Monday, October 22, 2012

Soundtracks for the Redeemed

Play Eye of the Tiger and people will remember the boxer named Rocky.
Sing The Moment of Truth and The Karate Kid comes to mind.
Scenes from the Titanic flash before people's memories when the disc jockey cues My Heart Will Go On.
(paumanhin, panay luma alam kong mga pelikula. LOLz )

Part of good film making is composing its appropriate soundtrack, that when the song is played, people will remember the film long after it was shown in the cinemas. If there are enough number of songs, they compile it into an album and is sold separately from the film itself.

When DreamWorks released the animated film The Prince of Egypt, three albums were prepared: The Prince of Egypt OST, The Prince of Egypt Inspirational, and The Prince of Egpyt Nashville.  Yet the Bible itself provides the  most appropriate soundtrack for that grand event-- the parting of the Red Sea for the salvation of Israel and the destruction of the Egyptian forces. This song is Exodus 15.

Do you have a song in your heart? If you have experienced salvation from the Lord, I guess you should have one, or even multiple songs. In one of his last sermons, James M. Boice described music as: “a gift from God that allows us to express our deepest heart responses to God and his truth in meaningful and memorable ways. It is a case of our hearts joining with our minds to say, ‘Yes! Yes! Yes!’ to the truths we are embracing.” (cited in P. Ryken, Exodus: Saved for God's Glory)

But if you are going to compile a soundtrack album for your life story, what kinds of songs ought to be included? Let me offer two guidelines.

1. The Soundtrack of Our Lives Must Include Songs About Who God Is.

Exodus 15 is replete with words describing the character and the attributes of God: his eternity, his power, his wrath, his supremacy, his holiness, his glory, his love, matchless deeds. As we sing about who God is, we are also describing the kind of God we need.
  •    We are mere mortals, so we exalt the eternal God.
  •    We are a needy people, so we praise a God who is self-sufficient and able to provide for our needs.
  •    We are weak, so we worship God for his matchless power
  •    We live in a world full of hatred so we rejoice in singing about a loving God
  •    We live in a world full of lies and liars, so we sing about God's truthfulness
  •    We live in a world full of injustice where evil people go unpunished, so we sing about the God of justice, a God who expresses his wrath against wickedness.
  • We sing about a forgiving God because we are sinners in need of forgiveness.
  • We sing about a God who saves because we are bound to destruction without a savior.

2. The Soundtrack of Our Lives May Include Songs About What God Has Done.

Just as the Israelites sang Exodus 15 because of their experience of deliverance, we too may sing of the mighty acts of God in our lives. Some don't like this suggestion fearing we may end up singing songs which are purely built on the subjective rather than on objective biblical truths. But if your experience is in harmony with God's revealed truth and if our responses to those truths are appropriate responses, I see no reason to prohibit experience based-songs.

God is alive, therefore he is active. He is doing things in the lives of his redeemed, both individually and corporately. We cannot divorce our experiences from biblical truths. In the Bible, believers' dramatic personal experiences with God result in a gladness that overflows into singing: David in 2 Samuel 22, Hannah in 1 Samuel 2, Zechariah in Luke 1;67 ff. and Mary in Luke 1:46 ff. to name a few.

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