My Volume Is Off (Proverbs 30:32-33)

All performing musicians need to coordinate their performance with the sound board. Whether a live performance or a recording, continual communication is necessary to ensure that there is proper balance between the performing musicians and what is being heard by the audience.


In my past, I have led and have been a member of many worship teams in many different churches. On one of these teams, an incident occurred that disturbed and confused me. During a rehearsal session, several of my fellow musicians were complaining that I was playing too loudly. I attempted to remedy the problem by having the person on the soundboard make adjustments. However, unlike previous rehearsal sessions, it was to no avail. Gradually I began to lower the volume on my guitar until I could barely hear it from my own amplifier, less than 3 feet away from me. I became increasingly frustrated. If my guitar volume were so low that I could barely hear myself, would my fellow musicians be able to hear? And then it struck me, perhaps this is what they wanted? I immediately dialed my volume down to off and proceeded to play, knowing that my guitar could not be heard. I then asked my fellow musicians, “Is that better?” They all nodded in approval.


I left the rehearsal hurt, questioning everyone’s motives. If they didn’t want me to play, they could have simply asked me to sit out. My imagination ran wild as different permutations swirled through my mind. Perhaps they could not hear me through their monitors? Perhaps they were embarrassed to confront me and tell me they did not want me to play? How could I make sense of this?


If you have been foolish in exalting yourself, Or if you have devised evil, put your hand on your mouth. For as the churning of milk produces butter, And wringing the nose produces blood,

So the forcing of wrath produces strife.

Proverbs 30:32-33 (NKJV)


Proverbs 30 is replete with lists which the writer, through the Holy Spirit’s inspiration, desired to communicate his wonder and bewilderment over what he observed in the world. He recounted seemingly contradictory or irrational behaviors, such as the way of man when he is courting a woman! (Nothing irrational about that behavior!) But his conclusion was completely rational. If we continue to revisit our hurts, allowing the fomenting of anger, it will only produce more strife.  


This passage comforted me as I attempted to understand why God allowed different types of behaviors and actions to affect me in the way they do. After much time in prayer, meditation, and reflection upon this, I realized that, once again, it is my pride that is hindering me and setting up barriers to sweet fellowship with my fellow brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ. This incident, like so many others, poignantly illustrates how I first need to satisfy my ego and look inward, rather than always thanking God and looking upward.


I am thankful for an opportunity to serve God with the musical gifts He has given me. However, if others do not appreciate these gifts in the way I think they should, it is a reflection of my fallen state and my selfish motives.  I should remain focused upon serving God in gratitude rather than attempting to appease myself or others.


Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.