Music, An Integral Part of Worship
William L. Brown,
Pastor, Carmichael Baptist Church
I Chronicles 9:33 And these are the singers, chief of the fathers of the Levites, who remaining in the chambers were free: for they were employed in that work day and night.
PSA 47:6 Sing praises to God, sing praises: sing praises unto our King, sing praises.
In looking at the habits of churches and denominations regarding music you can find those on the extreme of each end. On one end there are some who will not use musical instruments at all in their services. There have even been those in the past who would reject singing of hymns. At the other extreme end are those who make music the ultimate in their so-called „worship” and often use it’s basest form as a tool to heighten the emotions of those present. In Scripture we will find balance and order in the use of music. I have listened to numerous speakers espouse their views on the proper elements of music, the proper balance of rythym, the order and organization of music and a host of other concepts to detailed to consider here. What I want to see is what the Bible has to say. What do we find when we look into God’s word? This is not a detailed study by any means and it does not presume to answer the various questions about music ministries that come because of a lack of separation from the world. Let’s just ask a few questions for the purpose of edification and see what we can learn first about…
Who Sang In The Bible?
Moses and the Children of Israel sang:
EXO 15:1 Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.
NUM 21:17 Then Israel sang this song, Spring up, O well; sing ye unto it:
ISA 51:11 Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.
Deborah and Barak sang:
JDG 5:1-2 Then sang Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam on that day, saying, Praise ye the LORD for the avenging of Israel, when the people willingly offered themselves.
JDG 5:3 Hear, O ye kings; give ear, O ye princes; I, even I, will sing unto the LORD; I will sing praise to the LORD God of Israel.
David sang and was sung about:
1SA 18:6 And it came to pass as they came, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women came out of all cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet king Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of musick.
2SA 22:50 Therefore I will give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and I will sing praises unto thy name.
1CH 13:8 And David and all Israel played before God with all their might, and with singing, and with harps, and with psalteries, and with timbrels, and with cymbals, and with trumpets.
The Priests of Levi sang and played instruments:
1CH 15:16 And David spake to the chief of the Levites to appoint their brethren to be the singers with instruments of musick, psalteries and harps and cymbals, sounding, by lifting up the voice with joy.
2CH 7:6 And the priests waited on their offices: the Levites also with instruments of musick of the LORD, which David the king had made to praise the LORD, because his mercy endureth for ever, when David praised by their ministry; and the priests sounded trumpets before them, and all Israel stood.
2CH 29:28 And all the congregation worshipped, and the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded: and all this continued until the burnt offering was finished.
God the Father and God the Son sing:
ZEP 3:17 The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.
ROM 15:9 And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name.
HEB 2:12 Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.
Paul and Silas Sang:
ACT 16:25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.
1CO 14:15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.
The church at Jerusalem sang:
MAT 26:30 And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.
COL 3:16 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.
What Did They Sing:
When you look at the previous verses and others that we did not include here we find the subject matter of their songs. What you will discover is that music and singing is an intregral part of worship that is offered unto the Lord. The following is a list, though incomplete of what we find God’s people singing about.
• They sang of God’s victory and wondrous works:
• They sang of God’s glory:
• They sang of God’s power:
• They sang of God’s presence:
• They sang of God’s holiness: (the beauty of His holiness)
• They sang of God’s justice and judgment:
• They sang of God’s salvation:
• They sang of God’s mercy:
• They sang of God’s faithfulness:
• They sang of God’s comforts:
• They sang of God’s providence and sovereign will:
• They sang thanksgiving unto the Lord:
• They sang praises unto the Lord:
How Did They Sing:
With all their might, joy, grace, and reverence but also sorrow (Lamentations):
1. They had soloists, choirs, and congregational singing.
2. They had choir directors and leaders of various parts of the choir.
3. Some gave all their time to this ministry. 1CH 9:33 And these are the singers, chief of the fathers of the Levites, who remaining in the chambers were free: for they were employed in that work day and night.
They were ordered, organized and skillful:
1. 1CH 15:16 And David spake to the chief of the Levites to appoint their brethren to be the singers with instruments of musick, psalteries and harps and cymbals, sounding, by lifting up the voice with joy.
2. This word „sounding” means to hear intelligently, to pay attention.
3. They taught music also: 1CH 15:22 And Chenaniah, chief of the Levites, was for song: he instructed about the song, because he was skilful.
4. They also sang in parts back and forth to one another: EZR 3:11 And they sang together by course in praising and giving thanks unto the LORD;
They were taught in the Word and separated from sin:
They sang with instruments:
1. 1CH 16:9 Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works.
2. This verse is dealing with singing with instruments, voice and accompaniment.
3. Psaltery (like a Lyre), ten stringed instrument, harp, horns, cymbals, trimbrels (tambourine), reed instruments (wood winds),
4. David actually instructed the Levites to design and build different instruments. They built some of them out of the finest quality wood that none have ever matched.
5. At one time you can see 120 trumpets alone (II Chronicles 5:12-13). Again in this same passage of Scripture you see them unified or ordered and organized. And they were dressed up for the special occasions.
6. PSA 33:3 Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise.
7. PSA 92:3 Upon an instrument of ten strings, and upon the psaltery; upon the harp with a solemn sound. The word solemn carries with it not only a stirring note but a pattern and spiritual quality about it.
When Did They Sing:
A. After a victorious battle:
B. During battle:
C. In prison:
D. During their offering of sacrifice:
1. 2CH 29:28 And all the congregation worshipped, and the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded: and all this continued until the burnt offering was finished.
2. 2CH 29:30 Moreover Hezekiah the king and the princes commanded the Levites to sing praise unto the LORD with the words of David, and of Asaph the seer. And they sang praises with gladness, and they bowed their heads and worshipped.
E. When they came into His presence:
1. PSA 100:2 Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
2. How long should we sing? PSA 104:33 I will sing unto the LORD as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.
3. PSA 146:2 While I live will I praise the LORD: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being.
PSA 147:1 Praise ye the LORD: for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant; and praise is comely.