Dancing as a form of praise and worship is found several times in the Old Testament and in each case it was spontaneous. The Lord’s people danced to express their joy in the Lord and to celebrate His blessings to them. Here are some of the verses mentioned:

*Exodus 15:20: “And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dancing.”

*2 Samuel 6:14 and 16: “And David danced before the Lord with all his might…As the ark of the Lord came into the city of David, Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord.”

*Psalm 30:11: “You have turned my mourning into dancing” (NKJV).

*Psalm 149:3: “Let them praise His name with dancing” (NASB).

*Psalm 150:4: “Praise Him with timbrel and dancing” (NASB).

You will notice in the first and last references cited that dancing was accompanied with musical instruments, for the worship God prescribed for His EARTHLY PEOPLE had many tangible objects to aid them in their worship. It was a fleshy type of worship that appealed to man in the flesh; that is, it was ordained to appeal to all the senses of their physical body.

By contrast, we learn in John 4:23 that Christians today should “worship the Father in spirit and in truth.” In Christianity we have no physical objects to aid us in our worship of our heavenly Father. As we read the history of the Church in the New Testament we never once see believers dancing or playing musical instruments as an expression of praise or worship. In 1 Corinthians 14:15 the Apostle Paul says, “I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding.” When we worship God today we will PRAY and SING “in spirit and in truth.” Every prayer of praise and every song we raise should express Scriptural truth. We won’t simply pray to be heard or sing because we like the tunes and the sounds of our own voices; but we will pray and sing according to the truth that God has revealed to us and to express our appreciation for His truth. Thus our worship is “spiritual” in nature and not “physical,” for we are God’s HEAVENLY PEOPLE. In fact, we actually enter “in spirit” into heaven itself when we worship, as we see in Hebrews 10:19, “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus.”

Some may be thinking, “So, is it WRONG to ‘dance before the Lord’ as David and other godly Jews did to express their joy in the Lord?” Again, this was NOT the practice of the church as recorded in the New Testament for the reasons stated above. But don’t think for a moment that we can’t have true joy in our worship without dancing. As we are occupied with our blessed Lord Jesus we will experience the truth of 1 Peter 1:8, “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see Him not , yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” Our joy will then find expression in our prayers and songs of praise to Him, and thus Paul exhorts us in Ephesians 5:19, “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.”  (189.2)  (DO)