Praise him with a blast of the ram’s horn; praise him with the lyre and harp! (v. 3, NLT)
I’m fascinated with Psalm 150 because, according to some commentators, there are nine musical instruments mentioned.
My denominational background is the Christian Church which comes from what is known as the Restoration Movement. Another denomination from the Restoration Movement is the Church of Christ Non-Instrumental.
The Restoration Movement tried to confine doctrine to what the New Testament says and does. Since musical instruments are not mentioned in the New Testament, the non-instrumental brothers and sisters refuse to allow musical instruments as a part of worship.
I was part of the Christian Church instrumental, or liberals according to the non-instrumentals, and in my childhood church, we had a hymnal, an elderly lady playing the pipe organ, and a choir – but no drums or guitars.
But Psalm 150 mentions nine musical instruments.
Praise him with the tambourine and dancing; praise him with strings and flutes! (v. 4)
Nine instruments mentioned in Psalm 150 were not a convincing argument to the non-instrumentals because they claimed to be a New Testament church, and nothing is mentioned about tambourines, strings, and flutes from Matthew to Revelation.
However, the instrumentals, also claiming to be a New Testament church, decided not to be too literal in interpreting the New Testament so that they could have a pipe organ.
But still no guitars or rock-style music with instrumental believers, only 50- to 300-year-old hymns, and of course, the organ and choir.
Praise him with a clash of cymbals; praise him with loud clanging cymbals (v. 5).
When I became a follower of Jesus in the early 1970s, Christian music was transforming itself with drums, electric guitars, and, uh oh – a bass guitar. I had many discussions with my instrumental brothers and sisters about guitars and drums originating from the devil.
Amazing, the topics that believers can argue and divide over!
Today, the church of my youth (instrumental) has guitars, even a bass guitar, along with drums but no pipe organ. The non-instrumentals, though remaining faithful to their ideas, still have no instruments in worship.
I think that music changes to combat the differing evil spiritual warfare strategies of each generation, which is why the Old Testament teaches us to sing a “new song” (Psalm 144:9) and, in my opinion, why the Apostle Paul writes . . .
Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts (Colossians 3:16).
With the importance of new songs and the need for current spiritual songs, we should also remember what’s been learned from the past through our age-old hymns.
An interesting note about Psalm 150 and its mention of nine instruments for worship . . . they are the shofar, lyre, harp, tambourine, strings, flutes, small cymbals, and large cymbals – describing an ancient rock n’ roll band, I think!!
Those astute might also notice that my list above contains only eight instruments because the ninth is . . .
Let everything that breathes sing praises to the Lord! Praise the Lord! (v. 6)
Eight musical instruments plus our voices equal nine.
Amen! We are instruments of praise!