Deep Calls to Deep

Deep calls to deep
    at the roar of your waterfalls;
all your breakers and your waves
    have gone over me. Psalm 42:7 ESV

My wife and I used to love a T.V. series called, “Numbers”. For those not familiar with it, the story line revolves around two brothers. One is an FBI special agent named Don and his brother Charlie, who is a brilliant mathematician. Don likes to kick in doors and catch the bad guys, while Charlie loves to hang out in his garage and work on equations on a blackboard. In each episode, Don needs Charlie to help solve a crime using that mathematical mind in some interesting ways. Charlie will come in, gather the evidence, then with some neat special effects, we are treated to the inner working of Charlie’s mind as numbers, geometrical shapes and algebraic equations flit across the screen. Though I hate math, I can identify with Charlie, though my thoughts would flit across the screen as notes rather than numbers. And as a lifelong musician and a lover of music, I have become intrigued by the various musical directions given in, many of the Psalms. Phrases such as “to the tune of The Lilies” (Psalms 45 & 80) or with stringed instruments, (4, 54, 61 and others), make me wonder what these passages actually sounded like. Many different instruments are recommended, such as Trumpets, flutes, cymbals, and an eight stringed harp. Other Psalms simply say, “a song” which may mean they were sung a cappella.

Now this all may sound nit-picky, but I believe that what God wants us to know through those tiny details is that He wants to connect with all kinds of people in a million different circumstances with music. You could almost call music the language of Heaven. Job mentions a moment when the morning stars sang together. Isaiah tells us that “the trees of the field shall clap their hands” (Isaiah 55:12) and in Revelation 5:9, John tells us of people in Heaven singing, “a new song”.

Everywhere, in situations of grief as well as victory, in gratitude for blessings as well as when we cry for help, God has music that will cry out to him, from “deep to deep” In those times, God gives us a language, that can carry our words as well as a melody that will express our hearts even when words fail us. Music is not only a wonderful gift; it is a staircase that our prayers go up to speak to our Father. Notes are like the shaft of an arrow that drives us towards God’s target as well as the point that sinks His message into our hearts. Music is the breath of God that fills our sails and drives us across the ocean and an anchor in a storm, when we don’t know if we can hang on another minute. No, we will not learn how the Psalms originally sounded on this side of Heaven, but we can know that the God who gave them music, loves us enough to give us our own melody as we travel the road, He has called us to walk today.

God’s Dinner Music

I will sing of your love and justice; to you O Lord I will sing praise! Psalm 101:1 NIV

My saying with our family, is “Media and meals don’t mix.” That is with the exception of music. One of my most detailed childhood memories is of my step-dad playing, Beethoven’s Ninth symphony or Benny Goodman on the stereo at suppertime. After 60 years, I can still feel Bababa-boom through my feet and hear the high notes on Goodman’s clarinet.

God invented music long before heaven and earth were created. I believe that the first thing He taught the angels was how to sing Holy-Holy-Holy! Jesus Himself sang after the Last supper and in today’s verse David tells us that the song He sings is of God’s love and justice.

Music is special. Maybe that’s why so many generations, from ancient Hebrew festivals to 18th century English pubs have resonated with songs while they ate and drank. Music has the power to bring our minds and bodies into unity around its melodies and rhythms. We need to ask ourselves “What kind of music are we listening to at our dinner times?” Are we choosing the sounds of football, the boink-boink-boink of video games or the tapping out a reply to some text message, or are we listening to the symphony of heaven? When we do, our hearts our minds can be filled with God’s dinner music and our lips with His praise!

A Morning Prayer

In our Bible reading together we have recently been going through the life of the prophet Samuel and how he was instructed to anoint Saul as king over Israel. We encounter Saul as a nice young man full of hope and potential. How sad it is that once given high position and the blessings of God that he soon failed, broke Samuel’s heart and missed the path that God wanted him to walk.

Saul’s failure was that, while he was respectful and well liked, he never had a personal connection with God. He was always just trying his best to serve Samuel’s God. How different the heart of David, who longed to know and serve God long before he was called to be king. Watching over his father’s sheep while he was still a teenager, David prayed to really know God and learn the path God wanted him to walk. Sure David had plenty of his own failures but he never stopped longing to know and please God. These verses from Psalm 25 are often central to my own morning prayers. A few years back I wrote this song based on those verses and I pray the words and music may awaken your own hearts to really seek God and His ways today. Only He knows the path on which each of us are called to walk today!