October 5, 2015

The Blessing of Song

I am certainly no expert in music, or in music theory. In fact, I am not even a novice in these things. But I do enjoy music, and I have noticed what an aid to memory music can be. And I was reminded of that lesson again this past Lord’s Day evening. A couple of church members had taught our children a little melodic version of Psalm 139:23-24, and one of those children was singing it over and over (and over again!) such that, without any real effort on my part, I now have the tune and the all-important words imprinted on my memory. And, if we decide to keep singing this little scripture song, those words will probably stay in my heart as long as I live … perhaps even into dementia.

Indeed, on one of my privileged trips to preach in the nursing home, I sat next to a sweet and smiling, but slumped over, old lady whom I had seen many times before. She always smiled, but never spoke that I can recall. And I have my doubts that she gets much of anything at all out of my sermons. Her aging mind seems to be under a perpetual mist. But, as I sat down next to her before the service that day, I dutifully handed her a hymnal, and turned it to the appropriate page with each song. And then something amazing happened. This woman – who often didn’t open her eyes, and whom I don’t think I had ever heard speak – parted her lips and began to sing! And what a lesson that was to the way a tune can help the truth stick with us! It’s not the only reason we sing, of course. But it’s a mighty powerful one!

Everyone who reads these lines, for instance, can recite the alphabet by heart. Because of a tune! And it is also because of a tune that I can pass the test when I quiz our congregation on the order of the Ten Commandments. My growing up children’s choir directors taught them to me with a song! And so, when I heard Sally singing the final two verses of Psalm 139, God gave me another reminder of how useful song can be … especially in memorizing the scriptures (thank you Allison and Michelle!). And this is not just an exercise in teaching the Bible to children, but in learning it for ourselves, too (even if we do so by means of tunes written for children!).

So let me encourage you to get ahold of some Scripture memory CD’s, and to pop them in when you’re driving down the road, or when you’re washing dishes, or when you’re getting the children dressed for the day, and so on (Deuteronomy 6:7). Steve Green’s Hide ‘Em in Your Heart CD’s have been especially helpful to our children. Or, for music that is a little less geared toward small children, try the Seeds Family Worship … or Sovereign Grace’s Hide the Word series. Much of the above can be bought (and previewed) at Amazon. Or write your own tunes. But whatever the case, if you want to hide God’s word away in your heart, music can be one of your greatest allies. And, in this digitally accessible world, now more than ever.


Update: A friend just pointed me toward another good musical scripture memory resource!  Check out Jim Spencer's stuff here and here!  Any other ideas?  Post them in the comments below.  Thanks!

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