Does God Care If I Clap?

Personality differences are a wonderful gift from God. We need loud and expressive people to keep us on our toes. We need quiet and reflective people to calm us down. Here’s the thing though. Often times we improperly import our personality types into our worship of God. Those who are loud love to sing (usually off key), clap, and dance. Those who are quiet prefer reflective, reverent meditation. All of this begs the question: which one is right? Does God prefer loud people or reverent people?

Fortunately, scripture doesn’t leave us hanging. In fact, it spells it out pretty clearly. God loves and desires both responses from all people. Check out Psalm 47:1-2

Clap your hands, all peoples!
Shout to God with loud songs of joy!
For the Lord, the Most High, is to be feared,
a great king over all the earth.

The thing I love about this Psalm is that God gives us both the what and the why. He commands us to clap our hands and to sing to God with loud songs of joy. This isn’t a command based on personality type. It’s not reserved for extroverts. All people are called to clap and to sing loud songs of joy to God.

Why? Because he is the Lord Most High. He’s the great king who rules over all the earth. In light of God’s glorious majesty, clapping and loud songs are the right response! It wouldn’t be right to always be silent and reflective in the presence of God. His beauty and glory call for more.

Let’s be encouraged by this Psalm to move toward loud, expressive worship of God. In church, in the car, in the shower. Yes, worship is matter of the heart. You can belt it out without giving a rip about God. But true worship doesn’t stay in the heart. It animates the hands to clapping and the vocal chords to loud songs.

  • http://fancyfarm.blogspot.com Courtney

    This is a problem for me. With the car/shower exuberance I’m all good, but when it comes to corporate worship I am the one who wants to blend into the background. This definitely shows that I have a pride issue. I shouldn’t care what those around me think but I do. Thank you for the encouragement to get over myself and worship God like He deserves.

  • http://strongwarrior.com/ Jon Wymer

    So you are saying clapping is normative. An interesting point. :)

  • Stephen Altrogge

    Jon – Not sure what you mean by normative, but I have to come to the conclusion from the Psalms that God does desire outward response.

  • Megan Liz

    What’s your position on hand-raising? :)

    I’m like Courtney–wildly expressive while I praise God by myself but usually very toned down in church. I never thought of it being a pride issue but it probably is… though going to a Reformed Baptist church might have something to do with it.

    Thanks for the great post!

  • Stephen Altrogge

    For great resources on the appropriateness of physical worship check out the following posts at Bob Kauflin’s blog.

    http://www.worshipmatters.com/category/physical-expressiveness-in-worship/