I waited patiently for the LORD;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the LORD.
I preached on the Song of Deborah (Judges 5) this week. It is one of those texts that most will read hastily, without much thought, as it seems little more than a commentary on chapter 4. Nothing could be further from the truth. There is much to learn from this song, one that was written to help preserve, protect, and even perpetuate the cultural identity of Israel as God’s people. In summary, it is a song about the details of what happened before, during, and after the battle between the people of Israel and Sisera. Among other things, the “lines” of the song by, about, and for God include:
- God is a warrior. He created everything and thus is more powerful than any false god of creation.
- God is a gatherer. He invites all of his children to join him on mission because all of his children have a unique “something” to contribute and a specific role to play, in the battle.
- God is like a mother. He protects, provides, and cares for his children like a mother does her young. Through Deborah, and all women, we see a beautiful expression of an aspect of God’s nature.
- God is a judge. He condemns his children who refuse to fight for Him just as he does his enemies who fight against Him.
- God is a conductor. He orchestrates his song so that it plays perfectly no matter the instrument.
- God is a preacher. He speaks to inspire, empower, and move. Through the voices of men and women, God accomplishes his mission through living words.
In summary, God is a singer, a songwriter, and a song all in one. But the most poignant point that hit me, as I preached, the one that I would probably spend more time emphasizing, is that we are called to join God in singing about Him. Psalm 40 says God has given us a new song to sing. It is our responsibility and privilege.
Sadly, though we are invited to join God’s band, most of his children never get out of the shower with singing about our faith. Yes, weird thought, but you know what I mean (Unless you’re a “bath” person in which case I am more concerned that you enjoy sitting in a tepid pool of your own filth). We all sing spontaneously, boldly, and loudly in the shower, in private. And of course, in the shower, we think we sound amazing, we think we remember the words (and tone) “perfectly”, and overall we think perform splendidly with help from our showerhead microphone. And we do and think all of this fearlessly, and with incredible zeal, because we know (or hope) that no one is watching to judge our performance.
Yes, though we know God has said that faith comes by “hearing” and that by the Word of God–we fail to evangelize and refuse to sing about the glories of God in salvation publicly–at least not like we do in the shower. In the shower, we pretend to be rock stars. But once we step outside of our comfortable isolation chamber, we dare not sing out of fear all of the “Satan Cowell judges” around us.
We must sing God’s song publicly as if the world is our community shower. We must proclaim the news of His salvation without apology, declare freedom from sin without hesitation, and announce the glories of God’s Kingdom as if there is no “performance” tomorrow. So close your eyes, fill your lungs, and let if fly–for God has given us a new Song, and it holds the power of salvation for all who believe.