Thursday, July 24, 2014

Prayer, Song, and Thought for the Day

Prayer for the Day

Precious Savior I am asking You to give special encouragement to all those ministers of music and music educators who are careful how they music in your wonderful name.  Please do not let them become weary in well doing.  I am also asking that you would anoint their careful music ministries and make their work efficacious.  Give them power for musical service that can only come through your guidance and help.  These things I am praying in Your Strong and mighty name.  Amen.
Song for the DayMy Jesus I Love Thee by A. J. Gordon
Thought for the Day
God Gave His musicians over six hundred references to music in His Word because He is wise, all knowing, and cares about what they do.  Now we need to study God’s word and ask Him to increase our understanding.


The Comfort of Scriptures about Music

  The Comfort of Scriptures about Music
           Ps 147:7 declares, “Sing unto the LORD with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God:” Strong’s Exhaustive concordance explains that the Hebrew word anah (6030) which was translated sing in the AV means to sing together by course and todah (8426) means “an extension of the hand, i.e. (by implication) avowal, or (usually) adoration; specifically, a choir of worshippers”.  So, Christian musicians should sing back and forth to each other with upraised hands the praises of God.  Furthermore, they are to sing these praises with an instrumental accompaniment (i.e. zamar 2167, kinore 3658).  
            You may be wondering why I gave all the particulars about musicing unto God in a devotional.  The reason is that God’s word is very specific in this verse about how we should music unto Him.  As a Christian musician, I find great comfort in this specifity in an age when so many church musicians believe that the Bible does not say much of value about our musicing.  So, when you feel pressed to accept all the stuff that is being said by post postmoderns, just remember that the Bible has much to say about how we should worship Him with music.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Thought for the Day

Thought for the Day

The intoning of the Scripture became a vehicle to aid memory in ancient Israel.  Likewise, singing is an aid to memory today.  Therefore, it behooves Christian musicians to sing songs that are worth remembering.


Reading (Singing) Distinctly Gave the "Sense" part 2

Reading (Singing) Distinctly Gave the "Sense"   part 2

            The word translated “read” in this verse is taken from the Hebrew word qara (7121) sometimes connotes reading the scrolls, and at other times it means to call out or to proclaim the torah.  This proclaiming is commonly understood by Hebrew scholars to mean the intoning or singing of Scripture. 

            Note that the Bible does not say that the Levite musicians gave commentary (like the *Halakhah and *Haggadah from the *Midrash) on the content of the scrolls, but merely about their type of “reading”, which I believe refers to the singing of the Law through the use of the te’amim.  We know with certainty that this rendering was performed so distinctly (parash 6567, i.e. to separate or to specify) that it gave so much specificity to the meaning of the text that the congregation “understood the reading" of the Torah.

So, you may legitimately ask, ”What should we learn from this text in the book of Nehemiah?” Christian musicians in the twenty first century need to be aware that proper musical rendering of the good news of the Bible can make it more understandable to the hearers.  The musician must perform sacred music in such a way that the modern-day worshiper will be aware of the “sense” of the message in order to understand distinctly.



Sunday, July 20, 2014

Thought or the Day

Thought or the Day

It seems strange that many Christian musicians struggle the concept that all of the OT was notated and was intended to be sung and at the same time sing scriptural songs.



Reading (Singing) Distinctly Gave the "Sense" part 1

Reading (Singing) Distinctly Gave the "Sense"   part 1

 Nehemiah 8:8 states, “So they read [qara7121] in the book in the law of God distinctly [parash 6567], and gave the sense [sekel 7922], and caused them to understand [biyn 995] the reading [miqra 4744 ].”  This passage of Scripture has troubled many Bible expositors for centuries.  They have often queried, “What made the reading of the scrolls of the Law “distinct”?  They have also wondered how the Levite musicians were able to “give the sense’ of the meaning of the Law?  It has also been a great mystery as to what type or rendering of the scrolls by the Levite musicians actually took place. We know from verse seven that the Levites were among those who “…caused the people to understand the law…” 

            I have no doubt that this Bible reference, which over the many centuries has become an *esoteric reference to the Levite musicians intoning or singing of the Law by the use of the te’amim (the biblical musical notation) which is found above and below the text in some Hebrew Bibles.  This intoning, cantillating, or singing is what made the Levite rendering of the Law “distinct” i.e. more understandable to the people.


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Prayer, Song, and Thought for the Day

Prayer or the Day

Oh, Great and wonderful, wise, and loving God, I want to thank You this morning for Your gift of music to all of us who live on this earth!  Although your thoughts are higher than our thoughts, You have made it possible for the blessed Holy Spirit to guide Christian musicians in their daily ministry.  Thank You for providing “massa” to Spirit filled musicians who are sincerely musicing unto You for Your glory.  Please help every Christian to be sensitive the Holy Spirit’s leading this week as they prepare to worship you in this week’s services.  These things I am praying in Your name.  Amen.

Song for the DayHoly Spirit Thou Art Welcome by D. Rambo and D. Hintsinger
Thought for the Day 
 Even the most accomplished musician who leads music in worship is in need of the Holy Spirit’s guidance.


Massa or Burden for Song

Massa or Burden for Song
1Chronicles 15:22, “And Chenaniah, chief of the Levites, was for song: he instructed about the song, because he was skilful.”
            Although translators of the Bible labor over each original word, sometimes the nuance of scriptural meaning is lost.  Such has been the case concerning I Chronicles 15:22 which states, "And Chenaniah (3663), chief (sar 8269) of the Levites, was (hayah 1961) for (key 3588) song (massa 4853):  he instructed (yacar 3256) about the song (4853), because he was skillful (biyn 995)."  An amplified rendering of this verse could justly read,
And Chenaniah, whose name means Jah has planted, was an accomplished musician and he became a head person or steward of the Levite musicians and had a burden [borne in upon him of God] for song.  He corrected, instructed or chastised with words about the burden (massa) of song because he was able to perceive and could separate or distinguish mentally.
            As we can see from the amplification, Chenaniah's name signifies that he had purpose in life for his name meant that God had planted or had purposed that he become a chief Levite musician.  He became a chief musician because he was skillful or could distinguish or discern the import or what was right concerning music.  He knew what he was doing and imparted or taught (transferred) that knowledge to the sons of the Levites.
            Every sincere minister of music that I have met desires to music effectively to God and to the people who attend the worship services.  I believe that efficacious musicing is made possible by being a skillful musician, but the most important thing is to have massa or “burden for song” which is borne in upon the musicing from the Holy Spirit’s guidance.