Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Why Were You Born?

In the song Magnificent on U2's new album (No Line on the Horizon), Bono cries out that he was born to sing for Someone. Many might think this is a song to all U2 fans...and I guess at one level you can take it that way....but what the song is really about is Bono's acknowledgement that he was born to sing for the Magnificent...for Christ. What I want us to consider today is the fact that the song's lyrics are really true for ALL of us. Every human being was created to Sing for God. We may not have Bono's voice, but we are made to sing!

In Numbers 21:17 we meet up with the Israelites singing a song of praise to God because He had graciously promised to give them water for their journey in the wilderness.

One interesting side note is that this passage follows closely on the heels of one of my favorite gospel passage in Scripture. In Numbers 21:4-9 God had sent fiery serpents to bite the people because they were grumbling and complaining in the desert. They were helpless to save themselves from the fatal venom...all they could do is cry out to God and look in faith to the bronze serpent that God had commanded Moses to lift up on a pole. In John 3 we learn that this incident was a prefiguring of Christ: as the serpent was lifted up, so Christ was lifted up, that whoever looks to Him in faith will be saved from sin. However, we must be reminded that it is also the picture of sanctification and life change...whenever we recognize and acknowledge the venom of sin coursing through the "veins of our souls" afresh, we have no other recourse but to look to Christ again in fresh faith that the transforming power of the blood might "neutralize" the venom of sin and we may be changed.

It is AFTER this rebellion of grumbling and complaining and whining that God then shows great grace by providing undeserved water to quench the thirst of His people. How amazing that even after our rebellion, God still graciously provides what is more than sufficient for our needs!

As God's people hear that He is going to provide water, they break out in praise to God for the well. Each Sunday, Each Lord's Day, we are given the privilege to praise God for the past week's provision of grace and praise in anticipation of future grace in the coming days. I'm reminded of how often in the Psalms that we as God's people are COMMANDED to "Sing!" We were born to Sing for Him!

The fact of the matter is that our hearts ought to be so full of wonder at God's grace, there would be no need to be commanded to would be the supernatural, spontaneous overflow of our hearts. However, because of our sin and cold-heartedness, because of our distraction and our pride, we still must hear the COMMAND to sing praises to God. In the Psalms alone we hear the command or the determination to sing in at lest 61 verses!! Singing praise to God is not a matter of temperament or giftedness; it is a matter of the heart!

When I was converted as a sophomore at Penn State over 29 years ago, there were three changes God brought about in my life over which I exercised no will, exertion or effort. First, whereas I had never owned nor opened a Bible, within days of my conversion I had an insatiable hunger for God's Word...I literally could not put it down. Second, my language had been "colorful" as a "gym rat," cursing whenever I missed a shot on the basketball court. Within days of my conversion, my language had cleaned up without me even focusing on it! Third, I began to sing! I can still remember singing Christmas carols my first Christmas as a true believer. I had been in churches where carols were sung when I was a non-Christian over the years, but I had never sung...I mouthed the words without singing. When I was converted, I began to sing.

I know that personality does have SOME bearing on singing...but if you read the Psalms, God doesn't deal with temperaments....we are COMMANDED to sing!! But again, the real issue is not that we are commanded to sing; the real issue is this: what is going on in our hearts that we would refrain from singing? Even if we feel we have a terrible voice, that is a heart issue of pride and self-absorption. Even if we feel shy and self-conscious, that too is a matter of pride in the heart. If we just don't feel like singing, that is giving into emotions, or a lack thereof and allowing our emotions to rule our lives rather than using our renewed wills to whip our emotions into shape.

The question this morning is this: are you singing God's praises on Sunday mornings? If not, why not? I know we all sing alone with U2 blaring on our stereos...singing is a matter of delight, not temperament! We are ALL born to sing for Him!

1 comment:

Tal Prince said...

I'm thinking Magnificent may have been written about the iPhone 3GS. I know the whole tour is sponsored by Blackberry, but the song was written before that deal, and the boys know a thing or two about being prodigals, right?