A Strange Time To Sing

Jon Burgess


12They swarmed around me like bees;
they blazed against me like a crackling fire.
But I destroyed them all with the authority of the Lord.
13My enemies did their best to kill me,
but the Lord rescued me.
14The Lord is my strength and my song;
he has given me victory.
15Songs of joy and victory are sung in the camp of the godly.
The strong right arm of the Lord has done glorious things!

Psalm 118:12-15


A man anointed and appointed by God and yet opposed on all sides. Rejected by friends, attacked by enemies, set up to fail and his response? He sings. Wait! What? He sings. He gets everyone to start singing around him. They sing over and over again in the face of daunting circumstances:“His faithful love endures forever.” There's a good reason the Psalmist was rallying everyone to sing this truth over and over again. No one felt like singing at all. Worse yet, many were wondering if God loved them anymore with how awful life was. To singin the face insurmountable challenge seems absurd and yet the heart of faith sees signing toGod as a power move not a passive one. in Ephesians 5, the command, not the suggestion, to address one another in song comes right on the heels of “[make] the best use of the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16). Singing to God was never meant to be reserved for happy times and feel good moments. When Paul and Silas were unjustly imprisoned for the sake of the Gospel what did they do while they were in prison? Sing! (Acts 16:25)


Horatio Spafford was a man of devout faith. He experienced tragedy throughout his life, none more so than the tragic death of his four daughters. In the midst of his pain Spafford wrote the words to the hymn "It Is Well With My Soul." His honest & transparent lyrics have been an inspira- tion and comfort to millions of people over the last 100 years. Spafford turned to his faith in Christ and the grace of God comes through loud and clear. Will I sing these words in the face of current trials:

"Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul. It is well with my soul."

More recently a pastor imprisoned for his faith in Christ in a foreign country shared these words: …"When we were in prison we sang almost every day because Christ was alive in us…they put chains on our hands and feet. They chained us to add to our grief. Yet we discovered that chains are splendid musical instruments! When we clanged them together in rhythm, we could sing, ‘This is the day (clink, clank), this is the day (clink, clank), which the Lord has made (clink, clank), which the Lord has made (clink, clank)."

My heart breaks as I realize this is exactly the words sung by faith in this very Psalm:

22The stone that the builders rejected
has now become the cornerstone.
23This is the Lord’s doing,
and it is wonderful to see.
24This is the day the Lord has made.
We will rejoice and be glad in it.
25Please, Lord, please save us.
Please, Lord, please give us success. Psalm 118:22-25


Will I focus on You my Christ in the middle of crisis? Will I sing of your faithfulness while all else falls apart around me? Will I rejoice in your love when You feel a million miles away? Will I sing of Your promise when it has not yet come to pass? Your faithful love endures forever. No matter what changes around me, this powerful truth does not change, therefore the lyrics to the song of my heart will remain the same- Your faithful love endures forever.

Devotions for August 21

Jeremiah 21,24,27
Psalms 118
1 John 2

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