He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber. Indeed, he who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps. (Psalm 121:3-4)
I picked this passage because it kind of deals with the song, and that’s what I want to talk about. Music is powerful, and it is a gift from God. But like all gifts, we have the ability to twist, contort, and misuse. Now I’m not talking about rappers or shock rock, or worse. I’m talking about bands that play in Sunday morning in Church.
I was at a conference a couple years back, and the “praise” band was singing Everlasting God. You know it. The opening of the song goes like this:
Strength will arise as we wait upon the Lord, wait upon the Lord, we will wait upon the Lord.
I need go no farther. Unless you are deaf and blind, you can see (and hear) the song focuses on us WAITING ON THE LORD. But what did this so-called praise band do? The sang Strength will arise… Strength will arise… Strength will arise… Strength will arise, over and over and over, and over and… well, you get the idea.
They missed the entire POINT of the whole first verse. It’s NOT about strength, it’s about waiting. And that’s painfully obvious. But their performance was not about worship—or Biblical and lyrical faithfulness. No, they were whipping the congregation up into a frenzy.
The song is based upon Isaiah 40:29-31 – He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary. Even here you can see it’s not about the strength, it’s about the waiting.
Of course when you wait, you could very well end up with a whole lot more than strength. You could be overwhelmed by His Presence, by His mercy, by His grace, by His holiness, and by His love—to name a few.
The band, the congregation, they missed the point. And that’s a tragedy. Music is a gift. It is something to be cherished. Leave the frenzy for the conventions.
When you see your song leader/worship pastor this weekend, thank him or her. And the singers and the band. And thank the song writer if you have one in your midst.
May they remain faithful to the Message, and may they focus on Him. Allow the LORD to approach you and anoint you as He chooses. You may discover that He’s always watching over you, that He never slumbers nor sleeps. And you may experience something unexpected and utterly wondrous.