Oh for a thousand tongues
Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Psalm 103:1 (NIV)
I recently saw on Facebook a phrase which read, ‘If your theology doesn’t lead to song, then there is something wrong with your theology.’ As I mused on that statement it seemed to me that whenever God’s saving works are considered, people burst into song.
When the Israelites were delivered from Egypt, Moses led them in song: “I will sing to the Lord, for he is highly exalted…The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation…” (Exodus 15:1-2) This was followed by Miriam’s song accompanied by timbrels and dancing (Verses 20-21).
When Isaiah spoke of God’s salvation he concluded: “Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world. Shout aloud and sing for joy…” (Isaiah 12:5-6)
Then as the host of heaven considered the great salvation we have received through Jesus Christ, they sang a new song exclaiming, ‘worthy is the Lamb’ (Revelation 5:9-12). John, in vision, ‘…looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand…’ (Verse 11) all lifting their praises to God, singing one song.
Whenever I’ve sung Charles Wesley’s song, Oh For A Thousand Tongues To Sing, this verse has come to mind and I’ve thought, wouldn’t it be nice to be in a group of a thousand people singing God’s praises. But that is not what Wesley was referring to. He wrote the hymn after hearing a chance remark from Peter Bohler, ‘Had I a thousand tongues, I would praise Christ Jesus with all of them.’ In his hymn Wesley was not saying that it would be nice to have a thousand people to sing praises to God. No, he was making it more personal than that. He wanted to have a thousand tongues so he could praise God with each one of them!
If we are filled with the Spirit and we are keeping in step with him, then this too would be our desire. As Paul writes, ‘…be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,’ (Ephesians 5:18-19).
Does our theology lead to song?
Father, you have put a song in our hearts and turned our sorrow into dancing. This song of joy is something that no one can take away. May we never stop singing your praises.
Study by Barry Robinson
About the writer:
Barry Robinson is a Minister in Grace Communion International and is Regional Pastor for Southern England.
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