INSTRUMENT OF YOUR CHOICE?
By Wayne S. Walker
“Let them praise His name with the dance; let them sing praises to Him with the timbrel and the harp” (Psalm 149:3). We understand that many things were allowed and even commanded in worship under the old covenant, such as burning incense, offering animal sacrifices, dancing before the Lord, and instrumental music in worship, which are not authorized for the church under the new covenant. An otherwise good book of devotions on the Psalms made the following comment about Psalm 149:
“What’s the right way to praise the Lord? Do you use a stringed instrument or a tambourine? Do you sing a beautiful melody or recite an eloquent speech? Do you bow your head or raise your hands?…David himself praised God on an instrument, with dancing, and through writing psalms. He didn’t limit the creative ways he could express his adoration for God. Neither should you.”
Well, the fact is that David did limit himself. He didn’t try to praise God by committing ritual fornication, which was characteristic of many ancient religions of his day. He didn’t seek to praise God by offering his children as burnt offerings, like many of the nations around Israel. He limited himself to praising God only in ways that were authorized by the covenant under which he lived.
Therefore, we need to be very careful that when we strive to praise and worship God, we do only those things which God has said in His new covenant are acceptable to Him, and do them only in the way that He has authorized. Just because something makes us feel good or expresses our exuberance does not necessarily make it right with God. “There is a way that seems right [i.e., feels good or sounds fine] to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12). Let us be most concerned with God’s choice.