The songs that we sing and listen to permanently shape our understanding of who God is and what the Christian life is all about. It is readily recognized among educators that information in song form is easier to remember. It has been stated that “What’s learned in song is remembered long.” Songs that children learn are remembered the rest of their lives. Once a tune is learned a person never totally forgets it. It will always be familiar.
The well known song writer Philip P. Bliss once said: “Preaching is essential, but often music is the key to reaching a person’s heart. People can rarely recall even a phrase or two from yesterday’s sermon, but the words of a melodious Gospel song will be repeated over and over in the mind and in the heart.”
Because music sticks in a person’s mind and is repeated over and over, God commanded Moses to write a song and teach it to the children of Israel. Moses was to put it in their mouths so they had it memorized and could sing it. God said that the purpose for this song was that when the people had entered into the land and had become successful financially and they had turned their back on God, and God had disciplined them with many evils and troubles, that this song would be a witness to them. God then said something that is very significant: “for it shall not be forgotten out of the mouths of their seed.”!! (Gen. 31:19-21) The songs that parents sing from memory are remembered by their children and grandchildren the rest of their lives! We make God’s spiritual truths (or Satan’s deception) stick in our minds, and not only in our minds but the minds of our descendants, through the songs we sing.
This aspect of learning about spiritual things through music is something that God tells us we should do. He says: “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” (Col. 3:16) Songs are an important way of implanting spiritual truths into our hearts and the hearts of others. Songs are a wonderful way to let the Word of God dwell in our hearts. They are a loving way to be admonished and to admonish others. It is important that we learn and teach our children a lot of decidedly Godly hymns and spiritual songs so that God’s truth sticks in our minds.
Another place God tells us to learn and teach spiritual things through songs is in Eph. 5:19,20. There God says: “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
It is very significant what songs a person listens to and what they allow their children to listen to. Those songs whether Christian or non-Christian, whether God’s truth or human philosophy, shape a person’s thought processes and spiritual understanding. In addition, not all Christian songs are equal. Many contemporary Christian songs and choruses only state 3-5 spiritual truths in the entire song. They are often stated over and over and give the perception that the song has more meat than is there.
In contrast, most hymns have 25 to 30 spiritual truths stated in four or five verses. These songs carry out the instruction in Col. 3:16 to teach and admonish one another through the content of the words of songs. It is for this reason that it is important to saturate children’s minds with hymns. A young person whose mind has been saturated with a large number of hymns in his growing up years, will have a greater understanding of spiritual things. He has received Bible education in an easy to learn way – through songs. It is a blessing to hear a little three year old sing a hymn such as “God Will Take Care of You” as he plays, and realize that those concepts and truths have been engrafted into his mind.
Singing and listening to hymns and “meaty” spiritual songs is an excellent way to carry out the instruction that God gives: “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” (Deut. 6:6,7) Sing or listen to decidedly Godly songs when you are in your home, when you are traveling in the car, when you wake up, and when you go to sleep. It is Bible education that can occur while you are doing something else! Never replace reading God’s Word or going to church with music. Music, however, is an important way that God wants us to learn His truths. Don’t miss out!
Hymns are also an important way for new believers to engraft God’s spiritual truths into their minds, so that they can rapidly grow to spiritual maturity. When new believers continue to listen to their old music, they continue to saturate their minds with sin and the mindset of this world. Their music will teach them the opposite of the way they should go, and they will not grow as they should in their Christain lives. The significance of decidedly Godly music in the life of a new believer is found in Ps. 40:3: “And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.” Hymns and other decidedly Godly music, teach a new believer how to go beyond a “head” decision to follow Jesus, and to put their full faith, trust, and reverence in Him.