Many times we hear people say, “That song is so beautiful and so anointed!” What are they really saying and how can we tell if a song truly is “anointed”?
Let’s first of all explore what the word “anointed” means. Merriam Webster’s dictionary defines “anoint” as “to apply oil to as a sacred rite especially for consecration”. We know of several instances in the Old Testament where the priests or kings of Israel were anointed. There was a special ceremony and they were “set apart” or consecrated for this office. Some verses about this are found in Exodus 28:41, Leviticus 16:32, and I Samuel 15:1. You can look up many others, as well. This brings us to the other definition for “anoint” which, according to Merriam Webster is “to choose by or as if by divine election”. In my concordance, the word “anointed” gives the subtitle, “consecrated”. This brings me to my real question: Can a song truly be “anointed”?
First of all, let’s explore what the term “the anointing” we hear used so often is not: It is not necessarily chill bumps all over your body when you hear a good song, although this definitely can be a part of it! It is not tears or emotional responses to a certain song, although this may, also, be a big part of it! If this is all the “anointing” were, then many secular love songs and patriotic songs which invoke similar responses would also be “anointed”. So, what is this term we often uses so loosely and why is it so important to a song’s ability to speak to hearts and change lives, often turning them towards God in a way not possible through mere spoken words?
The Word of God speaks of “the Lord saving His anointed” (Psalm 20:6) and the “saving strength of His anointed” (Psalm 28:8). Psalm 105:15 also says, “Touch not mine anointed…” (KJV) It appears from these and other similar verses throughout the Word that God has special ones that He has “anointed” and that He guards and watches over them diligently! Could this be the converted, elect children of God? Could it be that when we place our trust in Jesus as Savior and choose to follow the Lord in all of our ways that we then become His “anointed” and that we are saved for Eternity and protected with His divine provision from harm and danger? Even though we may “walk through the valley of the shadow of death we will fear no evil for He is with us!” (Psalm 23)
So what does being “consecrated”, or as the dictionary definition puts it, “dedicated to a sacred purpose” have to do with anointed music? Can we feel this “anointing” in a song? I think the answer is simple: When a person becomes a Spirit-filled child of God, this anointing, the “oil” of the Holy Spirit spoken of in the Old Testament, overflows from our lives, making the words or songs given by the Holy Spirit “dedicated” or “consecrated” as well, or in essence, “anointed”. Words or songs given to that person by the Holy Spirit will be “anointed” because He is enlightening our minds with the words of God! That is why I believe the entire Word of God is totally inspired; every word is anointed and valuable to us. II Timothy 3:16 says, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” (KJV) This means that if God through the Holy Spirit gives someone a song, that song, including the words and the music, is inspired and “anointed” to bring Him glory!
So, can a song be anointed? The answer is an emphatic “yes”! The reason? Because the person who wrote the song under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit was “anointed” and God’s words and melodies flowing through the writer’s pen bring to bear that same anointing on the song they have written! Do some songs, even supposed “Christian” ones, leave you cold and flat emotionally? Perhaps they are not really “anointed”. Some hymns that have come down through the centuries are just as poignant with emotion and God’s Word beautifully set to poetry as the day they were written. For example, how can you improve on best-loved songs of all time such as “Amazing Grace”, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” and “Great Is Thy Faithfulness”? Hard to compare these with some of the current dribble that passes for music!
One of my friends who happens to be the wife of a pastor of a large church really summed it up for me. She told me of a recent experience where her daughter who is in her late 20’s decided to buy a CD of just hymns to play on a lengthy trip she needed to make with her two small children. She told her mother she put the hymn CD into her player and just couldn’t stop listening as tears ran down her cheeks. Her two children were quiet and slept most of the way and they, too, seemed to sense the “anointing” coming from the words and music. Her last comment to her mom is one I will never forget. She said, “Mom, these hymns are so different from the standard “praise” music we usually hear. Those songs are ‘all about me’; these hymns are ‘all about Him’!” I couldn’t have put it any better! The anointing of the Holy Spirit is real. It truly can even “fill a song with God’s presence!”