“A voice had begun to sing. It was very far away and Digory found it hard to decide from what direction it was coming. Sometimes it seemed to come from all directions at once. Sometimes he almost thought it was coming out of the earth beneath them. Its lower notes were deep enough to be the voice of the earth herself. There were no words. It was hardly a tune. But it was beyond comparison, the most beautiful sound he had ever heard. It was so beautiful he could hardly bear it.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Magician’s Nephew
The above quote is from one of my favorite scenes in the Chronicles of Narnia. Digory, after traveling through one of the portals, is given insight into Aslan’s creation of Narnia. Fascinatingly, Lewis paints this beautiful scene in which the great lion is singing creation into existence. Creation is viewed, not simply as an act of divine will, but divine melody, in which God’s goodness and grace is woven into a symphony of praise.
This reminded me of Zephaniah 3:17:
The Lord your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.
This tender description of God depicts him gently saving his people, calming their fears by his love, and rejoicing over them in song. When we think of God, do we picture him singing? We are comfortable thinking of God giving commands, enacting judgment, and receiving praise (which are all good and true) but how often do we think of God singing? I admit, there aren’t many passages which discuss this. But Zephaniah, coupled with our desire to sing as God’s image bearers, is an indication to this truth as well. The Psalms show us that the Holy Spirit is deeply interested in writing songs.
This thrills my soul beyond measure. To think that my Father, not only saves me, but sings to me is a wonderfully exhilarating concept. It reminds us that God isn’t stoic and stagnant, but a vibrantly aware being who expresses himself in thought and art. Redemption is a thing of beauty and inspiration, a transcendent truth best fitted with melody. We put the message of salvation to music and sing it back to God; and it seems that, in some way, God sings this melody back to us.
Wisdom literature speaks of God being our “song in the night” (Job 35:10; Psa. 77:6). In the quiet moments of the evening when our anxieties and fears begin to surface, what comforts us? For the Christian, the sweet song of God’s redemptive love, his unquenchable faithfulness and determined purpose, are the notes which bring us peace. I’m reminded of my children who, when awakened by a nightmare, call out to me. I come quickly to their room, sit on their bed and gently rub their hair, as I softly sing them to sleep. Their fears are quieted; daddy is here now, everything is ok. The tenor of my voices robs them of their terror. I find great comfort in knowing God is present with me in the dark hours, softly and tenderly quieting my concerns by His love. Abba is here now, everything is going to be ok.
This song the Lord sings isn’t a juke box tune, but a melody mixed with joy and sorrow; terrible tragedies and epic victories. It’s about sin and salvation; about paradise lost and regained. And the central focus of the song isn’t us, but God himself. The song is directed toward the people, but displays their God. Just as within the Psalms, God is writing songs about the salvation He accomplishes for His people. They stand before him because of his work of grace, and the song reflects this truth. This is a song for God’s people, about their God; a special hymn that only they will hear in the resurrection of the just. When we think of our eternal residence, we often picture ourselves singing (and this is good, as we see in Revelation); But I imagine our melody won’t be the only one heard in those eternal days. Our Father loves to sing, and nothing will quiet the joyful noise of the exultation of his people.
Again, this truth should thrill us. Our God isn’t some dead idol on the hillside, but a highly personal being who takes great pleasure in the good of his children. God is deeply invested in the magnification of his glory and our good. He has conquered our greatest enemy and will preserve us so that we will one day receive our inheritance: sharing in his unimaginable glory, pleasure, happiness, and love.
Now that’s something to sing about.
Almighty God, our Abba, who loudly sings over us in redemption, give us a greater longing for the sweetness of your presence. Gently save us from the evil of today, and comfort us by your love. Allow your faithfulness and love to cut through the rancor of today’s noise; help us to find quiet moments to meditate on your goodness. For you are the fountain of beauty and wisdom and we adore you for it. Forgive our dull ears. Amen.