I recently heard a teaching from a man about music. I agreed with the majority of this teaching. However, part of his conclusion was that if a song makes you want to dance that it is not from God. His words were:
“March type rhythms, but nothing you can dance to. If you feel like dancing, you’ve got the wrong kind…. We cannot speak of being a solider with dance music.”
As I heard this, I knew that God’s Word spoke of dancing in a holy way. This prompted me to study out this subject, to share with others the truth of God’s Word about dancing.
The statement that if “you feel like dancing, you’ve got the wrong kind” of music, is not Biblical. However it has been taught in our culture. The heathens, and even some “churchgoers” go into the dance halls, bars, and receptions to dance. However, in our culture, we have been taught that we are not to dance in Church. We have been taught that dancing is only something that “ungodly people” do. The same can be said for music, in general, in some Churches. They do not have any musical instruments in them, for the same reason. “Ungodly people play musical instruments, we cannot do this in the house of the Lord.” This is also not Biblical, God’s Word speaks of many instruments used to praise Him.
God’s Word is to be our final authority It is not different when it come to singing or dancing. The Scriptures are not silent on these two subjects.
We cannot blindly take what someone says for truth. Whether it is a pastor, a doctor, school teacher, scientist, “expert”, or any other guru. We need to be Bereans. The Bereans checked out what Paul said with the Scriptures, to see if these things were so. How do you do that? You do it by the Spirit of God indwelling you, and by studying God’s Word like it says in 2 Tim 2: 15 “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
In the subjects of singing and dancing, I find, from studying the Scriptures that neither are evil in and of themselves. What we look at is, what is the object of worship? Are we singing and dancing for Yehovah, or is it like the world does it, for the Devil, for the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life?
What is the motive of heart?
Is it out of love for God, is it in line with worshipping Yehovah in Spirit and in truth? Is it with the beauty of holiness? Does it pump up the flesh, or is it led by the Spirit? With singing, it needs to be the right words and the right music. But even with the right words and music, it needs to be the right motive of heart, and with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. It should be with joy and love for God. With dancing it is the same way. It is to be with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength; with joy and love for Yehovah.
King David demonstrated this when he danced for Yehovah, when they brought the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem. God said that David was a man after God’s own heart. Some may say, what about Bathsheba and Uriah, and what David did? God brought rebuke to David through the Prophet. What David did was terribly wrong, and what he did there did not please God. God sent the Prophet Nathan to rebuke him, and David repented as we can clearly see in Ps. 51. But God still said that he was a man after His own heart. We have to look at David’s whole life, not just the wrong things that he did. When David danced before Yehovah, we do not see God displeased with him. His wife was, and we see that God closed her womb. When God closed her womb, it was a curse. When God opens the womb, it is a blessing.
The dancing David was doing here was leaping and jumping. In the Hebrew it is raqad to skip, dance, to leap about, to make skip.
God looks at the heart, man looks at the outward. When David killed the bear and the lion, he was protecting his father’s sheep. He didn’t run away like the hireling would have, he had a Shepherd’s heart. He didn’t kill the bear and lion for everyone to see, God was watching. The same is true of his dancing to Yehovah. Again, God is the one who said that David was a man after His own heart.
In Exodus, we see a different type of dancing, circle dancing mola, in Hebrew. God defeated the Egyptian Army in the Red Sea, and delivered the Israelites out of their hand. We see that Moses led them in singing in Chapter 15, and Miriam the Prophetess and all the women went out with timbrels and with dances, and they worshipped Yehovah with singing and dancing in this because He showed mightly on their behalf. God was not displeased with them for this. They were giving Him glory for delivering them.
He is displeased, however, when we do not give Him glory. Such as, later in Exodus Chapter 32 when Moses was on Mt. Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments. He was there 40 days and 40 nights. The people grew impatient waiting upon Moses, but ultimately they did not want to wait upon Yehovah. They said to Aaron, Moses brother, in verse one chapter 32, “ Up make us gods, which shall go before us, which as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we know not what has become of him.” They made a golden calf, and gave glory to this worthless image. They were saying that this thing that their hands had just made brought them out of Egypt and out of bondage. They made offerings to this false image. Verse 19 tells us, “and it came to pass as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing; and Moses’ anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake the beneath the mount.
They were dancing the same dance, mola, circle dancing, as they did when they were delivered out of the Red Sea, to this golden calf. The dance itself was not the problem, it was the motive of heart and who they were worshipping, a false god, that they had made. God says they had corrupted themselves. They were committing adultery, idolatory, theft (stealing God’s glory), dishonoring their father, who is God. They were breaking God’s commands, as they were being given to Moses by the very finger of God. Here we see that they were punished. However, it was not simply because they were dancing, and it was evil. It was because of the lust of their hearts and their flesh, that it was displeasing to Yehovah.
Are there wrong kind of dancing? Yes there are. Just as there are wrong kinds of singing. 1 Kings 18:26 The prophets of Baal “leaped” upon the altar which was made. This was a form of dancing, 6452 pasah, to worship in a limp dance. This was an ungodly type of dancing. There are wrong types of dancing, however not all types of dancing are wrong.
There is a lot of so called Christian Music and Dancing today, that shouldn’t even have the title of Christian in it. These types of music, do make your body move in a way that is not honoring to Yehovah.
However, I have also witnessed and done dancing that is God honoring. That is taught in the Scriptures.
Studying the Word Dance, Dance and Dancing
There are several different Greek and Hebrew Words, for the word dance, danced, and dancing found in the Scriptures. Below you will see the Strong’s Number, the Hebrew or Greek word and the definition for the word that relates to dancing.
2342 hul, verb to swirl, turn, fall, dance, round dance, twist, give birth
7540 raqad to skip, dance, to leap about, to make skip,
4234 mahol circle dancing round dancing
3769 carar to dance
4246 m ola circle dance round dance
2287 hagag dancing
3738 orcheomai to dance
5525 choros dance dancing
Now we will examine some of the Scriptures containing these words:
Judges 21:21 “and see and behold, if the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance (hul) in dances (mola), then come ye out of the vineyards, and catch you every man his wife of the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin.
God spoke a blessing through Jacob that the tribe of Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil. and his word cannot be broken. They would have went extinct at this time and would no longer have been one of the twelve tribes. Paul was from this tribe and would not have been here to write most of the New Testament, and God says that Paul was His chosen vessel.
Let’s once again take a look at David dancing in the Scriptures. David was dancing unto Yehovah, with his heart towards Yehovah. He was not dancing to seduce and receive money like a stripper would. Even though that is basically the way his wife took it. He gathered together all the chosen men of Israel, 30,000. They played music to Yehovah together in worship, and David dance before Yehovah with all His might. They brought up the Ark with shouting and with the sound of the trumpet.
With shouting! This is another act we see in the world, but also see in a godly manner in the Scriptures. But where do we see it in the Church? In the world, someone has a favorite football team, and their team wins and they are shouting #1 right in the camera. But we as Believer’s are to shout for our Lord as well, we are to have great joy in Yehovah, that we do not see much of today. The world has it’s song, “Shout to the Devil”. Why don’t we shout to Yehovah?
Our God is truly #1! And there is no other true God besides Him. Yehoshua has already conquered death, hell and the grave through the blood of His cross. He has defeated our enemy, and He has given us everlasting life. Where is our triumphant shouting, singing and dancing unto Yehovah? We don’t see it. Because the world shouts, sings, and dances; we say, “What they are doing is wrong, so we do not do it at all.”
There is wrong music, words, and dancing. I’m not saying we are to do it in the way they do it, however it is clear from the Scriptures that there is a godly way to do all three; shout, dance and sing.
The Scripture says that one of the sins of Sodom and Gomorah was idleness and fullness of bread. Has this comfortable life here in the United States, made us unthankful, unholy, and full of apathy? If the salt looses it’s savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thence fore be good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” We are to be the salt of the earth; we are to make people thirsty for Yehovah. We are to be preservers. Not to shine a dim light, but a bright light. We do this through an unspeakable joy displayed in part, by shouting, singing, and dancing.
We see in the Scriptures that dancing was used as praise to celebrate great victories Yehovah gave His people.
Judges 11:34 Jephthah came to Mizpeh unto his house, and behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and dancing (4246 circle dancing) She was joining in the celebration of her father’s victory.
1 Sam 21:11 Did they not sing one to another of him in dances (4246 circle dancing), saying Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands? Again, they were rejoicing in their victory.
1 Samuel 18: 6 when David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing (4246 circle dancing), to meet king Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of musick. They were once again rejoicing in the great victory God gave them over their enemies.
There is a time….
The Scriptures are clear that there is a time for dancing. A time when there is great joy, should be celebrated with dancing. We are to enter His courts with praise and thanksgiving; one of the ways we praise Him is dancing.
Psalm 149 speaks about praising Yehovah. In verse 3 it says, “Praise His name in the dance.” (4234 circle dancing).
In Psalm 150 we again see that we are to “Praise Him with timbrel and dance” (4234, circle dancing):
The Word also shows us a time not to dance, and that would be in a time of mourning, the opposite of joy:
Ecclesiastics 3:4 tells us there is “a time to mourn and a time to dance,”
Jer 31:13 (vs. 3-14) the virgin rejoice in the dance (4234 circle dancing), both young men and old together; for I will turn their mourning into joy.
Lamentations 5:15, The joy of our heart in ceased; our dance is turned into mourning.
Ps. 30:11 “Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing; thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness;” This was said at the dedication of the house of David.
There are people who mope around, and who do not want to sing with their strength or with joy. 2 Timothy 3 says these people are unthankful and unholy .
Psalm 30:12 we are not to be silent in this area, we are to show God our thankfulness. However, when we do not see dancing as the right thing and do not want to do it; we are closing out part of that praise; and being silent in that area.
Jer. 31:4 Yehovah is speaking here of when He will restore His people. He promises them that He … “Again I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel: thou shalt again be adorned with thy tabrets, and shalt go forth in the dances (4234 circle dancing) of them that make merry.
This prophecy has come true and today in Israel you see circle dancing, at joyous occasions. They have great reason to rejoice, as God has returned them to their land, with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm!
In Luke 15:25 when Yehoshua is telling the story of the Prodigal Son, he tells of the elder son being in the field: and as he came and drew neigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing (5525 dancing).
The prodigal son came home and there was dancing! Yehoshua Himself show us here that, music and dancing are godly practices during times of joy and celebration. This was an occasion for much celebration! My son was lost but now he is found. There is more rejoicing in heaven over one that repents; should there not be on earth. Dancing is part of joy and praise.
Matthew 11:17, “We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced;” Yehoshua is explaining here, what their response should have been. He says that John came and they rejected him. He then goes on to say that He was being rejected as well. He compares this rejection, to people being “piped” to and not dancing. Saying, that if you are piped to, the right response would be to dance.
I know it goes against the grain because it goes against the American culture. In the Jewish culture this is what they did. God gave His oracles to the Jews, but over and over again the Jews wanted to be like the other nations. They picked up on these other nations culture. But God did give them ways of blessing. When we look in the Scriptures we find that dancing is not evil in and of itself;
The world dances to their false gods and God’s children dance for Him. Just like singing is not evil in and itself; the world sings to their false god’s and the children of God sing their praises to Him. What’s wrong is when we pick up the worlds practices of how they sing and how they dance, and for what purpose they do these things.
Both ungodly and many “Christian” music artist are worshiped. It is ridiculous how people praise these singers. These artists sign autographs and have fan clubs. The word fan means to be an enthusiastic admirer of a celebrity. We are to be followers of the Messiah, not man. Asaph, was a Levite, the father of the clan of temple musicians. He was appointed by King David to minister daily, they led in battle worshiping Yehovah as well. He and this clan were not worshiped, they did not make millions of dollars off of writing songs and singing to Yehovah.
The motive of the heart, is again where we need to look. I once heard a Contemporary Christian Artist say, when he was asked by a fan what the inspiration for his music was, his answer was “Bills”. This should not be our reasoning for worshiping Yehovah. It should be out of a heart that is overflowing with thankfulness, and from that overflow our mouth should sing, shout, and dance.
We should sing and dance to music that worships Yehovah in Spirit and in Truth, for the Scripture says He is seeking such to worship Him. It also says to worship Yehovah in the beauty of holiness. Beauty here means, honor, splendor, and glory. Holiness here means dedicated to Yehovah. In order to worship with the right words, and with the right music, we must worship with words that are Biblical. For He says, Those who continue in my word, shall be my disciples and they shall know the truth and the truth shall set them free.”
The word disciple means learner, so if we keep reading God’s Word and studying it; we are going to learn His ways which are ways of truth about everything, including worshipping Him. In so doing, we will be set free from the worlds ways, which dishonor God. They throw out the Old Testament, they throw out dancing, they throw out the gifts of the Spirit.
Image result for bible images
However, they bring in the ways of the world. They have weddings in the Church and then go the reception and act like heathens in their dancing and drunkenness. It is cause to celebrate, but unto Yehovah.
When it is a time of rejoicing it is a time for dancing The world leaps and jumps for joy when they get what they want; just watch the “Price is Right”, and watch someone winning a new car! We are to do this in praising Yehovah.
If we don’t sing and we don’t dance, then what does our worship to God look like to Him? A person may say, “If we sing and if we dance and we shout with all the right words, music, dance moves; and we don’t obey God in our daily lives; then we are hypocrites.”
And I would say, “I absolutely agree.” God says, “They honor me with their lips but their hearts are far from me.” He also says, we are to be doers of the Word, not hearers only. But dancing is suppose to be part of our worship also. So, shouldn’t we do this, since we see this in God’s Word?
God has made us to praise Him with all our strength, heart, minds and soul. He has given us not just singing, but dancing as well in order to do so.
In conclusion, in all areas of our lives, as Christians, Scripture needs to be our final authority. Because, Scripture is God’s inspired Word. The culture (take off the ure and you have cult) should not dictate what we do and what we do not do. We should obey God’s Word because we love Him. God has a way, and that way is found in the Scriptures. God’s Word is not silent in any area, about any subject. Otherwise 2 Tim 3:15-17 would not be true, but His Word is true. Here it says: “That from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in the Messiah Yehoshua. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
Also, the Scriptures teach us that, 1 Corinthians 2:10 “That God hath revealed unto us, by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” So, we have all we need in the Scriptures.
As we have looked to God’s Word to examine the practice of dancing; my prayer is that you will see it as a way of praise, the way God intended it; and that we will make it a part of our reasonable act of worship.