Knowing God Before the Song
Updated: Nov 30, 2020
The Egyptian Army was lying dead on the shore.
Israel had passed through the Red Sea as God held back the waters. When Pharaoh’s army tried to follow, God collapsed the waters and the army drowned.
“Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord…” (Exodus 15:1)
This is the first time the word “sing” is used in the Bible. What an amazing picture that God waited to use that word until He saved Israel from slavery. It shows just how important that response is to Him. But it does lead to a question:
How did we respond to God before song?
Starting from Genesis 1:1 I made a list of the places in scripture where I saw people communing with God, responding to him, or making a convenant with Him. I am sure I have missed some instances, but here we go:
Reproduction Gen 1:28
Tending to a Garden Gen 2:15
Marriage Gen 2:22
Keeping Livestock Gen 4:4
Sacrifices Gen 4:4
Carpentry Gen 6:14
Rainbows Gen 9:13
Building Altars Gen 12:7
Hiking (what, hiking?) Gen 13:17
Battle Gen 14:20
Tithing Gen 14:20
Visions Gen 15:1
Looking at the Stars Gen 15:5
Land Ownership Gen 15:18
Dreams Gen 15:12
Bowing Gen 17:3
Circumcision Gen 17:10
Names and Giving Names Gen17:5
Food and Hospitality Gen 18:5
Interceding for Cities Gen 18:24
Laughter Gen 21:6
Planting Trees Gen 21:33
Being Tested Gen 22:2
Praying for a Sign 24:12
Business Gen 26:12
Anointing Rocks with Oil Gen 28:18
Government and Administration Gen 39:3
Interpreting Dreams Gen 41:12
We haven’t even made it to Exodus yet, and look at all that variety! Baking bread, looking up at the stars, pouring oil on a rock, they are all responses to God.
Nowadays there are some well-worn paths that define a Sunday service- fellowship, prayer, music and singing, listening to a sermon, tithing, communion, and reading your Bible. These are good acts, important acts of devotion. But they are not all the acts of devotion.
Do you love rocks, animals, or food? Do you love to hike, look up at the trees, or garden? If you think those are just quirks of your personality that have nothing to do with your spiritual life, you may want to reconsider.
Worship leaders and musicians: How do you know God when you are not leading or playing? I know what it’s like to have a “Spiritual Sunday” sandwiched by weekdays of dryness. If you only know God through corporate worship, you will warp your identity. You will find legitimacy in “playing the hits” rather than belonging to God. Nothing steals your joy faster than that.
I love corporate worship. I love leading people from my guitar. I go so far as to say I was created to do it. But I was created to do a lot of things. I was created to be a son, brother, husband, and father. I was made to cook, run, work with my hands, laugh with friends and family, and serve. There are probably more things I didn’t know I was made for yet.
But I don’t have any unspiritual parts. I don’t have any parts God doesn’t care to know.
And neither do you.