Summary: “Let our lord now command your servants who are before you to seek out a man who is skillful in playing the lyre, and when the harmful spirit from God is upon you, he will play it, and you will be well” 1Sam. 16:16.
Music as gift
Text: 1 Sam. 16:16-23; 1 Cor. 12:1-12; Lk. 10:1-12
The Bible begins with the words “In the beginning God”. Everything begins with God and whatever we do must begin with Him. Is this not enough reason to praise and worship Him continually? Music began with God to be used in praise and worship and in the words of the Psalmist “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!” (Psalm 150:6) The Temple musicians did this as they ministered with music at the Tabernacle and later at the Temple to praise and glorify God and invite His presence into the lives of His people. (1 Chr. 6:31-32) At the dedication of the Temple by King Solomon many singers accompanied by various instruments praised and glorified God and what happened was that “the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God”. (2 Chr. 5:14) Godly music always invites the presence of God and the presence of God inspires godly music. The name Horatio G. Spafford may not mean anything to many of us. He was a Christian who experienced difficult times as all Christians do. He was married to Anna and had five children, a son and four daughters. First he lost his only son. Then he lost all his four daughters when the ship on which they were travelling to England sank. His wife survived and on his way to England to join her Spafford came to the spot where his daughters had drowned. As he remembered them, he meditated on the goodness of God. Suddenly he felt a peace that he knew could only come from God and was inspired to write a hymn that has ministered to people all over the world with the words
“When peace like a river, flows over my way
When sorrows like sea-billows roll;
Whatever my lot, you have taught me to know,
It is well; it is well with my soul.
It is well with my soul.
It is well; it is well with my soul.
Though Satan should buffet, though trials come
This fact all my fears shall control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And has shed His own blood for my soul.”
As Spafford wrote this hymn he could not have imagined how many people through the ages will find peace hearing or singing this hymn. Christian music brings peace because it brings us into the presence of Christ, the Prince of Peace. Peace does not depend on our circumstances but on Christ who is our peace. Music brings us into the presence of God and restores our joy for “in His presence there is fullness of joy; at His right hand are pleasures forevermore”. (Psalm 16:11) Many people listen, sing and dance to music at entertainment centres and feel a temporary joy. Why not enjoy godly music where the effect is more permanent. Music invites the presence of God into our battles and gives us victory. King Jehoshaphat listened to the Word of God and went into battle with the priests in front of the army. The priests went ahead singing and praising the Lord with the words “Give thanks to the LORD, for his steadfast love endures forever”. (2 Chr. 20:21). They won the battle without a fight.
Peace is one of our most treasured possessions. When Jesus sent out His disciples’ peace was the only thing they needed. Many people today think otherwise and equate money with peace. We all know this is not true and the lives of countless people have proved this fact. Some of the richest people in the world spend their lives looking for peace but very often in the wrong places. The Scriptures tell the story of Saul, the first king of Israel, a man of wealth and power. In spite of his wealth he did not have peace because the spirit of God had departed from him. Trusting in self rather than trusting in God separates us from the presence of God. Separated from the presence of God is to be separated from His protection and this allowed an evil spirit to afflict him? Since Saul remained separated from the presence of God the only way for him to experience God’s presence was to be near someone who enjoyed God’s presence. Saul found that person in David whose presence and anointed music brought him peace temporarily because the spirit of God was upon him. Music invites the presence of God and gives us victory in our battles. We are all fighting various battles in our lives. It may be sickness and disease, it may be poverty and lack, and it may be grief and depression. Let us invite Christ into our lives and into our battles as we confess Him as Saviour and Lord.