Something to Shout About
Those who know me, know that I am quiet and never boisterous about anything. Very little excites me enough to raise my voice. Though I am repulsed by the filthy, sexual innuendo of most television comedy today; I thoroughly enjoy clean comedy and tend to laugh quietly and even silently. Canned laughter on noisy slapstick television comedy irritates me and I will reach for the remote to silence it.
Sports have never interested me, but even if they did, I can’t imagine myself joining in with the roar of the crowds.
Politics excite me, especially when my side is winning. I enjoy listening to the speeches of both my political friends, as well as my opponents. Most exciting is election night as the votes are coming in and are tallied; but even then, my excitement is muted and usually silent.
There is a time for a preacher to raise his voice in the pulpit, but I am wearied by preachers and evangelists who believe that they must shout continuously to be preaching in the Spirit.
There are times when I preach with passion; but even then, it is a quiet, earnest passion. Occasionally, I will lift up my voice, as Isaiah 58:1 commands me to “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet and show my people their transgressions.” I lift up my voice by speaking plainly; not so much by volume.
Most of my times of worship are in silence. Psalm 46:10 teaches us to “Be still and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen.” You will find a mini series on this topic on this web site under the title, BE STILL.
But then in the very next Psalm, chapter 47, we are taught to clap our hands and shout in triumph and worship of God.
Yes, there is a time and there are occasions when we ought to shout the glories of God from the house tops and clap our hands in praise to God. We are to worship God with loud voices and with musical instruments, singing with all our might and strength as we sing the glories of God.
Our music ought to be loud enough that passers by outside will turn in to see what’s going on. The loud music that comes from our churches ought not be like the loud, raucous music, shouting, laughter and drunken brawls that come from a road house or tavern late into the night; but it ought to be loud, joyful music as we sing the praises of our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Psalm 33:3, 40:3, 96:1, 98:1, 149:1`instruct us to “Sing unto the Lord a new song; that is, a song different from the world’s songs. The new birth engenders a new song. The unregenerate world has always had their songs. The world’s songs over the past century have included the sensuous jazz of the 20’s-40’s and and the rock beat that began in the 50’s and continues to this day. The new song, spoken of in the Psalms, is the spiritual song spoken of in Ephesians 5:19. A spiritual song is a Scripturally based song that lifts our spirits to God in worship and speaks of His love and grace to us or testifies to our love for Christ. Such a song that blesses is found in a setting of beautiful melody and harmony. As the beauty of a diamond ring is enhanced by its setting, so an excellent spiritual song is enhanced by its musical setting.
Psalm 98:4 tells us to “play skillfully with a shout of joy.”
You are. no doubt, familiar with Psalm 100. “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before His presence with singing.
Again, Psalm 150:5-6 encourages us to “Praise Him upon the loud cymbals: praise Him upon the high sounding cymbals. Let everything that hath breath, praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord.”
The worship that we’re experiencing in church now is only a small foretaste of our worship in Heaven, as described in Revelation 5:11-14. That will be glorious beyond our imagination.
WHY SHOULD THE MUSIC BE LOUD?
Because God is awesome!
Why should we shout and sing our hearts out in church? Psalm 47:2 answer that question. The King James Version answer ” For the Lord most high is terrible.” A much better way of expressing God’s glory is with the word “awesome”. God is an awesome God. Today that adjective awesome is overused to describe everything from ice cream to movies and Rock stars. I prefer to reserve that word to describe only God and His creation. It describes that which is indescribably glorious. Only God can properly be described as awesome.
God is King over the whole earth.
Not only should our singing in church be loud because God is awesome; but also because He is the King over all the earth. Not only is He king over the so-called “Christian nations”. but all the nations of the world, even those that are openly opposed to the Gospel of Christ.
One day when He returns He is going to subdue all nations; not only under His feet, but also under the feet of Christians. That’s what Psalm 47:3 tells us. One day Christians will rule with Christ over the whole world. That is truly an awesome experience awaiting Christians who are willing to suffer with Christ in their identification with Him in this world now, according to II Timothy 2:12.
God chooses our inheritance for us.
Another reason for us to praise God with all our strength is because He has chosen an eternal inheritance for us, according to Psalm 47:4 and I Peter 1:3-4. We’re already blessed in this world and greater blessings await us in the world to come.
Jesus ascended back to Heaven with a shout and is returning with a shout.
That’s the messages of Psalm 47:5. Though in the Acts 1 account of His ascension back to Heaven, there is nothing said of shouts on earth, we can be sure there was shouting and rejoicing in Heaven as the Son of God returned in His glory, having dealt a death blow to sin and Satan when He died on the cross and rose again the third day as prophesied in the Old Testament.
Yes, there are many reasons for our rejoicing and singing loudly our praises to God.
Experiences from the 1940’s
I will never forget my years as a young boy in the People’s Church located then in the heart of downtown Toronto, Canada. How, with the choir and orchestra, the congregation of 2,000 people sang the great hymns of the church. The music was loud and glorious and was a major attraction to those outside. Many were drawn in by the excitement and enthusiastic singing. Week after week, people streamed down the aisles every Sunday morning and evening during the World War II years in response to the invitation to receive Christ as Saviour and Lord.
In the mid fifties I will never forget, when as a student at Bob Jones University in Greenville, S.C., we gathered for chapel each day. The music of the many trained voices of three thousand students, singing in four part harmony was absolutely thrilling.
Our sovereign God reigns over the heathen who do not even bow to Him now, Psalm 47:8 informs us. Though they presently rebel against God now, when He returns to reign, the shields and banners and flags, representing all the nations of the earth will be under His absolute sovereignty then. We, His victorious Church will exercise Christ’s authority over the earth. Read the following passages that describe that time.
Psalm 47:9 speaks about the princes of the people, Which people? The people of the God of Abraham. That’s us, those of us who share in the blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant. Christ is the fulfillment of that Covenant and we are blessed through Christ. To delve into this, go to my series on FREEDOM, a study of Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians.
Note also these other references to Christians reigning with Christ in His Kingdom Age which begins when He returns for us. Revelation 5:9-10, 20:1-6, 22:1-6 and II Timothy 2:12.
May God bring back in these dark days of sin and apostasy a revival of God’s people. Not just a revival of holy living, but also a revival of rejoicing, loud, joyful singing in our churches.
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