God's Message Through Music

Monday, August 17, 2009

In 1 Chronicles 25, we find an incredibly fascinating phrase. The Levitical musicians, we are told, were set apart by David to "prophesy with harps." Through their music, they were to communicate a message directly from the heart of God to His people. Notice, that in this passage, we are referencing music apart from any lyrics.
    "Moreover David and the captains of the host separated to the service of the sons of Asaph, and of Heman, and of Jeduthun, who should prophesy with harps, with psalteries, and with cymbals: and the number of the workmen according to their service was: Of the sons of Asaph; Zaccur, and Joseph, and Nethaniah, and Asarelah, the sons of Asaph under the hands of Asaph, which prophesied according to the order of the king. Of Jeduthun: the sons of Jeduthun; Gedaliah, and Zeri, and Jeshaiah, Hashabiah, and Mattithiah, six, under the hands of their father Jeduthun, who prophesied with a harp, to give thanks and to praise the LORD." (1 Chronicles 25:1-3)
We also find that these same musicians were called "seers," or people who receive a special vision from God that they then communicate to others.
    "All these were the sons of Heman the king's seer in the words of God, to lift up the horn. And God gave to Heman fourteen sons and three daughters." (1 Chronicles 25:5)

    "Moreover Hezekiah the king and the princes commanded the Levites to sing praise unto the LORD with the words of David, and of Asaph the seer. And they sang praises with gladness, and they bowed their heads and worshipped." (2 Chronicles 29:30)

    "And the singers the sons of Asaph were in their place, according to the commandment of David, and Asaph, and Heman, and Jeduthun the king's seer; and the porters waited at every gate; they might not depart from their service; for their brethren the Levites prepared for them." (2 Chronicles 35:15)
We learn from the New Testament that the words of many of the songs found in the book of Psalms are prophetic in nature. Some of the Messianic Psalms, songs that talk of the coming Messiah, are Psalm 16, 22, 27, 31, 34, 35, 38, 41, 68, 69, 72, 78, 110.

In light of the fact that God is musical, it should be no surprise that He desires to use the medium of music to communicate His message to His people. I believe music is just one more form that God uses to tell people about Himself, just as He uses Creation, the Bible, preachers, evangelists and teachers.

A prophet is, literally, one who speaks God's words, in God's name, with God's authority. Prophecy contains God's mind, and God's will concerning a matter. To call a musician a "prophet" adds a whole new dimension to our idea of what can be communicated through music.

Christian musicians in our local churches ought to be aware of the innate power of music to deliver God's message. We ought to concern ourselves with providing clear, powerful Biblical truth, and communicating this message effectively. Our music cannot degenerate into mere entertainment or self promotion. We are not to merely "tickle the ears" (2 Timothy 4:3) of our listeners.

Be aware of the deep spiritual truths contained in your songs, remove any distractions that might hinder or distract from the transmission of these truths, and communicate the message with passion

Curtis Hollembeak

Curtis holds a bachelor's degree in Bible with a music minor, as well as a master's degree in Sacred Music, having studied under Dr. Frank Garlock, president of Majesty Music, and Ray and Ann Gibbs, well-known Christian singers. He has served as music director and jr. high/high school supervisor at Grace Baptist Church of Mankato, Minnesota; school music director at the Franklin Road Christian School in Murfreesboro, Tennessee; media engineer for the Sword of the Lord in Murfreesboro, Tennessee; and, full-time music director at Second Baptist Church and Twin City Christian Academy in Festus, Missouri. He is currently self-employed and serves in the music ministry of the Berean Baptist Church in Rockford, IL. Curtis is co-founder and President of the Asaph Music Co. He regularly sings bass with the Bible Truth Chorale on recordings produced by Bible Truth Music at Faith Music Missions.