Today’s Reading: 1 Chronicles 24-26
Today’s Reflection: 1 Chronicles 25:1(a)
David and the chiefs of the service also set apart for the service the sons of Asaph, and of Heman, and of Jeduthun, who prophesied with lyres, with harps, and with cymbals.
Did you realize musicians were regarded as prophets in Israel? The musical worship leaders were descended from the tribe of Levi, the same tribe the priesthood came from. To be clear, prophesy is more than giving predictions of the future from God, but also involves the proclamation and practical interpretation of God’s Word. Music was frequently used for this purpose.
Today many Christians regard music as an enhancement to worship services, kind of like an ‘appetizer’ before the ‘meal’ of preaching, teaching and bible study. But as you look through the scriptures it becomes clear that music is an integral part of the worship experience. In Israel music was part of the temple services (1 Chronicles 15:25-28), feast days (Isaiah 30:29), and even used in warfare, both to call men to battle (Judges 7:18-22) and to celebrate victory (Exodus 15:19-21).
Today most of the music presented in church is exclusively songs of praise to God. But the book of Psalms, is a record of 150 songs written and arranged by David and other key worship leaders in Israel (including Asaph), isn’t just a collection of positive, feel-good praise lyrics. They also include lamentations, cries for mercy and pleas for justice. This collection, veering from joy and elation, to thanksgiving and awe, to anger and sorrow, suggests that worship music shouldn’t be limited to praise songs, but is capable of covering the depth and complexity of the human experience of knowing God, much as preaching, teaching and bible study does. We should hear a vast variety of musical styles and expressions reflecting all aspects of the Christian experience.
And music is just the tip of the artistic iceberg. Throughout the bible, storytelling (Ezekiel 17:1-2), dance (2 Samuel 6:14) and drama (Isaiah 20:1-6) are also used to glorify God and deliver messages in ways that went beyond mere words. There is a broad palate of artistic expression that can be used to reach people with the Gospel. For people who rarely visit church or won’t sit still for a sermon, concerts, plays, performance arts, even movies can be means of bringing God’s word to life.
Music is power, as are the arts in general. Lets use them all to prophesy for God’s glory.
Colossians 3:16 – Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.