The Importance of Song

“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Behold, you are about to lie down with your fathers. Then this people will rise and whore after the foreign gods among them in the land they are entering, and will forsake me and break my covenant… Then my anger will be kindled against them.., and I will forsake them and hide my face from them, and they will be devoured. Many evils and troubles will come upon them, so that they will say.., “Have not these evils come upon us because our God is not among us?..”

“’Now therefore write this song and teach it to the people of Israel.., that [it] may be a witness for me against [them]. For when I have brought them into the land flowing with milk and honey,.. and they are full and grown fat, they will turn to other gods and serve them… And when many evils and troubles have come upon them, this song shall confront them as a witness (for it will live unforgotten in the mouths of their offspring)…’ So Moses wrote this song the same day and taught it to the people of Israel…

“The Rock, his work is perfect,
    for all his ways are justice.
A God of faithfulness and without iniquity,
    just and upright is he…
The Lord’s portion is his people…

“He found him in a desert land,
    and in the howling waste of the wilderness;
he encircled him, he cared for him,
    he kept him as the apple of his eye.
Like an eagle that stirs up its nest,
    that flutters over its young,
spreading out its wings, catching them,
    bearing them on its pinions,
the Lord alone guided him…
He made him ride on the high places of the land,..
  and he suckled him with honey out of the rock,
    and oil out of the flinty rock…

“‘See now that I, even I, am he,
    and there is no god beside me.'” Deuteronomy 31:16-17,19; 21-22a; 32:4,9-13,39a

In this poignant preparation for His servant’s pending death, God plants in Moses a song to leave with the nation he’d faithfully led for forty years. Israel would soon enter the promised land, but would turn from God who had steadfastly loved and protected them. Their ensuing troubles would be the result of their own rebellion, and the fulfillment of God’s word of warning. Their judgment would be a glorious upholding of His holy justice, not capricious anger, and intended as an invitation of grace to repent and return. (Numbers 12:7-8; Judges 2:16-22; Psalm 107:4-31; Hebrews 3:5)

It is human nature to expect God to bestow prosperity and favor, and blame Him for difficulties and suffering. Our flesh imposes gross distortions on His character. The song of Moses for Israel would remind them in cadence and word who was really God, and why they’d get tangled in predicament. It’s vital for an informed mindset to regularly recite our proper position under divine, benevolent authority.

What songs ring true in our hearts? What truths to melody have we memorized and oft repeat? Doctrine and scripture guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, and are the proper lens for perceiving and understanding the world around us. God’s word is our very life that enlightens and fortifies us. (Deuteronomy 32:46-47; Philippians 4:6-8)

Father, fill me with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs that set my heart aright, and remind me all the day of Your mighty deeds, Your righteous character, and the praise You deserve. (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16)

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