“Moreover David and the captains of the army separated for the service some of the sons of Asaph, of Heman, and of Jeduthun, who should prophesy with harps, stringed instruments, and cymbals.” 1 Chronicles 25:1a (NKJV)
The two greatest days of a touring musician’s career are 1) the day they buy their first tour bus and 2) the day they sell it! Everything that goes wrong on a tour bus costs at least $1,000. Being successful is hard work. As they say in Nashville, “If it were that easy to grab, there wouldn’t be any left…and there’s a lot left.” You have to fight to get to the top, and you have to fight to stay there. Success in the music business isn’t for sissies. Perhaps that is why David chose his musicians from the army. This is especially so for worship music. Worship is spiritual warfare.
And what are our weapons? Harps, stringed instruments & cymbals? Perhaps, but the true weapon is prophecy. When I say “prophecy,” I am not talking about predicting the future. The kind of prophecy the Lord describes in today’s chapter is to musically speak forth the Word of God. It is akin to the type of prophecy the Apostle Paul speaks.
“Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.” 1 Corinthians 14:1 (NKJV)
Paul is not exhorting the believers in Corinth to predict the future or write new books to the Bible. He is telling them that the most important thing to seek, in addition to love, is God’s Word and that His Spirit would enable them to understand it. “Prophesy” conveys more than an intellectual acquisition of information; it conveys that we receive knowledge with the expressed intent that we would share it with others. That is the kind of prophesy these soldiers-turned-musicians were called to: Seek God’s Word and sing about what the Spirit revealed to them from God’s Word.
As we read the rest of today’s chapter, take notice of this phrase, “Direction of their father…” (verses. 2, 3, 6) True to Deuteronomy 6:6-7, the father’s duty was not only to teach his children how to excellently play the various instruments in the temple orchestra. His most important role was to teach his children to value God’s Word!
Psychologists say, “hurt people hurt people.” What they mean is that people who display abusive behavior were probably, themselves, abused. Conversely, if a person is well-disciplined, they will disciple others well. Notice how the musicians were also drafted into teaching roles, perpetuating the values (set forth by King David) of the Levitical musicians throughout their generations.
“Moreover David and the captains of the army separated for the service some of the sons of Asaph, of Heman, and of Jeduthun, who should prophesy with harps, stringed instruments, and cymbals. And the number of the skilled men performing their service was: Of the sons of Asaph: Zaccur, Joseph, Nethaniah, and Asharelah; the sons of Asaph were under the direction of Asaph, who prophesied according to the order of the king. Of Jeduthun, the sons of Jeduthun: Gedaliah, Zeri, Jeshaiah, Shimei, Hashabiah, and Mattithiah, six, under the direction of their father Jeduthun, who prophesied with a harp to give thanks and to praise the Lord. Of Heman, the sons of Heman: Bukkiah, Mattaniah, Uzziel, Shebuel, Jerimoth, Hananiah, Hanani, Eliathah, Giddalti, Romamti-Ezer, Joshbekashah, Mallothi, Hothir, and Mahazioth. All these were the sons of Heman the king’s seer in the words of God, to exalt his horn. For God gave Heman fourteen sons and three daughters. All these were under the direction of their father for the music in the house of the Lord, with cymbals, stringed instruments, and harps, for the service of the house of God. Asaph, Jeduthun, and Heman were under the authority of the king. So the number of them, with their brethren who were instructed in the songs of the Lord, all who were skillful, was two hundred and eighty-eight. And they cast lots for their duty, the small as well as the great, the teacher with the student.” 1 Chronicles 25:1-8 (NKJV)
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