Did God create music
Music in God's ears
What's the matter?
There are things that are dying out. Some elements have already passed this phase and are enjoying growing popularity post mortem - preferably in museums or as plastic toys: dinosaurs, for example. Other things are threatened with extinction, like good behavior. At least since Socrates complained more than 2400 years ago that the youth have bad manners and no longer have any respect, the phase of extinction of good manners has heralded. One of the things that has been on the Endangered Species list for a while is singing. The jukebox and all canned food players invented since then make it so easy to let yourself sing that music is on the rise everywhere. And the joy of singing is on the decline. As Christians, of course, we can worry about waning enthusiasm for the choir, Christmas carols, and singing in the shower. We can declare all offers that are in competition with singing yourself to be negative and complain about the habits of young people who “love luxury these days”, as Socrates did as early as 400 BC. Wrote. Or we let ourselves be infected again by the love of (self) singing and take our youth group on an exciting journey of discovery to the music in the Bible. We try to make it clear to them why God created such wonderful things as the larynx, tongue and lips and, above all, why he thought all of these things up.
Who are we dealing with?
In youth groups we often find the singing grouch in droves. Especially in the male camp, it is good form not to sing along at all or at least reluctantly. However, in some groups there are young people who enjoy singing and who are established enough in the group to infect others. With the singing grouches there is the danger that they do not understand singing as God's gift. Fear of embarrassment makes any arguments for singing look pretty pale. With amateur singers, a good rhythm and a great melody can overshadow everything else. The problem is that what pleases God often doesn't matter. It's enough if I like the song and I enjoy singing. On the other hand, it sometimes happens with teenagers who love to sing that they don't care about the text and the message conveyed in the song.
What are we getting at?
On the one hand, it is now important to encourage those who are enthusiastic about singing, and on the other hand, it is nice when we succeed in getting those who are grumpy to sing and growling basses to sing along. In addition to this concern, our main focus should be on how God feels songs. What do we do in his heart with our singing? Overview God is happy when his children sing. The purpose of this Bible study is to make it clear that God is especially happy when the songs come from the heart. Author Daniel Pfleiderer is Marketing Director in Wholesale. He lives with his family in Trossingen.
Four important points should be conveyed in this Bible study:
1. Contagious: With songs we can vent feelings in our hearts, reach other people and pull them along.
2. At any time: We can praise God when we are well. But we should do it even when circumstances don't seem like God has everything under control.
3. Genuine: sincerity is the be-all and end-all. God hates songs in which we only express something with our mouth, but don't act on it at all. And he loves it when his children sing joy and frustration from their hearts out loud.
4. Incessantly: The songs and hits of this world pass, but the sincere songs of the believers last forever. If singing still plays such a big role in heaven, then we should at least train on earth.
What are we going to do?
In many youth groups there is singing at the beginning of the group lesson. That is the perfect introduction to the subject. Since this is routine, it would make sense to sensitize the singers to the special evening. By deliberately interspersing comments between the songs, one can try to encourage the young people to sing consciously and to prepare the core points of the Bible study.
Loosening up introduction: what was God thinking?
Another introduction to the subject of “Singing” is the song “Sing mal wieder” by the a cappella group “WiseGuys”. At the beginning of this song it becomes particularly clear what everything goes together to make the singing work at all. Either you can read out the first verse of the song, or you can show the song in a YouTube video. Now you can ask the question in the room: “What did God think when he invented singing?” Here you can make it clear what everything goes into singing and feeling music. Enriched with clear and personal examples, this shows the teens the enormous creativity of God.
When the air flows from the lungs towards the larynx, when the vocal cord system closes everything well, when the vocal folds bob up and down until they vibrate properly, the process is commonly referred to as 'singing'. The larynx is the tone generator, the vocal cords are, so to speak, the vibrator. More than sixty muscles accelerate, but the very best: Singing is fun. WiseGuys
- Physical requirements for singing: mouth, larynx, tongue, brain
- Physical requirements for hearing: ears, auricles, ear canals
- Possibility for people to combine music with emotions: sad and happy music (minor and major keys), fast-paced and slow songs, stimulating and calming music
When asked why God invented so much to give us music and songs, we come to the conclusion that one can express a lot with songs and vent one's feelings. And that brings us to the first point of the breakdown.
It is a good idea to visualize the bullet points in the study to make it easier for teens to follow.
Be it via flipchart, blackboard or projector. You can also bring the symbols with you as objects in order to represent the structure points even more vividly
1. Feeling that is contagious
The following biblical passages show that the authors of the Bible used songs to express their feelings. Depending on the planned time frame, you should limit yourself to two or three of the examples. For the attention of the young people, it is advisable to read only the specified two to four verses or have a young person read who can read fluently and clearly. If necessary, you can briefly name the other places without looking up, so as not to lose the teens' concentration.
- Psalm 45, 1-4: A love song illustrates the writer's affection for God his King
- Psalm 18: 1-3: A song of praise after being saved from the enemy
- Lamentations 1: 20-22: Lamentation of Jeremiah, who is sad, sick and fearful because he feels abandoned by all people and realizes that his enemies are happy about his misfortune
- Genesis 15: 1-2 + 20-21: Song of praise from Moses and the people after the passage through the Red Sea
- 1 Samuel 2: 1: Song of praise for Hannah after she brought her son Samuel to the temple
- Job 30: 9: Job sadly tells that his person is the subject of songs of mockery
With songs and music you can express feelings - and infect others with it. One can encourage love and hate, joy and sadness, as well as mockery or affection for a certain person or thing.
Application / deepening:
Questions to the young people:
- What do you infect others with?
- If songs are an expression of your feelings - which songs would you have loved to sing today?
- Does God enjoy the content of your songs?
2. Around the clock:
Not only when we're doing well Expressing one's feelings is one thing - but God should also be the reason for our songs of praise when our life situation does not seem to give rise to praise. We can illustrate this important lesson with the story of Paul and Silas in the Philippi prison. It makes sense to sketch the prehistory from Acts 16: 16-22 in your own words and then read verses 23-25. The apostles sing in spite of the absolutely hopeless situation. We have to keep in mind that Paul and Silas did not know the outcome of the story when they started the first song.
Praising God when the situation is difficult or painful for us is honoring God. We trust him and look at him instead of the circumstances - we really make God happy.
Application / deepening:
It is helpful to sketch fictional but realistic, awkward situations from the everyday life of the teens in order to encourage them to praise God even under such circumstances.
3. Really: Without sincerity, your songs are rubbish
A blatant Bible passage on this is Amos 5: 21-23. If we read this passage together with the teens, we can work out the core message of the text by asking the following or similar questions:
- Is God a spoilsport that he doesn't like celebrations? Doesn't God care for music?
- How is it that he suddenly no longer even likes sacrifice and playing the harp?
- When does God experience our songs as noise?
We can make it clear that God no longer wanted to see or hear the festivals, sacrifices and songs because the Israelites were expressing something that did not correspond to their hearts.
God hates insincerity. When we sing songs that express something other than our everyday life, our singing is a noise in God's ears. No matter how beautiful it sounds, God does not fall for melodious notes. Insincere songs do not bring blessings but curse.
Application / deepening:
The application of this point becomes particularly vivid for the young people when we have selected a few lines of the song in advance, which we can now read or play. They should be songs that are part of the group's standard repertoire. On the basis of the selected lines, we can challenge the young people to check whether the statements in these texts are actually reflected in their lives.
Here are some examples:
- You are my all in all
- I give my life to you, oh Lord (...); I'm not holding anything back for myself
- You‘re all I want - from the song 'Draw me close to you'
- You are all I have - from the song 'The start of the day bright and quiet'
- Always be more like you - from the song 'Always more of you'
4. Incessantly: The songs of this world pass - the sincere songs of the believers go on into eternity
At the last point, we can take the youth into the heavenly throne room - the future 'home zone' for believers. In Revelation 5: 8-10 we read that music will also sound in heaven, then in its purest and most beautiful form. Everything is perfect in God's presence, including the songs that are sung in front of his throne. In the Bible passage we have read, we see what the purpose and content of a perfect song is: Jesus and his greatest work - our redemption and glorification.
God created music for his glory - just as he actually made everything for himself and in praise of his greatness and person. The positive examples of songs in the Bible express just that. From the songs of the people of Israel to the psalms to the music in heaven. Our singing on earth may be an expression of the fact that we are in a 'training camp' and that we are looking forward to the gigantic concert in heaven, where the focus is on what belongs in the focus: the lamb to whom we owe everything to have.
Application / deepening:
At the end you can sing a song that was consciously chosen. In the introduction to this song, the symbols of the Bible study can be repeated and used:
1. With this song we would like to express the joy of our Lord and Creator - and we would like to infect others with it.
2. It is nice when we are doing well and are therefore in the singular mood. But because worship is not a (purely) emotional matter, we should sing along to the song even when we are sad or disgruntled.
3. In no case should we sing the verses if our life does not make it clear that we stand behind the lyrics.
4. If this song doesn't sound perfect, we'll sing it for the glory of God. And we're already practicing for the best concert of all time.
And when the alarm clock goes off tomorrow morning, then we want to show through every minute of our lives that what we sang is right.
What do we need?
- Flipchart, blackboard or, alternatively, screen presentation for writing the main points and displaying the symbols
- Heart (e.g. made of fabric), smiley (made of cardboard), stamp and hourglass
- Song passages printed as texts or pieces of music for audition
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