Over the last few years, the Holy Spirit has (and continues to) reveal some very important things to me about music in worship to Him and particularly, the way certain ordinances must be observed that are respectful to Him and His Word. One of them was a reaffirmation of why music has to be Holy, what that actually entails and why it’s important.

Since then (I’m trying to keep this simple!) I have felt very strongly about the use of non-Holy Spirit inspired music and lyrics in worship. Some Churches and ministers allow this…I suppose it’s what they call ‘progressive’. However, most of us are aware that the only things accepted by God as a sacrifice of worship are those things borne out of His Spirit in the first place. All our praise and worship to Him comes from Him because it is only in the Spirit we can praise Him at all; everything that comes from Him goes to Him – no exceptions, and that includes “non-christian” music; secular music is not borne out of the Holy Spirit. There is a lie going about that the Spirit inspires all music regardless of it’s content and whether the composer is saved or not. Cobblers! A kingdom cannot stand against itself, nor will the Spirit inspire material that is opposed to God’s Kingdom. Nor can a person who does not have the revelation of the Spirit in their lives be unctioned by Him in this particular way. If you ever hear this stupid notion taught to you, discount it – it’s from the pit.

With this in mind, I will explain my title for today, “does my altar look good?” First, read 2 Kings ch16:10-16.

Ahaz as we know worshipped “under every tree and on every high hill”. He worshipped all kinds of gods as well as God the Father. He saw a superb looking altar in Damascus, had a copy made of it, positioned it in the Temple of God and made his sacrifices upon it. Uriah the priest – a model of liberalism and compromise if there ever was one – oversaw this project. Ahaz moved the original bronze altar to the north side of the temple. We read further on that he also dismantled the “sea”, the great basin normally used for ritual cleansing by the priests..it was left to languish out on the pavement outside of the temple!

So what’s going on here? The sacrifices made by King Ahaz seem to be in order – right down to the splashing of the blood against the altar. His motions seem to be correct as far as the sacrifices in God’s Temple are concerned. This is how I have been brought to understand this scripture and remember, I’m talking as a ‘house’ musician here…

I have a penchant for electronic dance music. I still listen to it to try and learn and understand the craft of sound engineering and production to enable me to be better at what I do. But there have been times when I wanted to do dance style music and worship material simply because I like the sound and for no other reason. This is where the Spirit had checked me: Is my desire to bring a dance element into the music I play borne out of the Spirit or not? Is it just me reproducing an echo of my past because I can’t let go? This is where the story of Ahaz touches me.

Ahaz bowed down to all sorts of things at all kinds of altars besides the one in God’s House. But he liked the altar he saw at a Temple of Baal and copied it, then made offerings to God off that altar instead of the bronze one installed according to God in the first place. So here is a man who wants to please God with his offerings, but offered up from an altar not only of his making but a COPY of a Baal altar! He wanted to please God with an altar that suited him, but when he was in need of help he went and bowed to the bronze altar of God. How selfish can you be? Furthermore, the removal of the “sea” basin represented the lack of importance Ahaz gave to priestly preparation prior to approaching the Holy Place…more foolishness! So how does this connect with me?

Firstly, I have a past – just like you. There were altars I bowed down to and sacrificed upon to a different god, just like you did. Today, I’ve been made righteous by the blood of the Lamb; the right of entry into the holy place has been given to me…as it has to you. But as a ‘temple musician’, what can I bring that’s acceptable to God? If I will play nothing else but dance music (for example) or insist on introducing something I used to be involved in into the deepest part of worship, am I guilty of  making a copy of an altar I used to bow down to? Am I bringing an alternative altar before God? Given that the only things acceptable to God are 1) offered off His altar and 2) borne out of His Spirit, is He really going to inspire me to bring into His presence something not of His Spirit? I doubt it, because “flesh gives birth to flesh, but Spirit gives birth to Spirit” (John3:6).

So I find myself checking my thoughts and motives as to what I bring to God musically and why. I am seriously itching to do a dance gospel club track of some kind, but until the Spirit unctions me and I’m happy that He is inspiring me, I will only ever birth it out of my own intellect and desire…the motive within me is an echo of my devotions to a different altar and as such, will not be acceptable to God as an offering of sacrificial worship. This also connects with the “bread of Presence” in the Holy of Holies. 12 loaves of unleavened bread were always present on God’s table, made to strict instructions and always kept fresh. What I am not permitted to do is to exchange some of that bread for some of the bread from a different table of another temple simply because I liked the taste of it…see what I mean?

I am not of course saying that particular types of music employed for outreach purposes are wrong; Paul wrote “by all means possible”. But I don’t think that phrase is a license for us to do what the heck we like and God will accept it regardless! This might be why a lot of outreach schemes and programmes up to national levels never seem to yield the harvest we’d like: Maximum harvest with minimal effort? Harvesting our way? Did God inspire the idea or did a board meeting? That’s a topic for another time…

A hard subject, but worth looking at. God is holy so we should be holy. I challenge you to think into this. Study your motives and decision making in all things. Are their any copies of old altars in your temple?