For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven….
a time to mourn, and a time to dance…
“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.….
when the morning stars sang together
and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
Job 38: 4, 7
God is the creator of rhythm, music, movement and dance. Music was present at the creation of the earth as revealed by the verse from Job above. Prophet Ezekiel suggests the Archangel Lucifer had musical instruments created into his being (Ezekiel 29:11-19); this has led some to believe that he was in charge of worship before he allowed pride and ambition to get the better of him.
In Genesis 1:2 movement was associated with creation. The Spirit of God was “hovering” over the waters. Adam’s reaction to seeing Eve for the first time was a poem. There was also evidently music from the early days of man on earth, as seen
in the book of Genesis where Jubal is mentioned:
… Jubal; he was the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe.
Music and Dance in Celebration and Worship
It was however the parting of the Red Sea and the drowning of Pharaoh’s army in its waters that resulted in the first direct mention of the words, “song” and “dance” in the Bible. It was a song and dance of celebration led by Moses and his elder sister Miriam: a spontaneous response to one of the most astounding divine interventions in the affairs of men (Exodus 15:20). Considering what God did that night, what a dance that must have been! This teaches us that singing and dancing
are appropriate responses to acts of divine intervention and providence in our lives.
“Then Miriam the prophet, Aaron’s sister, took a timbrel in her hand, and all the women followed her, with timbrels and dancing. Miriam sang to them: ‘Sing to the Lord, for he is highly exalted. Both horse and driver he has hurled into the sea’
The word dance or dancing is mentioned 21 times in the King James Version. Every good thing God creates, Satan seeks to pervert. So in the same book of Exodus we later find dance used in pagan worship (Exodus 32: 19). In the New Testament, on the one hand music and dancing were part of the celebration of the return of the prodigal son (Luke 15:25), on the other, the dancing of the daughter of Herodias was used by her mother to have John the Baptist killed (Mark 6:17-28). So music and dance can be used either for good or for evil. They can be used for celebration, worship or recreation, or for idolatry, and seduction.
Dance is further associated with joy and gladness for the young and old alike in Jeremiah 31:13, and the dedication of the temple in Jeremiah 31:4. This means dance is not only limited to those gifted with agility and graceful movements; even the old and those with an awkward sense of movement can join in. It is a way of expressing our emotions through our bodies.
King Nebuchadnezzar is an example of one who perverted the divine intent for music. He used music as a signal to fall down and worship a golden statue.
“Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good”
Music can be intoxicating and serve the purpose of worshipping the world, the flesh, or Satan. We must be careful to discern the spirit behind the songs we hear.
David on the other hand, was a gifted musician and composer who is referred to as the “sweet psalmist of Israel” (2 Samuel 23:1). He wrote at least 73 psalms that are part of the canon of Scripture. Like all musicians, he must have had many other songs that were not preserved.
“Whenever the spirit from God came on Saul, David would take up his lyre and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him”
1 Samuel 16:23
The Spirit of the Lord was upon David. His anointed music ushered in peace from God and the evil spirit tormenting Saul had to leave. Divinely anointed music creates an atmosphere that is repulsive to demons. The bible furthermore mentions
songs of deliverance in Psalm 32:7. Conversely, satanically anointed music brings in the presence of evil. Most churches use music as a way of uniting the congregation in praising and worshipping God.
Music For Nation Building And Instruction
Moses composed the first recorded song in the bible after the defeat of Pharaoh’s army in the Red Sea. He went on to write two other songs. In his song written in Psalm 90, Moses covers life themes like creation, death, family, work, wisdom, and God’s help through all ages. In another song written in Deuteronomy 32:1-44, he covers themes related to national life like: idolatry, national values, history, national boundaries, complacency, jealousy, war, national pride and stubbornness. The song was written as a warning and a national memorial.
Music permeates every culture with diversity, expression, and experience. It can serve a godly purpose or encourage evil behavior. Godly music is not limited to church worship only; it should address the whole of life. There should be songs speaking about God’s value system and truths in the family, business, government, education, and every aspect of human life. A whole book of the bible is dedicated to love and romance – and it is a song: the Song of Songs. Indeed the gift of poetry is activated in many when they find love. So it is ok to write love songs – so long as they espouse the biblical worldview about love and romance.
PRAYING FOR THE MUSIC AND DANCE SECTOR
- Thank God for creating rhythm, music, movement and dance that give us enjoyment of life and fill our lives with many memories. Many of our life memories are stored up with songs. The playing of an old song can bring back
memories that had long been forgotten.
- Thank God for the musicians in the country who are using their gifting not only for godly worship, but also for teaching and discipling the nation in biblical values.
- Ask God’s forgiveness for the ways music and dance have been perverted and used for idolatry, sensuality, and the propagation of hatred and sectarianism in our country.
- Ask God’s forgiveness for ways that the church has followed the world’s patterns and standards in music and dance instead of vice versa. Ask God’s forgiveness for church’s relative neglect of the celebration sphere and inadequate discipling and instruction of the nation using the powerful tool of music.
- God will teach us how to correctly represent Him in the music and dance scene at the national level.
- Understanding will increase among Christian music and dance artists of the importance of their role in discipling the nation and building God’s Kingdom.
- There will be a teachable spirit in the Body of Christ in Uganda regarding the role of the music and the arts in discipling the nation.
- Those called to the music and dance aspect of the celebration sphere will be grounded in God and His Word so that they can spread biblical values through this sphere.
- The religious spirit that has kept sons and daughters of the Kingdom of God locked out of this sphere, will be judged and removed so that there will be enlightened understanding from a biblical perspective.
- There will be greater networking among those called to this sphere in the Body of Christ across church and denominational barriers.
- That God will raise disciplers with a biblical mindset and understanding of what He wants to do in this sphere and that they will train others.
Pray that God will be greatly glorified through music and dance in Uganda and that music and dance will be used to instruct and disciple the nation in biblical values.
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