by Kevin Burton
“It’s not just a song, it’s music for the Master.”
I used to hear that just about every weekday on Christian radio when I lived in Ohio. The guy who did the afternoon shift on WFCJ radio called his show Music for the Master. I can still hear his distinctive voice.
Music is everywhere, made for many purposes in many styles. When the intent of the songmaker is to praise God, it elevates a tune to something else entirely. “A sweet savor to God” the Bible calls it, and “a joyful noise.”
This is a distinction we make today in our ninth-period Band class at the Earthly School for the Spiritually Blind (ESSB).
We live in two realms simultaneously, the physical and the spiritual. If you are blind to the spiritual, what you don’t know does hurt you, badly on earth, but disastrously and irretrievably in the afterlife. That’s why we’re doing this series on spiritual blindness.
Singers and bands have been said to “knock down the walls” when they really bring it. Music for the Master rises up to the heavens lifting up His followers at the same time.
There are songs with a Christian theme, made to be marketed to the Christian music buyer that don’t make the grade. God knows the difference because God knows the heart of man.
Some people in the upstairs apartments used to steal the music out of my mailbox when I ordered from Columbia House. Remember Columbia House? Whatever happened to that?
But from that experience I learned that I should be ordering and listening to the kind of music that if somebody stole it, they would get a good dose of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
King David, writing in Psalm 57: 8-9 (NASB) says “Awake, my glory!
Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn. I will praise You, Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to You among the nations.”
You can hear in David’s voice that Christmas morning enthusiasm that gets normally somnolent children springing up out of bed. This is praise and joy that cannot be contained. That’s bursting out in song. That’s a joyful noise. That’s music for the Master.
“Psalm 98:4–6 says, ‘Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises! Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody! With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord!’” reads a passage on the website www.gotquestions.org.
“This psalm goes on to describe the sea roaring, the rivers clapping their hands, and the hills breaking forth in song. The picture is that of all creation joining together in noisy worship of God.”
“A joyful noise is not merely noise for its own sake. Our world is filled with noise, much of it harmful or distracting,” reads the website. “A joyful noise is a bold declaration of God’s glorious name and nature, with shouts, clapping, and other outward expressions of praise.”
“A joyful noise begins within a pure heart and radiates upward, finding expression in ways that honor God. When joy overflows, our actions reflect that joy.”
Which instruments may we use here in spiritual band class? I say any and all. Some reject certain instruments – drums, electric guitars – as sounding too much like the world. This is a much longer conversation, one I won’t deal with here, except to say, God knows the heart and He hears the music accordingly.
“God wants us to find such joy and excitement in Him that we cannot contain it,” reads the website. “Ephesians 5:18–19 instructs us to ‘be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart.’ When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we desire to sing to Him and edify others.”
“Musical talent has nothing to do with it. A joyful noise incorporates many creative expressions of praise: dancing, singing, clapping, shouting, raising hands, and playing instruments. When the focus of our hearts is God and His greatness, our noise is a sweet sound to His ears.
Class Notes, ninth period, band: When praise for God is the heart reason behind a song, it will show on earth but will really resonate with the God who knows the heart.
One for the Spiritual Road: “I want to live with that sense with the music I make, with the art I make, with the way I love my kids, with the way I am a father and a husband and a friend and a follower of Christ, I want to live with reckless abandonment to the truth of the Gospel,” Steven Curtis Chapman.