May 25 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
make known among the nations what he has done.
Sing to him, sing praise to him;
tell of all his wonderful acts.”
~1 Chronicles 16:8-9

I love music so I’ve noticed how important it is in our culture. Music is everywhere. Commercials, movies, TV shows, newscasts, televised sporting events, shopping malls, plays, town squares, water parks, internet adverts, and yes, of course, in church too. It’s hard to imagine life with no background music. But what is it about music that draws us? Why is it everywhere, including heaven (Rev. 5:9, 14:3)?

I think music is best described simply as “praise.” Anytime music is played, something is being praised: the nation, the sporting event, the heroic deeds of an actor, the idea of love, the news program that is about to play. Sad songs include notes of praise too, as artists find an element of hope in loss and tragedy. They make it through, move on, get help from a friend, etc.

The praise factor is why music plays such a prominent role in the history of the worshipping community. The church praises the greatest Being in the universe. The Chronicler emphasizes the worship of God in his narrative of Israel’s history from Adam to exile. As David brought back the ark of God with a great procession, the people sang joyful songs accompanied by all kinds of musical instruments. The famed musicians of Israel are listed, along with the minister (Levite) in charge of worship. “Kenaniah the head Levite was in charge of the singing; that was his responsibility because he was skillful at it” (1 Chron. 15:22). Today’s reading also contains a song written by David (1 Chron. 16:8-36). Notice the emphasis on rejoicing, praising, being glad, and being jubilant. This is the response to God that David deemed right and appropriate. Because He is so awesome, we praise Him.

Praise is everywhere. But praise of God should be more intense because of how awesome He is. C. S. Lewis, in his book Reflections on the Psalms, points out that people naturally and effusively honor that which they love: “The world rings with praise, lovers praising their mistresses, readers their favourite poet, walkers praising the countryside, players praising their favorite game – praise of weather, wines, dishes, actors, motors, horses . . . flowers, mountains, rare stamps, rare beetles and even sometimes politicians and scholars . . . The Psalmists in telling everyone to praise God are doing what all men do when they speak of what they care about . . . we delight to praise what we enjoy.”

“The worthier the object,” Lewis goes on in the next paragraph, “the more intense the delight.” May our delight in God be more intense than our delight in anything else in this world.

Lectio Divina is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of Calvary Church in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.