This is the last in a blog series filled with ideas to get conversations started with our kids about God…
What Scripture Says
(Just wanted to note that the Scriptures say a lot about singing and music. The word “sing,” for instance, is used 107 times in the NIV! So be relieved… I didn’t list them all here! I probably listed too many as it is…)
“But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
for he has been good to me” (Psalm 13:5-6).
“Now write down for yourselves this song and teach it to the Israelites and have them sing it, so that it may be a witness for me against them” (Deuteronomy 31:19).
“Therefore I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations;
I will sing praises to your name” (2 Samuel 22:50).
“David told the leaders of the Levites to appoint their brothers as singers to sing joyful songs, accompanied by musical instruments: lyres, harps and cymbals” (1 Chronicles 15:16).
“Sing to him, sing praise to him;
tell of all his wonderful acts…
Sing to the Lord, all the earth;
proclaim his salvation day after day” (1 Chronicles 16:9, 23).
“After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: ‘Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever’” (2 Chronicles 20:21).
“Sing to him a new song;
play skillfully, and shout for joy” (Psalm 33:3).
“I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever;
with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations” (Psalm 89:1).
“I will sing to the Lord all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live” (Psalm 104:33).
“And you will sing
as on the night you celebrate a holy festival;
your hearts will rejoice
as when people go up with flutes
to the mountain of the Lord,
to the Rock of Israel” (Isaiah 30:29).
“Sing to the Lord a new song,
his praise from the ends of the earth,
you who go down to the sea, and all that is in it,
you islands, and all who live in them” (Isaiah 42:10).
“I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind” (1 Corinthians 14:15).
“Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:19-20).
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God” (Colossians 3:16).
Making It Practical
I listed Psalm 13:5-6 first (above) because the Psalmist reminds us that we are to (1) trust in His unfailing love, (2) rejoice in His salvation, and (3) sing to YHWH. Why? “For He has been good to me,” or as the KJV states it, “He has dealt bountifully with us.”
I think these verses are the key to why singing with our children is an excellent way to open up conversations with them about God. As we focus on His goodness, rather than our sorry circumstances, we will pass on an infectious joy to our children and homes.
It seems that singing is an evidence of our trust, even when we don’t know why God is acting as He is (Psalm 13:1-2). We then choose to list out all the reasons we have for rejoicing, breaking out into intentional song.
Here are some ways we can intentionally sing in our homes, whether we feel like it or not:
- Write your own songs, to remember what God is teaching you (Deuteronomy 31:19). We don’t have to be amazing musicians. It’s fine to take tunes from other songs and put new words to them.
- Teach your children to use musical instruments (1 Chronicles 15:16). I’ve listed resources below, but I’m convinced we don’t need to be musical experts in order to teach our children, nor do we need to be rich. It really boils down to daily practice, just like your piano teacher used to say. In my opinion, the wisest instruments to teach in our culture are piano (teaches graphic representation of music and uses both sides of the brain), drums (teach excellent rhythm), and guitar (teaches chords).
- Play skillfully (Psalm 33:3). Throughout 1 and 2 Chronicles, I am struck by how skillful the musicians who played in the YHWH’s temple were, but why wouldn’t they be, when praising the Creator of the universe? Teach your children to do their best job when singing or making music to God.
- Sing for worship. We see many examples in Scripture of singing daily, weekly, and at appointed times, all with the purpose of declaring publicly what God has done (for instance, Isaiah 30:29). I learn from this that we should schedule times for music — or we just might not get around to it!
- Use music to teach. Proverbs 16:21 says that pleasant words promote instruction, and what could be more pleasant than music? I’m a firm believer in using music to teach facts about God, memory verses, and even school topics.
- Sing with your spirit and your mind (1 Corinthians 14:15). Depending on your personality, you may favor the words of a song more than the tune. On the other hand, others care more about the musical sound, rather than the words. I think it’s wise to balance your approach, singing a beautiful song firmly based on the truth of God’s Word. (See also John 4:23.)
Highly Recommended Resources:
- “You Can Play the Piano”, a short ebook I wrote on how to teach piano to your children.
- Instructional music courses by Greg Howlett, can help your children learn how to use music appropriately in public worship.
- Standard of Excellence publishes “enhanced” curriculum books plus CDs that you can use at home to teach the basics of almost any band instrument to your children. We’ve really liked this series.
- A good book for your shelf is Teach Your Kids about Music: An Activity Handbook for Parents and Teachers Using Children’s Literature by Ruby Chroninger.