Songs for Such a Time as This
“The LORD is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation" (the song of Moses and children of Israel in Exodus 15:2a after deliverance from bondage).
We live in such a fascinating time.
On one hand, there are noted deaths around us due to the COVID-19 situation that has swept the globe and with measures to contain its outbreak, our cities have almost completely shut down and economies have slowed. There's great uncertainty in the air and many lives will never be the same. Everyone has been affected. Layoffs have happened left and right. Employers and schools have moved to online formats but because of this, many students of all levels won't get to graduate in same way as they normally would, and parents have had to navigate both the new working realities and the schooling of the youngsters. I salute those on the front lines, who have put their lives at risk.
I've heard of domestic violence and child abuse being real issues with the shelter in place conditions, and there have been racial hate crimes, violence and derogatory language towards Americans of Asian descent. Most sadly, there are numerous real deaths, and I know this has really touched many Black American families in the US. And around the world, the global economy has been affected. I've heard of rough situations in other places around the world who don't have what we have in the US, despite our struggles. With these sufferings, people hurting and the very evil in people's hearts at work, my heart cries out! These crises are not unfamiliar to the history of humanity but nearly no one alive has lived through something like this where many of us have been mainly secluded to our homes for numerous weeks. There is much reason for cries of lament in such a time as this.
Hope and Thanksgiving:
At the same time, many families are coming together. The pause in our normal activity has provided a time for reevaluating what's really important. Many I know have time made available that they did not have before. I've heard of how creativity and innovation can come from such disruptions (even a forced disruptions, as this). Then, there is fact that the different sides of the national governmental leaders worked together to do something to help stimulate things. The technological tools we have at our disposal have provided for many online meeting forums within local communities and across the world in ways that many weren't utilizing to the extent we are now. These can make for strengthened connections going forward. These are a few reasons for thankfulness and hope.
This crisis also uniquely has taken place during a similar time frame as the Hebrews were in bondage in Egypt centuries ago and the LORD famously judged the gods of Egypt and through Moses, He delivered His people, miraculously splitting the Red Sea so they could go and worship Him. He formed them into a nation. He instituted the Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread (and also the Firstfruits celebration) in remembrance of these things forever. They put the blood of lambs on their door posts as death passed through and then they crossed over toward the promises of God that He gave to their ancestors.
Nearly 2000 years ago, a Jewish man Yeshua or in English, we say, Jesus was slain, crucified in public execution in Jerusalem after being falsely accused, betrayed, whipped and mocked in this same appointed time. He was deserted by many close followers. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John tells of the words of this Holy Man as He fulfills Messianic Prophesies and shows Himself to be the very Son of God, Promised Messiah (Christ), Lord, God incarnate, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Initially despondent, He was raised from the dead as King for many witnesses and appeared to His disciples for 40 days before ascending into heaven. The resurrection meant that His disciples had a total paradigm shift out of dark times into great rejoicing. He's called the Lion of the tribe of Judah and Judah means Praise! This deliverance, salvation and redemption are great, eternal, perpetual reasons for praise!
One of the common things we have as humans throughout cultures in the human experience is music. Songs have sustained people. From my ancestry, I'm mindful of my background in the Gospel songs of the Black church that often speak to and encourage one another and call others to the King, and the Freedom Songs of the 1950s/1960s that grew from the Negro Spirituals as my enslaved ancestors sang longingly and in intercession, looking to better days for their children.
I'm reminded in this crisis of the many types of songs and psalms we have in the Bible that can be arranged by their content and structure. There were songs of lament, both community/national and individual that I recently learned make up nearly 40% of the Book of Psalms. And there were also various praise psalms: individual testimony psalms, descriptive praise, enthronement psalms, royal psalms, songs of Zion (for Ascent and Pilgrimage), Alphabetic Psalms (arranged with the Hebrew Alphabet). Sometimes we in the West are very familiar with the praise but I was shocked learning that nearly 40% of the psalms were lamenting in nature and there is a need and place for that, even as we rejoice in and look to our eternal hope in Christ! We even have a book of our Bible called Lamentations that was birthed in rough times.
I believe all the songs, just as our very breath and lives, are ultimately unto the Lord but they are to help us along the way too. Sometimes the people would recount the history of what God did in a historical salvation psalm. You have songs declaring things over the land and inanimate things. You see the people exhorting one another, even personally to remember the Lord. A common psalm that has surfaced during this time of crisis is Psalm 91 calling on the LORD as Deliverer and Protector. God Himself rejoices over us (Zephaniah 3:17). Do a search for "types of psalms" and you can read more. I got some of my info from "The Baker Illustrated Bible Handbook." Songs can be great ways to instruct and capture truth to pass to the generations.
It is noteworthy that after the children of Israel cross the Red Sea, Moses led them in a song (Exodus 15). Miriam's tambourine is famously a part of the festivities as dance breaks out with the women of Israel. And right before Moses dies, he again leads them in a song in Deuteronomy 32 with Joshua by his side, that was to help them as they crossed over the Jordan River and for the rest of their days. In the Book of Revelation, we see many scenes and songs from heaven. In one scene they sing the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb.
When the children of Israel were in trouble in 2 Chronicles 20, they were led forth in praise. In the days of Samuel, when the word of the LORD was rare, the judge and prophet Samuel raised up a new order, companies of prophets who used music to prophesy. Afterwards, King David instituted a new order beyond this, in the midst of his reign establishing the Tabernacle of David with musicians and singers for 24/7 non-stop worship unto the Lord open before the people for 33 years in Jerusalem preceding the Temple of Solomon.
So in this time of crisis, (and really all the days of our lives), it's appropriate for us to sing a new song unto the Lord, sing to one another and even sing over creation!
Latest Song: No Shame in the Name
With this, I'd like to share my latest song: "No Shame in the Name": https://soundcloud.com/seismicchisel/no-shame-in-the-name-v-4-seismic-chisel
The Lord bless and keep you under the shadow of His wings, for He is our Rock and our Deliverer!