Tag Archives: fear of God

Psalm 149 & 150 – Should we use all kinds of instruments & even dance in our Church worship service?

Many people use Psalm 149 & 150 as their basis to support the use of all kinds of musical instruments in their Church worship service. They even insist that dancing is permitted since Psalm 149:3 says “Let them praise His name with the dance”.

Well, if we interpret Psalm 149 & 150 in this manner, we ought to use 2-edged swords & start “killing” in worship as well – since Psalm 149:6-7 says “Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a 2-edged sword in their hand, to execute vengeance on the nations, and punishments on the people…” So, obviously, Psalm 149 & 150 cannot be about what we can or cannot do in worship. To understand what these 2 Psalms are about, we need to appreciate their context and background.

In Exodus 14, Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt. They were pursued by Pharoah & his army all the way to the edge of the Red Sea. They were in a state of desperation – Pharoah’s army was about to kill all of them. In Ex 14:13-14, Moses said to the people “…Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD,…The LORD will fight for you,…”

What happened thereafter was a miracle – God opened the Red Sea and the people crossed over. Pharoah & his army pursued them but were drowned as the Red Sea covered them. This was the salvation of the LORD; this was how the LORD fought for them. After settling down on the other side of the Red Sea, Israel celebrated their “salvation” and amazing victory. They actually did nothing except depended on God. Moses led them in a song praising God & Miriam led them in a jubilant dance. Psalm 149 is reminiscent of the Ex 14 incident. If you have just been delivered from death in such an amazing manner, you would celebrate in a similar manner and exhibit such joy & jubilation as well.

Old Testament history are types & symbols of salvation fulfilled in the New Testament. This Red Sea crossing is a type of how we are rescued from the effects of sin. We cannot save ourselves; as sinners, we are hell-bound. God, through the work of Jesus on the Cross, rescued us just as He did the Israelites at the Red Sea. Our enemies – Satan & death – are destroyed, just as Pharoah & his army were. We cannot do anything, except to repent & believe by faith. If we fully appreciate the mighty hand of God in our salvation, we too will leap with jubilation and celebrate the way the Israelites did after crossing the Red Sea.

So, Psalm 149 & 150 is NOT about what type of musical instruments ought to be used or what we can or cannot do in our worship service. When it comes to worship, God “…does not desire sacrifice….He does not delight in burnt offering.” What God will not reject is “…a broken spirit, a broken & contrite heart – These God will not despise” – Psalm 51:16-17.

At the end of the day, it is about our hearts when we come to worship God. Worship is not about us and what we get out of it. It is about God and whether He is pleased to accept it. The use of certain instruments may distract us and our hearts will not be right before Him. Are we so joyous in our salvation that it results in jubilant dancing? Well, before we can be so joyous, we will first be weeping for our sins. Hence, we need to carefully examine our intent and purpose when considering whether all kinds of musical instruments & even dancing should be used in worship. Will God be pleased to accept these from us? This is something that we need to be very careful about lest God is displeased.

1 Kings 19:2-3 – Plunging from victory to fear

1 Kings 19:2-3

2. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.”

 3. And when he saw that, he arose and ran for his life, and went to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. (‭NKJV)

Elijah just had a tremendous victory over the prophets of Baal. Next moment, fear came upon him and he was fleeing for his life. What triggered this? A threat from the evil queen Jezebel. Didn’t Elijah earlier say in 1 Kings 18:15, “As the LORD of hosts lives, before whom I stand….”? Is he now no longer conscious that God is present with him?

Let us be instructed that this is the reality of the Christian life. Abraham had a tremendous victory over 4 middle-eastern kings. And he rescued his nephew Lot in Gen 14. Next moment, he was plunged into depression and fear in Gen 15. Jonah had such great success preaching to the people of Nineveh. Next moment, he was in such a depressed state that he asked to die. It is the experience of many Christians that they often face great temptations after a spiritual “high”. Perhaps this is meant to keep them humble and reminded that their true source of joy and help comes from God.

Are you discouraged today? Be assured that this is designed to keep you seeking God. Draw near to Him in such moments for He says in 1 Cor 10:13 that “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. (‭NKJV)”. What you are encountering had been experienced by many who have gone before you. If God had been faithful to them, He would be faithful to you. Seek Him earnestly today.

Questions for meditation:

1) Knowing the constant possibility of temptation following a great spiritual experience, what am I doing to keep myself from falling into sin?

What you can pray for:

1) Lord, let me constantly have the joy of salvation and keep me away from sin.

1 Kings 18:3-4 The fear of God results in no fear of men…

1 Kings 18:3-4

3. And Ahab had called Obadiah, who was in charge of his house. (Now Obadiah feared the LORD greatly. 

 4. For so it was, while Jezebel massacred the prophets of the LORD, that Obadiah had taken one hundred prophets and hidden them, fifty to a cave, and had fed them with bread and water.) (‭I Kings‬ ‭18‬:‭3-4‬ NKJV)

Obadiah had a secular job. He served the evil King Ahab. But the bible clearly says that “..he feared the LORD greatly.” What does this mean in practical terms? It simply meant that Obadiah was more concerned about pleasing God than the earthly boss he served.

The wife of Ahab (Jezebel) was a prophet-killer. But Obadiah was secretly taking care of them, hiding them in caves and feeding them with bread & water. What would happen to Obadiah if this was discovered? He will not only lose his job but potentially his life. Even his family’s lives were at stake. But his fear of God caused him to be selfless. He decided to obey God rather than man. The fear of God often results in selfless actions. The result? Obadiah kept his job. And the lives of the prophets were preserved. Best of all, he managed to continue his attempts to influence decisions made by Ahab.

Has God placed you where you could be His “salt of the earth”? Are you honoring Him in the presence of ungodly people? Have you managed to help the elect of God with the influence and privileges given to you in your secular office? Remember Obadiah & what he did.

1 Kings 21:20 – No fear of God

1 Kings 21:20 “So Ahab said to Elijah, “Have you found me, O my enemy?”” 

These were the words of King Ahab to Elijah after he illegally took possession of Naboth’s land by Jezebel’s instigation. Ahab’s evil actions were obviously seen by our omniscient God, who sent Elijah to pronounce judgement upon him. Ahab had not seen the prophet of God for some time. His hatred of Elijah was so great that his first statement upon seeing Elijah again was “Have you found me, O my enemy?” This is a demonstration of defiance. There was absolutely no fear of Elijah and no fear of the God whom Elijah represented. There was no remorse for the evil he had done. There was no concern that “his sin has found him out…” – Num 32:23.

This is a scary state that Ahab was in – to continue in sin as if there will be no judgement – to the extent where there was no fear of God at all. Perhaps some of us could be in a similar state. There are no calamities in our life and we continue each day happily eating and drinking without regard for the God who gave us life & mercies each day. We disregard any message from his servants as if nothing will happen to us. Let this history of Ahab warn us – surely we won’t want to end up like him. There’s still an opportunity to repent. Do so now!