Where did music start? In the heart of God Himself. The Bible is known and loved throughout the world as a book of laws, a manual of instruction for living, a literary masterpiece, the story of eternal salvation—the very Word of God. But it is also a book of music and song from beginning to end.
Its treasury has been inexhaustible and unsurpassed as a source for the most glorious music written through the ages. Georg Frederick Handel with his 21-day miracle oratorio The Messiah was not the first to be captivated by the music of the divine revelation, nor will he be the last.
When we lift our Sunday voices to sing, “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty,” we are joining the mighty river of songs to God that has its head streams in the history of God’s people.
For the people of God, there was party music for meaningful events. So Jacob’s father-in-law scolds him by saying, “Why did you run off secretly and deceive me? Why didn’t you tell me, so I could send you away with joy and singing to the music of tambourines and harps?” (Genesis 31:27).
Surrounding and infusing all this life-music was the music of God and His glory. God spoke to His broken but faithful servant Job about the day of creation when the morning stars sang together.
That song would be ever new, for in that great Psalm book that lay at the heart of worship, they and we are urged to “sing to the Lord a new song” (96:1). In that book are recorded songs of trust, despair, penitence and rejoicing. Only in the fullness of God’s time would it become clear that the central theme of all the songs and all the music of God was then and is now the Lord Jesus Christ.
The music continued into the New Testament. Jesus told of the prodigal’s elder brother hearing the music of the welcome-home party. On His last night before Calvary, Christ and the disciples sang a hymn before going to the Garden.
The mark of the new Christian church and the coming of the Holy Spirit was more music, “with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19). The joyful heart is an unmistakable sign of those who are born again.
Where does the music of God, which has gone round and round through all ages, come out? Around the throne of God where the redeemed play the harps of God and sing the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb.
Stanley Jaynes, The War Cry