Tuning the instruments

One of my many hobbies is music. I am fond of old time music and bluegrass music in particular. I have been playing music since I was about 7 years old and play several instruments including the guitar, mandolin and fiddle. I play by ear which means I do not read music. I just play what I hear which is very common among old time and bluegrass pickers.

Occasionally it is necessary to tune my instruments. It may be that I put new strings on or the instrument is just not in tune. For whatever reason I just have to tune my instrument. The guitar has 6 strings, the mandolin has 8 strings and the fiddle has 4 strings, so they obviously are all different.

Let’s suppose I tune the guitar by ear. And when I finish it is perfectly in tune with itself. The sound is really nice. All 6 strings are in tune. Now later I pick up my mandolin and tune it perfectly. The mandolin sound is very sweet and pleasing because it is in tune. And later the same scenario occurs with my fiddle. So all three instruments are in tune with themselves and played individually they sound very pleasant.

Now both my two sons also play music. Just today they both came to my house and the three of us sat down and played these instruments. I know of few things that are more fulfilling for me than for my two sons to play music with me. This love of music is a bond that I enjoyed with my father, now enjoy with my sons and hope to enjoy with my grandchildren one day. A musical legacy across generations!

Suppose I had the three instruments in perfect tune as noted above when they came to play today. Yet when the three of us sat down to play together the sound was horrible. All the instruments were in perfect tune with themselves, but together the sound was very bad. So what is the problem? None of the three instruments were in tune with each other. You see it is not enough to be in tune with itself. They have to be in tune with each other.

Herein lies the problem. There has to be a standard. Now I don’t claim to understand all there is to know about the following. But when something vibrates at a speed of 440 Hz, it will produce a standard A note as the sound. And each note has a certain number of vibrations. The key point is there is a standard.

For my three instruments to sound right they must be tuned to the standard. And if this is done they can be played with any instrument such as the piano, horns, etc. and they will all be in tune. Because they are all in standard tuning.

There is so much disagreement and confusion in the religious world today. At the risk of oversimplifying the matter I will say it is because the religious world does not abide by the standard.

If we give credence to our feelings or what a loved one believed or what the majority of the people believe or what is on the best seller list this month, etc. all of this will lead to much disagreement. And it may make perfect sense to one just as the instrument tuned to itself may sound good alone. But until one’s ideas and opinions are brought in line according to the standard, everybody’s feelings, beliefs, and thoughts are just as good as the next person.

It doesn’t matter what I say. Your thoughts are as good as mine unless we are tuned to the standard. So what is the standard? For us to have any chance of agreeing on this we must first agree that the Bible is the inspired word of GOD. And I would say the complete inspired word of GOD. There has been no more revelation and will be no more revelation since the Apostle John wrote the book of Revelation. If we agree on this then we have common ground on which to work and we may proceed.

Jesus said in John 17:17 “Sanctify them through your truth, your word is truth.”

So the word that is preserved for us in scripture is the standard. If we are tuning ourselves spiritually by the standard we will be in harmony with one another. That is the only way we can be. Let us be in the word, not depending on others to show us the way, not depending on preachers to tell us the truth, not depending on bestselling authors to lead us spiritually. All these may be well and good but I have to rely on the standard, GOD’S word. And how can I know that without diligent study? How can I know that I am tuned according to the standard if I am not aware of what the standard is?

I have a neat little gadget in my mandolin case. It is a battery operated tuner. I can place it on any of my instruments and it tells me when I get the proper megahertz for each note. So when I tune my guitar to my tuner, then tune my mandolin to my tuner, and finally tune my fiddle to my tuner, they are not only in perfect tune themselves but they are in perfect tune with each other. WHY? Because they are tuned to the standard. I also have a somewhat more primitive means of securing the standard. I have a tuning fork which when struck vibrates at exactly 440 Hz and thus produces the standard A note.

Let us tune ourselves to the spiritual standard and that is none other than GOD’S word. And how can I know that without being a serious student of that word? My eternal reward is resting on this and I have too much riding on this to let other’s opinions determine my beliefs. I have to know that I know that I am in tune with the standard.

I noted initially that one of my hobbies is music. I have other hobbies but they all take a back seat to my love of the study of scripture. May it ever be so.

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