Strength, Song, Salvation

Valerie Ferrara

The Lord is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise Him;
my father's God, and I will exalt Him.  – Exodus 15:2

The Lord is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation. – Psalm 118:14

Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation. Therefore you will joyously draw water from the springs of salvation. And on that day you will say, "Give thanks to the Lord, call on His name. Make known His deeds among the peoples; make them remember that His name is exalted." Praise the Lord in song, for He has done glorious things; let this be known throughout the earth. –Isaiah 12:2-5

Dr. Elaine Phillips, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies at Gordon College, "taught" rather than "preached" the Chapel message last week. Sitting comfortably at the front of the room, Dr. Phillips told her audience, "This will be an unusual chapel because we are going to work together."

Prior to the service, each person had been given a worksheet entitled "Triple S."  "Writing things down helps us remember," Dr. Phillips said. "We will think together what the 'triple S' is and you will walk away with a scripture passage memorized." The referred to scripture, found in all of the above passages, is The Lord is my strength and my song, and He has become my salvation.

"How do we think about strength?" Dr. Phillips asked. "We don't always see God's hand in things because we try to be our own strength. We have heard that the Lord won't give us more than we can deal with, but the truth is that He won't give us more than HE can deal with. We are most aware of God's strength when we are most aware of our own weakness. What is your weakness?"

After challenging her audience with that question, Dr. Phillips asked another: "How can God be my song?" She then suggested the answer: "Music has power. There is something about music that grabs us somewhere deep in our being. God as our song replaces gloom and fear with joy." She cautioned, however, that the music we think about should contain truths that will help us [meditate on God].

Lastly, Dr. Phillips talked about salvation. "Salvation is such a wonderful word," she said. "It means being delivered from sin, fear, and death, but it is also being saved to something: hope in God, restoration, and the fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians chapter five."

In closing, Dr. Phillips directed our focus back to the worksheet, which contained three assignments.  "Pray about them and work on them," she admonished. "Think about the first three songs that come to mind. Are the words ones that will help when you are broken? If they are not edifying, replace them." Her final challenge was to think about not only what you would like to be 'delivered from' but how you can flourish in what you are 'saved to.' "Don't live under a rain cloud like Eeyore," she said. "Remember Psalm 118:1: Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His mercy is everlasting."