UNDERSTANDING BIBLICAL HISTORY OF MUSIC
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2019
“UNDERSTANDING BIBLICAL HISTORY OF MUSIC”
SCRIPTURE READINGS: Genesis 4:20-21, 31:27, Job 21:11-12
The history of music in the Bible sets the stage for the rest of Christian history. This history helps the Christian see how music played a key component in worship and how God was glorified. Genesis 4:20-21 says, “And Adah bore Jabal. He was the father of all those who dwell in tents and have livestock. His brother’s name was Jubal. He was the father of all those who play the harp and flute.” This verse tells us that from the very beginning of creation, man constructed and played sophisticated musical instruments.
After Jacob left Laban during the night, Laban eventually found him and said “why did you flee away secretly, and steal away from me, and not tell me; for I might have sent you away with joy and songs, with timbrels and harp” (Genesis 31:27). This truly shows how music was used for personal pleasure and enjoyment.
The book of Job states, “They send forth their little ones like a flock, and their children danced. They sing to the tambouring and harp, and rejoice to the sound of the flute”. Job 21:11-12 reflects the uses of music for both family and entertainment.
From the beginning of Exodus, we see a more expressive way of worship through music. This new way comes in the form of dance and celebration. As one author notes, “Dancing in the Bible was generally not a sexually suggestive act involving couples as is done today. It meant to leap, turn, and gyrate as an expression of joy.”
Many of these occasions of music and worship were direct responses to a victory in which God delivered his people and were not just set times of worship.
The New Testament does not parade a list of musical instruments; however, it provides the purpose for music as states in Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16. In these scriptures, God establishes three kinds of proper perspective for New Testament music and worship.
Irrespective of what form or genre of music is carried out, its purpose must be centred on God. It is also not out of place to sing, dance, jump, clap, and raise your hands or even roll on the floor, shout or play musical instruments in church.
Dear Lord, help me to understand the role of music in praise and worship as enshrined in your word. Amen.