David organized the music worship program for the temple (1 Ch. 15:16-28; 16:4-6; 23:1-5; 25:1-31), and he did this by divine revelation (2 Ch. 29:25).
Notice some lessons from these passages.
(1) The instruments were harps, psalteries, cymbals, trumpets and cornets (1 Ch. 15:28). These are not the type of instruments used to create worldly dance music. Notice that there were no drums. These are instruments that provide good accompaniment to the human voice, because it is the human voice that enunciates the words of edification and praise.
(2) The singers and musicians were skillful (“excel,” 1 Ch. 15:21; “skilful,” 1 Ch. 15:22; “cunning,” 1 Ch. 25:7). One qualification for ministry is ability. When God calls an individual to a ministry, he gifts and equips him for that ministry. For example, the elder must be apt to teach and must be able to exhort and convince false teachers (1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:9). If a man cannot do this work, he is not called to be an elder.
(3) They excelled (1 Ch. 15:21). They wanted everything to be as perfect as possible; mediocrity was unacceptable.
(4) They were trained (1 Ch. 25:7). Churches should do everything they can to provide training for their singers and musicians to the glory of the Creator. It is one thing to be untrained and ignorant, but it is quite another thing to be content to remain untrained and to offer unto God something less than our best. Every church must be a serious Bible training institute.
(5) They were well organized; they submitted to God’s order and to the authority figures God had put over them; they were assigned their places (1 Ch. 15:17, 19; 25:2, 6).
- The lot was used (1 Ch. 25:8) so that God’s will would be done in the appointment of the singers and musicians and so that no favoritism would be exercised by the leaders. The lot was used to determine God’s mind. There is no place for jealously and carnality and favoritism in the church’s music ministry. All things should be done by the mind of God and for the glory of God rather than for man. Compare 1 Cor. 12:7. We don’t need to use the lot today, because we have the indwelling Spirit and the complete Word of God.
- Submission to God-ordained authority is the way of peace in the congregation (1 Thes. 5:12-13).
(6) They sang and played with enthusiasm and joy (1 Ch. 15:16). God’s people should follow this example in the churches, and the music leaders should teach and encourage it. I believe that congregational singing is a reflection of a church’s spiritual character. Many of the Lord’s people do not sing or sing so softly that no one can hear them, but the song service is not about me and whether or not I feel like singing or whether I like to sing, and it’s not a time to be entertained. It is about singing to God and edifying one another, and it should be done with exuberance.
(7) They prophesied (1 Ch. 25:1-3). Compare 1 Corinthians 14:24-25 which says that all the saints should prophesy. This doesn’t mean that every member preaches. Paul limited the actual prophesying or preaching to two or three (1 Cor. 14:29). 1 Corinthians 14:3 says prophesying is speaking “unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.” Any of that is prophesying. For all to prophesy means that every believer participates in and responds to every part of the service from the heart: to the singing and playing, to the preaching and teaching, even to the corporate prayer. I like the practice I have seen in Korean Baptist churches. During public prayer, as one brother is leading, the brethren say a loud “amen” after every statement. This is prophesying! This is unity in corporate prayer. When visitors see that the members are enthusiastically involved in the services, they understand that the brethren really do believe in Christ, and they are convicted of the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
(8) They sang God’s Words (1 Ch. 25:5). Compare Colossians 3:16.
- Worship must must be based solidly upon Scripture; it must not be heretical or frivolous or shallow. The first test of Christian music is the test of whether its message is Scriptural.
- Worship music should flow from lives that are filled richly with God’s Word, and from lives that understand the Word and practice its precepts wisely in daily living. This is what creates a spiritual song service. Yet in my experience, the average member of Bible-believing churches is ignorant of God’s Word and doesn’t have the wisdom to apply it to daily living. No wonder our services are so lukewarm.
(9) They gave thanksgiving to God (1 Ch. 25:3). This is the first and foremost purpose of the Christian life and church.
- There are two kinds of spiritual songs: those that teach and edify the brethren and those that praise the Lord (Col. 3:16). The churches need to make sure that they sing hymns of worship and not only songs for the edification of the saints.
- True worship to God is not a rock & roll dance party; it is not a performance. True worship is glorifying God with the mind and heart for His attributes and character and works. See Psalm 100. True worship is to give thanks to God (Heb. 13:15).
- All of this looks forward to the Millennial Temple when Christ will be seated on the throne of His glory and the priests will sing and play to His glory and people will worship Him (Ezek. 40:44). The Psalms are filled with prophecies of this (e.g., Psalm 33:1-11; 149:1-3; 150:3-6).
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