May 3: If Life Were a Musical
Judges 4:1–6:10; Philippians 1:19–30; Psalm 65:1–13
Maybe life should be more like a musical or an oratorio—like Les Misérables or Handel’s Messiah. How we feel is often expressed better in song or poetry than anything else. Literary criticism tells us that poets write verse because prose simply can’t capture the emotions they’re feeling. So much of the Bible is poetry, suggesting that maybe, in a way, poems and songs are the language of God.
Deborah and Barak understood this. After Yahweh claimed victory over Israel’s foes through them, they “sang on that day” (Judg 5:1). The Bible records their song. It was epic—the earth trembling (Judg 5:4, 5), the people rejoicing (Judg 5:7), and everyone singing as they recounted “the righteous deeds of Yahweh” and made their way to the city gates (Judg 5:11). This is music, after all; it’s expressive.
Paul breaks out in a type of song in Philippians as well (Phil 2:5–11). His song is a result of his raw excitement from reflecting on the work of the good news of Jesus in himself and others (Phil 1:12–26) and his hope that believers will be filled with “one purpose” (Phil 2:2). To truly worship God, you just have to sing. You have to feel and sound like a poet. God’s too exciting for anything else to suffice.
I know someone who thinks of life as a musical. Life is joy for that person because there’s a soundtrack for everything. If God is at work in everything, then we should want to worship Him constantly. We should sing His praises. We should write about our journeys, speak about them, share them, and experience God’s work among us collectively.
Christianity isn’t meant to be stale or dull—the early church was anything but. It was exciting, like God Himself, because His Spirit was working among believers. And his Spirit is working today. So clap, sing a little louder, and share your story. Find the soundtrack to it all.
How can you praise God more fully?
JOHN D. BARRY
- And the children of Israel began again to do wickedly in the sight of the Lord when Ehud was dead. And the Lord sold them into the land of Jabin King of Canaan, that reigned in Hazor, whose chief captain was called Sisera, which dwelt in Harosheth of the Gentiles. Then the children of Israel cried unto the Lord: (for he had nine hundred chariots of iron, and twenty years he had vexed the children of Israel very sore.) And at that time Deborah a Prophetess the wife of Lapidoth judged Israel. And this Deborah dwelt under a palm tree, between Ramah and Bethel in mount Ephraim, and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment. Then she sent and called Barak the son of Abinoam out of Kedesh of Naphtali, and said unto him, Hath not the Lord God of Israel commanded, saying, Go, and draw toward mount Tabor, and take with thee ten thousad men of the children of Naphtali, and of the children of Zebulun? And I will draw unto thee to the river Kishon, Sisera, the captain of Jabin’s army with his chariots, and his multitude, and will deliver him into thine hand. And Barak said unto her, If thou wilt go with me, I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, I will not go. Then she answered, I will surely go with thee, but this journey that thou takest, shall not be for thine honor: for the Lord shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. And Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh. And Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh, and he went up on his feet with ten thousand men, and Deborah went up with him. (Now Heber the Kenite, which was of the children of Hobab the father-in-law of Moses, was departed from the Kenites, and pitched his tent until the plain of Zaanaim, which is by Kedesh.) Then they showed Sisera, that Barak the son of Abinoam was gone up to mount Tabor. And Sisera called for all his chariots, even nine hundred chariots of iron, and all the people that were with him from Harosheth of the Gentiles, unto the river Kishon. Then Deborah said unto Barak, Up: for this is the day that the Lord hath delivered Sisera into thine hand. Is not the Lord gone out before thee? So Barak went down from mount Tabor, and ten thousand men after him. And the Lord destroyed Sisera and all his chariots, and all his host with the edge of the sword before Barak, so that Sisera lighted down off his chariot, and fled away on his feet. But Barak pursued after the chariots, and after the host unto Harosheth of the Gentiles: and all the host of Sisera fell upon the edge of the sword: there was not a man left. Howbeit Sisera fled away on his feet to the tent of Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite: (for peace was between Jabin the king of Hazor, and between the house of Heber the Kenite.) And Jael went out to meet Sisera, and said unto him, Turn in, my lord, turn into me: fear not. And when he had turned in unto her into her tent, she covere dhim with a mantel. And he said unto her, Give me, I pray thee, a little water to drink: for I am thirsty. And she opened a bottle of milk, and gave him drink, and covered him. Again he said unto her, Stand in the door of the tent, and when any man doth come and inquire of thee, saying, Is any man there? thou shalt say, Nay. Then Jael Heber’s wife took a nail of the tent, and took a hammer in her hand, and went softly unto him, and smote the nail into his temples, and fastened it into the ground, (for he was fast asleep and weary) and so he died. And behold, as Barak pursued after Sisera, Jael came out to meet him, and said unto him, Come, and I will show thee the man, whom thou seekest: and when he came into her tent, behold, Sisera lay dead, and the nail in his temples. So God brought down Jabin king of Canaan that day before the children of Israel. And the hand of the children of Israel prospered, and prevailed against Jabin the king of Canaan, until they had destroed Jabin king of Canaan. Then sang Deborah, and Barak the son of Abinoam the same day, saying, Praise ye the Lord for the avening of Israel, and for the people that offered themselves willingly. Hear, ye kings,hearken ye princes: I, even I will sing unto the Lord: I will sing praise unto the Lord God of Israel. Lord, when thou wentest out of Seir, when thou departedst out of the field of Edom, the earth trembled, and the heavens rained, the clouds also dropped water. The mountains melted before th eLord, as did that Sinai before the Lord God of Israel. In the days of Shamgar the son of Anath, in the days of Jael, the highways were unoccupied, and the travelers walked through byways. The towns were not inhabited: they decayed, I say, in Israel, until I Deborah came up, which rose up a mother in Israel. They chose new gods: then was war in the gates. Was there a shield or spear seen among forty thousand of Israel? They chose new gods: then was war in the gates. Was there a shield or spear seen among forty thousand of Israel? Mine heart is set on the governors Israel, and on them that are willing among the people: praies ye th eLord. Speak ye that ride on white asses, ye that dwell by Middin, and that walk by the way. For the noise of the archers appraised among the drawers of water: there shall they rehearse the righteousness of the Lord, his righteousness of his towns in Israel: then did the people of the Lord go down to the gates. Up Deborah, up, airse, and sing a song: arise Barak, and lead thy captivity captive, thou son of Abinoam. For they that remain, have dominion over the mighty of the people: the Lord hath given me dominion over the strong. Of Ephraim their root arose against Amalek: and after thee Benjamin shall fight against thy people, O Amalek, of Machir came rulers, and of Zebulun, they that handle the pen of the writer. And the princes of Issachar were with Deborah, and Issachar, and also Barak: he was set on his feet in the valley: for the divisions of Reuben were great thoughts of heart. Why abodest thou among the sheepfolds, to hear the bleatings of the flocks? for the divisions of Reuben were great thoughts of heart. Gilead abode beyond Jordan: and why doth Dan remain in ships? Asher sat on the seashore, and tarried in his decayed places. But the people of Zebulun and Naphtali have jeapordized their lives unto the death in the high places of the field. The Kings came and fought: then fought the Kings of Canaan in Taanach by the waters of Megiddo: they received no gain of money. They fought from heaven, even the stars in their courses fought against Sisera. The River Kishon swept them away, that ancient river the river Kishon, O my soul, thou hast marched valiantly. Then were the horse hoofs broken with the oft beating together of their mighty men. Curse ye Meroz: (said the Angel of the Lord) curse the inhabitants thereof, because they came not to help the Lord, to help the Lord against the mighty. Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite shall be blessed above other women: blessed shall she be above women dwelling in tents. He asked water, and she gave him milk: she brought forth butter in a lordy dish. She put her hand to the nail, and her right hand to the workman’s hammer: with the hammer smote she Sisera: she smote off his head, after she had wounded and pierced his temples. He bowed him down at her feet, he fell down, and he fell: and when he had sunk down, he la there dead. The mother of Sisera looked out at a window, and cried through the lattice, Why is his chariot so long a coming? why tarry the wheels of his chariots? Her wise ladies answered her, Yea. She answered herself with her own words, Have they not gotten, and they divide the spoil? every man hath a maid or two. Sisera hath a prey of diverse colored garments, a prey of sundry colors made a needle work: of diverse colors of needle work on both sides, for the chief of the spoil. So let all thine enemies perish, O Lord: but they that love him, shall be as the Sun when he riseth in his might, and the land had rest forty years. Afterward the children of Israel committed wickedness in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord gave them into the hands of Midian seven years. And the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel and because of the Midianites the children of Israel made them dens in the mountains, the caves, and strongholds. When Israel had down, then came up the Midianites, the Amalekites, and they of the East, and came upon them, And camped by them, and destroyed the fruit of the earth, even till down come unto Gaza, and left no food for Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass. For they went up, and their cattle, and came with their tents as grasshoppers in multitude: so that they and their camels were without number: and they came into the land to destroy it. So was Israel exceedingly impoverished by the Midianites: therefore the children of Israel cried unto the Lord. And when the children of Israel cried unto the Lord because of the Midianites, The Lord sent unto the children of Israel a Prophet, who said unto them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I have brought you up from Egypt, and have brought you out of the house of bondage. And I have delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all that oppressed you, and have cast them out before you, and given you their land. And I said unto you, I am the Lord your God: fear not the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell: but ye have not obeyed my voice. Judges 4:1–6:10
- For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and by the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, As I fervently look for, and hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all confidence, as always, so now Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life or by death. For Christ is to me both in life and in death advantage. And whether to live in the flesh were profitable for me, and what to choose I know not. For I am distressed between both, desiring to be loosed and to be with Christ, which is best of all. Nevertheless, to abide in the flesh, is more needful for you. And this am I sure of, that I shall abide, and with you all continue, for your furtherance and joy of your faith, That ye may more abudantly rejoice in JESUS CHRIST for me, by my coming to you again. Only let your conversation be as it becometh the Gospel of Christ, that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your matters, that ye continue in one spirit, and in one mind, fighting together through the faith of the Gospel. And in nothing fear your adversaries, which is to them a token of perdition, and to you of salvation, and that of God. For unto you it is given for Christ, that not only ye should believe in him, but also suffer for his sake, Having the same fight, which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me. Philippians 1:19–30
- O God, praise waiteth for thee in Zion, and unto thee shall the vow be performed. Because thou hearest the prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come. Wickd deeds have prevailed against me: but thou wilt be merciful unto our transgressions. Blessed is he, whom thou choosest and causest to come to thee: he shall dwell in thy courts, and we shall be satisfied with the pleasures of them that are far off in the Sea. He establisheth the mountains by his power: and is girded about with strength. He appeaseth the noise of the seas, and the noise of the waves thereof, and the tumults of the people. They also that dwell in the uttermost part of the earth, shall be afraid of thy signs; thou shalt make the East and the West to rejoice. Thou visiteth the earth, and waterest it; thou makest it very rich: the river of God is full of water, thou preparest them corn; for so thou appointest it. thou waterest abundantly the furrows thereof; thou causest the rain to descend into the valleys thereof; thou makest it soft with showers, and blessest the bud thereof. Thou crownest the year with thy goodness, and thy steps drop fatness. They drop upon the pastures of the wilderness: and the hills shall be compassed with gladness. The pastures are clad with sheep: the valleys also shall be covered with corn; therefore they shout for joy, and sing. Psalm 65:1–13