“Sing to the Lord! Give praise to the Lord! He rescues the life of the needy from the hands of the wicked.” – Jeremiah 20:13 (NIV)
How shall we sing when we are alone, mistreated, maligned, scorned, and abused? What kind of song shall we embrace when the wounds and scars from life’s experiences are so immediate and so powerful? Here I think the example of the prophet Jeremiah can teach us much, for in the midst of such experiences, he sings a remarkable song to God. Jeremiah was called to preach a message of judgment to a nation that defied and rebelled against God.
For his message he was beaten and tortured, alienated and isolated from his people. They did not want to hear a word from God. They dismissed the Lord’s prophet with physical and emotional abuse. But the word of God burned inside Jeremiah. So much so, in fact, that he broke into song. In this midst of his discouragement and despair, a song emerges, with the refrain, ‘The Lord is with me like a mighty warrior’. He does not sing of comfort and ease, but of assurance that the Lord will fight for him because his cause is just. The Lord will defend Jeremiah because God rescues the life of the needy from the hands of the wicked.
What might we learn from the song of Jeremiah, a song of God’s rescue? No matter what situations or circumstances in life we may face, we may sing praise to the Lord. We sing praise because justice and righteousness will ultimately prevail. We sing because regardless of our life situation, God is with us like a mighty warrior. He defends those who are committed to his word. These truths need to be sung. And may we, the Canto Deo choir, join in that song.
Dr. Keith Wells is the Chaplain for Canto Deo and also a Professor at Denver Seminary.