“The Book of Love has music in it. In fact, that’s where music comes from….”
I don’t think Peter Gabriel had the Bible in mind when he sang those lyrics, but that’s the Book I think of when I hear those words.
“…some of it’s just transcendental. Some of it’s just really dumb.”
You got that right, Pete.
Mind you, I don’t know much about music. I can’t read it, play it, or sing on key. But I know what I like when I hear it, and I like how it makes me feel. The music I enjoy listening to and crooning along with has the power to send my heart soaring, to calm chaos, to both quench and ignite fire, to silence fear and lighten darkness, and to make me dance. Sometimes I love the music itself, or the voice of the artist who sings it. As I grow older, the lyrics are what most move me and speak to my soul.
The Bible, too, has the power to do that, and so much more. It is packed full of hope from cover to cover, with endless layers of wisdom, truth, healing, love and grace. Unlike music that can get old, stale, and become just more noise, the Bible is as fresh and relevant today as it was when it was first written and read. I’ve been studying it for decades and have only begun to tap into its transforming power.
Music is a gift. Since every good and perfect gift comes from God, we can be sure that music was his idea – God’s gift to mankind. And it makes sense that God’s Book of Love, the Bible, would be the source of all good music, because it is a book of goodness. Its words inspire the most rich, meaningful, and life-giving lyrics, because it teaches us how to live the most rich and meaningful life.
Some of the best lyrics in music have been written and sung by the Christian contemporary group Casting Crowns. They are full of Biblical truth, yet real and resonate with all of us who, because of unfortunate circumstances or regrettable choices, find ourselves from time to time alone in the cold and painful places of life. Consider how many encouraging, Scripturally spot-on sermons could be preached based on the Text that inspired these healing lyrics from their song, “Praise You in This Storm:”
“I was sure by now
God you would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say “Amen”, and it’s still raining….
As the thunder rolls
I barely hear you whisper through the rain
“I’m with you”
And as your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away.
I’ll praise you in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For you are who you are
No matter where I am
Every tear I’ve cried
You hold in your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise you in this storm
I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The maker of Heaven and Earth.”
You can praise him in the storm, too, from the valley and not just the mountain top. Listen for the Word of God in the music that filters through your home or workplace, and into your ears and heart. If you don’t hear it, then change the station, or better yet, open the Book of Love. After all, that’s where music comes from.
“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’” 2 Corinthians 12:8-9.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4.
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” Isaiah 43:2.
“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” Psalm 139:7-10.
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18.
“You have taken account of my wanderings and have put my tears in your bottle.” Psalm 56:8.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9.
“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:30.