Summary: What can take away our song? (Title and material taken from Brandon Web at: http://www.brandonweb.com/sermons/sermonpages/psalms81.htm)
Kory Wilcoxon- Gary, who was in his 50s, was mentally disabled, and had the mental capacity of a six- or seven-year-old. He also had one of the worst singing voices I’ve ever heard. His singing was slurred and never close to the right key. And he didn’t have the social development to recognize his lack of singing ability. So he just sang loud. Very loud.
One Sunday, without thinking, I sat down in front of Gary. When the opening hymn started, I realized my mistake. I settled into a spirit of annoyance instead of thanksgiving. And then I realized my bigger mistake. I realized what an asset Gary was to our worship, what a gift his voice was to our singing. Because Gary was singing not from his mouth or his vocal cords, but from his heart, and every word he sang was a word of sincere praise and thanksgiving. In his child-like innocence, Gary didn’t care what he sounded like or what others thought of him. He only cared to let God know of his love and thankfulness in full voice. He was doing like Psalm 95 and 98 says, “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord” KJV. So I say, “Sing, Gary! Sing loud enough for everyone to hear, let your voice carry to the heavens!”
I notice that the hymns this morning mention that as Christians we should all be singing- “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus- Sweetest name I know, Fills my every longing, keeps me singing as I go.” “I have a song that Jesus gave me, it was sent from heaven above.” “There is music in my soul today, a carol to my King, and Jesus, listening can hear the songs I cannot sing.” “I will sing the wondrous story of the Christ who died for me.”
Singing can be done as an expression of sorrow. The 'Blues' and much of country music are expressions of sorrow. Psalm 137 is a song of sorrow. An interesting psalm about refusing to sing. But when we find singing in the Scripture it is usually pointing to times of rejoicing. It is also connected with our worship toward God. The problem in our text was that the Lord's people had been carried away into captivity. As a result, they had lost their song. They refused to sing. Many of God's people today have lost their song and refuse to sing. They do not have the joy, the excitement, and the devotion toward God that they should have.
Thesis: What can take away our song?
I. Don't Let Persecution Take Away Our Song
“My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”” “My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, “Where is your God?”” Psalms 42:3, 10, NIV.
“Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.” John 15:20, NIV.
“Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,” 2 Timothy 3:12.
Even so, after the apostles are persecuted we find this: “The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.” Acts 5:41.
After Paul and Silas were beaten, thrown into jail and had their feet fastened into stocks for preaching the gospel, we find this: “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.” Acts 16:25, NIV.
Very few of us have been persecuted like these and if they could still sing after all of this, we must keep our joy and keep on singing.
Don’t Let Troubles Take Away Our Song
The Bible reminds us that while we are in this world, we will have tribulation or trials. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,” James 1:2, NIV. Why should we consider trials and troubles as pure joy? “because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:3, 4, NIV. Peter tells us this: “These have come so that your faith...may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” 1 Peter 1:7, NIV. Tanya’s fiancé David was lying in the intensive care unit after a delicate procedure to repair a brain aneurysm. David’s eyes focused on Tanya, who had hardly left his side in several days. In wonder, he said, “Every time I look up, you’re here. I love that. Every time I think of you, I open my eyes and you are there.” That young man’s appreciation for the woman he loves reminds me of the way we should feel about God’s presence in our lives.