Do you sing? It’s a Serious Question.

March 23, 2014

Psalm 4

God, answer when I call to You, for You are all my righteousness;
Be gracious, Lord, and hear my prayer, O give me hope in my distress.

O sons of men, how long will you my glory turn into disgrace?
How long will you love worthless lies, and seek false gods and not my face?

The Lord has placed us with Himself and hears us when we call to Him.
So in your anger, do not sin; and search your heart as day grows dim.

O ponder Him upon your bed; Be still, and make your heart His own;
Give sacrifices which are right; Trust in the Lord, the Lord alone.

So many ask, “O who can know or show us any good at all?”
O let the light of Your face shine upon us, Lord, who on You call.

My heart is filled with greater joy than when new wine and grain abound;
I will lie down and sleep in peace; For You, Lord, safely me surround.


Do you sing?

Have you bought or downloaded a record or a song lately and headed straight for the liner notes to read the lyrics with no interest in actually hearing it sung or singing along? Who would do that? Imagine it: buying a record, pulling out the liner notes and throwing the CD away.

But is this not what we do with the Psalms.

Something about singing takes words beyond our rational faculties and into the heart of our emotional realities. This is why there is a song book in the middle of the bible. Singing is the sine qua non of life. (I have to throw in a little Latin legalese bone every now and then to my lawyer colleagues). It means essential. The life hid with Christ in God is a singing life. Why? Because this life is much more about the proper ordering of our desires, affections, dispositions and deepest feelings than about managing behavior and measuring performance.

So do you sing?

Psalmody penetrates the heart when it gives pleasure, is easily remembered when it is sung, and what the sternness of the Law cannot dispel from human minds, the psalms expel through the sweetness of music.
Nicetas, Bishop of Romatiana (335-414)

Don’t tell me you are not a singer. I’m not asking if you are a singer. I want to know if you sing. Maybe this is the problem– we think that in order to sing we must be a singer. In this American Idol culture has singing become more about performance than pathos? Sure, there’s always emotion in song and we experience it when we listen, but that’s not enough. To sing is to move beyond experience and into expression. This is what the Psalms are for.

I have been careful through these daily Lenten writings to label them as songs for a reason. What if we stopped saying the word “psalms” for awhile and referred to these 150 chapters of the bible as, “The Songs.” Instead of saying the twenty-third Psalm, we could say the twenty-third song. Song #23.

One more time. Do you sing? It’s a serious question.

Psalm 4 is a short one; an easy one to sing.  CLICK HERE.

J.D. Walt writes daily for Seedbed’s Daily Text. He serves as Seedbed’s Sower in Chief. Follow him @jdwalt on Twitter or email him at

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