“Praise the Lord from the earth, you great sea creatures and all the depths.”
The horizontal fluked tails propelled the gray whales through the coastal waters of Hawaii. The largest mammals on earth would dive and submerge, then rise again to the surface to exhale clouds of moist air. It was a thrilling sight for those who stood on the tour boat. Each flick of a massive tail brought oohs and aahs from the whale-watchers.
As we immersed ourselves in the unique behavior and characteristics exhibited by these impressive creatures the tour guide shared fascinating information: they are migratory and move around the oceans at different times of the year to breed and feed; they have collapsible ribcages which assist them with deep diving; and like humans, whales can both talk and sing. Any questions, he asked the group?
“What’s the difference between talking and singing?” asked one member of the expedition.
“That’s a dumb question, lady,” I thought. “Everybody knows that talking is talking and singing is singing! Next question, please.”
The tour guide’s response was surprisingly patient and exact. He appeared to have no irritation whatsoever with the woman’s inquiry and without missing a beat he proceeded to deliberately explain the difference. As he answered I was surprised to find my impatience with the woman’s question disappear as quickly as breadcrumbs thrown to seagulls.
“Talking stops and starts,” the guide explained. “There are breaks between the communicative sounds. The language of singing, on the other hand, is continuous with no breaks.”
Suddenly, as if hand delivered by the Lord Jesus walking on the seawater, a spiritual lesson was brought directly to me. My thoughts temporarily left my marine environment and unexpectedly turned to spiritual things, specifically things about worship and song. With the help of a group of whales and this woman’s childlike and simple question, I was to learn that in the eyes of our Creator there is indeed a vital difference between talking and singing, and God ordained it for a reason.
Prayer and talking to God is necessary and good, I realized, but it’s the continuous worship song of the redeemed that brings our Lord the greatest joy. A spiritual song or hymn is the uttering of words in unbroken musical tones and the instrument used is the human voice, always carried within us. Around the globe, 24/7, somewhere, at all times, there are Christians singing. God’s children are offering songs of praise and worship continuously with no break and saturating the Father with praise. Our King continuously receives this sweet incense because in song there are no stops, no interruptions.
Worship music emphasizes and sharpens, strengthens and intensifies and lengthens our love and passion for God. And joined with the right words, the right doctrine, and the right theology, songs of worship create a more powerful medium and greater effect together than either could accomplish alone. There’s a symbiotic relationship between music and the spoken word and we move from talking to singing when emotion builds within us to such a level that it can no longer be conveyed by mere words!
“Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises!”
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