What is Worship?

Music and the Bible

Music is an incredibly powerful medium of expression evident throughout the Bible with enormous potential for both blessing and harm. Therefore we should consider both the root and fruit of our music. Jubal was the father of those who play the harp and flute and he was descended from the murderous lineage of Cain and Lamech (Gen. 4:21, 16-20). This doesn’t mean that Jubal was necessarily using music for evil purposes purely based on his chequered ancestry.

Moses, that well-known leader of the Israelites out of slavery to the Promised Land, taught the assembly a song speaking of the past, present and future of Israel, recalling God’s unchangeable character and His remarkable faithfulness. Encouragingly, songs are an incredibly useful means of learning Bible truths about God. Many hymns and choruses recite Bible passages or have related themes which are composed to honour the Lord faithfully, accurately and in truth.

Satan originally was probably a musical being (Ezekiel 28:13-15, The Bible) and has distorted music for millennia. When the statue of Nebuchadnezzar was worshipped in Daniel 3, that was accompanied by the sound of the horn, flute, lyre and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music. This gives an example of music used for idolatrous purposes. It shouldn’t surprise us then to find lots of music that promotes the use of bad language, nudity and violence, which will affect any genuine spiritual growth! On the other hand, we find songs called Psalms in the Bible which encourage joyful expressions of praise and thanksgiving to the Lord our Creator, enthusiastically with instruments!

Furthermore in the throne room of heaven many angels, living creatures and elders sing to God declaring that He is worthy and to ascribe Him honour, blessing and glory (Rev. 5:8-12). So we can see there is a spiritual dimension to music. We can find great benefit in reading the Bible and gaining a desire to praise God. In the New Testament we are encouraged to ‘Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord (Col. 3:16).’

When we use music to worship and glorify God, not ourselves, it can even be therapeutic. We must ensure that the content of the lyrics is meaningful, as taught in the Bible, rather than it being vague or hypnotic. Let’s desire the Giver of good gifts more than the gifts themselves, to exalt the God of heaven and earth. We can make a joyful noise unto our Creator!

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