As one who has been a musician for nearly my whole life, I have come to realize the incredible power found in music. It comes in thousands of styles and approaches. It deeply touches our soul (our mind, will and emotions) and is a gift from God! Music is spiritual at its core! As with anything else that is spiritually powerful, it can (and should) be used to glorify God, but it can just as easily reflect the sinful and self-aggrandizing nature of man.
This perspective only became clear to me after decades of playing music, attending music college, having a “know-so” conversion to Jesus, and after spending time on Christian worship teams. Praise God if you came to this knowledge at a younger age! There is no denying the power inherent in making and worshiping in music. It is indeed a gift from God intended to bring glory to Him. It also strengthens and sustains us because of the joy it brings to our souls, as the joy of the Lord is our strength!
Like any other beautiful thing of the Lord, Satan desires to counterfeit and use it to divide. I stand against that in the mighty name of Jesus! If every person is unique and known by God before we were ever formed in our mothers’ wombs (and we were), then on what basis do we decide that all Christian or worship music needs to satisfy our own personal preferences?
Please ponder the following before complaining about your church’s worship team after service, because nobody has all the answers and the music doesn’t just “happen.” There are hours and hours, and in many cases, years of musical study, college, theological study and training, internships, daily practice, equipment expenses and ongoing rehearsal and necessary music preparation – including venue preparation, personnel management, database and overhead maintenance, licensing for song usage, etc., BEFORE the musicians even step onto the platform for worship.
So, does God desire for us to make music and worship Him in music? A fair question. Let’s consider the following scriptures:
- Music was played all night with singing, harps, stringed instruments, tambourines, cymbals and trumpets when David carried the ark of God to the Temple (1 Chronicles 13:7-8).
- Music ushered in the very presence of God (as a cloud) such that the priests could not continue ministering and the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord (2 Chronicles 5:13-14).
- The Psalms command us to skillfully praise the LORD with singing and musical instruments, including a personal favorite of mine – loud cymbals! We are to let everything that has breath praise the Lord (Psalm 33:3 and 150:3-6).
- The Bible says we are to be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing and admonishing others in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, making music to the Lord with grace in our hearts (Ephesians 5:18-19 and Colossians 3:16).
- And, if that wasn’t enough, the Bible says that God Himself quiets us with His love, and rejoices over us with gladness and singing (Zephaniah 3:17)!
I’ve included a video at the top of a worship song – King Of My Heart – from a recent Sunday morning at the Cloud & Bridge service at Heights Cumberland Presbyterian Church. The point is that worship music can range from formal to highly informal, involving a single minister with a guitar, as a small team, or a platform flooded with singers and a full orchestra – what’s important is whether God is being glorified and that corporate worship is happening! I pray you will regularly lift up your praise teams and ministers in prayer, as worshiping in music is highly important. Matters of prayer, teaching, prophesying, evangelizing and worshiping in music ARE NOT mutually exclusive. They are all necessary and directed by the Lord. Praise Jesus forevermore!
1 Chronicles 13:7-8 [NKJV] – So they carried the ark of God on a new cart from the house of Abinadab, and Uzza and Ahio drove the cart. Then David and all Israel played music before God with all their might, with singing, on harps, on stringed instruments, on tambourines, on cymbals, and with trumpets.”
2 Chronicles 5:13-14 [NKJV] – “…indeed it came to pass, when the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord, and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the Lord, saying: “[f]or He is good, [f]or His mercy endures forever,” that the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God.”
Zephaniah 3:17 [NKJV] – “The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”
Psalm 150:3-6 [NKJV] – “Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet; Praise Him with the lute and harp! Praise Him with the timbrel and dance; Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes! Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with clashing cymbals! Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.”
Psalm 33:3 [NKJV] – “Sing to Him a new song; [p]lay skillfully with a shout of joy.”
Ephesians 5:18-19 [NLT] – “Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts.”
Colossians 3:16 [NKJV] – “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.”