Thirty-five years ago, businessman Alton Howard wrote a gospel song he entitled “He Gave Me A Song.” It’s a wonderfully joyful hymn with a bouncing chorus that cannot help but plant joy in the hearts of the church that sings it.
Throughout the Old Testament, music, particularly singing, has played a significant role in the relationship with God. Israel’s successful exodus caused Moses to break out in song (Exodus 15). God’s blessings to His people brought music once more to the forefront (Numbers 21:16ff). And here, in Deuteronomy 32, God actually gives Israel a song by which to remember His law, their history, and God’s love.
It’s a long song.
I wish I knew the tune.
Centuries later, David will write of his own experiences: “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord” (Psalm 40:1-3).
The lyrics of hymns burn truth into our hearts and fill us with inexpressible joy, the strength to carry on, or unfathomable sorrow. In any case, when God gives you a song, it’s always designed to move you. Keep that in mind when you gather with God’s people to worship in song. It’s important.