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Revelation 4:9-11 by Robert Dean
Series:Revelation (2004)
Duration:46 mins 3 secs

Principles of Biblical Worship Rev. 4:9-11

 

Corporate worship began to develop at the Exodus and at Mount Sinai in response to God's redemption of the nation at the Exodus event, the destruction of Pharaoh's army, and at Mount Sinai in response to God's revelation. Part of the law was the ritual which had to do with how they would worship God, and God described just exactly what kind of sacrifices and offerings there were. He gave specific dates for corporate national worship, He described exactly what the uniforms of the priests would be like, who would qualify to be a priest and how they would be disqualified. He described who would be the high priest and gave strict instructions as to his consecration and how he was to conduct his office. When it wasn't done right God took people's life. He was emphasizing the point that He has determined what worship will be and it is not up to us to change it.

 

Exodus 15 is one of the earliest songs. It was written by Moses' sister, Miriam, and Moses and the children of Israel sang this song to the Lord antiphonally. The first nineteen verses were sung by the men. Then when we look down to verse 21 there is the chorus: "Miriam answered them, 'Sing to the LORD, for He is highly exalted; The horse and his rider He has hurled into the sea.'" So there was this antiphonal singing, men on one side and women on the other. As we read this we get a sense of what hymns should be like. First of all, it is theocentric; it focuses on God, who He is and what He has done in history. It focuses on content, there is real meaning in these words. There is solid theology here, it reflects upon what God has done in history and how that relates to His character and His plan.

 

[1] "…I will sing to the LORD, for He is highly exalted; The horse and its rider He has hurled into the sea.

[2] The LORD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation; This is my God, and I will praise Him; My father's God, and I will extol Him.

[3] The LORD is a warrior; The LORD is His name.

[4] Pharaoh's chariots and his army He has cast into the sea; And the choicest of his officers are drowned in the Red Sea.

[5] The deeps cover them; They went down into the depths like a stone.

[6] Your right hand, O LORD, is majestic in power, Your right hand, O LORD, shatters the enemy.

[7] And in the greatness of Your excellence You overthrow those who rise up against You; You send forth Your burning anger, {and} it consumes them as chaff…."

 

The content is rich and profound and it is not repetitive. There are some psalms where there is repetition, but they are sung antiphonally.

 

David developed the organized corporate worship in terms of the music that takes place in the temple worship. God would not let him build the temple but he knew that Solomon would, so he prepared for the building of the temple. There is no divine revelation given about the music or about that portion of the worship, that was a product of man's response to God but it was done within a biblical divine viewpoint framework. God gave specific instructions about all of the ritual, how it was to take place and what the priests would do, but then part of we do as creatures in the image of God is reflect that aspect of being creators ourselves. We imitate God in creativeness, but that creativeness isn't done without boundaries. So what we are creating should reflect what God has created. That means there is complexity here. It reflects principles of unity and diversity. That would be true of the music as well as the words. It is not trite, not trivial. It may be simple but not simplistic. It has rich content to it and it can function at different levels.

 

In 1 Chronicles 23 David is organizing the Levitical priests into how they are going to serve the Lord in the temple. That is a principle that comes from God, that things should be done in an orderly manner because God is an orderly God, that is reflected in creation.

 

1 Chronicles 23:4 NASB "Of these, 24,000 were to oversee the work of the house of the LORD; and 6,000 {were} officers and judges, [5] and 4,000 {were} gatekeepers, and 4,000 {were} praising the LORD with the instruments which David made for giving praise. [6] David divided them into divisions according to the sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari." What this goes on to describe is that there are 4000 in this choir and they have instruments, a huge orchestra. They sing in various parts in harmony to the Lord. So this isn't just a chant, some sort of primitive music, this is a well-structured orchestra that is singing in a way that involves practice, thought, effort, and excellence. That is what should characterize worship.

 

Music in the Scriptures

1)  Music, like every other aspect of creation, began in the mind of God.

2)  Music preceded the creation of man and was an integral aspect of angelic worship in eternity past. Job 38:4-7.

3)  Lucifer, prior to the fall, was a master musician. Ezekiel 28:13 NASB "…the workmanship of your settings and sockets [timbrals and pipes], Was in you." There are different translations on that but the word "timbrels" is the Hebrew word top, and it means a hand drum or tamborine. It is used also in Exodus 15:20. The second word has a debated meaning. It primarily means something which has been pierced, something with holes in it, so it seems to imply some sort of instrument with holes in it, probably a wind instrument.

4)  The first mention of music in the Scriptures is in Genesis 4:21 where we discover that one of the descendants of Cain was Jubal, and he was the father of all those who play the harp and flute.

 

We have to remember that the focal point of worship is always on the Lord Jesus Christ, as we see in Revelation chapter five, because He is the one who is worthy to redeem us. Worship focuses on who God is in terms of His character, and what He has done in terms of deliverance.

 

Illustrations