I have pondered lately what it means to make melody in my heart to the Lord like Ephesians 5:16 tells me to do. There have been many times when the words, “sing unto Me” were whispered to my heart, but I did not know what that actually meant. Did these words mean that I should choose a song from church or from a Christian artist and sing it to Him? Of course these songs are good to sing, but there was something more, something I was missing.
Often when I sing along to a song, I embrace the words as if they were my own and I worship with abandon and passion. Of course, other times I am merely enjoying the tune–glad if I can even remember the words, and fighting very hard to remain focused on what the words I am singing are actually saying. Most of us are so used to music playing in the background of our lives that it becomes very easy to give a song lip service, void of all meaning, empty and rote.
So I wrestled, I wondered, and I prayed…and then I was led to Jeremiah 11, 12, and 13. It was there that I discovered that what I was missing in my understanding was more about position than possession. More about who I am before God than the words that I pass over my lips.
I saw within the text a God of great mercy, reaching out to His people continually. O how He warned them to obey His voice! Yet they would not. (Jer. 11:7-8a) It painted a sorrowful picture of our God reaching out to His beloved children who had repeatedly walked in the stubbornness of their own heart, (vs. 8b) and ultimately displayed our God having to forsake His own, and “give the beloved of His soul into the hands of her enemies.” (Jer. 12: 7)
In Jeremiah we see how the blackness of sin creates a vast chasm between ourselves and our God. It reminded me that if the Lord’s patience was tested here, with His chosen nation, how much more should I mourn the blackness that so covers me? How much more should I fall to my face with the weight of my own fallen state?
I caught a glimpse of my own life, so accustomed to do evil. How I so often forget Him, and trust in lies. (Jer. 13: 23b, 25b) These lies are birthed in the very same pit of sin and treachery that Israel had believed in Jeremiah’s day.
It was there in that moment that I began to mourn. I mourned my blatant disregard for a God so great that He sent His Son to die for me so that I may live. (John 3:16) I mourned my innate disinterest and overarching preference for distraction over Him. (Rom. 3:11) I mourned the belittling of His indescribable sacrifice as seen reflected in my action and inaction every single day. I mourned. I fell…and I could not look up for shame. My laughter turned to mourning and my joy to gloom. (James 4:9b)
It was then–in that moment of wretchedness when in utter despair I could no longer see through my tears of regret, that I felt His hand take mine. He lifted me up, out of the heap, and dried my tears. He washed away my shame with one whisper of forgiveness…and then…and then I understood. I understood where the melody came from in my heart. I understood that the melody is the Spirit’s song through a broken and humbled vessel, through a surrendered and repentant life.
For the first time I realized that the melody my heart makes to Him also comes from Him. It is the song of the Redeemer holding hands with the redeemed. It is the melody that is produced in a heart washed clean and staring straight into His eternal eyes. My melodic heart joins the choirs in heaven as the Saviour takes His rightful place on the throne of my life.
Today let us stop. Let us fall silent and mourn. Let us ask for eyes to see the thousands of shades of sin in our lives that we do not and cannot see…and then let us grieve over them. Let us humble ourselves before our God, and He will exalt us. (James 4:10) As He does a melody of sweet sounds will resound from the chambers of our hearts of flesh and echo far into the heavens.
Then and only then, will we make melody in our hearts to God.