I tend to be very intentional about the music in my headphones. I often try to match the vibe of what I’m listening to with the vibe of the weather. I don’t remember the last time I listened to indie pop when the sun wasn’t out, and I only listen to Frank Sinatra on rainy days. Before I hit play, it’s not uncommon for me to ask myself: what do I need to hear today? 

Far beyond being a soundtrack for a summer day, I’ve found this to be a useful tool in my own sanctification. Music has been used as a teaching instrument for thousands of years, and if we’re conscious of what we’re putting in our ears, it can teach us today. We know this to be true… it’s the reason we put the alphabet to a tune for our kids. 

But this is more than just a practical idea for learning, it’s one of the ways that God teaches us about his character. We first see this in the book of Deuteronomy. Moses is about to hand the reins to Joshua, and God tells him to write a song and teach it to the people. 

“Now therefore write this song and teach it to the people of Israel. Put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for me against the people of Israel. For when I have brought them into the land flowing with milk and honey, which I swore to give to their fathers, and they have eaten and are full and grown fat, they will turn to other gods and serve them, and despise me and break my covenant. And when many evils and troubles have come upon them, this song shall confront them as a witness (for it will live unforgotten in the mouths of their offspring)…” ¹

We see here that God intends to use music to teach us and remind us of his work, his goodness, and his role in our lives… especially in moments where we may be prone to forget. 

A few years ago, in a season of being overwhelmed by my own sinfulness and unrighteousness, I created a playlist that I simply titled “Preach.” In the moments where shame overtook me, when I questioned why God could ever love a sinner like me, I’d hit Play on that playlist and be reminded of the truth that Jesus’ work was truly enough to save me. It would be dramatic to say that playlist saved my life, but there were days where those songs were a big part of what kept me going.

In this season where the Coronavirus pandemic has reshaped every facet of life, I’ve been longing for a playlist to preach the truth of Scripture into my heart. Below you’ll find that playlist. I’ve titled it “COVID-19 Preach,” and it’s encouraged me these last few weeks. I hope it’ll do the same for you. 

Check out the COVID-19 Preach playlist on Spotify:

God intends to use music to teach us and remind us of his work, his goodness, and his role in our lives… especially in moments where we may be prone to forget. Click To Tweet

Here are a few highlights from the playlist: 

My Soul Rests in You (Psalm 62) by Matthew Zigenis

Some of my favorite songs are those that are reinterpretations of the Psalms. This song beautifully lays out the words of David in Psalm 62. 

I will trust in you
God, my safe refuge
Freedoms in your hands
My hope comes from you
I will look to you
Keeper of my life
When the ground is shaken
I will not be moved  

Matthew is the Pastor of Worship at Bridgetown Church in Portland, Oregon. I often have his Spotify profile on repeat. 


Morning Song by Land of Color

Sometimes the sound of a song perfectly matches the message of the lyrics, and that’s the case with Land of Color’s adaptation of Jesus’ teaching on anxiety in Matthew 6. 

I look up at the birds above and I see
That You’ll feed me, You said You would
And if I don’t believe Your words You’ll still be
What I need if I fled You would
Chase me the way that You do
The beautiful way that You do 

Land of Color is made up of Thomas Ewing and Gary Rea. I’m not sure when I became Facebook friends with Thomas, but I think it was after a songwriting retreat in Colorado in 2011. He posted this song, and I’ve been hooked ever since. Also, check out their newest release, Rest.


Trust in You by Antoine Bradford

Sonically, this song might seem outside the vibe of the rest of the playlist, but lyrically, it’s so rich. Taking from 1 John 4, Psalm 62, and Luke 15, this R&B jam is saturated with gospel-truth. 

‘Cause when I trust in You
I do the thing I was made to do
To live a life that fully rests in You
And all Your promises for me 

Antoine is the most recent signing of hip-hop record label Humble Beast. There’s at least one Humble Beast song on every Preach playlist I have. So good. 


It Is Well With My Soul by Audrey Assad

I simply love Audrey Assad’s take on Horatio Spafford’s from the 1870s. Spafford wrote the words after two horrific accidents killed his four-year-old son and all four of his daughters. 

When peace like a river, attendeth my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to know
It is well, it is well, with my soul

Audrey’s catalog is full of ancient and modern hymns that have comforted me in the darker days of my faith.


Closer Than a Brother by Josh Garrels

Psalm 18 tells us that “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” In this song, Josh Garrels names Jesus as that perfect friend, singing about his comfort and our salvation.

O Lord, You’re closer than a brother
A friend that I can fall on
And O God of my salvation
Carried all my burdens on the cross

I don’t want to remember life before the music of Josh Garrels. For an in-depth look at his life and creative process, check out this YouTube documentary on Josh’s music. 


Satisfied in You (Psalm 42) by The Sing Team

Here’s another one taken from the Psalms. The emotion in this recording matches the lyrics and melody perfectly, and the picture of God’s sovereignty in the lyrics is a beautiful reminder:

So when I’m drowning out at sea
And all your breakers and your waves crash down on me
I’ll recall your safety scheme
You’re the one who made the waves
And your Son went out to suffer in my place
And to show me that I’m safe 

Brian Eichelberger and The Sing Team have been a go-to for our local church. Check out their most recent full-length release, Sing On!


No One Ever Cared For Me Like Jesus by Steffany Gretzinger

When I listen to this song, I’m overcome by the enormity of God’s love, as well as the temporary nature of our suffering on earth. These words remind me that there is more than this current season, more than the emotions I’m currently feeling, and more than what I can see today.  

Let my children tell their children
Let this be their memory
That all my treasure was in heaven
And you were everything to me
No one ever cared for me like Jesus
His faithful hand has held me all this way
And when I’m old and grey
And all my days are numbered on the earth
Let it be known in you alone
My joy was found

Listening to Steffany’s most recent release, I find myself hopeful that she has joined the growing group of artists who have moved on from Bethel Church to a more orthodox Christianity.  

Check out the COVID-19 Preach playlist on Spotify:

1 Deuteronomy 31:19-21a