Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sing and Make Melody, but Not with Your Mouths or Hands

I'm no Hebrew or Greek expert, but when I just read Psalms 27:6, it clicked in my head that Paul was probably alluding to it when he wrote Ephesians 5:19.

Psalms 27:6d - (HCSB)
I will sing and make music to the LORD.
Ephesians 5:19b - (HCSB)
singing and making music to the Lord in your heart,
If this is correct, unless the Psalmist was declaring that only his making music was to the Lord, but not his singing, then the subclause "to the Lord [in your heart]" belongs to both the "sing" and the "make music" sides of the conjunction, and not just the "make music" side. In other words, this rendering:
sing to the Lord [in your heart] and make music to the Lord [in your heart]
is the more correct rendering than:
make music to the Lord [in your heart], and sing
This view agrees with the grammatically-specific wording of Ephesians 5:19 to "speak" to one another, not to "sing". In other words, taking the verse at its strictest sense, we are not to sing at all, but to speak to one another, while our singing and making melody is done strictly in the heart.

This also agrees with the technically-correct grammatical rendering of its sister passage in Colossians 3:16, which tells us that we should be "singing with grace in your hearts" (KJV), not with your mouths.

Unless, of course, Paul did not mean "only in the heart", the way many of us have taught it for decades.

What's my point? My point is that if we're going to make a whole doctrine out of the technical grammar of the verse, we can't just go half-way. We've gotta be consistent. And this approach that limits making music to be in our hearts only but not in outward forms also limits our singing to being in our hearts only and not in outward forms. If my logic or my understanding of the wording is wrong, please correct me. But don't just react because this touches on a pet doctrine of yours; please honestly evaluate my logic and the wording of the passages.

The Great Bovine Dream, Shattered

This story is from 1 Samuel 6.

The Israelites had gone to war against the Philistines against God's will, and the Philistines defeated the Israelites, and stole the ark of the covenant. While the ark was in the possession of the Philistines, bad things kept happening to the Philistine city in which the ark was kept. So finally the Philistines said, "Let's send this ark home. But how will we know for sure this is YHWH's hand against us, and not just a coincidence?" And the Philistine wise-men suggested that they put the ark on a new cart, and hook up two cows that had never been hooked up to a cart before, and see if the cows leave their calves behind, against their nature, and pull a cart to which they've never been trained, working as a team which they've never done before, and if they leave their home, which would be against their nature, and pull the cart to Israel; if these things happened, then they'd know it was God's doing and not just a chance thing.

They did these things, and the cows, who always thought they deserved the Great Ameri..., uh, Bovine Dream of having a happy family and a big house in the 'burbs with a two-car garage, and 2.5 calves, and a mini-van, left their calves, and left their home, and pulled the cart, and worked as a team. They cried the whole way ("lowing the whole way"), and when they arrived, they were not informed what a great lesson they provided; they were not thanked; they were apparently not even given a handful of hay or a drink or water; instead, they were killed and roasted as a sacrifice.

Here's the key: they never knew what the purpose of their lives were. Yet, 2500 years later their lives still glorify YHWH. Even though they never knew this would be the case.

Today, you may be one of those cows. Rejoice that God has a purpose for you, even if you never know what it is and never get your dreams fulfilled. (And also know, in the Life to Come, your dreams will be more than fulfilled.)

Be faithful.