Archives For Music

Comparing Scripture with Scripture is essential for interpreting the Bible properly. An examination of the following passages about music point to an important comparison about instrumental music:

1 Samuel 16:23 And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.

2 Kings 3:15 But now bring me a minstrel. And it came to pass, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the LORD came upon him.

To compare these passages properly, we must note that neither passage says anything about singing. Whatever we may conclude about the effects or the results of the playing of instrumental music on both of these occasions, we must attribute those effects or results to the playing of instrumental music alone and not to any lyrics being sung on either occasion.

By comparing these two passages properly in that manner, what do we learn about instrumental music?

Deuteronomy 32:1-43 records a song that is of profound musical importance for many reasons:

1. The song is one of the longest songs in the Bible: 43 verses

2. God appeared to Moses and gave him all the words of the song directly—none of it is at all of human composition

Deuteronomy 31:15 And the LORD appeared in the tabernacle in a pillar of a cloud: and the pillar of the cloud stood over the door of the tabernacle. 16 And the LORD said unto Moses, Behold, thou shalt sleep with thy fathers; and this people will rise up, and go a whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land, whither they go to be among them, and will forsake me, and break my covenant which I have made with them. 17 Then my anger shall be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide my face from them, and they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall befall them; so that they will say in that day, Are not these evils come upon us, because our God is not among us? 18 And I will surely hide my face in that day for all the evils which they shall have wrought, in that they are turned unto other gods. 19 Now therefore write ye this song for you, and teach it the children of Israel: put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for me against the children of Israel.

3. The song instructs us of the stress that God has placed on warning His people about idolatry

Deuteronomy 31:16 And the LORD said unto Moses, Behold, thou shalt sleep with thy fathers; and this people will rise up, and go a whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land, whither they go to be among them, and will forsake me, and break my covenant which I have made with them. 17 Then my anger shall be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide my face from them, and they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall befall them; so that they will say in that day, Are not these evils come upon us, because our God is not among us? 18 And I will surely hide my face in that day for all the evils which they shall have wrought, in that they are turned unto other gods. 19 Now therefore write ye this song for you, and teach it the children of Israel: put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for me against the children of Israel. 20 For when I shall have brought them into the land which I sware unto their fathers, that floweth with milk and honey; and they shall have eaten and filled themselves, and waxen fat; then will they turn unto other gods, and serve them, and provoke me, and break my covenant.

Deuteronomy 32:16 They provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they him to anger.

4. The song witnesses for God against the sinfulness of His own people

Deuteronomy 31:19 Now therefore write ye this song for you, and teach it the children of Israel: put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for me against the children of Israel.

5. The song begins with a call for all the universe to hear the words of this song

Deuteronomy 32:1 Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth.

6. The song warns of human beings sacrificing to demons

Deuteronomy 32:16 They provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they him to anger. 17 They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not.

7. NT use of the song reveals that bringing about musical worship of God was and is a premier goal of the mission of Christ as the Servant

Deuteronomy 32:43 Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land, and to his people.

Romans 15:8 Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: 9 And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name. 10 And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people.

8. NT use of the song reveals that the song ends with a command to the nations that concerns how the Gentiles are to glorify God for His mercy

Deuteronomy 32:43 Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land, and to his people.

Romans 15:8 Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: 9 And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name. 10 And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people.

Because of the profound musical importance of this song, God’s people must give special attention to profiting fully from it.

 

Guitar Scales for Beginners

October 14, 2019

Learning to play guitar scales in first position. Image copyright 2019 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

Beginning guitarists should learn several guitar scales well. Learning the chromatic, natural, and major scales provides beginners with a solid foundation for playing their instrument proficiently.

Chromatic Scales

I teach all my students to play an E chromatic scale on the first string in their first lesson. To play the scale, play the string open, then play all the notes in order from the first fret to the twelfth fret.

The student does not learn the names of the notes at this time; he focuses on proper technique of fingering and sounding each note.

In one of their early lessons, I then teach them to play an E chromatic scale across the strings in first position. I encourage them to use this scale regularly as a warm-up exercise for their playing.

Learning the chromatic scales is a foundational skill that I stress with all my students. Playing these scales with good technique teaches the student many important skills and also helps train their ears.

Natural Scales

Having taught them to play the two E chromatic scales, I teach them to play an A natural scale. Learning a natural scale helps the student learn the names of the notes and which notes have sharps/flats between them and which ones do not.

My students also learn to play an E natural scale across the strings in first position. By learning this scale, the student learns to name all the natural notes in first position.

Learning to play natural scales in multiple positions and on all the strings helps in learning the guitar fretboard well. Knowing the fretboard well is vital for becoming a skilled guitarist who can play at advanced levels.

Major Scales

In addition to teaching them to play chromatic and natural scales, I teach them to play an E major scale on the first string.

I also teach them to play a movable major scale in 4th position. Learning this scales serves many important purposes in the training of skilled guitarists.

Learn These Guitar Scales Well!

Anyone who wants to be a skilled guitarist should learn these guitar scales well. Good teachers should stress the importance of doing so with all their students.

Guitar music for Jesus Loves MeJesus Loves Me is a favorite hymn of believers, especially of children. This PDF provides the guitar chords and lyrics to play the first stanza of the song.

In addition, you can practice playing the chords to this song to the melody by using the audio of the melody:


See the full lyrics here.

Scripture reveals in many ways that feasts to the Lord were an important part of Israel’s worship and service to the Lord. Moreover, it also teaches that their importance will extend far beyond just Israel in the future.

This article presents some biblical aspects of the importance of feasts to the Lord.

An Explicitly Stated Purpose for the Exodus

Prior to the Exodus, God directed Moses and Aaron repeatedly to confront Pharaoh with His demand that he let His people go to hold a feast to Him in the wilderness:

Exodus 5:1 And afterward Moses and Aaron went in, and told Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Let my people go, that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness.

Exodus 10:9 And Moses said, We will go with our young and with our old, with our sons and with our daughters, with our flocks and with our herds will we go; for we must hold a feast unto the LORD.

The First Occasion of Idolatrous Corruption of Corporate Worship in a Feast

Exodus 32 records at length that the people engaged in idolatrous corporate worship on the first occasion that purportedly was supposed to have been corporate worship in a feast to the Lord. A careful treatment of the dark record of this corruption of what should have been a feast to the Lord points to the importance of the proper observance of feasts that were to the Lord.

Commanded Occasions of National Worship with Music

God commanded Israel to observe three yearly feasts to Him as special occasions of worshiping Him corporately as a nation:

Exodus 23:14 Three times thou shalt keep a feast unto me in the year.

Numbers 10:10 Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, ye shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the LORD your God.

Nahum 1:15 Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace! O Judah, keep thy solemn feasts, perform thy vows: for the wicked shall no more pass through thee; he is utterly cut off.

Divinely Inspired Songs for Ascending to Jerusalem for the Feasts

God gave Israel a special collection of Psalms that they were to use when they ascended to Jerusalem to celebrate their feasts to the Lord: Psalms 120-134. His doing so testifies to the special importance of these feasts to the Lord.

An Element of Continuity in Israel’s Worship Throughout Much of Its History

By recording that the Israelites will come to the Millennial Temple in Jerusalem to celebrate solemn feasts to the Lord, Scripture reveals that feasts to the Lord will in that day have been one element of continuity in Israel’s worship of Him throughout much of its history:

Ezekiel 46:9 But when the people of the land shall come before the LORD in the solemn feasts, he that entereth in by the way of the north gate to worship shall go out by the way of the south gate; and he that entereth by the way of the south gate shall go forth by the way of the north gate: he shall not return by the way of the gate whereby he came in, but shall go forth over against it.

Worldwide Obligation to Observe Feasts in the Millennium

In the Millennium, God will require all the nations of the world to come up to Jerusalem yearly to worship Him by celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles:

Zechariah 14:16 And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. 17 And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. 18 And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the LORD will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. 19 This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.

Should the music used in missions be in the “heart language” of the people being evangelized? This parable presents an important test case for assessing this notion about music used in missions.

Discovery of a New Tribe

Researchers discover a new tribe of people in a remote island that they had thought was uninhabited. They find out that these people are cannibals. The cannibals are also idolaters who sacrifice people as part of their worship of their idols.

Moreover, as part of one of their yearly feasts, the entire tribe gathers to eat people that they have sacrificed to an idol. After having sacrificed those people to an idol, the worshipers sit down to eat the people that they had sacrificed to the idol and to do so as part of their worship.

Following their meal, the cannibalistic idolaters rise up to play. In their playing, they fornicate ritually, sing, and dance wildly. They do so to music played by musicians who also participated in the eating of the sacrifices.

The researchers secretly document all that takes place in this feast with top-notch drones that produce high quality audio and video recordings of all that took place in the feast. They release the recordings in an international news documentary. Some Christians see the horrific documentary and decide that they have to reach these people for Christ.

Music Used in Missions

Some missionaries decide to take a missions trip to reach these people. God works marvelously and some of the cannibalistic idolaters become believers!

The newly converted people have a burden to reach the rest of their own people. They plant a church and invite some of their own people to their services.

The missionaries teach the people that they should use music in their own “heart language” to reach people in their services. Because of what the missionaries teach them, the former idolaters decide to use in their services the same styles of instrumental music that they know the idolatrous musicians played in those idolatrous feasts. Of course, they use that music to accompany godly lyrics.

Based on what Scripture reveals, what should we think of what these converted idolaters did musically in their church? Was their use of that music to evangelize something that is legitimate? Did the missionaries correctly teach these people about using music to evangelize people?

In First Corinthians, Paul emphasized that the Corinthians must not be idolaters by playing idolatrously as the Israelites did in the Golden Calf Incident (1 Cor. 10:7), which including their producing demonically influenced music on that occasion (1 Cor. 10:18-20 applied to Exod. 32:17-18). In addition, the Pauline emphasis in this passage included a command to flee idolatry (1 Cor. 10:14).

Moreover, we find this emphasis reiterated in Second Corinthians when he again instructed them that they must not have anything in common with the unrighteousness and darkness of idolatrous unbelievers:

A Reiterated Pauline Emphasis

2 Corinthians 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?

16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.

18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

Because Paul reiterated this vital emphasis, we must heed what he emphasized to the Corinthians by properly applying it to our music!

Application to Our Music

Like the Corinthians, we must reject all the unclean things (2 Cor. 6:17) that reprobate idolaters as inventors of evil things (Rom. 1:30) have made, including musical forms sourced in demonic influence upon them in their idolatrous worship (Exod. 32:17-18; cf. 1 Cor. 10:7). We must not have any fellowship with such unfruitful works of darkness (Eph. 5:11).

The Battle for Kingdom Music

The vast majority of biblical content about music is not explicitly pertaining to music in the Church. Properly understood, all that the Bible says about music, however, is about music in God’s eternal kingdom. Therefore, we need to engage in The Battle for Kingdom Music because engaging in the battle for Christian music is too narrow a focus to treat properly what Scripture reveals about music.

Of course, in the battle for kingdom music, we must use Scripture to address the problems that we have in Christian music today. In particular, we must explain why God does not accept in His kingdom the use of rock music and music related to it.

Why Rock Music Is Not Acceptable Kingdom Music

To do so, we must help believers understand that the Bible does not teach that God created all musical styles or genres. We also need to explain to them why it is not biblical to hold that music without words is inherently neutral, amoral, or good.

Beyond that, we must make known that God has given categorical prohibitions to His people that completely preclude them from borrowing any music from wicked people who have crafted their music for wicked purposes or used it for wicked purposes. Many rock musicians have testified that they have designed their music to promote evil so we must reject it entirely.

Furthermore, we have testimonies from rock musicians that their music is demonic or sourced in demonic influence on them. God commands Christians not to have anything to do with anything sourced in or connected with human contact with supernatural evil. We must therefore completely reject all rock music and music that is derived from it or based upon it.

In order to fight the battle for kingdom music properly, we must give ourselves to prayer and the ministry of what God says about music that is fit for His kingdom. As God brings it to mind, I would appreciate prayers for God’s good hand to be on me for this ministry.

What does ungodly worship music sound like? Two verses describe the sound of the music on a premier occasion of ungodly worship, the Golden Calf Incident:

Exodus 32:17 And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said unto Moses, There is a noise of war in the camp. 18 And he said, It is not the voice of them that shout for mastery, neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome: but the noise of them that sing do I hear.

Scripture reveals here that the idolatrous playing in the GCI (cf. 1 Cor. 10:7) included corporate shouting that was an aspect of their singing. To understand why this was the sound of ungodly worship music, consider what these two men said about that sound.

Joshua’s Remark about the Sound of Their Idolatrous Worship Music

Joshua did not identify this composite musical sound emanating from the camp as music at all. Instead, he said that it was the noise of war.

Joshua certainly had heard godly Israelite worship music in the past (Ex. 15). He was was very familiar with its sound. His not identifying this sound as music shows that these idolaters were not playing instruments and singing in any godly Israelite style(s).

Moreover, the people, in fact, were not engaged in any battle yet their worship music sounded like war to Joshua. The Bible never says that any godly Israelite worship music sounded like war.

We know that these people were partnering with demons in their idolatrous playing (1 Cor. 10:20 applied to 1 Cor. 10:7). They were co-participants with demons in their unfruitful works of darkness (Eph. 5:11).

Certainly, therefore, the Spirit did not energize or control any of these idolaters to produce godly music (Eph. 5:18-20; Col. 3:16-17). Joshua’s testimony about their music shows that it did not display any of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23).

Joshua’s testimony about the music of the GCI points to its being ungodly music.

Moses’ Response to Joshua Illumines What Ungodly Worship Music Sounds Like

Concerning the music of the GCI, Joshua remarked, “There is a noise of war in the camp.” Moses responded that the sound was not two specific sounds of war that they could recognize accurately, even from afar.

Moses first said, “It is not the voice of them that shout for mastery.” He explained that when people in a battle gain mastery over their opponents, they respond by shouting in a manner that communicates their victory in the battle.

The sound emanating from the camp was not the recognizable sound of people shouting in their singing to celebrate their mastery. Such people sing joyfully with a shout of triumph that has a distinctly recognizable sound even from a distance.

Moses then added, “Neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome.” Moses explained that there is a distinctively recognizable sound that people produce when they have lost a battle and are mourning at their defeat.

People defeated in a battle do not sing joyfully with a triumphant shout because they did not win the battle. Their shouting is the mournful sound of people bemoaning their having lost the battle.

The Combined Force of the Remarks of Both Joshua and Moses

Taken together, the inspired revelation in Exodus 32:17-18 about the sound of the singing in the GCI shows us that the musical composite sound emanating from the camp was neither the sound of people joyfully shouting in celebrating their victory nor the sound of people mournfully shouting in lamenting their defeat. This revelation, therefore, tells us that the war-like musical composite sound emanating from the camp sounded like the uncertain, indistinct, chaotic sounds of people engaged in a battle where neither side is winning the battle and the battle is still raging.

These musical sounds were not at all the distinctive sound of godly Israelites worshiping God with the joyful sound of people praising the Lord in a religious feast that pleased Him. Moses’ response to Joshua illumines Joshua’s remark by further showing that the musical sound emanating from the camp in the GCI was the ungodly composite musical sound of people celebrating in an ungodly way.

NT Revelation That Shows the Ungodliness of The Sound of Their Music

Explicit NT revelation shows us that the composite musical sound emanating from the camp was an ungodly sound because it did not at all meet the divinely revealed criteria of producing sounds that are distinctive such that they communicate clearly the meaning of those sounds:

1 Corinthians 14:7 And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped? 8 For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?

When worship music has an indistinct, uncertain sound, it does not meet God’s criteria for the proper use of music.

By comparing Scripture with Scripture, 1 Cor. 14:7-8 applied to Exodus 32:17-18 decisively shows us that the musical sound of the people shouting in their singing in the GCI was not the godly sound of people celebrating a religious feast in a godly way with singing and the use of musical instruments that produced a distinctively recognizable composite sound.

Instead, the composite musical sound emanating from the camp was an ungodly sound of people singing and playing musical instruments in ungodly ways. Their music did not sound like any of the godly worship music of Israel.

Believers disagree sharply on whether it is biblical to use music to evangelize unbelievers. To know what the correct view is concerning this important matter, consider the following verses from biblical songs:

Deuteronomy 32:43
Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land, and to his people.

Judges 5:3 Hear, O ye kings; give ear, O ye princes; I, even I, will sing unto the LORD; I will sing praise to the LORD God of Israel.

Psalm 2:10 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. 11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

Psalm 117:1 O praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people.

In light of this data from biblical songs, is it biblical to use music to evangelize unbelievers?