1-2

In Part 1, it was noted that singing is a very vital part of worship — personally and corporately. The psalmist sang, praising God with his WHOLE HEART — with exuberant feelings emphasizing the involvement of the will, intellect and emotions.

In Psalm 104:33, the psalmist did something that perhaps most of us have done when observing the greatness of God’s wondrous creation. I will sing unto the LORD as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.

Several years ago, I took a group of young people to Colorado. On one occasion, we climbed to a higher elevation and when we turned around, we were looking at a waterfall on the opposite mountain. It was a glorious sight and without any prodding, the group started singing — “Then sings my soul, my Savior, God to Thee. How Great Thou art, How Great Thou Art.” Then there was a period of quietness as we all just stared with wonder at the beauty around us. There was an important transitional move from what we were seeing and what we knew about God. His incredible power and love manifested in His creation is even more powerful and magnificent in His marvelous provision of redemption. It is indeed wonderful to be a Christian! The glory of the LORD shall endure forever: the LORD shall rejoice in His works. He looketh on the earth, and it trembleth: He toucheth the hills, and they smoke (Psalm 104:31-32).

There are times in the worship service at church while singing a great hymn that the truth of the hymn seems to jump from the page in the hymnal directly into the heart and you experience the same sense of awe and wonder experienced in the mountains. “He left His Father’s throne above, so free, so infinite His grace! Emptied Himself of all but love, and bled for Adam’s helpless race. Amazing love! How can it be that Thou my God, shouldst die for me?”

There is something very special about singing the great hymns of the past — so many of them having been written following or during a transforming experience in the author’s life by the Spirit of God. There is a depth of communication between God and the saints at worship when singing the great truths from God’s Holy Word. “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty! Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee; Holy, Holy, Holy! Merciful and Mighty! God in Three Persons, blessed Trinity.”

Genuine worship is missing in the lives of so many of God’s people. In many churches, worship is a thing of the past. It is very difficult to Be still and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10) in the midst of what is taking place in many of our churches today. In the same way, it is just as difficult in the midst of what is taking place in the lives of many individually. That holy hush on the mountain will forever be in my mind. We desperately need to just be quiet and allow the Spirit of God to move our souls toward God as we review His majesty in His created world and in His Word.

Several years ago, I did something very different at a camp in Iowa. I chose not to have any special music for the week at Teen Camp. That caused a little bit of a problem. The camp staff got together and spent a lot of time in prayer and we majored on the preaching of the Word of God. We also had some times where special passages of Scripture were assigned and the young people were to get alone by themselves to read and pray over what they read. No one spoke a word on the campground during those times, except for those who were moved by the Spirit of God and sought counseling. In the services, there were many decisions for Christ with much joy and weeping. In the cabins, there were young people leading other young people to Christ. It was an incredible week as we simply took time to be still to consider God and His plans and purposes in our lives.

Perhaps that is what needs to be done in some of our churches today. Certainly it is something we should all do daily. There is incredible joy that comes from genuine worship — the cornerstone of the believer’s life. Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of His, and give thanks at the remembrance of His holiness (Psalm 30:4).


George Stiekes held successful pastorates in churches in Michigan and Washington among other places. He currently resides in North Carolina and blogs at Reverent Reflections. We recommend his ministry and republish his material by permission.


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