If the Word of God is living and active, then it only makes sense that dance is utilized as a way of encouragement and to minister the Gospel to others. So many are taught that dance is worldly and not appropriate for ministry. The best way to answer these dissenting views is to turn to Scripture.
- “Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe!” – Psalm 150:4
- “Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance, and the young men and old shall be merry. I will turn their mourning into joy, I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.” – Jeremiah 31:13
- “David danced before the LORD with all his might; David was girded with a linen ephod.” – 2 Samuel 6:14
And now for some Hebrew words…
Chagag: to make a pilgrimage, keep a pilgrim feast; celebrate, dance, keep, hold a solemn feast holiday, reel to and fro.
- “Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘Let my people go, so that they may celebrate a festival to me in the wilderness.'” – Exodus 5:1
- “Now, the fifteenth day of seventh month, when you have gathered in the produce of the land, you shall keep the festival of the LORD, lasting seven days; a complete rest on the first day, and a complete rest on the eighth day.” – Leviticus 23:39
Gul: to spin around under the influence of any intense emotion including joy, fear, and gladness.
- “…so that I may recount all your praises, and, in the gates of daughter Zion, rejoice in your deliverance.” – Psalm 9:14
Rejoice = Dance!
- “The LORD, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” – Zephaniah 3:17
He dances and sings over us; he renews us in his love!
Machol: a (round) dance.
- “You have turned my mourning into dancing; you have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,” – Psalm 30:11
- Also, Jeremiah 31:13, which is quoted above.
Mecholah: A dance company.
- “Then the prophet Miriam, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand; and all the women went out after her with tambourines and with dancing.” – Exodus 15:20
- “As they were coming home, when David returned from killing the Philistine, the women came out of all the towns of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with songs of joy, and with musical instruments.” – 1 Samuel 18:6
- “As the ark of the LORD came into the city of David, Michal daughter of Saul looked out of the window, and saw King David leaping (mepazez) and dancing (karar) before the LORD; and she despised him in her heart.” – 2 Samuel 6:16
I’ve often wondered why she despised him. Was it his awesome dance moves? Or, was it because he was putting God above her? Or, maybe it was because he was not behaving like a dignified king?
Raqad: to skip about, bounding, dance, frolic, leap, leaping, skip.
- “As the ark of the covenant of the LORD came to the city of David, Michal daughter of Saul looked out of the window, and saw King David leaping and dancing; and she despised him in her heart.” – 1 Chronicles 15:29
You are not seeing double. This verse is repeated nearly word-for-word in two different places in Scripture!
- “To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;” – Ecclesiastes 3:1-4 1
Karar: to whirl.
Go revisit 2 Samuel 6:14, and 2 Samuel 6:16. I’ll wait right here.
Done? Cool…next up…
la’hul: to dance.
- “…and watch; when the young women of Shiloh come out to dance in the dances, then come out of the vineyards and each of you carry off a wife for himself from the young women of Shiloh…” Judges 21:21
On to the New Testament…and GREEK!
ὀρχέομαι: to dance; a dance from rank-like or regular motion.
- “We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn.” – Matthew 11:17
- “They are like children sitting int he marketplace and calling to one another, ‘We played the flue for you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not weep’.” – Luke 7:32
Just in case you missed it coming from Matthew, Luke will make sure you’ve got it.
ἀγαλλιάω: I exult, am full of joy; becoming so happy that you jump in celebration.
- “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” – Matthew 5:12
Remember, rejoice often means to dance!
- “And Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices (dances) in God my Savior,” – Luke 1:46-47 46
- “At that same hour Jesus rejoiced (danced) in the Holy Spirit and said, ‘I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will’.” – Luke 10:21
χορός: a dance; chorus.
- In the story of the Prodigal Son, there was rejoicing and dancing because the lost son had returned home (Luke 15:25). This story gives us just a glimpse into how our Father reacts when one of his who were lost come home to him.
It seems that our journey through Scripture shows us one thing…we are to dance! It is good, and it is worship. It is in response to a good, good Father.