An Old-Time Song

  • Oct. 2, 2018
  • #9502

The Bible tells us to speak to each other in psalms and hymns to bring comfort and for instruction in doctrinal truths.

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and here’s a song you never hear these days. It’s a little different, but it’s fun.

There's within my heart a melody, Jesus whispers sweet and low; "Fear not, I am with thee, peace, be still, In all of life's ebb and flow." [Do you know this? Then sing it] Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Sweetest name I know, It fills my every longing, Keeps me singing as I go.”

Okay, you probable sang that at your youth Bible camp when you were 11 years old, so something, I don’t know, but I venture you have might not have heard that Gospel song. Few people know it anymore and I realize it’s old-fashioned, a little strange, but when I kick my mind out of gear, guess what: there’s a part of me that can easily default to these words and this tune, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, sweetest name I know. Fills my every longing and keeps me singing as I go. What can I say? A hymn like this goes so well with Ephesians Chapter 5, where we are commanded (not suggested, but we are told to), "Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord."

Now that’s a fascinating command for us these days: We're supposed to speak hymns and songs to one another – not only with one another. There's a time and place to sing with believers; to stand shoulder to shoulder and sing alongside each other, but here in this verse, God is asking us to face each other square-on and offer songs to one another, not at or with, but to each other! And you can understand why. I mean the words to hymns are overflowing with such rich doctrine, wisdom and insight. Like the other day, a friend stopped me and asked if I would pray for guidance for him. So, right there we bowed our heads and I began praying in a song: “Guide him, O thou great Jehovah, he’s a pilgrim in this barren land; he is weak, but you are mighty, hold him with your powerful hand. Bread of heaven, bread of heaven, feed him till he wants no more, feed my friend till he wants no more.” Do you get it?

This is the kind of stuff we are supposed to speak to one another, actual words of hymns. Now, you could take it literally, like I do. Often when I come to work in the morning, instead of saying "Good morning," I’ll often wheel into the office and I’ll greet people with a hymn or a scripture song like, "Happy day, happy day, when Jesus washed our sins away." And when I'm leaving the office, it will often be, "Goodbye, our God is watching over you, goodbye His mercies go before you." Now it may sound odd to you, or a little strange, but nowadays in our society of course it does. But I tell you what: I mean it from the heart which is the second part about Ephesians Chapter 5.

It says to make music in your heart to the Lord. If we're going to be singing, whether to each other or to the Lord, it better be from the heart. Because if it's not from the heart, it's a clanging cymbal, it’s noise, it’s just a pretense. God even says: these people praise me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. So friend, stir your heart today. Give you a song, a worship song, old or new. Make music to Him; speak the words to those you love, to those who need the touch of Christ; speak to them the insights, doctrinal insights from a rich, wonderful hymn. When you do, it'll be the Spirit of Christ that'll keep you singing.

Music: He Keeps Me Singing. Words & Music: Luther B. Bridgers, 1910. Public Domain.

© Joni and Friends



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