Psalm 98. Music. Music. Music.

Today’s Lectio Divina: Excerpts from Psalm 98. (MsgB)

Sing to God a brand-new song. He’s made a world of wonders! The whole earth comes to attention. Look—God’s work of salvation!

Shout your praises to God, everybody! Let loose and sing! Strike up the band! Round up an orchestra to play for Godadd on a hundred-voice choir. Feature trumpets and big trombones, fill the air with praises to King God.

Let the sea and its fish give a round of applause, with everything living on earth joining in. Let ocean breakers call out, “Encore!” and mountains harmonize the finale—

A tribute to God when He comes, when He comes to set the earth right.

Music has been with us from the earliest moments of man’s history. Music historians agree that the very first musical instrument ever used by man was a unique instrument found right under our noses! It’s called our mouth!

The human voice is capable of making a vast array of sounds, including such simple things as clicking, coughing or yawning, but also more complicated sounds like singing, humming, and whistling. Once man found creative ways to use our voices, historians believe that we quickly added in a variety of percussive sounds by clapping our hands or by pounding rocks or sticks together to create rhythms.

The next instrument added to our ancient collection of musical instruments was the flute. Archeological digs have found a trace of early flutes dating back 43,000 years! The oldest flute ever discovered may be the Divje Babe flute, a bone of a bear carved with two finger holes, found in a Slovenian cave (central Europe) in 1995. A more advanced flute with five holes and a V-shaped mouthpiece was discovered in Germany in 2008. It’s believed that this ancient instrument dates back 35,000 years. In 2003, the oldest known wooden pipes were discovered in a cave in Ireland. Lying near a wood-lined fire pit, the pipe set contained a group of six flutes made from yew wood, tapered at one end, but without any finger holes. In 1986, a set of highly detailed bone flutes were discovered in China. They date to about 6000 BC and have between 5 and 8 holes each. At the time of the discovery in 1986, one was found to still be playable!

While we may never know with any certainty where music first started, Moses takes a crack at the story in Genesis 4.  Here, we find the account of Cain, Adam & Eve’s first-born son. Cain, who seemed to have a bit of an anger problem, eventually went on to build the city of Enoch, named after his first son. According to Genesis, Cain’s great, great, great, great grandson, Jubal, was the father of all who played stringed instruments and pipes. Regardless of how we got here, the truth is that music has played a very important part in the history of man. Many believe that without the gift of music, human beings would never had been able to accomplish all we have during our long history on this planet.

Music, you see, stirs the soul. It reaches to part of our inner man that few other things in creation can. Without music, you and I would have huge holes in our lives. Gaping, unresolved parts of us that would forever be untouched if music hadn’t come to unlock it.

As I see it, God knows the great power of music. From my seat on the bench, I believe that He first created it and then gave that gift to man to use as we might choose. I honestly think that music, and the ability to create music, is part and parcel with man being made in the ‘image of God.’ And yes, while monkeys can make creative noises by banging coconut shells together and dolphins can put together repeatable, melodic sounds, I believe that only man, as created in God’s image, can do the amazing things with music that we have.

So that brings us to Psalm 98. One of the most musical psalms in God’s songbook. It kinda reminds me of the symphonic masterpiece Walt Disney and his crew created back in 1939 when they first combined animated artwork with some of the world’s great symphonic sounds. Even today, when people experience the beauty and creative genius of Disney’s Fantasia, I’m reminded of how Psalm 98 commands us to create new music in every generation. A new song. A new twist. A new shout. A new symphony. A new praise chorus. A new sound.

In truth, music, when brought back under the unction and command of its original owner, can be one of the best ways to communicate the good news of the Gospel of Christ to a world broken and battered, wounded and rejected. In truth, music brings life to life. So I say, let the music begin!

May this generation become the best of all in taking the creative genius of music and letting it give glory to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Forever and Ever. Amen.

My prayer: Father, thank You for the gift of music. Thank You that You gave us not only the ability to enjoy music, but also the creative juices to write and perform music for others. May the gift of music permeate our society, but may it first be brought back to You, for Your blessing. For Your Name’s sake. Amen.

My questions to ponder: How have I written off so much of today’s music, just because it is secular or is written in styles or venues I don’t appreciate? How might I become a lover of music, appreciating God’s gift in even greater ways? How might I use music to give greater glory to the Creator of it all?

So what is God speaking to you today as you ponder the Psalms?

Over a 50-week period, you and I will take a deeper look at The Psalms: God’s Songbook of Prayers. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Contemplating the Psalms home page for ease of use. Keep in mind that one of the best ways to explore the on-going applications of this blog series is to walk alongside a biblically-based, Christ-centered spiritual director who is familiar with how to make material like this part of your overall spiritual formation in God. Many of our directors in our Contemplative Activist network are available to companion you in your journey with Jesus. Click here for more info.

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