I grew up going to church. Every Sunday I would walk into church with my family, climb the stairs to the balcony, and sing a combination of worship songs with the congregation. Some of the congregation could sing, some couldn’t. But still, we sang our songs—waving our flags, clapping our hands (on and off-beat) and tapping our well-meaning, clumsy feet to the strums of the guitar and the beat of the drums. I loved it.
But did you ever wonder why we sing in church? Why do we attempt to reach those unattainable notes with our morning voices? Why do we repeat the words to well-known songs over and over again, week after week?
There are several reasons laid out in scripture to why we should sing and participate in public worship. I want to share four that I have found.
Scripture commands us to sing
The first, and most straightforward, is that it is simply commanded. The Psalms are clear on this point: “Oh, clap your hands, all you peoples! Shout to God with the voice of triumph!… Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises!” (Ps 47:1, 6) “Sing to God, sing praises to His name; Extol Him who rides on the clouds…. Sing to God, you kingdoms of the earth; Oh, sing praises to the Lord.” (Ps 68:4, 32) “Sing aloud to God our strength; make a joyful shout to the god of Jacob.” (Ps 81:1) “Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; sing praises on the harp to our God.” (Ps 147:7) The directions are clear- sing and shout to the Lord!
Singing releases God’s power and life in our lives
The second reason is found in Proverbs: 18:21: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat it’s fruit.” We have the power to speak death or life. Let’s face it, we may want to, we may mean to, but we don’t speak life every time we open our mouths. Even if we make conscious decisions to NOT speak death, we still need to speak life. What better way than singing the Word of God out loud? Speaking truth is like light shining into darkness, “And the light shines into the darkness, and darkness can never extinguish it.” (Jn 1:5) When we sing to Him, the truth and light that flows from our mouth overcomes the lies and darkness without.
Why sing corporately?
So maybe we should sing. But why at church, why together? The third reason, is simple- unity. When we stand and sing with other believers in unity something happens. God likes it: “Behold, how good and how pleasant is it for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Ps 133:1) “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there I am in the midst of them.” (Mt 18:21) What better way to portray the Body of Christ than for us all to stand and sing together in harmony of heart and mind to our King and Bridegroom! “Praise the Lord! Sing to the Lord a new song, and His praise in the assembly of saints.” (Ps 149:1)
Jesus is worthy of our worship
The fourth and final reason to sing to the Lord is because He is worthy. Even if you don’t sing because we are commanded to, or that it brings life, or that it promotes unity, you should sing because He deserves it. He is the First and Last, the Creator God, the Heavenly Father who loved you so much that He died for you. Sing to Him, worship Him, because He loves it. Join your voice with the multitude of Heaven and the elders around the throne and sing, “You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created…. Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God!” (Rev 4:11, 19:1)