I was reading John MacArthur’s commentary on Ephesians 5. He said this:“The first consequence of the Spirit-filled life that Paul mentioned was not mountain-moving faith, an ecstatic spiritual experience, dynamic speaking ability, or any other such thing. It was simply a heart that sings.”
I really enjoy that thought. We’re not talking about ability, or celebrity, or attention-seeking. We’re talking joy, gratitude and a concentrated awareness of blessing. It’s not a matter of having a bubbly personality! But joy is promised to every believer who walks by the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:16, 22). As the Spirit of God opens up to us the unfathomable riches of Jesus Christ that have been poured out by grace alone, we cannot help but be filled with praise and thankfulness to God, and that praise overflows in singing.
Someone said that the most frequent command in the Bible is, “Sing!”
Psalm 5:11: “But let all who take refuge in You be glad, let them ever sing for joy; and may You shelter them, that those who love Your name may exult in You.”
Psalm 33:1-3: “Sing for joy in the Lord, O you righteous ones; praise is becoming to the upright. Give thanks to the Lord with the lyre; sing praises to Him with a harp of ten strings. Sing to Him a new song; play skilfully with a shout of joy.”
Psalm 95:1: “O come, let us sing for joy to the Lord, let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation.”
Psalm 96:1-2: “Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, bless His name; proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day.”
Psalm 98:1: “O sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done wonderful things, His right hand and His holy arm have gained the victory for Him.”
Psalm 100:1-2: “Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful singing.”
Psalm 147:1: “Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant and praise is becoming.”
Psalm 149:1: “Praise the Lord! Sing to the Lord a new song, and His praise in the congregation of the godly ones.”
“But I don’t feel like singing. Wouldn’t I be a hypocrite if I sang when I didn’t feel like it?”
It’s precisely at those times that we need to confess our coldness of heart to the Lord and ask Him to lift our eyes to all He has given. The psalmists often begin by being overwhelmed by trials. But by the end of the psalm, just from rehearsing God’s faithfulness and His attributes, the whole mood of the psalmist has shifted to joyful praise, even though his circumstances are exactly as they were at the beginning.
You see it throughout the Bible. Whenever the Spirit of God is manifested and God is working in an obvious way, someone says “Let’s sing about it!” Think of Miriam in Exodus 15. Or Deborah in Judges 5: God has delivered us! Think of Psalm 103 especially.
In 2 Chronicles 20, Israel goes into battle singing! “Give thanks to the Lord, for His lovingkindness is everlasting.” Then we read that “when they began singing, the Lord set ambushes against the enemy so that they began fighting against each other.”
You better get used to it, because Heaven will be full of singing: Revelation 5:9 records, “And they sang a new song, saying ‘Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.’”
Actually, the song of Moses is the first song in the Bible and also the last (Rev. 15:3-4): “And they sang the song of Moses, the bond-servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, ‘Great and marvelous are Your works, O Lord God Almighty; righteous and true are Your ways, King of the nations! Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy; for all the nations will come and worship before You, for Your righteous acts have been revealed.’”
Lord today, give me a heart that sings.