What Is the Song of the Lord?
In a general sense, all worship sung to music is the song of the Lord. Different terms are often used to describe the same or similar expressions of this creative musical art form: “a new song,” a “prophetic song,” as well as a song of (or to) the Lord. Many times, such songs spring up spontaneously at first, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and they remain songs of the Lord even after being written down and sung over and over. If you add the word “prophetic” to the phrase, it indicates that the song of the Lord has taken on a prophetic voice, speaking of the future and what God wants to do in the midst of the people or a relevant message from His heart in the “now.”
It pierces through the crust of religion and brings God into the present tense. The words of these precious songs of the Lord can represent the Lord singing to His people as well as His people singing songs of praise to Him. The book of Psalms contains many songs of the Lord, as do other books of the Bible. Here’s a good example from the book of Zephaniah:
Sing, Daughter Zion; shout aloud, Israel!
Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, Daughter Jerusalem!
The Lord has taken away your punishment, he has turned back your enemy.
The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you; never again will you fear any harm.
On that day they will say to Jerusalem,
“Do not fear, Zion; do not let your hands hang limp.
The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.” Zeph. 3:14–17, (NIV)
Other earlier scriptural songs that have been recorded for us include the song of Moses (the first recorded song of the Lord) in Exodus 15:1–19, the song of Miriam in Exodus 15:20, the lengthy second song of Moses in Deuteronomy 31:19–22, 30; 32:1–43, and the song of Israel at the well in Numbers 21:16–18 (“Spring up, O well!”). We have another song of victory in the duet singing of Deborah and Barak concerning Jael and Sisera (see the entire fifth chapter of Judges).
Yes, the Bible is filled with songs and more songs. The book of Job declares that the morning stars were singing (see Job 38:4–7) and the book of Jonah mentions a song of thanksgiving (see Jonah 2:9).
Consider Isaiah’s Many Songs of the Lord:
- The song of the Beloved and His vineyard (see Isaiah 5:1)
- The song of praise (see Isaiah 12:1–6)
- The song of the strong city (see Isaiah 26:1–4)
- The joyful songs of the redeemed (see Isaiah 35:1–10)
- The “new song” of the Lord (see Isaiah 42:10)
- The song of joy in creation (see Isaiah 44:23)
- The song of salvation (see Isaiah 52:7–12)
- The song of the suffering savior (see Isaiah 53:1–12)
Hezekiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel wrote about or recorded the actual words for several songs with themes ranging from salvation, rescue, protection and thanksgiving to mournful rejection. (See Isaiah 38:20, Psalms 120–134, Jeremiah 31:12–13, and Ezekiel 33:32.)
Then of course we have all of the songs of David and his son, Solomon—a staggering number. David wrote many of the psalms, and he appointed singers to lead the people in continual worship (see 1 Chronicles 16:7). As many as 1005 songs have been attributed to King Solomon, besides the entire book of the Bible that we know as the Song of Songs. (See 1 Kings 4:29–34.)
In the New Testament we have the song of the Messiah in the Church, taken from the words of Psalm 22:22, 25: “I will proclaim your name to my brethren; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise” Heb. 2:12, (NASB).
We can read about singing men and women throughout the Bible. See, for example, Exodus 15:20 (Miriam and her rejoicing women), 1 Chronicles 25:5–6, Ecclesiastes 2:8, and Ezra 2:64–65 (which reads, “The whole company [the exiles who returned to Jerusalem] numbered 42,360; besides their 7,337 male and female slaves; and they also had 200 male and female singers”). We see male and female singers also in Nehemiah 7:67, 2 Samuel 19:35, 2 Chronicles 35:25.
Moving on into the New Testament time frame, the people of God were encouraged to keep on singing: “Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord” Eph. 5:19, (NIV), and “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts” Col. 3:16, (NIV).
We must not forget to mention the songs of the redeemed in the book of Revelation (see the “new song” in Revelation 5:8–9 and 14:2–3), as well as the song of Moses and the Lamb (see Revelation 15:3–4). God seems to have created people to sing songs to and about Him! We can only conclude, that the Word of God is full on the “song of the Lord.”
The Goal of the Prophetic Song of the Lord
What is the goal of the prophetic song of the Lord? Prophetic declarations, whether spoken or sung, are invitations to repent of sin and lukewarm living, to change and improve our direction, and to grow in life-sustaining belief and obedience. The power of these declarations is amazing. It is like going into a house where darkness prevails, but all you have to turn on the light switch. Darkness flees when the light shines. When you sing the “song of the Lord”, darkness lifts and the glory of the Lord arises upon you, your house and your sphere of influence.
In addition, you can also become what you are singing about; you can become part of the message of the song. If you are singing about holiness, you will want to be holy yourself. If you’re going to sing about comfort, let it cause you to become a comforter who gives comfort to others. If your song is about encouragement, go ahead and give some real encouragement to somebody else. Perhaps the song is an intercessory prayer put to music. You are identifying with the needs of your city, church, or nation and you simply turn that heart felt yearning for change into a melody unto the Lord.
It’s a Responsive Song!
The prophetic song of the Lord is a responsive song. You turn your ear to His voice and He tells you something. When I go into a city for my next assignment, I ask the Holy Spirit to open my heart and my ear so I can hear what song the Messiah is redemptively singing over that city, congregation, people group or nation. I then become His echo or megaphone in the earth realm declaring His kind intentions.
These prophetic songs of the Lord are often used to help elevate the entire atmosphere into another realm – the God zone where His love is known and where all things are possible. Your songs rise like incense to Him, and He loves to hear them! In fact, at times, you not only get to sing to Him, you get to be His ambassador and sing in behalf of Him.
Oh how I love to sing the songs of Zion. Since youth, this has been my primary passion. Before I was ever a prophet, a pastor, a teacher, or an author, I was a singer. And a priestly singer I will be until the day I pass through to the other side. In fact, this is one ministry that will continue forever. I never plan on stopping singing the song of and to the Lord.
Want a ministry that will be relevant in the here and now and in the hereafter? Then let the prophetic song of the Lord—become an integral part of your life of pure worship.
With a heart for pure worship!
James W. Goll