Songs were used in the Old Testament to teach, to caution and to express gratitude toward God. Songs were written for significant events such as the crossing of the Red Sea (Ex. 15), as a reminder of God’s laws and manner for living (Deut. 32), as expressions of thanksgiving for God’s gifts (1 Sam. 2), as cries for help in time of trouble or discouragement (Ps.13), and as pure praise to God (Ps. 8). The songs we sing today still perform these functions as we obey the command to sing and make melody in our hearts to the Lord (Ephesians 5:19).
Singing is one-way for everyone to actively participate in our assemblies. Each person can direct and express their deepest feelings to God through the songs we sing. Listening as others sing has some benefit, but only by singing the words ourselves can we realize the full meaning and depth in our inner being. It is not how well we can carry a tune that impresses God when we sing, but the active expressions and confessions of our hearts in song. As an additional benefit, Jesus himself sings with us in our assemblies (Heb 2:12), and we praise God together with Him in song. Let’s resolve to continue to sing with the spirit and understanding in our assemblies.