"LET US LIFT OUR VOICES TO GOD"
"…I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise…" (Ps. 42.4)
INTRO.: A hymn which encourages us to go to the house of God with the voice of joy and praise is "Let Us Lift Our Voices to God." The text was written by Melvin Stanton, who was born on Aug. 31, 1930, in Boone County, MO, not far from Columbia, one of five children. Having to quit school in the eighth grade to help the family, he was baptized into Christ by Searcy White on Sept. 23, 1948, around midnight in the railroad lake near Centralia, MO. Although he had been studying the Bible on his own, he also studied some with White. Both White and J. C. Roady had a great influence on Melvin, who attended intensive "Bible Readings" at Bloomington, IL, Jamesport and Moberly, MO, and Hutchinson, KS, then began preaching the gospel shortly thereafter. When Stanton was holding a gospel meeting in Edgar Springs, MO, in 1952, he met Ella Mae Edgar. They saw one another three times and then married on Aug. 29, 1953. To their union were born three children. Melvin did local preaching work in Greencastle and Sullivan, IN; Springfield, IL; and Jamesport, Trenton, Macon, Centralia (twice), and Fairview, MO.
In addition, Stanton held numerous gospel meetings. In his work, he presided over 600 funerals, performed nearly 100 weddings, and baptized almost 200 people. The author of one book, Thirty-Five Years of Preaching and Personal Work, he also produced seven hymns. The tune for "Let Us Lift Our Voices to God" was composed by Tillit Sidney Teddlie (1885-1987). The song was copyrighted in 1970 when Stanton lived at Jamesport, MO. Teddlie also produced such well known songs as "Heaven Holds All for Me," "Worthy Art Thou," and "When We Meet in Sweet Communion," among others. Stanton’s "We Live in a Changing World" of 1971 with music by L. O. Sanderson was published in the 1971 Songs of the Church edited by Alton H. Howard, and in the 1992 Praise for the Lord edited by John P. Wiegand. His 1972 "Lord Help Me" with music by Teddlie was published in the 1977 Special Sacred Selections edited by Ellis J. Crum and Hymns for Worship. Special Sacred Selections also contains his 1971 "God’s Love Is Like the Roses," his 1972 "O Lord, Thou Art Forever," and his 1971 "That Friend is Christ, My Lord." Teddlie also provided the music for all three of these, plus another, "My Father Only Knows."
In 1986, Stanton had brain surgery to remove a tumor. This forced him to retire from full time preaching, but he continued to do all he could for the Lord and was appointed an elder with the church at Hallsville, MO, where he and Ella were worshipping. Then on Sept. 3, 1996, he had surgery to remove another tumor. While he was recovering in the hospital awaiting radiation treatments, the complications were too much for him, and on Sat., Sept. 14, he went home to be with the Lord. Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, "Let Us Lift Our Voices to God" appeared in the 1978 Hymns of Praise edited by Reuel Lemmons. Today it may be found in Special Sacred Selections.
It emphasizes the importance of using our voices to praise God.
I. Stanza 1 exhorts us to exalt God’s name
"Let us lift the voice to God And exalt his holy name;
Let the trees and hills resound That He is for aye the same."
A. The Lord’s name is worthy to be exalted because it is holy and reverend: Ps. 34.3, 111.9
B. Even the trees and the hills should resound with praise for the Lord: Ps. 148.7-9
C. Another reason to exalt the Lord’s name is because He is forever the same: Ps. 102.25-27 (FYI, the word "aye" when it means yes is pronounced as a long "I," but when it means ever, as it does here, is pronounced as a long "A")
II. Stanza 2 exhorts us to be grateful for God’s love
"Let us lift the voice to God And be grateful for His love
Manifest in Jesus Christ Who is at His side above."
A. We should be grateful for the love of God: Jn. 3.16
B. This love was manifest or demonstrated in Christ by His death: Rom. 5.8
C. Christ is now at God’s side above: Heb. 8.1
III. Stanza 3 exhorts us to offer the sacrifice of praise
"Let us lift the voice to God With our sacrifice of praise;
Let us lift our hearts in prayer For the grace the soul surveys."
A. Instead of animal sacrifices, we are to offer up the sacrifice of praise to God: Heb. 13.15
B. We are also to lift up our hearts in prayer: 1 Tim. 2.8
C. One reason for our praise in song and prayer is God’s grace: Eph. 2.8
CONCL.: The chorus reminds of the importance of praising God in prayer and song and life at all times.
"Let us lift up our voices unto God And extol Him night and morn!
Let us praise Him in prayer and sacred song–And His mind and ways adorn!"
There are many subjects that are suitable for spiritual songs–prayer, our lives as Christians, heaven, remembering the Lord’s death, inviting sinners to come to the Lord, the opening and closing of worship services, baptism, etc. But it is my opinion that we could never have too many songs of praise by which we can encourage one another saying, "Let Us Lift Our Voices to God."