Dance is a key element of praise. Psalm 149 is an important passage about the significance of praise. I plan on referencing it regularly. This scripture helps us understand the role of praise and worship as a key that opens and shuts things in heaven and on the earth.
“Praise the Lord! Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise in the assembly of the godly! Let Israel be glad in his Maker; let the children of Zion rejoice in their King! Let them praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with tambourine and lyre! For the Lord takes pleasure in his people; he adorns the humble with salvation. Let the godly exult in glory; let them sing for joy on their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their throats and two-edged swords in their hands, to execute vengeance on the nations and punishments on the peoples, to bind their kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron, to execute on them the judgment written! This is honor for all his godly ones. Praise the Lord!”
Dancing is to be a part of what God’s people do when they come together to give him glory through their praise. It is to be accompanied by joyful singing, music and the proclamation of the Word of God. The call resounds for God’s people to be joyful and exuberantly express that joy in Him through all of the diverse gifts he has given us. They are to be unashamed in letting their joy in God be made known to all who are assembled. This joy is flowing out of the revelation that the Creator of the whole earth has chosen them as children adopted into His royal family. (v2) They have the honor of sharing in his kingdom and authority! They were once orphans without hope and in desperate need, and their great God has come and delivered them from darkness and saved them unto a glorious inheritance! This salvation is too great for human voices alone to do it justice; it also deserves the full expression of human energy and devotion.
Verse 4 of Psalm 149 reveals beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Lord takes pleasure in His people as they demonstrate their unrestrained jubilance. It is a testimony of his glory and greatness! If you went to a football game and saw one side of the stadium sitting quietly with their heads slightly hung down and their hands folded carefully in their laps you would assume the team they were there to “cheer” on was doing very poorly and probably losing by a very big margin. However, if you saw people standing up with their hands raised, jumping up and down, waving their arms and shouting with huge smiles on their face you would assume their team had just made an awesome play and was victorious over the other team. How much greater is God than a football team! His people should be expressing a joy in His ultimate victory and salvation that is greater than any other victory or pleasure this world has to offer. Many people think that these kind of exuberant displays of joy and affection should be reserved for “private” times with the Lord because they will be a distraction to others. While their may be times where someone is truly doing something inappropriate or out of order and need to be directed to restrain themselves during a corporate gathering, the vast majority of the time this way of thinking is a smokescreen, though perhaps an unconscious one, for having their own empty, joyless heart revealed. Psalm 149:1 and Psalm 150:1 make it clear that this kind of praise is to take place in the sanctuary of God when his saints are assembled. Dance is meant to be seen! It is to speak of the worth of Jesus and glory of the salvation that He has accomplished on our behalf. Seeing someone else dance before the Lord, be it a little child or an elderly woman or anyone in between, should stir our hearts with love for Jesus. We are reminded that He really is that worthy, He really does take pleasure in them, and He will take pleasure in each one of us as we begin to move before him in childlike faith.