The physicality of praise

person-864804_640Praising God is part of our expression of faith. We do not see God with our eyes, but as the evidence of scriptures shows, there are full expressions of that go along with praising Him.

God is not man, so the question: “why does he want to be praised, like a narcissistic individual” does not arise. That question smacks of carnal thinking. He is God, beyond the confines of human reasoning, ala humanistic rubbish, that reduces God to human parameters.

Therefore though there are somethings that I do not express to any other human beings because I feel that I am not less than any, God is in a different class on its own. Angels are not to be worshipped, but God is the definition to worship, adoration. Though he is father, he is not ordinary, he is heavenly. That is a different order, demanding different dynamics.

David taught us about the physical expression of worship. There are three kinds: the elements (musical instruments), the body (dance), and the voice (singing). Everything has to do with movement, sound, vibrations, melody.
There are all manner of instruments used in expression of worship, with different classifications, “percussion, strings, pipes”, played with the mouth, hand, leg, with different styles in peculiar to different cultures.

Music is so ingrained in the human nature, it is part of our make up, and we are made in the image of God, therefore music is part of the divine nature.

Everything can be expressed with music: prayer, thanksgiving, preaching, prophecy. When Elisha wanted to activate his prophetic anointing, he called for a musician. It is therefore an helps ministry, enhancing the prophetic. It can be a power ministry in casting out devils, as David played instrument to cast a devil from King Saul.

David brought music to the forefront of the religious life of Israel. Before then, we saw Mariam take a tambourine and lead women in a dance procession after God took the nation across the Red Sea on dry ground. How beautiful was that! They were overwhelmed by the mightiness of God.

They used the three components of praise: the dance, the instrument and the voice.

You can make sound with your hands. The bible says: clap your hands all people in praise to God (that is everybody). So the clap of the hand can accompany praise expression to God. It is itself a praise expression, to accompany instruments or as a standalone.

David danced his heart out when the he brought the ark of God to Jerusalem, but his wife thought it was too much. She was carnal. She showed no respect to God, just concerned about the impression he was making in the minds of the people, how the King dancing was going to reflect on her.

But we are talking about the king of kings and the lord of lords here. The dance may make no meaning to that woman, because she was zero in spiritual perception, but to God, it is an offering received, as the sacrifice of praise.

For a sacrifice, effort is made, time is occupied, and the focus is God, what we are giving him and what he is receiving from us.

We have it clear in the scriptures that praise is a valid expression of worship, which is our relationship with God.

But certain people desist from certain physical expression of praise. They reject the use of certain instruments in the context of praising God, they emphasize little or no movement, so nothing happens that reflects dance in Because joy is associated with dance, therefore expression of joy is stunted in such contexts.

In the establishment of worship as part of the temple from David, we have a detailed arrangement. Families were chosen and separated as full time praisers, using voice, and instruments ( I am sure they danced too, following the steps of David, who ordered them). The bible says that from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same, the Lord’s name will be praised.

However there are certain dances associated with the pop culture. Dance definitely originates from God, but the devil has his dancers (same with musicians, in the words they use).

Dance is communication. So the intention is more important than the expression, it determines the expression.

Dance can communicate devotion to God as we see with David, but we have people blinded by religion who will judge such expressions.

Paul said every food is from God and none should be rejected since it is sanctified by prayer and word (but we have foods offered to idols). The same is musical instruments, and dance, and style of vocal expressions in praise to God. The content sanctifies the medium. But there is the exception in what comes with sexually suggestive intention.

When the prodigal son came back after along time, he was greeted with music in his father’s house. If the church is the father’s house, as it is, it is therefore not just the house of prayer for all nations but also the place of musical expression in praise.

Music is the sound of joy, it is the sound of restoration. The older brother coming from the field, heard music and dancing, since the father has said there must be celebration. He did not like that. He was all serious about the work, he wondered why there must be so much dancing and singing and instruments, and eating when “souls are perishing, with all the sadness in the world, with all the sinners going to hell, with all the problems in the world. But we have been licensed to rejoice by Jesus himself who said we should rejoice because our name is written in the book of life.

Many things may be upside down, but we have the license to rejoice in the Lord because of Jesus.

The father tried to convince the older brother that the party is needed. In the other parables of lost but found sinners, there was rejoicing, with others, in the context of the beautiful thing that has happened.

To dance, to sing, to create music is divine, and music is wired into humanity. There is no dodging it. The book of Revelation said we are made to give God pleasure.

Our dancing, singing, playing of instruments, either at a professional level or general level in the context of relationship with God gives the ultimate meaning to our wiring as music lovers. One person loves one style of music, another loves another, it’s all well and good. But let’s not spiritualise our preference. It is all unto the Lord.

We can have synchronized dancing.

The book of psalms enjoins us to praise the Lord with all manner of musical instruments, with dancing. Dancing is more endemic in some cultures than in others, but there is nowhere music is not endemic, or use of musical instruments in one form or another. Many has been invented and others will also be invented.

There are digital sounds, but they did not create themselves. Technology can praise God, it depends on the music accompaniment, or intention, Remember Jesus said the stones will cry out, the trees praise God, the mountains.

Praise expression is a powerful tool of warfare. God said he inhabits the praises of his people, (to be for you and against your enemies.)

The operational phrase is “his people.” So praise is accepted, if you are his. If your life commitment is contrary to your praise, then Jesus will say to you: this person calls me lord, lord, but his heart is far away from me.

It does not matter what is done, the heart through which it is done is more important. God said he looks at the heart and not appearance, expression.

In the physicality of praise, we know that dance, clap, instrument, creativity comes into play. But because somebody praises God does not means the person knows Him. Saul prophesied in the company of the prophets, but his heart could not be farther from God. We can have a professional “Christian” singer who has little or no relationship with God, that they sing about.

While the physicality of praise is valid, it is God who knows the dynamics of your heart, and that ultimately gives the tone of your expressions in the realm of the spirit, where the inferior is separated from the sublime, the deceptive from the real, the empty from the spirit-filled.

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