Haven't posted on here for a while. Every now and then I have a thought that is hard to summarize in 140 Characters (twitter) and I don't have a FaceBook because it stresses me out so I'll just post it here even though people don't really read blogs anymore it seems.
I was thinking the other day about music standards and how it's so hard to know exactly the kind of music God likes and exactly what types of instruments and sounds He prefers and at what pace He'd like them to be sung etc. since He hasn't specifically spelled this all out for us. I wish He had. I'd be just fine with checklist Christianity. That's how I like to work. I'm a list person. I'm almost jealous (but not really) of those who were under the law and had things spelled out so clearly for them. But I'm not, and I don't and so I just have to do my best to decipher these grey areas with the knowledge that I have about who God is and the guidance that His word gives on the subject.
At one point about a year ago I just decided I was going to pretend I'd never been taught anything on the subject and just look up every verse in the Bible that said the word "music" and see if that gave any clarity. Well, the word music isn't in the Bible so I just found anything that God says about songs or praises or singing and also examples of how Old Testament Christians praised him. I looked up verses and just highlighted whatever main word jumped out at me as the focus of that passage.
Here's what I found:
Exodus 15:1-2 (song of praise)
Exodus 15:20 (timbrel, dances)
1 Chronicles 16:29 (worship, holiness)
Psalm 9:11 (praises)
Psalm 30:4 (thanks)
Psalm 33:2 (harp, psaltery)
Psalm 33:3 (new song, loud noise)
Psalm 47:1 (clap your hands, shout)
Psalm 47:6-7 (praises)
Psalm 92:1 (praises)
Psalm 95:1 (joyful noise)
Psalm 96:1 (new song)
Psalm 149:1 (new song, congregation)
Psalm 149:3 (dance, timbrel and harp)
Psalm 149:5 (aloud)
Isaiah 42:10 (new song)
Isaiah 42:11 (shout from the top of the mountains)
Ephesians 5:19 (psalms, hymns, spiritual songs)
What I gathered from this was helpful.
1) Old Testament Christians knew how to praise the Lord!! Sounds so exciting! Shouting and dancing and clapping and singing! Awesome.
2) It looks to me as if God is interested mostly in me praising Him period. He tells me to do it with a joyful, loud noise and a new song in my heart and maybe even get so excited that I clap my hands or do a jig and maybe throw a tambourine or harp in there. That's as specific as He gets and that's going to have to be ok with me. I will do my best to praise him in this manner. I think people muddy the waters so much and put a lot of words in God's mouth when He really just wants our praise. He does not get knit picky about if the songs are sung out of a hymnal or off a screen or with regular lights or purple lights or blue lights or if they have this particular beat or rhythm or if you sing them with your arms up or down or all around... I could go on. Many people do. It's kind of silly. If you are praising him with a genuine heart of worship then I think He is happy. If you're not, that is between you and God. He is the only one who knows your heart.
God gave me this verse the other day which is what spawned this whole post:
1 Samuel 16:7b
"... for man looketh on the outward appearance but the Lord looketh on the heart."
Glad he can see my heart when I sing and I don't have to worry about anyone else. In the end I think that is what God hears - our heart, not the instruments. He is so good.