Make Melody Where?
Some have asked that if we are to sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs then why would it not be right to sing with instruments of music since the Jews used them in their worship to God. It is obvious that the psalms (particularly Psalm 150) commanded the use of eight instruments—trumpet, lute, harp, timbrel, stringed instruments, flute, loud cymbals and clanging cymbals—so why would the way they worshiped be wrong for us to worship?
This question seems so valid but, while it might at first seem right, a closer examination shows that it is flawed reasoning. If it is true that because the psalms validate instrumental music, look at what else they validate. The psalms also speak of incense (Psa. 66:65; 141:2), but would this make them proper for worship in the Christian age? The psalms sanction burnt offerings (50:8; 51:19; 66:13) and the offering rams, bulls and goats (Psa. 66:15), but who would reason that because they are approved in the psalms they can be part of Christian worship? The psalms also talk about the Sabbath (heading of Psa. 92) and the rest God provides, but who would say that simply because they are mentioned in psalms they can become part of our worship. Yet, all of these stand or fall together. If the mention of instruments authorizes them, then it would also authorize the other aspects of Judaism.
A study of the music mentioned in the psalms and the music mentioned in the New Testament shows a remarkable contrast. The Jews were told to sing and to make music using instruments and also which instruments they were to use. Look at these words from the psalmist. “Praise the Lord with the harp; make melody to Him with an instrument of ten strings” (Psalm 33:2). “Sing to the Lord with the harp, with the harp and the sound of a psalm” (Psa. 98:5). The singing and melody of the Old Testament came from the harp.
Now look at the instructions about singing and the instruments involved in Christian worship. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Col. 3:16). “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Eph. 5:19). The Old Testament instruction was to “make melody with an instrument of ten strings” but the New Testament instruction is to “make melody in your heart.”
Judaism often focused on the external aspects of worship and service. Christianity has its focus on the internal aspect of our worship. Let us worship Him in spirit and truth in the way He has given for all men in the New Testament, not in the way given to the Jews in an Old Covenant. Think about it.