Tuesday: God as Musician

“ ‘Four thousand are to be gatekeepers and four thousand are to praise the Lord with the musical instruments I have provided for that purpose’ ” (1 Chron. 23:5, NIV).1

Try to envision the scene above: four thousand people playing musical instruments in praise of the Lord! That must have been an amazing worship service.

God’s artistic expression is not restricted to the representational arts. In Scripture we find that, along with sacred architecture, Israel’s liturgy was inspired by the Lord. God is a lover of beautiful music, as well.

How does King David describe his composition of the psalms Israel used in worship? 2 Sam. 23:1, 2.  

David was clear that he was inspired by the Lord to write the songs that he did. Though this doesn’t mean that the Lord wrote the words and music for him, it does mean that the Lord cared about the kind of music that was played. Otherwise, why bother to inspire it?

Read 2 Chonicles 29:25. What does this tell us about the role of the Lord in the music that was played in their worship services? 

Throughout the Old Testament, when temple worship is recounted, music is evident and impressive. Picture, for instance, the worship atmosphere in the descriptions in 1 Chronicles 23:5. Four thousand instruments! Whatever the music must have sounded like, it certainly wasn’t boring or dry!

It might be argued that aesthetic dimensions could be expected within sacred worship and that throughout history all nations have exhibited such in worship of their gods. However, Israel alone insists that God Himself designed every aspect of His worship, including architecture, furniture, priestly attire, and liturgy. There can be no doubt that artistic design is sanctioned in the Word of God. Anyone who rejects the aesthetic dimension or who denies that being an artist can be a relevant vocation for a Christian does so against the record of Scripture.

Though we don’t have the music that accompanied Israelite worship, it must have been beautiful and certainly must have lifted their souls toward the Lord. How does music in our church function today? How can we be sure that it does the same thing; that is, lift our souls toward the Lord, as opposed to pushing us in another direction?



Tuesday: God as Musician — 10 Comments

  1. We should be delighted to praise God in the form of music. As we sing His praises the angels will rejoice with us as they themselves praise Him in music. I will praise the Lord at all times. His praise shall continually be in my mouth (Psalms 34:1)

  2. Music is one of God's great gifts to man and is one of the most important elements in a spiritual program. It is an avenue of communication with God, and "is one of the most effective means of impressing the heart with spiritual truth" (Education, p. 168). Dealing as it does with matters of eternal consequence, it is essential that music's tremendous power be kept clearly in mind. It has the power to uplift or degrade; it can be used in the service of good or evil. "It has power to subdue rude and uncultivated natures; power to quicken thought and to awaken sympathy, to promote harmony of ac¬tion, and to banish the gloom and foreboding that destroy courage and weaken effort" (ibid., pp. 167-168).

  3. Because God made humans in His image, we share a love and appreciation for music with all His created beings. In fact, music can touch and move us with a power that goes beyond words or most other types of communication. At its purest and best, music lifts our beings into the very presence of God where angels and unfallen beings worship Him in song.

    • Monica, if you are referring to the 4000 musicians that David used, that seems to be the way things were done in that culture along with hundreds or thousands of animals being sacrificed by the king. Even in the apostolic church of the first century we don't see that kind of thing in the Bible.

      For us, that is just plain impractical. In the times of David and Solomon the entire county was involved in events such as those while in the new testament the way things were done was much different where the church is made up of many small congregations. In fact even with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit I don't remember reading about the use of musical instruments in the book of Acts. It's just a different era with different objectives in a different culture.

      Perhaps the closest we come to that kind of a thing in our church today is during the GC conventions where representatives from around the world come together in session. During that time we see large musical groups preforming at times.

  4. I believe music plays an integral role in worship. God as Musician shows us that God also loves When we praise Him through music.

  5. I would dearly love to hear what a symphony with 4,000 musicians would sound like. I can't even imagine it. I have seen some grandiose productions of Handel's "Messiah," but nothing that would come close to this.

    However, maybe like the gatekeepers, they were not all on duty at once. Still the idea staggers the imagination.

  6. It also goes to show how far we are now than then from perfection. What we can do collectively is to give true worhship in our songs [wholesome ones] and as individuals when we sing and worship in our songs, open up our hearts, soul, and minds and imaging the angels singing with us and God beaming at us.

  7. Musician is a way of communicating with God just as prayer. Therefore we need to be humbled enough and have respect when we want to praise God.

  8. "The LORD thy GOD in the midst of thee is mighty; HE will save, HE will rejoice over thee with joy; HE will rest in HIS love, HE will joy over thee with singing" (Zephaniah 3:17). GOD will have me in awestruck attention! Talk about music to listen to over and over. HIS joy expressed in these songs will surely take some time. Time has been on HIS side as HE composes these masterpieces. HIS desire to share HIS joyful emotion must be overwhelming! Heaven is going to be fun. Let's go!


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