Musical Career

Bible Reading: 1 Chronicles 23; 24:1-19, 31; 25; 26:1-11

In David's latter years, he counted the Levite men so that their priestly duties could be reassigned, in preparation for their service in the new temple. Moses had formerly counted the Levites so he could organize the use, care and transport of the tabernacle through the wilderness. Now that the Israelites had finally settled in the land God had promised them, their ministry duties needed to be restructured.

I find it interesting that music and worship were given such a high priority among the Levites' responsibilities. Some were given the specific job of standing "to thank and praise the Lord" every morning, every evening and for every burnt offering (23:30-31). All the relatives of Asaph, Heman and Jeduthan were "trained and skilled in music for the Lord" (25:7). (I guess you could say that musical talent ran in the family!) They served "under the supervision of their fathers for the music of the temple of the Lord..." (25:6). These capable musicians were "set apart... for the ministry of prophesying, accompanied by harps, lyres and cymbals" (25:1; c.f. 25:3).

Prophesying was more than just foretelling the future; it was the proclamation of God's message to his people through the prompting of the Holy Spirit, with the purpose of instructing, strengthening, encouraging and comforting the believers and of strengthening and edifying the church (1 Cor. 14:3-5, 12, 22, 26, 29, 31; 2 Peter 1:20-21). The continuous praises of skilled and trained musicians in the temple facilitated the working of the Spirit, not only in the hearts of the ministering priests, but in their audiences as well. Often the music itself was the very means of revealing God's heart to his people.

Some of my earliest memories are of singing along with my Dad's harmonica at bedtime and of listening to a peaceful melody float through our house as my Mom played the harp. The beautiful sound of a harp still has a way of calming my heart and lifting my spirit upwards. It is no wonder that the "sound from heaven" is described to be "like that of harpists playing their harps" (Rev. 14:2). My mother has served the Lord in many ways with her musical talents. Following her example, I have used music in my home, to teach God's truths to my children, and in my church, to join with others in worshipping the Lord. Throughout my life, music has powerfully stirred my spirit beyond the reach of words. Whether I am singing along with the radio in my car, participating in the worship service at my church, or drifting to sleep with a song in my head, music has a way of drawing my heart to God, as its melodious message instructs, strengthens, encourages and comforts me. Perhaps the peaceful melody that God puts in my heart is his own Spirit floating over my soul as he quiets me with his love and rejoices over me with singing (Zech. 3:17).

"He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord" (Ps. 40:3).

"I will sing of the Lord's great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations" (Ps. 89:1).