Sing With Understanding

“For God is the King of all the earth. Sing praises with understanding.”
(Psalms 47:7)


    The inspired apostle was probably making reference to this Psalm for
the sake of the Church in I Corinthians 14:15, “...I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing
with the understand.” While we no longer have singers who were given their son directly
from the Holy Spirit, as some did in the first century, it is still vital for two important things:


    1) The message of the songs we sing need to be in harmony with the Scriptures.
Some times we have to modify the words of our songs or leave out certain verses because
the human lyricists sometimes depart from the truth. Jesus taught us to worship in spirit and
in truth (John 4:24). That’s why it is important for us to mean what we sing.


    2) For us to sing songs that are pleasing to God, we must understand what we are
singing. We need to be students of the Bible so we know what God says. Then, when we
sing, we need to use our understanding of the truth to choose and sing what He approves.


    We must not go overboard and not allow for poetic license at times. You may recall
some of the songs that have lost some of their relevance over the past one hundred years.
Songs relating to common things around us (like Jesus did with parables) used to include
telephones going through a switchboard, steam trains, lighthouses, and lower lights along
the shore. These things made for beautiful poetry, but hardly connect with a generation who
has never “dialed” a phone or called an “operator.”


    The value of our songs, hymns, and spiritual songs must not be valued or dismissed
simply because of nostalgia or newness, but rather on how they relate to the truth we have
learned and how they help us connect with the God we worship. (By the way, with regard to
new songs: All the songs were new at one time.)


    I have been impressed over time how our older people with their beloved older songs
and our younger people with their enthusiasm for their newer songs have been cooperative
and respectful to each other. It seems like nearly all have a desire to learn from each other
and to grow together. For this you are to be commended.


    May we seek to use the beauty of our Christian music, clear and beautiful voices
making melody in our hearts, to please God in the words, the attitudes, and the enthusiasm
in which we bring our songs to God. “Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice
of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name” (Hebrews 13:15).


“For God is the King of all the earth. Sing praises with understanding.”