Summary: This sermon is about the music David played for King Saul and points out how music can help us, too!

Music Ministers To Our Hearts

1 Samuel 16:14-23

[14] But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and a distressing spirit from the Lord troubled him.

[15] And Saul's servants said to him, "Surely, a distressing spirit from God is troubling you.

[16] Let our master now command your servants, who are before you, to seek out a man who is a skillful player on the harp; and it shall be that he will play it with his hand when the distressing spirit from God is upon you, and you shall be well."

[17] So Saul said to his servants, "Provide me now a man who can play well, and bring him to me."

[18] Then one of the servants answered and said, "Look, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing, a mighty man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a handsome person; and the Lord is with him."

[19] Therefore Saul sent messengers to Jesse, and said, "Send me your son David, who is with the sheep."

[20] And Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread, a skin of wine, and a young goat, and sent them by his son David to Saul.

[21] So David came to Saul and stood before him. And he loved him greatly, and he became his armorbearer.

[22] Then Saul sent to Jesse, saying, "Please let David stand before me, for he has found favor in my sight."

[23] And so it was, whenever the spirit from God was upon Saul, that David would take a harp and play it with his hand. Then Saul would become refreshed and well, and the distressing spirit would depart from him.

Music is a powerful force.

It gets our attention, grabs our hearts, and changes our souls.

That's because God has made it so.

God created music

and created us in a way that music ministers to us.

God has also given certain individuals the ability to make music.

In Genesis 4:21,

we read that Jubal "was the father of all who play the harp and flute."

David, the man after God's own heart, was a man of music.

Right in the middle of the Bible

we find the book of Psalms.

More than half of them were written by David.

Some of them were written when David was facing

the threatening presence of a madman named Saul.

After Samuel anointed David with oil,

indicating God's choice of him as the next king of Israel;

we read some disturbing things about Saul.

The Bible says, "[14] But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and a distressing spirit from the Lord troubled him.

Before we talk about the misery Saul wrestled with,

Iit's important to notice that the Spirit of the Lord

departed from Saul before an evil spirit came.

It's also important for us to understand

that the indwelling of the Spirit is different for Christians

than it was for the people of the Old Testament.

Before the coming of the Holy Spirit

on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2,

the Spirit of God never permanently rested on any person,

perhaps with the exception of David and John the Baptist.

In Old Testament times,

it was common for the Spirit of God

to come for a temporary period of strengthening or insight

or whatever was the need of the moment,

and then to depart.

However, at Pentecost and from that time on,

when the Holy Spirit comes into the believing sinner,

He stays.

We remain sealed by the Holy Spirit, as Ephesians 4;30 says, "And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of salvation."

Our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit.

The Spirit of God resides in us!

1 Corinthians 6:19 says, Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?

But what is happening here in 1 Samuel 16 with King Saul

is centuries before the Day of Pentecost.

We should not be surprised to read

that as the Spirit of God departed from Saul,

a vacuum was created

into which God sent an evil spirit to torment him.

No one knows the exact reason why the Lord did this,

but we can certainly speculate.

What seems most probable

is that the Lord was disgusted with Saul.

It's as if God was saying to Saul, "You have not taken me seriously. This will teach you to do that, Saul."

The Hebrew word used here is translated in the King James Bible

as "torment" and in the New King James "troubled".

The original Hebrew word means "to fall upon, to startle, to overwhelm."

The 'evil spirit which came into Saul

was not merely a feeling of depression

at the rejection God announced to him,

which grew into sadness,

and occasionally broke out in passing fits of insanity.

It was a higher evil power which took possession of him,

not only deprived him of his peace of mind,

but stirring up the feelings, ideas, imagination,

to such an extent that at times it drove him even into madness.

God had sent it as a punishment.

So that was Saul's condition!

It was so visible to those around him

that even his servant realized he needed help.

He boldly suggested, " Surely, a distressing spirit from God is troubling you. [16] Let our master now command your servants, who are before you, to seek out a man who is a skillful player on the harp; and it shall be that he will play it with his hand when the distressing spirit from God is upon you, and you shall be well." [17] So Saul said to his servants, "Provide me now a man who can play well, and bring him to me."

Archaeological records, carvings, and inscriptions

show us that the ancients believed music soothed passions,

healed mental diseases,

and even held in check riots.

God used that belief to connect David to Saul and the throne.

Someone happens to hear that Saul is depressed

and is looking for someone to provide him with soothing music.

He knows David, and he says, "I know a boy who can do that."

God never runs out of creative ways

to carry out His sovereign plan!

The Bible says, "18 Then one of the servants answered and said, "Look, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing, a mighty man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a handsome person; and the Lord is with him."

The young David is a skilled musician.

He's a man of valor or courage. He's a warrior!

He speaks well. He's handsome;

and the Lord is with him.

That tells me something!

Point #1.We should never discount anything about our past or any preparation or experience we have had. God can use it all!

We never know when something that we have done

or something that happened years ago

will open a door of opportunity in the future.

That's precisely what happened to David.

He had never met King Saul.

Yet he was to be Saul's replacement,

and so God works out a way to bring them together.

What was it that God used? Music!

The Bible says, "19 Therefore Saul sent messengers to Jesse, and said, "Send me your son David, who is with the sheep." [20] And Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread, a skin of wine, and a young goat, and sent them by his son David to Saul.

We don't know if Jesse had any concerns

about releasing David to Saul,

but he didn't send him to Saul empty-handed.

He loaded him down with gifts for the king.

David didn't know it,

but he was on the road to becoming a king.

The Bible says, "David came to Saul and entered his service."

When David walked into the king's presence,

Saul had no idea who he was.

Saul's successor was standing right in front of him,

but the king didn't know it.

David certainly didn't mention it.

He never said to Saul, "I'm going to take you place, pal. So step aside."

Even though he had been anointed by Samuel as king,

he never once did he pull rank on Saul.

He wasn't arrogant and bigheaded.

Why?

Because he was a man after God's own heart.

David was a special young man.

David had come for one purpose:

to minister to the king in his torment and depression.

So how did things go for David with Saul?

Well at the start things went very well.

The Bible says, "So David came to Saul and stood before him. And he loved him greatly, and he became his armorbearer. [22] Then Saul sent to Jesse, saying, "Please let David stand before me, for he has found favor in my sight." [23] And so it was, whenever the spirit from God was upon Saul, that David would take a harp and play it with his hand. Then Saul would become refreshed and well, and the distressing spirit would depart from him.

There was Saul in torment and David playing his harp.

David's music refreshed Saul.

The Hebrew word translated "refreshed" means "to be wide, to be spacious, to give space so as to bring relief."

God had His hand on this young man

whose music not only would fill the heart of a depressed king,

but also would someday fill His written Word as Psalms.

The result of all this

was that Saul began to love that young man

because he brought him relief.

King Saul gave David additional duties.

David became one of his armor bearers as well.

Point #2. Music Can Minister To Us.

How does music minister to us?

Martin Luther believed that the Reformation was not complete

until the saints of God had two things in their possession:

a Bible in their own language and a hymnal.

He believed they needed the Word

that could lead them to a deeper understanding of their God,

and a hymnal to help them express the love and joy of their faith.

Luther said, "Next to the Word of God, music deserves the highest praise."

I don't believe we can have genuine worship

without those two elements blending together:

#1 The preaching of the Word,

#2 The expression of our faith in music

that flows from our hearts and voices in song.

God certainly has cast His vote in favor of music.

Long before there the voice of humans on the earth,

there was singing.

In the Job 38:4-7,

we read about God questioning Job

about what he knows about the early days of creation,

4 "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. [5] Who determined its measurements? Surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? [6] To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone, [7] When the morning stars sang together, And all the sons of God shouted for joy?

Just imagine the kind of harmony

the morning stars and the angels must have emitted as they sang!

So since there was singing before the earth was formed

there should be a lot of singing while we are here on the earth.

Psalms, the longest book of the Bible is dedicated to singing.

Whatever your mood,

You can find a Psalm that will help to express it.

Are you glad?

I can find you a Psalm that you can sing.

Are you sad?

I can find you a Psalm that will suit that occasion.

The Psalms range over the whole gamut of human emotions.

That's not to say that the Psalms are easy,

because they aren't.

Of course, there are a few that are very popular

and easier to benefit from

like Psalm 1, 23, 91, 100, and parts of 119.

But for the most part,

the rest of the Psalms take time and effort to benefit from them.

They are music for the spiritually mature Christian,

Those who want to mature as a Christian

should spend their time in the Psalms.

The Psalms offer refreshment and recovery.

They can be very helpful to channel emotions

that seem to be getting out of line,

or that we find difficult to express.

Praise God for inspiring David and others

to write the Psalms

and then to preserve them for us,

and those who have put melody to them so we can sing them!

Music is very important in our spiritual lives

personally, privately and publicly, corporately.

Paul teaches some very important truths about this subject

in letters to the churches at Ephesus and the Colosse.

Ephesians 5:19-20: speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, [20] giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

Colossians 3:16, 3 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

In those two passages

we see how important our singing really is.

We sing in order to please God.

But also we sing to minister to us and to each other.

Many people struggle with singing in worship

because they don't consider themselves very good singers.

Even though they may be right, that doesn't matter.

We are not auditioning for American Idol here.

We are making melody in our hearts to the Lord.

So never mind how good or bad you sound!

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord.

Sing loud!

We also sometimes struggle with the types of music we sing.

Some people like the new Praise & Worship songs.

Some people like the old hymn songs.

Some people like fast songs; some like the slow ones.

Some like more songs; some like less.

The point is: none of us like or want the same things.

That's why we need to be flexible.

Keep in mind that the song or songs that you dislike

are very likely someone's favorites!

And keep in mind that today's old music

was yesterdays new music.

Today's classical music was yesterday's contemporary music.

Sometimes we just have to get used to things

and that takes time and patience.

And we have to realize that nothing stays the same.

Everything is ever changing.

And that's why we have to be flexible.

Let me give a few suggestions

that might enhance the ministry of music in our spiritual lives.

#1. Concentrate on the words.

The best spiritual songs have incredibly powerful words.

The meaning of these songs can bless our lives

as they remind us of what the Lord has done,

or what the Lord will do for us.

They also can give voice to our ongings to praise the Lord,

ask for His mercy,

or offer thanksgiving.

The words allow us to express our faith

and teach each other God's truths.

Concentrate on the meaning of the songs.

#2. Engage the heart as well as the head.

The meaning of the songs we sing

should often prompt strong emotions

so let those emotions flow.

How can we sing "When We All Get To Heaven"

without rejoicing in our hearts?

How can we sing "The Old Rugged Cross"

and not be moved as we think of what Jesus as done for us?

Singing should prompt our emotions.

And when it does,

let them flow in tears, or joy with smiles, or raised hands.

#3 Sing as much as possible.

We should carry a song with us in our hearts throughout the day.

We should sing whenever possible.

Singing spiritual songs just does wonderful things to the soul.

CLOSING:

Soft music for a hard heart.

That's what David provided for Saul

and that's what we need.

Jesus died for us.

He rose from the dead

to give us the desire and power to have eternal life

and to live a blessed life,

free from the cage of human discouragement and despair.

He is our shepherd and we are His sheep

needing the music of His voice.

He has given us a song

and we can rejoice and exalt God together.