“Sing praises to our God and King!” Psalm 47:6
At 18 weeks Baby Chris’s nerves are starting to develop myelin, a fatty insulating substance that is very important to the developing brain. Myelination protects the nerve cells and speeds up communication between them. The swirls and whorls of his unique fingerprints are now present. And a 2019 study reveals that babies at this young age have music preferences and can sing in the womb!
That’s right! Researchers at the Institut Marquès in Barcelona, Spain studied 300 preborn babies between the ages of 18 to 38 weeks old. They concluded that preborn babies can hear and respond to music much sooner than previously believed.
“As the researchers observed the babies’ facial expressions and the movement of their tongues, the children’s musical preferences were quite stark. The study results state that babies were stimulated by ‘neither pop nor rock’ and that ‘the same as newborn babies, [these children] prefer classic music to traditional music.’ Mozart’s ‘A Little Night Music’ and a Spanish Christmas carol ranked at the top of their categories. Queens’ ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and the popular ‘Y.M.C.A.’ were two exceptions to the general preference against pop and rock. Adele, while very popular with parents, was not so popular among their tiny offspring.”
Music and song are important to God and God’s people. In the Bible, the Book of Psalms is a songbook containing 150 songs. In addition, there are an additional 35 (or so) songs throughout the rest of the Bible. God’s people sing when they’re: happy (Song of Songs is an epic love song); in mourning (the book of Lamentations is a collection of five dirges about the fall of Jerusalem; plus Ezekiel 19; 26; 27:32-36; 28:12-19; 32:2; Amos 5:2); in need of comfort (Isaiah 5:1-2); being delivered (Moses sings the first song when the Hebrew nation crosses the Red Sea in Exodus 15; and at the last, the rescued saints of God sing it again in Revelation 15; and when David is delivered from Saul in 2 Samuel 22); celebrating victory (Judges 5; I Samuel 18:7); lamenting (2 Samuel 1:17-27; 2 Samuel 3:33-34); praising God (I Chronicles 16:7; Habakkuk 3; Luke 1:46-55; 1:67-79; 2:13-14; 2:25-28; Rev. 5:9-10); dedicating places and articles of worship (2 Chronicles 5:13; 29:27); going into battle (2 Chronicles 20:21).
At the return from exile in Babylon the Levites are specifically responsible for songs of thanksgiving (Nehemiah 12:8). Jesus and the apostles sing a hymn in the upper room after Christ’s last supper (Matthew 26:30). Paul and Silas sing a hymn when they’re in prison - before God breaks them out (Acts 16:25). The 144,000 redeemed witnesses in John’s revelation sing a song before the throne of God, the living creatures, and the elders—a song only the 144,000 know (Revelation 14:3). (This and more can be found here).
The sound of the notes we sing today are the same sounds that were present at Creation. Birds and animals all sing, and the Bible says that the day will come when “…the mountains and hills will burst into song before you and all the trees of the field will clap their hands” (Isaiah 55:12). The sensitivity of our hearts to God’s music is cultured in the womb. We will sing on the Last Day, we will sing in heaven and we will sing in our resurrection. Music is our eternal gift from God – and best of all, God joins us in song: