Friday, January 16, 2015

Music: What Honors God?

Occasionally someone will post on a blog about music in church. There are those who like choruses and those who prefer hymns. There are those who claim Christian should only sing Psalms, and at that without any instruments, since the New Testament doesn't mention them.
I was around when groups and artists like The 2nd Chapter of Acts and Keith Green were causing a stir by performing Christian rock in churches. Imagine that! Loud, electric guitars and drums in the church! Old timers said that rock music was of the devil. Then they would go to a concert of Southern Gospel music, with its quartets and music along the lines of Country. I think their grandparents would have said the same thing. Even Isaac Watts got in trouble for writing hymns sung to the tunes of the taverns and pubs.
At any rate, every generation brings yet another style of music to worship. And every previous generation says that music should be sung or listened to by Christians, since it's "of the devil." 
So, what music honors God and what music doesn't? Let's see what the Bible says. The first mention of any kind of music is not in the Psalms, believe it or not. And it isn't David playing his harp for Saul. It's in Genesis 4:21. Here is the context:
"Then Lamech took for himself two wives: the name of one was Adah, and the name of the second was Zillah. And Adah bore Jabal. He was the father of 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" (Gen. 4:19-21, NKJV, emphasis mine).
Do you realized who this Jubal was? He was in the sixth generation of the descendant of Cain. That's right. The first musician mentioned in the Bible was descended from the first murderer. Not Seth, from whom came Noah and Abraham, but Cain.
So, does that mean that all music is of the devil? No. No more than anything else invented by man. Okay, now, I am going to say something radical here:
God is honored by all musical styles.
What? Am I off my rocker? No.
First, let me clarify: God is not honored by all the lyrics, that is a different discussion. But I believe He is honored by all instrumental music. Think about it. What is the source of all talents? Is it not our creator? God made us and all that we are. So when someone picks up a violin and plays a beautiful piece of classical music, that person is honoring God. When Mozart or Bach wrote those wonderful symphonies, they were honoring God.  Even when a long-haired young man picks up an electric guitar and lets it sing, he is honoring God. Even though most musicians don't realize it, God gave them the ability and gave some humans creative talents to write the music. God is not honored by all the lyrics, that is a different discussion.
So, listen to that jazz, or classical, or rock and roll, or that country music. If the lyrics aren't outright sinful, you should not have to worry about what God (or your grandma) thinks.

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