I call with all my heart; answer me, Lord. I will obey Your statutes. I call to You; save me, and I will keep Your decrees. I rise before dawn and cry out for help; I hope in Your word. I am awake through each watch of the night to meditate on Your promise. In keeping with Your faithful love, hear my voice. Lord, give me life, in keeping with Your justice. Those who pursue evil plans come near; they are far from Your instruction. You are near, Lord, and all Your commands are true. Long ago I learned from Your decrees that You have established them forever (Psalm 119 vv. 145-152).
Some of the Scripture songs I learned as a kid have supported me in times of crisis such as those described by this psalmist (i.e. “Thy Word Have I Hid in My Heart,” “Thy Word Is a Lamp unto My Feet”), My Mom taught me that music comforts. I remember her singing around the house some of Norman Clayton’s songs: “Now I Belong to Jesus” and “We Shall See His Lovely Face.”
As trouble sweeps in like a flood, the psalmist gets up before daybreak to pray. Then at night, restless and sleepless, he meditates on God’s promises, likely committed to memory when he was younger. Because he knows the Word, the psalmist can call on it instantly for help in any emergency. He promises to “keep Your decrees” (v. 146), “to hope in Your word” (v. 147), and “keeping with Your faithful love , . . Your justice” (v. 149). This musician feels close to the Lord because God’s Word is lodged firmly in his mind and heart!
Scripture songs are like tapes that play over and over in our minds. Because more of our senses are involved in learning them, they bring God’s truth to the forefront of our consciousness. What a glorious wedding when the Word is united with music!
O Lord, thank you for my mom who taught me hymns and gospel songs when I was young. Now these Scripture songs and biblical promises hold me steady in times of trouble.