Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord:
“I will sing to the Lord,
for he is highly exalted.
Both horse and driver
he has hurled into the sea.
“The Lord is my strength and my [song];
he has become my salvation.
He is my God, and I will praise him,
my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
- Exodus 15:1-2
“Even though the song was composed before I was born (which makes it a real oldie), I often find myself humming it in the shower at the beginning of a busy day, between appointments and assignments in the middle of a hectic day, and on the road home at the end of a tiring day. Somehow it adds a soothing touch of oil to the grind: “Without a song the day would never end … without a song …”
“True, isn’t it? The right combination of words and melody seldom fails to work its magic. And given the pressures and demands we are forced to cope with on a daily basis, we could use a little magic. Consider the relentless daily grin of …[followed by many examples]
“Without God’s song in our soul, our long days will never end and those wearisome roads will never bend.
“God’s Book is full of songs – 150 of them. Let’s sing them frequently and allow their time-tested lyrics to oil our days.
- Charles R. Swindoll, The Finishing Point
Rev. Swindoll mentions a bit of the lyrics, but is that the name of the song? And who made the song famous? Could it be “Ol’ Blue Eyes” himself? Does the song even mention the Jordan River?
As for having 150 songs in the Bible, there are more, but the book of Psalms has 150, a song book dedicated to worship songs, roughly in the middle of the Bible. The other books in the Bible might have a song here or there. Did Mary recite the Magnificat, or did she sing it (Luke 1:46-55)? Or did Zechariah sing his prophecy later in that chapter of Luke (Luke 1:68-79)? Both are written as poetry. Whether there are songs throughout the Bible, there is definitely poetry that could lend itself to music.
Note, the song from Exodus 15 (another song not found in the Psalms) mentions the word “song” in the second verse, but the NIV translations use “defense” with “song” in the footnotes as an alternate meaning. I swapped the words to maintain the “song” theme, since that is a legitimate translation.
So, if there is a song book within the 66 books of the Bible, and some of the other books have songs in them, should we not have a song in our hearts? Every day? Whether we can sing or not? I have found that some of my best singing is done silently these days – not sure where my old tenor voice is hiding.
I watch the Gaither Homecoming Hour every Saturday evening, singing along with them,when its on locally and when I haven’t seen that episode recently. They repeat often. One song may be my earworm for the coming week, more so than a hymn at church the next morning, oddly enough. But then, sometimes I can have a revolving CD stacker run through all the songs in my head, a different song each day or sometimes changing songs halfway through the day. Of course, “Without a Song” is stuck in my head right now, but thinking of Sinatra could cause a different song to enter my brain before I finish writing this.
The point is that earworms, the right kind of earworms, can keep us thinking of Jesus as the day starts and as temptations strike. Have you ever had a situation where you are humming a worship song or a Gospel song and you are subjected to a visual trigger, or a different kind of trigger, those triggers where you might be tempted, but the temptation does not happen? For example, I have some Cadbury Mini Eggs on the kitchen table, an Easter tradition – just sadly, I’m on a diet. I have experimented with my diet, and I can eat four tiny eggs each day without any complications, never experimenting beyond that many. I used to consider these morsels of chocolatey goodness to be on a seafood diet basis – really, see-food – see the food, eat the food. But, if I am singing or humming a hymn that is older than the Sinatra song above, I can see the food and not even think about eating it, not tempted at all. I’m too busy singing. Does Satan measure the circumstances of the situation? Does he say, “Not worth the effort right now. I will wait until the hymn is over, then I’ll strike.”
By the way, if you do not know what an earworm is by now, or have never experienced one, it is that tune that gets stuck in your head and stays there for hours or even days. If it’s the right kind of earworm, it brings Joy to your heart.
The wrong kind of earworm can enter your head, however. If you listen to music with lyrics that do not uphold good Christian values, those lyrics can return in the form of an earworm. This is Satan trying to rob you of your strength to resist temptation.
But I had a major battle with a few earworms twelve years ago. I was diagnosed with Graves Disease in 2005, and for the next three years, I was either in remission or relapse. Each cycle caused me to gain a little weight. Strangely, the relapse caused me to feel energetic, because the thyroid was over producing, making me feel better but potentially damaging the heart in the process. So, in 2008, I swallowed the radioactive iodine capsule that destroyed my thyroid – zero thyroid function now. My heart was protected, but now I have few days where I wake up and think, “Lot’s of energy. Going to get lot’s done today.” That ship has sailed, but my metabolism is steady, in the form of a daily pill.
I bring that up, because for the first week after taking the radioactive iodine, I was in quarantine, literally radioactive myself, so that I could not be around other people. I stayed upstairs and my wife would ring a bell to let me know she had fixed a meal. I would walk down the stairs to get my food after she disappeared from the room and then return to my upstairs tower prison. Halfway through the week, I was awakened by about four or five notes running through my head. There was a voice in my head screaming that I had to know what the next note in the song was. I could not remember, and I could not turn the light off, because the song would consume me. I was in abject terror, and I could not see anyone, due to my radioactivity. And I did not go back to sleep that night. A couple of nights later, the same song, the same circumstance. I thought I was going crazy until I remembered that the song was an advertisement jingle, and they never played the next note. With no sleep for another night that week, I did an internet search and found the original song, with the entire musical score and lyrics. My mystery was solved. The same thing happened a month later after the quarantine was over, with a different song, another advertisement jingle. But I was prepared. I had my laptop next to the bed. I put some soothing music on and drifted back to sleep, replacing Satan’s earworm with something else, something better.
So, what must we do? To get those earworms inside our internal disc changer, we need to immerse ourselves in Christian music or other soothing music that can set the stage for Christian meditation during the day, for just a little while on occasion, depending on your ability to recall the music. In that way, we will remember those songs when we awaken. And having a means to play some good music when Satan strikes is a good way to perform a baptism of sorts – not an immersion of the body, but an immersion of the mind.
But what next? We must then go forth, with a song in our hearts, showing and telling people that God is Love, and the reason for Joy and Love and even music.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.