I’m not a true musician, but I dabble around in a few things. I sort of remember a some notes and symbols from the treble cleft, thanks to my parents’ marvelous attempts to musically educate their young daughter. So when it came time for our oldest child to enter 5th grade, I informed her that it wasn’t a matter of whether or not she would be in the band, but simply which instrument would she like to play.
In other words, at least some exposure to musical performance was to be an intrinsic part of our children’s upbringing. I’m not talking about virtuosity here, just basic education.
Not so amazingly, and thanks to the great musical program of our small town school district, all three of our daughters stayed with the concert/marching band throughout junior high and high school! (We still have various instruments hidden away in the house even though our adult girls are now spread all over the globe.)
But, alas, their mom is still not nearly as proficient at reading music. It is, in fact, a curious but fascinating language all its own. So I appreciate written instructions, in my language. Here’s one that really catches my eye, from the Old Testament:
“For the choir director: A psalm of David, to be sung to the tune ‘Death of the Son.’”
Oh boy, now that sounds like a good one on the radio to perk up your Monday morning drive to work. But wait! Don’t touch that dial…yet. The tune may sound familiar, but something is different about the song—
“I will praise you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done. I will be filled with joy because of you. I will sing praises to your name, O Most High. My enemies retreated…”
Are you kidding? Those are certainly not the lyrics to the music they were used to. Maybe it’s just getting started. I’ll give it a minute for the second verse; surely that’s where the gut-punch comes.
“You have rebuked the nations and destroyed the wicked; you have erased their names forever. The enemy is finished, in endless ruins; the cities you uprooted are now forgotten.”
Visions of enemies like Envy, Shame, Fear, Rage and their related minions come to mind. Uprooted? Forgotten? Forever? The tune is trying to remind me to be sad because, you know, I think somebody died or something, but that part seems to be fading into the background. Somehow the truth of these words starts to transform the music instead of the other way around…
“Those who know your name trust in you,
for you, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for you…
He does not ignore the cries of those who suffer.”
I love how God allows His primo song-writer, David, to take a dirge and turn it into a song of praise. Same very recognizable tune, but the new words make a totally different song with a totally different (redeemed) purpose.
Forgive me for being obvious, but that is what God wants to do with our experiences, our very lives. Old patterns of thinking, feeling, and doing. His perception. And His eternal purpose.
It makes for MUCH easier listening, any day of the week. Not just for us, but for those around us.
Psalm 9:1-3, 5-6, 10, 12 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.