by Micah Gaylor

Why do people sing? Have you ever asked yourself that question? Throughout every nation, from the most primitive tribes to the most “highly advanced” cities, song and music are defining characteristics of the people. Likewise the different styles of song and music throughout the world vary as widely as do the cultures. The lyrics and melody you would hear while walking through a mall in downtown Nashville, Tennessee certainly contrast the seemingly wild rhythms and exuberant shouting you might encounter at a tribal dance deep in the jungles of South America.

Each of these cultures, like the thousands of others on earth, have different methods of making music and diverse material about which they sing. The country-western vocalist may sing a sad song of lost love upon his steel string guitar. The primitive jungle tribe may celebrate the early rain season around a bonfire with complex dance and joyful yelling. Different cultures. Different experiences. Different expressions.

Despite these vast differences one thing is clear. Regardless of race, social status, or age, people sing about the things that are in their hearts, the things they love. In Matthew 15:19 Jesus explains it this way: “But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart…” And He should know. Jesus, the very One who Himself is the Word of God, orchestrated the creation of the universe with the words of His mouth, as He spoke into existence the very object of His love. Out of the abundance of His heart sprang forth you and I.

In the same way, we sing out of the abundance of our own hearts. A young woman newly engaged might be heard singing songs of romance and expectancy. A widower mourning the loss of his dearest friend and wife of 50 years may listen exclusively to melancholy music for the remainder of his life. In both cases the music springs forth from that which filled the heart. What we set our hearts upon, and give our time to will proceed from our mouth, when we speak and when we sing.

The Heart of David
Like Jesus, King David was intimately acquainted with this principle. Throughout the book of Psalms David’s heart is laid bare as he sings praises unto the Lord. There are songs of thanksgiving played with cymbals and tambourines; songs of repentance picked upon stringed instruments; songs declaring the goodness of the Lord to the nations, proclaimed with trumpets and shofars. At times David cried anxiously unto the Lord for His unfailing love and redeeming hand. Often he would sing unto himself, commanding his own soul to bless the Lord. Everything David sang was an expression of the deepest desire of his heart: “One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek. That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to meditate in His temple” Psalm 27:4.

Because of the singularness of David’s heart the Lord said of him, “I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My heart, who will do all My will” Acts 13:22. David understood that “…man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” 1 Samuel 16:7 and even sang unto the Lord, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer” Psalm 19:14. David’s one desire, the very thing that motivated his life, was to be near to the Lord and to honor Him with his heart. David’s heart was honoring to the Lord, and out of the abundance of his heart he brought forth a lifestyle of worship and praise to the entire nation of Israel.

The Tabernacle of David
The very things that were in the heart of David did not only come out of his mouth in song; they also sprang forth from his life in deeds and in action. David’s very first act after setting up his throne on Mount Zion in Jerusalem was an incredible example of this. In a stunning display of burning passion for God, and reckless abandon in displaying that passion, David brought the Ark of the Presence of God up to Jerusalem, right into his own back yard. For the entire 9 mile trip from Obed-edom’s house to Jerusalem, David danced with all his might before the Ark as the Levites carried it to Mount Zion. As he poured out his heart to the Lover of his soul, he proclaimed the goodness of God with loud shouts of joy and wild dancing, singing:

“The earth is the Lord’s and all it contains, the world and those who dwell in it. For He has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers. Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? And who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul in falsehood and has not sworn deceitfully. He shall receive blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation” Psalm 24:3-5.

Singing! Dancing! Celebration! The proclamation of the righteousness of the Lord as a gift to all those who dwell in the earth! This was the foundation David laid as he brought the Ark up to Jerusalem. This was the foundation that the Tabernacle of David would be built upon.

However, David was not satisfied merely with having the Ark of God in Jerusalem. His love for the Lord compelled him even further. In his passion to behold the Beauty of the Lord, David did something that was unprecedented. David took the Ark of the Presence of the Lord and placed it inside a tent pitched by his own hands, in his own back yard. This was incredible! According to the law of Moses, the Ark was supposed to dwell in the Holy of Holies, behind a veil, inside the Tabernacle of God (Exodus 26:33). At David’s time the Tabernacle of God was in Gibeon not Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 16:39). In an unprecedented move David, the man after God’s own heart, displayed the very heart of God for his people. As David danced with his entire being, bringing the Ark of the Presence of the Lord to dwell in his own back yard, he showed forth the burning passion that was in the very heart of the Lord to dwell in the hearts of His people. This constant dwelling of the Lord among His people was the essence of the Tabernacle of David. That was why David sang!

Perpetual Praise
Upon delivery of the Ark, David set aside musicians to offer sacrifices of praise before the Ark on a continual basis (1 Chronicles 16:37 and 1 Chronicles 25). Every hour on the hour for thirty-three years a fresh set of musicians would begin ministering to the Lord, singing spontaneous songs of thanksgiving and love, prophesying upon their instruments as they gazed at the beauty of the Lord, and proclaiming His everlasting love to the creation. Seven times a day David would offer a sacrifice of praise to the Lord. Regardless of his circumstances he would sing forth his heart to God. When he was hurting he would cry unto the Lord for help. In times of joy he blessed the name of the Lord for all his wondrous deeds. When David sinned he cried out for mercy, knowing the righteousness of the Lord would cover him. In ALL that he did he praised the Lord. The Tabernacle of David was a place of constant singing out of continual thanksgiving for the gift of the righteousness of God.

Raise It Again
“In that day I will raise up the fallen Tabernacle of David, and wall up its breaches; I will also raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days of old’ Amos 9:11.

The Lord promised to build again the Tabernacle of David. Likewise the Lord gave David the following promise through the prophet Nathan:

“It shall come about when your days are fulfilled that you must go to be with your fathers, that I will set up one of your descendants after you, who shall be of your sons; and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build for Me a house, and I will establish his throne forever. I will be His father and He shall be My Son; and I will not take My lovingkindness away from Him, as I took it away from him who came before you. But I will settle him in My house and in My kingdom forever, and His throne shall be established forever” 1 Chronicles 17:11-14.

After David died his son Solomon built a glorious temple for the Lord. However, it was not the Tabernacle of David, and when Solomon died and his temple eventually torn down, it was clear that it could not fulfill the promise given to David. How then would the tabernacle of David be rebuilt?

The Fulfillment
All that transpired under the Old Covenant was a prophetic shadow of the truth which is realized in the life of Jesus Christ (Colossians 2:17; Hebrews 8:5; 10:1). Jesus, the son of David by virtue of His natural ancestry, has come that He might fulfill all that was prophesied in the Old Testament. Even the Lord’s promise to build again the Tabernacle of David and to raise up a descendant of David to rule forever is fulfilled in Jesus. However, what is pictured in the Old Covenant in the natural is fulfilled in the New Covenant in the spirit. The Apostle Paul explained it this way:

“However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. The first man is from the earth, earthly; the second man is from heaven” 1 Corinthians 15:46-47.

While David was a man after God’s own heart, Jesus is the very heart of God. Just as the words of David were an expression of his heart, the Word of God is an expression of the very heart of God. For this reason Jesus is the One able to build again the Tabernacle of David in a way that will last forever. He is able to build the Tabernacle in our hearts!

The Bride
The ultimate passion of God for His people went far beyond anything that even David could express. Only Jesus, the Son of God, could express the full extent of His love. Not only did He express it, but He was compelled by it:

“Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” Hebrews 12:2.

Jesus knew His death on the cross and resurrection to the right hand of the Father would produce something that was far greater to Him than the price it would cost Him. In the Book of Revelation we see the consummation of His sacrifice, and the very object of His love and joy:

“Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready. It was given her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints” Revelation 19:7-8.

It was in the passion of God that Jesus allowed Himself broken and bruised for His creation. And when He rose again and sent His Holy Spirit to dwell in His people, He was betrothing them unto Himself. The Spirit was like a ring, signifying the coming Marriage (Ephesians 1:13-14). The joy set before Him was His own Marriage Feast, to be married to the spotless and clean Bride whom He created and loved. That was the passion in the heart of Jesus. This was the ultimate expression of the Love of God.

The New Jerusalem
Unlike in the Old Covenant, the house where the Lord dwells is no longer one made by human hands (1 Corinthians 3:16). At the end of the Book of Revelation we see another picture of the Bride:

“And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them’” Revelation 21:2-3.

The Tabernacle of David in the Old Testament was only a picture of what the Lord wanted to do with His people. We are temples of God, even now being formed into what will eventually be a perfect and spotless bride, made ready for Jesus. At that time there will be singing and dancing and celebration the likes of which we can not even imagine. We shall see the Lord as He is, and He will dwell among us.

Though we do not see Him as He is yet, the time is coming quickly when Jesus will return to gather together all those who are His own. He will marry His Bride, and thus we will be with Him forever! That is the very passion that is in our hearts. That is the very Love that compels us. Like David we pray, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Like David we ought to dance with all our might, sing praises with all our heart, and offer continual thanksgiving to Jesus. Like David, we ought to proclaim the mercies and the righteousness of the Lord with song and dance as the time when He will dwell continually in our midst draws closer! Like David, that is why we sing!