The last words a person speaks before he or she dies are significant. The "last words of Moses" are no exception; Moses' words were crucial to Israel's survival. Dr. Ken Taylor paraphrased Deuteronomy 32:47 this way: These are not empty words--they are your life!
Incredibly, the context for these life-changing words are found--in a song. And not just any song. For in Deuteronomy 31:19:22, we read that this song was taught directly to Moses by the LORD Himself--the only time that we know of where God taught anyone a musical composition!
After learning this beautiful song, Moses then proceeded to teach it to the entire nation of Israel. You can read the words to this song in Deuteronomy 32. Surely, it was one of the most unusual moments in all of history.
But, God intended this to be no ordinary moment. His song was both poetic--and prophetic! If the nation of Israel ignored its words, God said He would strip Israel of its power. Clearly,God intended this song to be Israel's "National Anthem" --words that would become the "lifeblood" of the nation: "Sing this song and choose life: neglect this song and face certain punishments!"
Fast forward now to the beginning of this new millennium: the 21st century. Once again the church is in great peril--and we find music in the midst of a titanic struggle. Will music make a difference? By the time we've finished our discussion, (coming in the next two issues) I believe you'll see, perhaps for the first time, how music must play a strong role in leading the church to power and peace.
Perhaps we should begin with this question. What is the music of your church: Classic, Blended or "Let it rock!"? For many, the question is of little consequence since the mantra of most church leaders has become: "Lighten up: our MTV culture demands new methods and new music!" Other churches, perhaps a bit more conservative, but unwilling to alienate anybody, build a church with a little bit of everything for everyone.
Common to both ideas is: "Does God really care what kind of music we sing?" Our unequivocal answer: He cares. From the nation of Israel, to the 21st century church, God's concern for His people's music has not changed. From Scripture and church history we find that God's people have always guarded their music carefully.
As we close, read the following from the 2nd century church: For our mind cannot pray unless the Spirit, within its hearing as it were, first prays before it. Nor can it sing and hymn the Father in Christ with proper rhythm, melody, meter and harmony, unless the Spirit who searches all things, even the depths of God, has first searched the depths of the mind with praise and song... "On Prayer" Clement ca. 150-215
"Proper" music for the church cannot be a choice based on personal preference. the church's life depends upon it. But, right now, go to the website and sing a great hymn with our choir--it will strengthen your faith--and your life!