by Ian Robinson, Major
I love to sing. My taste in songs is very eclectic, ranging from folk to classical via country and rock. However, I am not a singer—my wife and children will tell you that I sound like a strangled frog. Nevertheless, I love to sing.
Last year, while we were stationed in the United Kingdom, Isobel and I were special guests of The Netherlands and Czech Republic Territory for their annual Zangersweekend, a kind of nationwide songfest for Salvationists. About 170 “zangers” gathered at the Army’s beautiful Belmont Conference Centre, just outside Amsterdam, to sing through as much music as possible in 48 hours. There were some songs that we had written plus others by more notable composers. The Amsterdam Staff Songsters were there as well and gave a great concert—all in all, it was a vocal feast.
First, though, I had to give a keynote address to motivate and inspire the group to greater singing heights. Last year, the special guest was Major Len Ballantine, which left me feeling inadequate and intimidated—out of my league as it were. What profound words of wisdom and inspiration could I possibly come up with that would make a difference, especially when translated into Dutch? I struggled with this for days leading up to the event.
Just before we started, God led me to Zephaniah 3:17: The Lord will take delight in you, and in his love he will give you new life. He will sing and be joyful over you (GNB). What a wonderful revelation! In that moment God showed me one of the Bible’s great truths about singing. We love to sing because God loves to sing!
We are created in his image, so if he loves to sing then so do we. It is his love of music that is embedded in our souls. I imagined God walking in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve, and during a lull in the conversation starting to hum a tune then breaking into song. Our love of singing is a natural response to God’s love for us. King David wrote, Fill us each morning with your constant love, so that we may sing and be glad all our life (Psalm 90:14).
Furthermore, science has found that singing makes you feel good. A recent online article said that singing releases endorphins into your system, making you feel energized and causing positive emotional changes.
But surely singing does much more than facilitate a chemical reaction in our body. When Jehoshaphat went to fight against the Ammonites, Moabites and Edomites, God told him to send singers out before the army. As they marched, God used their songs to throw the enemy into panic, giving Judah an amazing victory (2 Chron. 20:21-23). God loves to sing and he uses our voices as powerful spiritual weapons. We can defeat the enemy by following Paul’s instructions to sing psalms, hymns and sacred songs; sing to God with thanksgiving in your heart (Col. 3:16). Some songs are change agents and some are praise agents, but all our songs should bring glory to God.
So, if you love to sing—whether it’s in the shower, the car, church or wherever—lift up your voice with renewed enthusiasm, not just because it makes you feel good or because you think no one can hear you—be one of God’s singers because God loves to sing!
God sent his Singers upon earth
With songs of sadness and of mirth,
That they might touch the hearts of men,
And bring them back to heaven again.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow