“Then David and all Israel played music before God with all their might, with singing, on harps, in stringed instruments, on tambourines, on cymbals, and with trumpets.” 1 Chronicles 13:8
The evolution of music over the past fifty years astounds me – classic pop, rock and roll, country, hip hop and rap. I listen to lyrics spanning the ages and notice themes of the times songs were written in. From star struck lovers, to cheating spouses, to justifying rape and murder, I’m aghast at what we now deem as “music.”
Even modern hymns can cause me to raise an eyebrow. Perhaps old age is settling in. My desire – take in the praise songs, and allow the words and meanings to lead me to a place of worship, surrender, brokenness or joy. Music has power over the soul.
Grief and hardship have orchestrated many hymns, both old and new. Musician’s words often relay their life stories.
Robert Robinson (1735-1790) experienced hardships and rebellion. At age eight his father died. By fourteen, his mother could no longer stand his behavior and sent him to London to apprentice with a barber. According to Sharefaith.com, “At 17, Robert and some of his drinking buddies decided to attend an evangelistic meeting, with a plan to make fun of the proceedings. When George Whitfield began to preach, Robert felt as if the sermon was just for him. He did not respond to the altar call that night, but the words of the evangelist would haunt him for the next three years.” At age twenty, he surrendered his life to Christ and yielded to the call of ministry.
Within a few years Robinson penned the hymn Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing. He refers to his days of rebellion. Jesus sought him even then. God rescued him from a life which would end in doom. Robinson’s transparency is refreshing, admitting even as a believer, his proneness to drift from the God he loved.
I love God with all my heart. Yet there are days I’m prone to wander from God. Unforgiveness, anger, pride, busyness – they lure me away from the One who loves me most.
Have you wandered too? We all have. The exhortation of the hymnist – ask God to seal your heart for heaven’s purposes. Surrender. Peaceful music flows.