“Praise the Lord with the harp; make music on the ten-stringed lyre. Sing to him a new song, play skillfully and shout for joy.” Psalm 33:2-3
“And they sang a new song before the throne, and before the four living creatures and the elders.” Revelation 14:3
Throughout the scriptures, music enters as the handmaiden of heart-felt praise. David was a composer and a musician of tremendous skill, but his abilities pale in comparison with whoever composed the song heard by John in that heavenly worship scene. All of us have felt our hearts uplifted and our souls filled with joy at the sounds of skillfully played music, given in worship to God. God created sound, and we give it back to Him in praise. Therefore, we look forward to the perfection of sound in heaven, when all the redeemed will gather around the throne of God to offer sounds to Him such as the world has never heard.
Until then, we look forward to miniature “dress rehearsals” of that great Day, and we are grateful to those who “play skillfully” so that we can “shout for joy.” Like the scriptures, church history has been filled with the gift of music. The gift works three ways: God gives the individual sublime talents in music, that individual offers them back to God, while other believers are drawn along in worship and receive great benefits. Perhaps the greatest composer of all time, Johann Sebastian Bach, wrote the three letters “S.D.G” at the end of each of his compositions… Latin initials for the words “To the Glory of God Alone.” As he took his God-given gift and offered it back to God for God’s own glory, the Lutheran worshippers who heard his compositions were lifted to new heights in their adoration of Christ.
"Therefore, we look forward to the perfection of sound in heaven, when all the redeemed will gather around the throne of God to offer sounds to Him such as the world has never heard."
What many people don’t know about Bach, however, is that, while he lived, his reputation as a composer was far outstripped by his reputation as an organist. Bach was happiest when playing this noble instrument, especially since he was influenced early in his career by the experience of walking over two hundred miles to hear Dietrich Buxtehude, the greatest organist of his era, play in the cathedral of Lübeck! Bach eventually became known as a great organ designer, and his advice was sought all over Germany by churches who wanted organs installed. At the installation of a new organ, Back would first test the organs “lungs” by pulling out all the stops. He also stirred controversy by innovating new sounds on the organ. I wonder what he would think of the digital wonder installed at nearly every modern church. As he sat to listen to Diane Bish offer sound to the Lord, perhaps his heart would join all of ours in joyful gratitude for this new chapter in an ancient and marvelous story—the gift of music.