When Our Music Becomes Noise
One would imagine I’m writing to rant about the ‘non-musicality’ and noisiness of songs we sing these days but when it comes to that, my present attitude is, ‘To each his own.’
No, my concern here is when our songs of worship ascend to God’s ears like noise. I stumbled on this verse of scripture and that set off my train of thought:
Take away from Me the noise of your songs, for I will not listen to the melody of your harps. (Amos 5:23, AMPC)
Why would God reject our songs of thanksgiving, praise and of worship?
If you read the prior verses, you get the picture of God’s chosen people misbehaving seriously yet still having the gumption to sing their songs to Him like all was well. Isn’t this what is happening today? Those who have been bought by the precious blood of Christ Jesus have forgotten that they belong to God – body, soul and spirit – and are living their daily lives like they’re the boss of them (I fell in love with this phrase when, a few years ago, my niece told her sister, “You’re not the boss of me!”)
My dear brethren, Jesus is not only our Saviour, but He’s also the Boss of us. He is Adonai which means ‘lord, master, or owner’. If we choose to live in disobedience to God, disregarding His written and spoken words that should order our lives in a manner pleasing to Him, how can we imagine that singing songs will constitute offering Him acceptable praise and worship? That is a fallacy. What makes our words and music acceptable to God is what is in our hearts. Don’t forget that “man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)
I’d like to share the earlier verses in a modern-day translation that will highlight some of the issues and also brings in another answer to the question raised above:
“I can’t stand your religious meetings.
I’m fed up with your conferences and conventions.
I want nothing to do with your religion projects,
your pretentious slogans and goals.
I’m sick of your fund-raising schemes,
your public relations and image making.
I’ve had all I can take of your noisy ego-music.
When was the last time you sang to me?
Do you know what I want?
I want justice—oceans of it.
I want fairness—rivers of it.
That’s what I want. That’s all I want.”
(Amos 5:21-24, MSG)
It’s self-explanatory so allow me to just pick up on this sentence: “I’ve had all I can take of your noisy ego-music.”
Ouch! The truth stings, doesn’t it?
Just how much of the ‘gospel music’ we write and sing these days are about us – our abilities, our popularity/fame, our pockets – and not about or for God. Yet we think He doesn’t know??!! He is the One who sees into every heart and hears every unspoken thought. He cannot be deceived.
“ The Lord says:
“These people come near to me with their mouth
and honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
Their worship of me
is based on merely human rules they have been taught.”
Our songs will be acceptable to God when our hearts are in the right place. Our worship must come from our hearts and not from following rules taught by men as to how to worship. It’s a heart affair which then manifests on the outside.
There is so much beauty in music and God made it so but the content of our hearts either augment or diminish its beauty. A piece of music could have no words to it but because of the heart of the musician playing it, God receives it with approval and delight and men’s hearts are blessed by it – it inspires worship of (submission to) God in the listener.
I challenge every gospel artiste and music minister who is truly born again: Let’s focus on getting our hearts right so that when we offer up songs to God, they will indeed ascend to Him as worship – as a sweet smelling savour. Then the songs we write will also draw the listeners and singers to Jesus’ feet in worship (that is to say, they will help the listeners and singers grow in Christ-likeness) so that their own singing becomes acceptable to God as true worship.