June 29, 2008

God, the Composer

Deuteronomy 31:15-19, 30-32:4

“Write down … this song and teach it to the Israelites and have them sing it …”
Deuteronomy 31:19


In this compelling section of Deuteronomy, God tells Moses to write out a song and to teach it to the people. In this picture God is the composer, and Moses is the music publisher and choir director.

The resulting song, as Moses later says, is a lot more than “just idle words.” The words of this song, Moses tells the people, “are your life” (Deuteronomy 32:47).

I encourage you to take some time on this Sunday to read the entire song text (Deuteronomy 32:1-43). It is filled with soaring lines of praise as well as stern warnings about idolatry.

It’s a song that helps us realize that when we sing, “Praise God, from whom all blessings flow,” that’s another way of denying all other gods, from whom no blessings flow.

When we sing songs, they are usually songs written by other people, some of whom we might even know. That’s good! We have much to share and learn in this way, making use of and being blessed through the musical gifts God has given.

But it is a mighty thing to sing a song written by none less than the Creator of the universe.

This is a weighty song, full of glory and truth.

How magnificent that this great God would welcome us into his choir!

God of grace, from whom all blessings flow, give us the resolve to sing the weighty and wonderful words that clearly acknowledge you as the one God worthy of praise. Amen.

About the author — John D. Witvliet

Dr. John D. Witvliet has served as a professor at Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary for the past 11 years, as well as serving as Director of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. He and his wife, Charlotte, have four children.

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