Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth;
Break forth into joyous song and sing praises!
Sing praises to the LORD
With the lyre,
With the lyre and the sound of melody!
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
Make a joyful noise before the King, the LORD!
- Psalm 98:4-6
Depending upon your taste in music, other genres of music may sound like noise. They may cause discomfort when the sounds fall upon the filters of your ears. The beats may be too bombastic or not bombastic enough for your chest to swell with energy. The rhythms may have you adversely reacting as though an allergy has arrested all of your God-given senses. This is a diagnosis classified as a case of the noises.
You’ve heard a composition, and within a matter of seconds, your body reacts to either a welcomed melody or a noise. So why do some sounds affect our beings the way they do? Can a song or genre that our beings have no preference for be noise to us, but praise to our Father?
In reformed theology, there are two categories on the doctrine of worship. The first is called the regulative principle of worship, and the other is called the normative principle of worship.
Regulative principle is the idea that the corporate worship of God is to be founded upon specific directions of scripture. If God didn’t say it, we’re not doing it in a corporate setting. Normative is a little more flexible. If it isn’t prohibited within the scriptures, then it is permitted within biblical reason.
For example, regulative would say that dance is not directly commanded by God, and therefore, it would not be permitted in corporate worship. The normative would then say that dance in worship is not directly prohibited in the scriptures, and there are even examples such as, David dancing at the return of the Ark of the Covenant.
Both approaches have a point, and within reason, the corporate Body of Christ can lift up a joyful noise to the LORD that is fit for the King. To the individual, their ear may shy away from a melody or lyric they may perceive as foreign noise. But within the greater body of the resurrected King, it can be a magnanimous sacrifice of praise that reverberates throughout the earth to our Father.
Can you imagine on any day of the week, at one given moment of the day, worship is continually being lifted up to our Father? Someone is praising Him as the sun goes down, and another saint is loudly loving on Him as the sun comes up.
Within the moments you read this article, the Father will have heard the orchestrated noise of laughter, knees to the floor, clapping, shouting, musical instruments, crying, gratitude, rapping, dancing, giving, writing, cooking, and tons of prayers rising up like incense from saints under persecution and saints wrestling their flesh.
However, God is a God of order. He is not the author of confusion. Only a Father so great can hear so much at once, and it be a joyful noise from His creation. The order appears to be more for the purpose of facilitating a space for us that encourages care for each saint to bring themselves together on one accord for a common Kingdom purpose.
We may have our preferences from culture and language that influence the worship we lift up as individuals or local bodies. The music or other forms of worship may not be preferred, but not actually cause division within the body. We must be careful that we do not form entire doctrines based upon our distaste for certain forms, when scripture is not on our side and only feelings are. Because we love the Father and our neighbor, both must be magnified and edified in order
for there to be right worship. Our feelings should not control us. We must rid ourselves of the excuse that God knows our hearts, unless realizing that His knowledge of our hearts moves us to seek Him first.
The Psalm says we are to lift up a joyful noise. Other scripture suggests that we should not be divisive, disrespectful, or dishonorable. We lift up a noise that is directed with the wisdom that comes from a true and pure fear of Him
who is worthy to be praised forever. Amen.