What Style of Music Does God Prefer?

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The psalmist points out that God takes pleasure or enjoys the praise of his people through music…”Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with tambourine and harp.  For the Lord takes delight in his people” (Psalm 149:3-4).  Are there certain musical styles he takes more delight in than others?  Are we arrogant to assume that he can’t stand certain styles because we can’t stand them?

As long as we see our worship music with the linear eyes of “we know what he likes and he likes what we know” our worship conflict will continue.  It is obviously more convenient when my favorite is also God’s favorite and therefore a more appropriate and spiritual expression of worship.  “Son of man, you live in the midst of the rebellious house, who have eyes to see but do not see, ears to hear but do not hear” (Ezekiel 12:2).  God sees our worship music from a multi-dimensional God’s-eye view.  Reggie Kidd wrote, “It is amazing to me what odd sorts of people Jesus loves and how oddly many of them sing.  Yet he seems to be fond of all this strangeness.”[1]  May the apostle Paul’s prayer be our prayer as we consider viewing worship from God’s perspective:  “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe” (Ephesians 1:18-19). 

Does God enjoy our belief that relevant worship music began with and will probably end with my generation?  Or…have we so focused on our own delight that we aren’t really even considering what God prefers.  Will the preferential divide ever allow us to realize that God doesn’t really care how our music is offered to him…just that it is offered to him?  The scripture never tells us what style of music God prefers.  However, the book of Isaiah does tell us what style he doesn’t prefer when the author writes,  “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 made up only of rules taught by men” (Isaiah 29:13).  Reggie Kidd also wrote, “It has to matter to me that Jesus hears harmonies that sound cacophonous to me.  It has to matter to me that he dances to rhythms that do not move me.”[2] 


[1] Reggie Kidd, With One Voice: Discovering Christ’s Song in Our Worship (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2005), 120.

[2] Ibid., 129-130.

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3 Responses to “What Style of Music Does God Prefer?”

  • Tom Wideman Says:

    A couple of great songs came to my mind while reading your great article; Jon Foreman’s “Instead of a Show” and Sojourn’s “Lead Us Back”.

  • Jeremy Yarberry Says:

    David,

    Thank you for these words. It is so hard for us to understand the infinite God, to discern His will, and to understand His complexity. All I can say is that He is pleased with a truthful offering, whether it is connecting with the heart songs of past saints, who fought the same battles we do, or a singing a new song, in a modern language. I believe worship wars have, and always will be present. We cannot look through God’s eyes and see the beauty of genuine praise. I look forward to the day when all our words are eclipsed by His glory, when all we can do is worship in spirit and truth!
    Jeremy

  • Don Henrikson Says:

    David,

    Thanks for the helpful words. Since many have redefined worship as singing, this man-centered exaltation of a particular music style sounds quite a bit like idolatry – redefining God in our image.

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