I didn’t know God sings. Until today.
I never heard that in seminary, sermon, or song.
It surprised me. So I pulled my head up from paraphrasing the Bible book of Zephaniah long enough to tell you about it.
And here I am.
Angels in the Bible don’t sing
Rev. Billy Graham, perhaps the most famous preacher in the 1900s, said angels in the Bible didn’t sing. That’s why a singing God surprised me so much.
Writing in the book The Amazing Truth About Angels, Graham said it was in W.A. Criswell’s commentary on the Bible book of Revelation that he first discovered angels don’t sing—at least that the Bible never says angels sing.
Not even that night in Bethlehem when they told shepherds about the birth of Jesus.
“Angels we have heard on high, sweetly not singing o’er the plains.”
Rev. Graham said he didn’t believe what Criswell said about the angels. Graham wrote:
“I set out to prove his statement was wrong. After research all through the scriptures, I did not, nor have I found to this day a verse that ever mentioned the angels singing. Now you are saying, ‘Why are you trying to spoil my Christmas spirit?’…Well, I just want to tell you the Bible never says angels sing.”
Fair enough. But I figure by now Rev. Graham knows that even if angels might not sing, God does.
God sings in the Bible
I was minding my own business today, paraphrasing Zephaniah 3 for the Casual English Bible, when I ran into two verses about it near the end of the short prophecy:
“The LORD God is with you, a powerful force.
He’s a hero who fights for you.
You’re going to make him happy.
He’s going to start singing.
The LORD says this is a new day.
It’s a day to celebrate because you’re forgiven.”
(Zephaniah 3:17-18, Casual English Bible)
I didn’t cheat on paraphrasing the word for “singing.” It’s a real word. The Hebrew word behind the English is rinna. It usually means singing or songs of joy, though it could also mean shouts of joy or rejoicing.
It’s possible, I guess, the prophet wasn’t talking about God singing. God could have been cheering. Some Bibles translate the word like that.
But either way, it’s cool to imagine God that happy.
Happy enough to sing. Happy enough to cheer.
Who said angels can’t sing?
With respect to Rev. Graham and W.A. Criswell, though Bible writers never seem to talk about angels singing, that doesn’t mean they don’t sing. It just means none of the Bible writers wrote about it.
Angels might sing, whistle, and hum to beat the band.
I’d bet on it if I knew how.
What kind of heaven would it be if a perfectly wonderful angel couldn’t sing, whistle, and hum?
That’s not heaven. That’s the library.
I’ve got to get back to paraphrasing
That’s all for today. I wanted to share my surprise and let you know that the Bible says God sings. Or maybe he cheers.
He sings or cheers because we make him that happy.
I think he’s singing. But what do I know? I haven’t died yet.
I suspect it’s natural to picture him singing bass. But I warm up to the idea of him singing as a sweet Irish tenor.
That would bring a whole new meaning to the lyrics of “O Danny Boy.”
Look up the lyrics. See if you can find a trace of Jesus here and there.
Peace to you.