Song lesson for Julius — Hugh Wetmore

We have all watched with interest the trial, in which Afriforum has charged Julius Malema for hate speech when he sang the struggle song Kill the Boer

They allege that these lyrics fuel anti-Arikaner hatred that has been inciting farm murders in South Africa. 

How does Julius defend the song? “The word s ‘Kill the Boer’ are not a command, he says.  This is just a song.  A song is not a command.”

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Well, he knows nothing about songs. He speaks as a politician wriggling out of a tight corner. Let’s hear what God has to say about songs and commands.  Deuteronomy 31 makes a clear connection.

God is speaking to that great national leader of Israel about his imminent death: “You are going to rest with your. fathers. You won’t be able to lead and control the nation of Israel any longer. These people (of Israel) will soon prostitute themselves to the foreign gods of the land of Canaan they are entering. They will break the Covenant I made with them. I will become angry with them, and they will be destroyed. Many disasters and difficulties will come upon them.” — Deuteronomy 31:16f

EFF leader Julius Malema appearing in the Equality Court at the South Gauteng High court last week over the singing of “Kill the Boer” (PHOTO: Picture: Timothy Bernard/ African News Agency/IOL)

God’s command is very clear “You shall have no other gods before Me” — Exodus 20:3.  How will God remind them of this command?

God uses His best, most effective strategy when He tells Moses “Now write down for yourselves this song, and teach it to the Israelites and make them sing it” — Deut 31:19

The Song of the Rock fills the whole of chapter 32. This is the song God told Moses to teach the nation of Israel, so that they would appreciate His Greatness as the faithful, upright and just  Rock on which they must build their lives. They must never again turn from Him and act corruptly, as a warped and crooked generation that serves other gods.

And we still sing from this song today, some 3 500 years later, in Don Moen’s setting: Ascribe Greatness lyrics. “A God of faithfulness without injustice. Good and upright is He. A God of faithfulness without injustice. Good and upright is He. Ascribe greatness to our God, the Rock. His work is perfect. And all His ways are just. Ascribe greatness to our God, the Rock.”

So Julius has got it wrong. God knows the influential power of song. It doesn’t only express a command – – it influences those who sing it to obey it. Kill the Boer as a song is far more influential than a spoken command. 

And we Christians should use the influence of song to steer people to trust in God the Rock, and stay far away from sin.

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