Who are some of your favorite musicians, bands, singers, songwriters, etc.?
I must admit… I listen to more than just gospel music. I love, absolutely love old school music in particular. I cannot really get with today’s music. Most of it is too vulgar, too demeaning, too nonsensical for my tastes. I prefer music that has decent lyrics, a good beat, more evidence of musical instruments than a computer, and a great voice to go along with it. Too much emphasis is placed on image today, and less on substance. There are tons of entertainers putting music out today, but very few artists. It is sad to see how music has gone downhill.
There are few music styles that I dislike completely. Hard rock or heavy metal fall into that category. Although I do not particularly care for country music, there have been a few country songs and artists that I have liked. On any given day, when I need soothing, I may listen to “Summer Breeze” by the Isleys, a remake of the Seals and Crofts classic (I like that version as well), anything by Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, Luther Vandross, or Stevie Wonder. Sometimes I am in the mood for Fleetwood Mac or the Eagles, Steely Dan, or The Who. I surprised a former co-worker once when I knew the lyrics to “Jackie Blue” by Ozark Mountain Daredevils, and I knew the song “The Boys Are Back in Town” by Thin Lizzy before Toy Story came out. In high school, I was always the one who could point out the songs Notorious B.I.G and other rappers had sampled for their hits. Back in the eighties and early nineties when rap wasn’t the crap it is today, I loved Whodini, LL Cool J, Slick Rick, Heavy D, Salt’n’Pepa, and the other classic rap artists. The music I choose to listen to depends upon my mood. I am always in the mood for a good gospel song–it does not matter if I am happy or sad, there is always a good Christian-based song that can speak directly to me. However, sometimes I look for a song to just dance to. I’ll look for a song to play air guitar to. Or sometimes I find myself waxing nostalgia and want to hear the songs of my childhood, which is 1980’s R&B, rap, pop, and new wave music.
Music–beautiful voices, songwriting abilities, rhyme, verse, instruments, composition–is a wonderful gift from God that must be appreciated. Seriously, can you imagine a world without music?? Can’t a song make all the difference in your day? Just like with all things God created, God created music and gifted it to us that we may glorify him. The first recorded song of the Bible is in Exodus 15.
The Israelites are joyful; they have been delivered from the Egyptians and now Pharaoh and his army have been turned into fish food after being covered by the Red Sea. The song they sing, referred to as the Song of Moses, is a song of victory.
The Song of Miriam follows. Miriam, referred to as a prophetess and sister of Aaron, wields a timbrel, an instrument that resembles a tambourine, and leads the women in a song and a dance (also a first). Mind you, this was no small group of people. I’ll bet this was an uproarious occasion!
Note about Miriam–although she was not named before, Miriam is the older sister of Moses who followed him as a baby while he was floating down the Nile River and offered to retrieve a Hebrew–her mother–when Pharaoh’s daughter rescued him. We will read about Miriam only a couple more times in the Bible, and in one instance, the circumstances are not so rosy.
Victory celebration over, the Israelites move forward. They end up in the Desert of Shur, and have no water for three days. The water at Marah is too bitter to drink, so after the three days, they begin grumbling and complaining to Moses again. Apparently, the Israelites still have not figured out that their grumbling against Moses is actually grumbling against God–who is still guiding them in pillar formation. SMH.
Not saying I am totally insensitive to their plight. They were probably hot, unwashed and unkempt, and hungry. Their clothes probably needed washing or changing, they were exposed to the sunlight, and they were not trekking across the desert in Nikes. But for goodness’ sakes, they had just seen an entire sea get parted down the middle!
Moses cries out to the Lord, and of course he responds! He reveals to Moses a piece of wood that he is to throw into Marah to make the water safe to drink. My thought on this–God did not have to do it that way. He could have just made the water sweet. What was the point of having Moses toss a piece of wood into the water? I believe God was still enabling Moses to perform miracles that he may be confirmed as God’s appointed leader in Israel’s eyes. Just as they did not fully trust God, they did not fully trust Moses either. God was giving them sign after sign after sign that not only was HE with them, but that Moses was his puppet (I mean that in a good way. It is honorable to be God’s puppet).
God tells the Israelites the following (Exo. 15:26):
“If you listen carefully to the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you”.
The Israelites end up in Elim, and pay attention to the numbers here (Exo. 15:27):
“Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and they camped there near the water”.
I am sure you have already come to recognize where we have seen the number twelve before–namely those twelve sons of Jacob, the twelve tribes of Israel. The number 70 can be seen in the number of descendants of Jacob that enter Egypt in Genesis 46:27. Both of these numbers will show up again in the Bible.
Before I go any further, let me post a map that illustrates the wanderings of the Israelites. I hope it is big enough. These maps are good resources to help put things in perspective–remember when we read about traveling in this great book, these men, women and children were not taking trains and did not have the benefit of Dr. Scholl’s products.
Just when I get on a roll, duty calls. More tomorrow 🙂