Have you ever watched a movie and intentionally paid attention to the background music while the story is unfolding? Movie makers have learned that music unlocks emotions. They’ll use ominous tones to warn us when something bad might be just around the corner. We may hear a soulful violin to evoke sadness or a bright trumpet to indicate victory. The Psalms are like that, there are Psalms that touch our sadness, our fears, our anger, our hope, and our love for God.
Consider the opening verses of Psalm 66, “Shout joyfully to God, all the earth; Sing the glory of His name; Make His praise glorious. Say to God, “How awesome are Your works! Because of the greatness of Your power Your enemies will give feigned obedience to You. “All the earth will worship You, And will sing praises to You; They will sing praises to Your name.” Selah.” (Psalm 66:1–4, NASB95) This is one of those Psalms that lifts our spirits with its joy filled proclamation of God’s goodness and the promise that even God’s enemies will bow their knee in worship – even if they don’t mean it. A thought echoed in Philippians, “For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9–11, NASB95)
Listen for a moment to the soundtrack this is playing in your life. Is it ominous? Sad? Victorious? Angry? Hopeful? Perhaps something needs to change. When things are looking bleak, when fear is knocking at the door, when our souls are depressed, oppressed, or just plain pressed we may need to change the soundtrack of our life. Turning our hearts away from the fear and towards praising God for who He is, what He has done for us, and what He will do can dramatically change our day. It won’t wipe away the troubles, it won’t change the realities of the past, but they will cringe before the glory of God. This is not about putting on some praise music to change our mood but using our own voices to express praises to God. As the Psalm said, shout joyfully – I bet you can’t do it without laughing. Sing about Jesus’ glorious name. However you do this, with your voice, with art, or with writing make His praise a glorious wonder to behold. Praising God may not change things but it will change us.