If you’ve ever played piano, you know that there are 88 keys on a piano, one for each note the piano can play. You know that each one of those keys is attached in some mysterious way to a felt-tipped hammer that hits a wire, or wires, that play one particular note. And you know that all those wires have to be tuned properly in order to make music properly. If one wire is out of tune, you must call a piano tuner to tune the piano so each wire sounds the proper frequency when the felt hammer strikes it. Then, when the piano is properly tuned, it will make beautiful music … as long as the pianist is capable of hitting all the keys in the necessary manner to cause that music. And if the pianist isn’t very good, well, the music isn’t very good.
But consider this. What if you had a keyboard instrument where each key did not hit a particular note, but each key had a whole range of notes it could hit. Let that sink in a bit…
Now on top of that, what if that instrument with the variable notes on each key, was such that each key had a will of its own, and it could sound whatever note it wanted to sound when it was hit.
Now that could make for some pretty strange music, don’t you think? How could the musician control the instrument in order to create the music desired? No, this could not happen on a piano, or an organ, or any other musical instrument known to humankind. Or could it?
In a choir, the director holds auditions of all the singers who are interested in singing in that choir. The director evaluates each singer’s voice and musical talent, and picks the ones who are the best singers, of course. But a good director has to take into account, as much as possible, what can be known about each singer’s attitude and personality, and their work ethic. What good would the best singer in the world be to a choir if that singer is not interested in singing for the good of the choir, but only in furthering his own fortune? On the other hand, what good would the best singer in the world be to the choir if that singer is lazy and doesn’t really care if he sings well? A wise director will of necessity take such things into account.
When the choir sings, each singer doesn’t sing a single, fixed note. Wouldn’t that make for some strange sounding music? No, each singer has a whole range of notes he is able to sing. And so, the director doesn’t hit a single note, or a chord, as a keyboard musician does. But each singer or group of singers has a whole set of notes to sing, and under the direction of the choir director, they make music. And if each singer, and the choir director, has done his job properly, the music will be good.
But as in any human endeavor in this world, things can go wrong and the music will sound bad, to put it simply. Perhaps a singer or two is simply not talented and not a very good singer. They can ruin the entire choir. Perhaps a singer is lazy and has not learned his music. Perhaps a singer fancies himself as the very best in the choir and sings out, louder than anyone else in the choir and refuses to take direction. These are human elements that can ruin a very good choir. But if everybody wants to sing well and make good music; if they work hard and do their best, then the music has a good chance of being beautiful.
There is another element that can influence the quality of the music — how good is the director? The director needs to not only choose the right singers, but the director needs to be a fine musician himself. While he is not pushing keys attached to felt hammers to make the music, he has had to work hard with the choir members themselves to not only encourage them to learn the music, but he must also have taught the choir members how to follow his directions when they are singing, and he must actually physically direct the singers through waving his arms and hands, through his facial expressions and body language. And one thing more, the director must have some sort of emotional, even spiritual, relationship with the singers.
My own experience in singing with outstanding choirs has shown me that the singers in a good choir develop a healthy respect, and even a love, for their director. Then the singers and the director are able to meld into one big musical instrument, and the music can be absolutely glorious!
Now, all of us who wear the name of Christ are familiar with the idea that we are a part of God’s choir. Yes, we are God’s people, but in Revelation we find ourselves joining with the choir of believers in heaven glorifying the Lord Jesus as He takes His throne as Lord of all the universe, to put it quite simply. It’s really much more than that, for while we will be singing, and while we do sing in this world, God is also directing our lives, much as he would direct a choir.
Now God didn’t choose perfect people for his choir. Many of us sing off key; many of us don’t know the music. Many of us are lazy and rebellious.
No, that’s not right. The fact is, all of us sing off key, don’t know the music and are lazy and rebellious. ALL of us.
God could have made us perfect people when he saved us, couldn’t he? Perhaps. But the fact is, every last one of us in this world is a sinner. We struggle all our lives with our sinful nature, even though we know Jesus has saved us and in the end we will live forever with Him in heaven.
None of us is a great singer in God’s choir, and yet … God has chosen us. And I’m not going to even suggest that maybe God is not a very good choir director, otherwise He would have chosen better singers. No, in His perfect wisdom, wisdom we can’t hope to understand, God has chosen to work with the off-key, the foolish, the lazy, the rebellious … He wants us in His choir. And He’s going to make beautiful music with us. We are going to sing a new song in heaven, a song that only the Redeemed of the earth will be able to sing. It will be beautiful, not because we are great singers, but because of who HE is. It will be born out of our love for Him, because of what He has done for us, and not from anything any of us has ever done or ever could do. For we are nothing and He is everything. We could never do anything for ourselves, but He did everything for us.
And so, He has chosen us to sing in His choir. And the Lord knows we are not worthy. But the music will be beautiful, for He is our director.