Your statutes have been my songs
in the house of my sojourning.
Psalm 119:54 ESV
While we do not think much about sojourning today, we do indeed still travel. With airplanes, hotels, and tour-guides, things certainly look different for the modern sojourner from how they once were. Even so, we still attach music to traveling. Perhaps the best example is the pairing of a road trip with a great playlist of songs to sing in the car. While we have somewhat forgotten the great strength that music imbibes with us, some knowledge clearly still lingers.
The sojourner of the ancient world was exposed to many dangers. Travel was not quick, and he was largely at the mercy of the hospitality of others. The singing of songs served to strengthen and encourage, reminding the traveler of home behind and the destination ahead. This is even more true of religious pilgrimages. Indeed, the Songs of Ascents were composed for Israelites to sing on their way to Jerusalem for worship during the feasts and festivals.
In 1 Peter 2:11, we are called sojourners and exiles, for this life is one of sojourning and exile. In Christ, we are citizens of heaven, which means that this world is not our home. We are each on pilgrimage to the Celestial City, to the New Jerusalem. It is right, therefore, for us to hold to God’s Word as our songs during our earthly sojourning. Indeed, God Himself has proclaimed the importance of such songs by giving us the Psalms, an entire hymnbook within Scripture.
Spurgeon once wrote that “We may judge nations by their songs, and we can do the same with people.” Such a thought is thoroughly against the modern, secular orthodoxy, yet I think he is right. What songs you and I sing are not only a reflection of our own hearts; they are also shaping our hearts. Thus, if you want to go in worldliness and find a warm reception among those who belong to the spirit of antichrist, then sing the songs of the world. But if you long for the heavenly country and would be counted among Christ’s afflicted, then sing the songs of Zion.
Furthermore, songs are beneficial for memorization and meditation. Songs lodge themselves within us far quicker than rote memorization is likely to do. Thus, if we do indeed long to store God’s Word in our hearts, let us sing God’s statutes throughout our sojourning.