Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him. Praise the Lord with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre.Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy. – Psalm 33:1-3
If you want to learn how to play a guitar one of the first things that you have to learn how to do is to tune it. Seasoned guitar players tune their guitars by ear, but rookies like me rely on electronic tuners. I have an app called Guitar Tuna on my phone that turns from red to green as each string; E, A, D, G, B to E is tuned.
As I was tuning my guitar yesterday, it occurred to me that our walk with God is kind of like tuning and playing a guitar. Like a guitar, our flesh doesn’t stay in tune very long and it constantly needs to be tuned to be effective. When my life is out of tune I’m unmotivated, self-centered, and more critical of others. I’m not a lot of fun to be around. My dog doesn’t even want to be around me. Fortunately, Christians have a built-in tuner, the Holy Spirit, who lets us know when the music that is coming out of our lives starts sounding more like noise.
The Bible says that King David was a man after God’s own heart who was willing to do whatever God wanted Him to do. (Acts 13:22) David certainly wasn’t perfect and his life was definitely out of tune at times. What made David special is that he had a tunable heart. His greatest desire was to walk with God.
David played a kinnor, which is a ten stringed lyre. If you would like to see and hear what this instrument sounded like, check out this link. I wonder if David ever considered his walk with God as he tuned his instrument. The Psalms that David wrote were sung in Hebrew while accompanied by the lyre. I’m sure that David had a lot of time to play his lyre and sing praises to God while tending his father’s sheep. David wrote at least 73 of the 150 psalms and the Psalms served as the hymnal in ancient Israel.
The Bible says that King Saul was impressed with David and called David from the fields to become one of his armor-bearers. David’s playing soothed the king and, “Whenever the spirit from God came on Saul, David would take up his lyre and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him.” (1 Samuel 16:23)
David was not the only one who sang praises to God. After the last supper, Matthew 26:30 tells us that Jesus and His disciples sang a hymn before going to the Mount of Olives. Psalms 113-118 are sung as part of the Jewish Passover Seder meal. Psalms 113 and 114 are sung before the meal and Psalms 115-118 are sung after the meal. These six Psalms are known as the Hallel and are likely the hymns that Jesus and His disciples sung as part of the last supper.
So how about you? Is your heart in tune with the Creator of the Universe? If your heart feels like stone and is not very tunable right now go to God and admit your sin before Him and ask for His forgiveness and grace. God loves you perfectly and is able to restore you and give you a heart of flesh that can be tuned to bring praises to His name.
I will end this devotional thought by quoting Psalm 51, which David wrote after the prophet Nathan confronted him after committing adultery with Bathsheba. Hear David’s heart reach out to God and let David’s prayer become your prayer if your heart is out of tune with God right now.
Psalm 51 (NIV)
1 Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
and justified when you judge.
5 Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.
10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
so that sinners will turn back to you.
14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, you who are God my Savior, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
15 Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
17 My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart
you, God, will not despise.
18 May it please you to prosper Zion, to build up the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous,
in burnt offerings offered whole; then bulls will be offered on your altar.
Image from: http://www.harpspectrum.org/historical/wheeler_short.shtml