Praising a Long Time

The history of Praise and Worship in the Bible is a fun and interesting adventure.  Music has a tendancy to be a bit controversial topic within the church these days.  The best case scenerio is one where us Jesus-followers would advance past personal opinion and onto the purpose of the church which is to praise God, leaving issues of style and culture as unnecessary dividing lines.  To that point, if I sing “Jesus, how sweet the name” and I do it with a pipe organ, or an a cappella group, or a choir, or with drums and electric guitars, does it really matter?  I think not, what matters most is the heart with which we praise.  Nevertheless when subjects like this kick around in my mind I find myself wondering what God thinks of this.  How can we honor Him?  The components we use for His glory in Praise and Worship are namely 1) Instrumental and 2) Vocal.  (Additionally we have a) soul and b) spirit but we’ll save that discussion for another day.)  One teaching I’ve done many times and still adhere to this exegesis, is that if God sings over us (Zephaniah 3:17) he must have a) created song b) love song.  Therefore anything, any music, that deviates from the purpose to glorify God is an abberation of its original intent.  That thinking excludes a lot of music in the world, but I believe it to be true.

One encouragement to those of us who are called to praise God and lead others in the same, is just how long this has been going on.  We often highlight David’s court as an example of praise in the highest order. Yet a quick look into Genesis reveals that this has been going on a really long time.

In Genesis 4:17-22 we have a listing of some of Cain’s descendants.  Check out verse 21 where we are introduced to Jubal.  “…He was the father of all those who play the harp and flute.” (NKJV) Wow.  This enables us to pinpoint the use of instruments in praise and worship to as early as the 7th generation from Adam.  I don’t know about you but that gets me really excited!  (Being a guitar player, knowing that stringed instruments existed as early as the 7th generation gets me extra stoked.)  I’ll also point out that the number 7 represents perfection in Kingdom accounting.

Secondly, a few verses later there is an amazing statement.  In verse 26 we read “That’s when men and women began praying and worshipping in the name of GOD.” (The Message)  By reading further and adding up the age when Adam fathered Seth, and then Seth fathered Enosh, we can estimate something just over 235 years from the creation of man to when humans began corporate worship of GOD.

A little over 200 years from the dawn of creation and people congregated in worship.  Only seven generations passed and musical instruments were used in worship.  This leaves no doubt in my heart that music is God invented, God inspired, and God purposed.  Does this encourage anyone else out there?  Let me know!


4 Responses to “Praising a Long Time”

  1. 1 Jasmine
    May 15, 2008 at 4:08 pm

    😀 that encourages me!!! I actually think it’s really interesting to know about the history of instruments and of different types of music…and that’s really interesting about the 7th generation/7 is the perfect number thing. 🙂

  2. 2 Julian
    May 15, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    It is quite amazing that people have been participating in corporate worship. Whether it is with the flute or the lyre it doesn’t matter. It is pretty astounding that praise and worship has a legacy that dates almost to the beginning of time.

  3. 3 therapistdave
    May 16, 2008 at 12:08 am

    Nice perspective, Rev. It’s important to remember that worship is a long-standing thing for us to praise God, and should be continual as well.

    And I am glad to hear that you got “stoked.”

  4. 4 Kelly
    May 16, 2008 at 1:12 pm

    Having come out of such a legalistic background, I find myself remembering the things that I was taught about music, and how my heart always somehow longed for more that what was “acceptable” to those around me. There was nothing wrong with the music that I was being told to listen to, but something about it seemed to be lacking.
    When I learned that it wasn’t a sin to appreciate a variety of music, I realized a lot of freedom in my life! Especially in the realm of praise and worship. For example, Hillsong United would have been considered inappropriate in the church I grew up in, but when I realized the Power of God working in the lives of people through thier music, I was astonished and promply started seeking the truth on this subect! I soon came to discover that there is nothing like worshipping God in Spirit and in truth!
    I love music! All kinds of music, and I am very thankful that that the Lord gives us the opportunity to express ourselves in different ways as we worship Him.

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May 2008

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