Having just returned from T4G, and having had time to reflect on the events of the week, I would have to agree with those who say that the best part of T4G is the singing. Being gathered together with 10,000 brothers and sisters in Christ to sing the praises of the Redeemer was simply…powerful! I suppose it’s fair to say that part of the experience is driven by the feeling with which Bob Kauflin played some of the greatest hymns in all of church history on a grand piano and part from the fact that this is probably the largest gathering of believers with which those present have collectively sung theologically rich, Christ-centered hymns. However, I also believe that the experience was sweetened by the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. I couldn’t get through one hymn without crying over my sin and over the fact that I don’t glory in Christ as I ought or appreciate the benefits of His redemption in my life like I should. I wept over my pride and love of the world. The experience was full of spiritual healing for my soul.
However, I also had another special experience while there. As we were singing “It is Well with My Soul” on Wednesday morning, I looked out over those gathered together there to sing God’s praises. Scenes from the Gospel records started rushing through my mind. I thought about Jesus stopping to redeem sinners on His way to the cross. I thought about the way in which He stopped for one sinner at a time: Bartimaeus, Zaccheaus, the woman at the well, et al. Then I thought about the fact that He had stopped, as it were, to redeem each and every true believer who was gathered together there to sing His praises.
This reminded me of the way in which the Lord worked in both the Old and New Testament when His people sang praises to Him. After all, the true and living God is a God who commands that His people sing His praises. He is, in the words of the Psalmist, “enthroned on the praises of His people” (Ps. 22:3). What a testimony to the goodness and grace of the true and living God–that He would command joyful songs of praise and thanksgiving. In 2 Chronicles 20, we find the account of Jehoshaphat appointing singers to sing the praises of God prior to going into battle. Once the singers started singing, we are told that “the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated” (2 Chron. 20:23). In the book of Acts, we learn of the great and powerful deliverance of Paul and Silas–and redemption of the Philippians jailor–when they were sitting in prison singing hymns (Acts 16:25-34).
It is a reminder that, for the people of God, singing praise to the Lord is not optional. It is one of the foremost ways in which He works in the lives of His people. When God’s people sing His praises, His Spirit often comes and gives victory and blessing. May God give us grace to sing to Him from His word and our hearts; and, may He grant large spiritual experiences of victory, deliverance and growth in grace as He sends His spirit to apply the benefits of redemption to our lives.
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