Early in my stop at the Walmart service station, there was peace at the pump. People quietly filled their tanks and wiped their windows. Suddenly, tranquility was shattered when a youngster pulled in with his car radio blaring music so loud that it rattled my teeth
The noise was a jagged fusion of ghastly shrieking and car-wreck. The only words I understood were “I’m OK, OK, OK! Yo, yo, are yo OK, OK, OK?”
This “music” reminded me of the powerful influence it can have on the hearer. A peaceful heart can be upended by notes that make your toenails scream. But there is better music.
Whenever my life has gotten out of sorts, I have turned to prayer and music to bring a calm, soothing presence. As William Congreve wrote in 1697: “Musick has charms to soothe a savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.”
Music therapy is now quite popular in senior living communities, hospitals, and pediatric care facilities. Science has proven that music can reduce heart rates, relax muscles, and lower blood pressure. In fact, music can strengthen mental health, lessen stress, and advance emotional and behavioral fitness.
But this is nothing new. Music was a powerful force in the Bible, too. At Creation, the Morning Stars sang together (Job 38:7). And Jubal played the harp and flute (Genesis 4:21). Moses sang a song of victory, while Miriam played the timbrel and danced after the Egyptian forces had been defeated (Exodus 15).
Music was also used as a soothing therapy. When the great prophet Elisha was troubled in his spirit, he called for a musician to play background music (2 Kings 3:15). When King Saul suffered extreme depression, he called for young David to play his harp (1 Samuel 16:23). And Paul and Silas found comfort in prison by singing at midnight (Acts 16:25).
Martin Luther said, “Music is one of the fairest and most glorious gifts of God, to which Satan is a bitter enemy; for it removes from the heart the weight of sorrow, and the fascination of evil thoughts.” This is a good word.
The Book of Psalms is entirely given to music. The New Testament quotes the book of Psalms more than any other Old Testament book and even encourages Christians to sing psalms (James 5:13). 1 Corinthians 14 has been called the guidebook for Christian worship. It discusses musical instruments, singing, and the importance of ministering unto the Lord.
Finally, consider Ephesians 5:18-20 NLT, “Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Sing on!