What Kind Of Mind?
"What kind of mind thinks God would care about something as insignificant as the playing or not playing of a musical instrument?" I have been asked that question a few times over the years by someone who "could not understand" why we did not have instrumental music in our worship. While I think the question is a valid one, it does strike me as odd that most of those who refer to instrumental music as something insignificant do not consider it insignificant enough to leave off from their own worship. Nevertheless, we want to give the question its proper consideration and seek to provide a biblical answer.
What kind of mind thinks that instrumental music might matter to God? I would suggest that it is a mind that has carefully considered how God has dealt with man from the beginning and understands that He has always demanded obedience in all things, even to the smallest of details. Consider a few examples that have led me to have a mind that thinks it matters.
Adam and Eve. Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-24
Should we argue that since God was the one who made the tree He could not possibly have wanted anyone to miss out on its pleasures? Since they only ate the forbidden fruit the one time, wouldn't God overlook their transgressions? While those arguments might have appeal to the modern mind, even preschoolers know that Adam and Even suffered the consequences for this "little thing."
Lot's Wife. Genesis 19:17, 24-26
Would we have thought it mattered if one "looked back?" If we could interview that pillar of salt that once was Lot's wife, how do you suppose she would suggest we view God's commandments?
Nadab and Abihu. Leviticus 10:1-3
When these two sons of Aaron offered profane (or strange) fire which "He had not commanded them," fire went out from the Lord and devoured them. The kind of mind that thinks instrumental music might matter is the kind of mind that has come to understand that God is to be approached only as He directs.
Moving the Ark. 2 Samuel 6; 1 Chronicles 13, 15
Though God had told the Israelites that the ark of the covenant was to be carried on the shoulders of the Levites (Numbers 4), David decided to put it on a new cart pulled by oxen. When the oxen stumbled and Uzza put out his hand to steady the ark he was struck dead. When Uzza was killed David was angry and puzzled, and even asked, "How can I bring the ark of God to me?" After a few months David came to understand what had happened and explained that Uzza was dead "because we did not consult [the Lord] about the proper order." The next time the ark was moved David had the kind of mind that was determined to do it exactly "as Moses had commanded according to the word of the Lord."
Many more examples could be cited, but the key is realizing that God has spoken and given us the things He wants us to know (2 Timothy 3:16, 17). While we may not be able to produce a passage stating that God will not accept instrumental music, we do know that "little" things matter to the Lord and for us to add an instrument to His pattern is to put ourselves in danger. What kind of mind should we have? The mind that does not want to add to or take away from the word, but instead, takes it just as it is written (Revelation 22:18, 19; Galatians 1:6-10).