How we worship - Red
Roses or Daffodils
situation, a man plans to buy his wife some flowers to express his
love for her. His wife has told him many times that she loves to get
red roses. As the man visits the florists he is overwhelmed with the
aroma and beauty of some daffodils on display. He is faced with a
dilemma - does he buy his wife what he knows she likes, or does he go
for the daffodils, which he likes?
In some ways
it is not really a dilemma at all. His desire is to please his wife,
so rather than giving her what he likes and thinks she might like, he
buys a dozen red roses, knowing that this exactly what she wants.
God, in the
Bible has told us exactly how He delights to be worshipped. And we
must worship God according to how He wishes. Whatever is not
commanded is forbidden.
praise to God we have not been left to ourselves to devise what we
may regard as suitable or appealing songs. God has given us a unique
book of praise, the book of Psalms. It is this book of praise that we
use exclusively in our worship. In Colossians 3:18 and Ephesians 5:19
we are told to use, "psalms, hymns and spiritual songs."
might seem that exclusive psalm singers have 'shot themselves in the
foot' by quoting these verses. However quite the reverse is true. In
Colossians 3:16 Paul tells us that in singing these songs we are
letting "the Word of Christ dwell in us richly." Only the
inspired Word of God can be described this way. It should be noted
also that in the two verses quoted these songs are described as
spiritual, ie. they are inspired by the Holy Spirit. No mere human
compositions could be described in this way.
It is also
significant to note that in the version of the Old Testament that
Paul and others of his day used, the individual psalms were given
titles - psalms, hymns or songs. Indeed Psalm 76 is described as a
psalm, hymn and a song. So what we must remember as we read these two
texts is what did Paul mean by these terms? The answer surely is, the
book of Psalms.
believe that God has commanded us to use the psalms exclusively in
our worship and we have no warrant to use anything else.
exactly do we sing them? Well again the answer is the way that God
has instructed us. We follow the practice of the great majority of
Christians through the ages as we sing the psalms exclusively without
the accompaniment of musical instruments. Throughout the New
Testament there is no mention of any musical instruments being used
in worship, simply "the fruit of lips that confess His
name," Hebrews 13:15.
about all the references to musical instruments in the Old Testament?
are several points we need to bear in mind about the instruments in
Old Testament worship.
used only by the priests and Levites and not the people in general.
We need also note that they were used alongside animal sacrifice. The
playing of the instruments was only as long as the sacrifice was
being offered. After the sacrifice was finished the worship continued
without instrumental accompaniment. II Chronicles 29:27-29.
important to bear in mind that they were used at a time of spiritual
incompleteness, being closely associated with the Old Testament
sacrificial system. And so like many other Old Testament practices,
eg incense, they are no longer appropriate as the cross of Christ has
brought to an end the sacrificial system.
question is. Do we give to God red roses or daffodils?