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Pleasing God Through A Worship-FIlled Music Ministry

John Collins07/20/2012

2 Chronicles 25 tells who David and the chiefs of the service organized the music of worship to God.

They set apart those who prophesied with lyres and harps.  Those who prophesied were directed by other prophets of music with more experience.  Some prophesied under direction from the King, while others prophesied praise and thanksgiving to the Lord under the direction of Asaph.

Two hundred and eighty-eight men and women were involved in the music ministry, men and women who were trained in singing to the Lord and were skillful.  To divide the work, they cast lots for their duties.  All participated, small and great, pupil and teacher.

In Hebrew worship, temple music consisted of singers and an orchestra, and the Old Testament lists several kinds of instruments in the temple orchestra.  Chronicles 15, 16, and 25 list many of them, including the big harp, the lyre, the ram's horn, the trumpet, the timbrel, and cymbals

In David's time, instruments that were associated with pagan gods were excluded from the temples, but over time and as the culture changed, those instruments such as the pipe and flute became included in temple worship.

Like humans, God Himself loves music.  In Leviticus 23, God told Moses to gather the people to a festival called the "Festival of Trumpets," and refrain from all work.  Worshippers would praise God with loud blasts from their trumpets.  In Numbers 10, God told the people that the trumpets would remind the Lord God of His covenant with the people. 

Asaph, a prophet of music under King David, instructed all to sing praises to God.  He specifically told the people to beat the tambourine, play the lyre and the harp, and sound the trumpets.  He said that it was a law of the God of Jacob.  Through music, Asaph proclaimed messages from God to the people, and he gave those messages with instruments of music. 

By name, the Bible mentions harps, lyres (similar to a harp, but stringed with ten strings that could be chorded like a guitar), pipes, flutes, tambourines, castinets (pottery made to rattle), lutes (similar to a lyre, but boxed like a pear-shaped guitar), sistrums (sliding rattles), cymbals, trumpets, shofars (ram horns used in the fall of Jerico), TOF and timbrel (drums), triangles (metal triangles used for ringing percussion), and more.  The most interesting is the "zither", which was a combination of a variety of instruments.  It included xylophones, musical glasses, stones chipped in a graded scale for percussion, reeds, nut shells, sea shells, metal bowls for percussion, and more.

It is believed that under David, hundreds of instruments were invented.  He is credited as the inventor himself in not only the Bible, but also by Josephus in Antiquities of the Jews.  All of the instruments were used by David to give glory unto the Lord.

As Christians, we should ask ourselves:  Do we value the worship of God through music?  Do we suppress the powerful prophecy through music by continuing a few old hymns as a tradition, or do we allow new music to minister to us through God?  Do we limit God's worship by telling our congregations that only "sacred" instruments such as the piano and organ are the only music God likes in his church, when God Himself told the people to blow the trumpets?  Do we condemn the drums in the temples when King David himself dedicated people to play the TOF and timbrel (drums)?  Have we limited God in our churches by limiting the music ministry?  Is God even pleased with our music ministry?