Joy – BT6
The “NEW Song” of the NEW Covenant is a completely-different-in-kind-superior Song that is joyful, glorious, harmoniously beautiful, and praiseworthy
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The anointed, prophetic, and spontaneous music of the completely-different-in-kind, superior chadash/kainos “NEW Praise Song” (a) has nothing to do with our flesh’s “might and power” or skill as too many bibles have mistranslated and preachers have taught, but all about “praiseworthy, glorious, joyful, beautifully, harmoniously playing” (b), even with a loud, shout-like noise! Let’s look at just one of these verses here, but others are broken down on the New Covenant Ways page. <Notes> a) Psalms 33:3, 40:3, 96:1, 98:1, 144:9, 149:1; Isaiah 42:10; Revelation 5:9, 14:3, b) yatab, kalos – see definitions below.
Psalms 33:1-3 “Righteous ones, routinely praiseworthily-gloriously-joyfully-beautifully-harmoniously shout-play (a) in/by/with Yahweh . . . give thanks to (f) Yahweh with the lyre/harp; Be psalming (b) to Him with the harp of 10 strings! Sing to the praise of (c) Him a NEW (d) Praise Song (e); psalming (b) praiseworthily-gloriously-joyfully-beautifully-harmoniously playing (a) on the strings with loud shouts (g).” <Notes> a) yatab, kalos, b) zamar; psallo is to play a psalm: “hit, twanged, plucked, or twitched” a song with/without singing, c) shiyr, ado, d) chadash, kainos: fresh, completely-different-in-kind, unprecedented, sharing nothing with its predecessors, unique, and superior, e) shiyr, atos, f) yadah, exomologeo: hold out or throw your hands to confess, to worship, g) Hebrew t’raw’ah: “clamor – acclamation of joy or a battle-cry, especially a clangor of trumpets as an alarm, loud noise of jubilee – a high or joyful sounding of trumpets; Greek agalliao:“ring out or jumpt with shouts of extreme, triumphant joy/gladness.
The Hebrew yatab above in the Hiphil form means: “1) literally, to make a thing good, right, beautiful, or glorious, 2) figuratively, to cause to be/make happy, glad, or joyful through rejoicing, 3) figuratively, to do good to, deal well or ethically with a person, 4) figuratively, to make successful or effective by doing thoroughly or well.” The Greek word kalos means: “1) to make beautiful physically or morally, this is distinctly the ‘beauty‘ that comes from harmony or proportional symmetry and thus completeness, or 2) to make excellent in nature or character, thus well adapted for its use, and thus praiseworthy and noble.” Context always narrows down a word’s meaning! As you can see from my prophetic rhema above about joy, the Lord has shown me this connection between His beauty and joy before!
Sure, it’s possible from the literal meaning of the Hebrew yatab 1) above, the most common use of the Greek kalos 1) above, and overall context being musical performance, that the emphasis is on intensively, intentionally, and routinely playing music “beautifully by playing together with other musicians and/or the choir in unison or proportional symmetry and thus completeness.” However, there is another possible emphasis based on the most common figurative use of the Hebrew yatab 2) that is consistent with the most common use of the kalos 1), and especially the immediate context of being a loud celebration: intensively, intentionally, and routinely playing music “happily, gladly, joyfully from a glad heart with loud shout-like celebration.” Context always defines the meaning of words!
Therefore, although the 4) meaning of Hebrew yatab is “to do thoroughly or well” and 2) Greek kalos is “to make excellent in nature or character” resulting in some bibles to translate Psalms 33:1, 3 “play skillfully,” not only is this NOT the dominant meaning of yatab or kalos, it doesn’t fit the context of any ‘music’ verses that use these words (a), and thus more dominantly refers to being glad, happy, or pleased (b), a joyful heart that makes the face cheerful (c) even for healing (d), and having a great celebratory time (e) even the way people feel after drinking wine (f). <Notes> a) Psalms 33:3; 1 Samuel 16:17 – though Isaiah 23:16 could emphasize skill, b) Genesis 34:18, 41:37, 45:16; Leviticus 10:20; Joshua 22:33; 1 Samuel 18:5; 2 Samuel 3:361 Kings 3:10, 21:7; Nehemiah 2:5, Ester 2:4, 9; Psalms 69:31; Judges 18:20, c) Proverbs 15:13, d) Proverbs 17:22; Ecclesiastes 7:3, e) Judges 19:6, 9, 22, f) Ruth 3:7.
The context of Psalms 33:3 sure isn’t about personal skill to bring our own selves praise, nor does it even insinuate that our skills bring praise to/for God, but that being made righteous by God’s charis unconditional-loving-favor-of-grace, we shout with chara joy, even throwing up our hands out toward Him in surrendering need of Him like a little child reaching for the unconditional-love of their parent, or bowing before Him in confession of our struggles to worship Him, but also finding freedom we praise Him joyfully in harmony with His Spirit and others in celebration. We cannot forget the emphasis or thrust of a passage and end up “majoring in the minors.” The passage doesn’t tell us where the “beauty and joy in harmonious completeness” comes from, but it sure doesn’t imply it comes from hours of practicing with the “might and power” of the flesh. However, it does tell about our attitude and focus – praising God’s with great joy!
Context always defines words! The next phrase “on the strings with with t’raw’ah or agalliao” tells you exactly the emphasis of how to “play the instruments”, even the ‘strings’ of your vocal chords, for the Hebrew t’raw’ah means: “clamor – acclamation of joy or a battle-cry, especially a clangor of trumpets as an alarm or the loud noise of jubilee celebration, which was a high or joyful sounding of trumpets. The Greek agalliao means: “ring out or jump with shouts of extreme, triumphant joy or gladness.” Clearly this then Psalms 31:3 is referring to “praiseworthily-gloriously-joyfully-beautifully-harmoniously playing together with loud shout-like celebration!”
It’s wonderful to see that the Revised New American Bible gives both possibilities of “Play beautifully and joyfully on stringed instruments” and The Voice shows a leaning to the second emphasis: “be bold with your joyful feelings.” Yes, your attitude is what is in focus here! However, it is very disturbing that so many other versions go completely in the wrong direction by translating it “Play skillfully” when the context just doesn’t support this. In a related passage in 1 Samuel 16:7 leading up to v. 17-18, “For Yahweh sees not as man sees: man looks on the mareh/opsis visual-outward-appearance/look, but Yahweh looks on the heart.” God is not as concerned about externals but internals.
Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers correctly explains the phrase “Play joyfully [and/or beautifully in harmony] with loud shouts” is actually a “typical Hebrew expression in common hymn use, describing the full choral-orchestral effect when instruments and voices were joined together in the service of the sanctuary . . . just as kalos above means ‘beautiful in harmony’ instead of discordantly.” He cites other examples as Psalm 95:1 “Let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the Rock our salvation” and Psalm 100:1 “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth” and 2 Chronicles 5:13 “The trumpeters and singers to make themselves heard in unison in praise and thanksgiving to the Lord, and when the song was raised with trumpets and cymbals and other musical instruments, in praise to the Lord . . . the house of the Lord was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not stand to minister because for the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God,” and finally 2 Chronicles 23:13 “There was the king standing . . . and the trumpeters beside the king, and ALL the people of the land rejoicing and blowing trumpets, and the singers with their musical instruments leading in the celebration.” From this analysis, it’s clear that Psalms 33:3 is referring to individual and/or group spontaneous singing and also composed psalms with the choral shouts and instrumental parts playing harmoniously together with jubilee-like, joyful celebration.” The whole group was bringing the house down! It is a real stretch to say the emphasis is on individual skill and professionalism that I’ve seen too many try to do when everything in context and comparative verses indicates it was their attitude of joyful celebration together in beautiful harmony!
As Christian musicians, do we want to continue to play old, worn-out songs or a completely-different-in-kind, superior NEW song? Then we will need to surrender control of our skill to play spontaneously by the Spirit! That’s the whole point of the NEW Covenant! All the verses that talk about this do NOT focus on externals at all but the heart of the singers and players being joyful and celebratory, because God is looks at the heart.
I’ve played in a lot of big bands with big choirs and to play together with good timing, harmony, and beauty often takes enormous skill. I’ve seen too many worship-teams take this professional approach when most of them are nowhere near professional in their skill or experience. This unrealistic expectation just causes tension, frustration, guilt, and resentment – I’ve seen more fleshly behavior in Christian rehearsals than 25 secular bands! So few musicians know how to “Let God and Let God” the Holy Spirit direct the music to wherever HE wants to go for as long as HE wants to go and supply ALL the skill needed to do it while are hearts are singularly focused on adoring worship. The few times others have joined in with me were joyful, beautiful, glorious, harmonious, and praiseworthy, but you absolutely didn’t want to stop this supernatural exuberant praise celebration! This is “worshipping by [singular] Spirit” that Jesus said the Father is looking the earth for! See Music-Anointing, Music-Prophetic, and Music-Spontaneous music pages.
Lord, where do we sign up? I want to meet-up with others that want to leave their resume of skills at the doorway in total surrender and learn how to completely “Let go and let God.” Bring us together so that Your Church will get back to the anointed, prophetic, and spontaneous worship You have been diligently searching for.