A Theology of Song
“And so Deborah and Baraq, the son of Abinoam, sang on that day, saying:”
With the defeat of Sisera and Jabin, we find Deborah and Baraq leading the people in singing a song of celebration with just as much text dedicated to the song as is dedicated to recording the historical narrative, demonstrating the significance given to this song of Deborah and Baraq.
In today’s day and age of sound that governs most every hour of the day, we often take music for granted. We often listen to music on the car radio when driving from place to place, there are musical soundtracks that play behind our favorite movies and television shows, we go to concerts and are entertained by musicians, many of our alarm clocks use music to wake us from sleep and some even go to sleep with music on in the background. Today, music is also no longer limited to a bulky stereo system at home or to the radio, but today our music is compressed, digitized, and loaded onto tiny devices which we can take with us anywhere. It’s no wonder we often take the gift of music for granted.
Yet, music is not something to take for granted, nor is it something to be looked down upon as commonplace (though it could be argued that some music is commonplace). Music is part of our human heritage. It transcends culture and language and it draws people together from all walks of life. If we allow it to do so, music can move us, and move us more deeply than most (if not all) other forms of art. In fact, I would argue that music is part of what it means to be human and to be made in the image of God.
The Bible is filled with song. Even Adam, when presented with Eve for the first time, breaks out into song. The house of God’s worship was also a place filled with song while God also saw fit to teach songs to David and to several other psalmists. So, God is intimately involved in the music of his people. He has given us voices to sing and instruments within our bodies (we can whistle, use our bodies as percussion instruments, and keep rhythm with our feet!).
And this is why Deborah and Baraq’s song is so important. It is also why the singing of God’s people in worship is also important. No, it does not take precedence over the preaching of the Word, but it is lifted to a place of prominence. And thus, we ought to sing and sing with a whole heart when the congregation is gathered. We ought to sing of God’s greatness and of his glory, we ought to sing of our thanksgiving to Him for who he is and what he has done, and we ought to sing our laments even — our great sorrow for our fallen state and for our sin. There is a theology of song found within the scriptures, pay attention to it, it will help make you whole.