Worship Him in Dance!

What is a Tambourine?

A tambourine is a small hand drum made by stretching a thin animal skin or parchment over a wooden ring. The frame has several pairs of metal discs set loosely in it so that when shaken, the disks clash together like cymbals, making a pleasant jingling noise. Striking the drumhead with your knuckles will give you both the sound of the drum and the jingle of the disks. Rubbing your hand briskly across the drumhead will produce a whisking noise.

The tambourine's origins are lost in antiquity; it is mentioned often in the Old Testament as an instrument of celebration, as here: "Then Miriam the prophetess, Aaron's sister, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women followed her, with tambourines and dancing." (Exodus 15:20)


The tambourine can be traced back to most ancient civilizations such as India, Greece, China, Egypt, and Rome. It is also the instrument on which Miriam played after the Israelites escaped from Egypt in Exodus 15:20. It was often associated with joy, dancing, rejoicing, victory, and times of happiness and gladness.

The tambourine began to take a prominent place in the music world during the eighteenth century when composers used it in their operas, however, it wasn't until the nineteenth century that the tambourine became more popular, appearing in Igor Stravinsky's balled 'Petrushka', as well as in works by composers such as Berlioz.

Although the tambourine is accepted as a percussion instrument in the orchestra, it wasn't until the Salvation Army began to use it at the end of the nineteenth century did it begin to one again take its rightful place as an instrument of praise, worship, and warfare in the church. The Salvation Army were also the first to form timbrel brigades, often of young people, devoted to learning and playing the timbrel, especially during outreaches.

The technique of playing the tambourine called 'Timbrel Praise' was developed in Hong Kong during the 1980s by Dodie V. Sarchet-Waller and has since then
emerged into what it is today.

The tambourine is now accepted as an acoustic, untuned instrument belonging to the percussion section of the orchestra. It has an indefinite pitch and
is used to maintain rhythm and contribute generally.


"Praise Him with the timbrel and dance." Psalm 150:4

Dance is a praise and worship offering to the Lord and a response to being in the presence of the Almighty. Dance is demonstrated by motioning the body, hands, and/or feet rhythmically, using prescribed or spontaneous steps and gestures. Every movement is to be expressed in a manner that gives glory to God rather than to one’s self. Dance is creative and reflects our Master Creator from whom creativity originates. Playing the round tambourine drum as a percussion instrument and combining dance movements constitutes a powerful and unique expression which reflects upon the end-time celebration in heaven. Each series of movements and tapping of beats of a particular routine or choreography called a "pattern." All patterns are given a title, a key scripture verse, and an explanation along with a choreography diagram and detailed instructions. A specific Biblical principle is assigned to each pattern much like a word is correlated to a hand motion in sign language. When we play our tambourines and dance we are declaring God's Word in our lives and in the earth. Ephesians 6:17 states that the sword of the Spirit is the Word of God. Thus, our tambourines and dancing with them becomes a visible prophetic sign of wielding, as a sword, God's truth.
The tambourine or timbrel is the Jewish symbol of victory and jubilee. Miriam, the sister of Moses, picked up the tambourine and led the women in triumphant dancing after crossing the Red Sea. God freed Israel from the bondage of slavery in Egypt. He then prepared and led them to the Promised Land where they could freely worship. As we pick up our tambourines and dance, we join in the freedom found in the Exodus story. The joy of our salvation is kindled afresh each time we play our timbrels and we are reminded of the joy that is to come when Jesus Christ (Yeshua The Messiah) returns.
Jehova-Nissi means, "The Lord is my banner," Exodus 17:15. In Song of Solomon 2:4b, the banner of the Lord over us is love. The ribbons placed on our timbrels represent God's banner over us and a testimony of what God has done, is doing, and will do in our lives. Just as a timbrel dance pattern has specific Biblical meaning, so does each ribbon pattern. Each color and number of ribbons signifies a particular Biblical standard. Psalm 20:5a shouts, "We will sing for joy over your victory, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners."
Romans 12:1-2 reminds us that it is our reasonable service of worship to present ourselves as living and holy sacrifices acceptable to Him. Anyone who is willing to study and explore new expressions of offering love and gratitude to God will gain insight and spiritual fruitfulness. The tambourine and dance ministry can increase intimacy with God in worship. What an exciting opportunity for any individual regardless of age and skill to enhance their praise and worship experience! Everyone can learn to expand and extend themselves, whether privately or corporately, to deeper dimensions of worship.

Post a Comment