The temple musicians had no work other than worshiping God. They stayed in the temple singing night and day. What a perfect picture of the heavenly temple, where the praise song “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord” around God’s throne never ceases.
Now these, the singers, the heads of fathers’ houses of the Levites, were in the chambers of the temple free from other service, for they were on duty day and night, (1 Chronicles 9:33).
How would our modern worship change, I wonder, if we took this example to heart?
God intends praise and worship to be something that is constantly bubbling from our hearts. Not as a show we turn on during church services.
I’m sorry to say this. But it seems to me that worship is becoming a little too professional. Like an on-stage performance, with volume so loud we barely hear ourselves, let alone others, singing. Truthfully, it almost feels more fitting to sit during the ‘concert’, then clap for the good performance.
But the sad thing is we risk losing both awe towards our holy God, and the united feel of worshiping as one big family. And we also forget that we don’t need to prepare everything perfectly, because God loves the sincere praise of a spontaneous heart.
Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises!(Psalm 98:4)
This verse says all the earth should make a joyous noise to the Lord. And it makes me think that birds singing, kittens purring, and the sound of waterfalls running off cliffs pleases him. But he loves the goose’s discordant honking or the cow’s loud bellowing just as much. Because creation praises him by simply doing what it’s created for.
And likewise, we praise him by being and doing what he created us for.
There were always musicians in the temple singing and playing, day and night, at established times. God was continually praised, as befits his holiness.
They didn’t think of perfect stage settings, or good intonation. It didn’t matter if the congregation ‘liked’ it, or not. In the middle of the night no one, other than the heavenly multitude, was there to hear anyway!
God created us to praise him. To praise and bless him all the time.
I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth, (Psalm 34:1).
With or without music. With perfect execution or with wrong notes. In tune or out of tune. But never as a performance. We perform for ourselves, or for others. But the only thing we can do before God is bow before him in holy worship. His house is not a concert hall — it’s a place for his presence.
And we need to bring back the holy hush that we seem to have lost.
It’s important to give God our best, and never our leftovers. But I think he values simplicity more than perfectionism. He’s not asking for a show, but wants to see us bow before him in humble worship and awe.
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord.” Don’t you long to get that song back?
[Tuscan church interior ©garbanzononno]