It seems we have gone way too far. We have lost sight of what pleases the Lord. We are continuing to press forward without realizing we’re missing out! Over what have we gone too far? Excellence.
Yes, we pursue excellence, because it is often addressed in Scripture. For example:
And in the greatness of Your excellence You have overthrown those who rose against You (Ex. 15:7 NKJ)
And in His excellency on the clouds… (Deut. 33:26 NKJ)
How excellent is Your name in all the earth, Who have set Your glory above the heavens! (Ps. 8:1 NKJ)
O LORD, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth! (Ps. 8:9 NKJ)
Ascribe strength to God; His excellence is over Israel, (Ps. 68:34 NKJ)
Have I not written to you excellent things of counsels and knowledge… (Pro. 22:20 NKJ)
God and His ways are excellent and we should pursue excellence to reflect Him – and we should. Paul said,
But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way. (1 Cor. 12:31 NKJ)
Okay, it communicates we should strive for excellence; and we should receive, accept and pursue the things that are excellent,
“…that you may approve the things that are excellent.” (Phil. 1:10 NKJ)
And Daniel had a spirit of excellence in him,
Inasmuch as an excellent spirit, knowledge, understanding, interpreting dreams, solving riddles, and explaining enigmas were found in this Daniel. (Dan. 5:12 NKJ)
So, does that mean that we should not do something unless it is “excellent”? Let me give an example. We have marvelous singers with voices like a pipe organ or Stradivarius or bugle. We also have the ability to replicate that through a multitude of technology and communication resources. What does that do for the majority of us, who leave most of our singing to the shower (if the tiles can stand it, that is)? How many turn on Christian music and listen to the plethora of recording artists and only hum along, at best.
It’s true that many chuckle at the standard line, “The Lord just wants us to make a joyful noise” (cf. Ps. 100:1). The reality is, that IS God’s desire! God quizzed Moses, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the LORD?” (Ex. 4:11 NKJ) The Lord made your voice the way it is. You can even improve it as you sing. Maybe it won’t be like some of the singing artists, but do you REALLY think God cares?
How many Christians sit silently letting others sing, because they don’t think their voice is good enough for others? Maybe they are afraid to sing because some foolish person has made fun of their voice. So, because they can’t make a melody like a few “excellent ones,” they don’t make any sound at all!
Change your thinking. There are great advantages to singing yourself. First, you will be amazed how you get your mind off of yourself and problems, when you sing songs and hymns to the Lord. Secondly, you will become your own counselor, when you sing great songs about the greatness of God, like “Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise” or “How Great Thou Art” or “Be Still My Vision” or “A Mighty Fortress” or “Great is They Faithfulness” or “The Solid Rock” or a multitude of other masculine sounding and singing songs (I’m targeting men, obviously!). There are many tremendous contemporary songs that may move you, like “Before the Throne of God Above” and others. Every time you sing (okay, maybe just in the car or shower or the garage – alone), you’ll be reminded of His character and how He can resolve every problem you have. You will sing His worth instead of stewing on your problems!
Thirdly, you will enjoy congregational singing more, because you are warmed up and ready to join in with others. Too often, people hold back in singing, for a variety of reasons. I remember my pastor rebuking a group of us young men (without naming us, but I knew he was talking about us), for not singing. He was right! We were just trying to be “cool” and didn’t think singing was a masculine thing (I guess). Tell that to King David, who wrote most of the Psalms in the Bible!
Fourthly, the more you sing, the more others around you will sing and you will fulfill Scripture. Paul wrote,
…Be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Eph. 5:18-20 NKJ)
Fifthly, when you learn the words to several great hymns and songs, you will have resources in your soul to draw upon for any tragedy that may come in life. You’ll be like Paul and Silas singing at midnight in prison (Acts 16:25).
Friends, DO NOT relinquish the God-given voice He gave you to the doldrums. Use it. A whole book of the Bible is devoted to singing. Pass down that gift to your disciples, children and church!