Music used to honor God can be a very good thing. However, music also has the potential to help establish wickedness as a lifestyle.
In Exodus 32:18, “Moses replied: ‘It is not the sound of victory, it is not the sound of defeat; it is the sound of singing that I hear.’”
This shows that Israel was again using music to establish and exult in a commitment they had made. But unlike the joy and praise of God that was the focus of the song in Exodus 15, this time the commitment was to wickedness and disobedience. Music was used to celebrate the sinful actions of Israel just as music had earlier been used to celebrate the faithfulness of God. The people sang and danced around the image of a golden calf. This was the awful sound that Moses heard as he came down from the mountain. Similar uses of music to support wickedness are demonstrated in Amos 5:21-24 and Ezekiel 26:13.
We see that people use music to enhance both righteous and wicked behaviors. This is just like James’ warning about the use of your tongue. The same mouth can both praise and blaspheme. If the heart is right, music can encourage goodness and growth. But if the heart is not focused on the praise of God, then music can hasten the slide down the path of sin and destruction. When the attitudes and emotions are negative, music can lead to relational loyalties far away from God.
The only setting in which music will accomplish good rather than evil is in a life that is controlled by the Spirit’s Word and a heart that wants to sing God’s praises. (Colossians 3:16-17)
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