Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Power of Worship

When the ark was brought to Jerusalem, David gave very specific orders in 1 Chronicles 15:16.

"David told the leaders of the Levites to appoint (emphasis mine) their brothers as singers to sing joyful songs, accompanied by musical instruments: lyres, harps and cymbals."

The commentary from my NIV study bible reads: The great musical procession was designed as a worthy accompaniment to the great occasion. It heightened the excitement, elevated the people's hearts and minds, and focused their attention on the event. It also helped seal it in their memory for years to come. Beginning any task by praising God can inspire us to give him our best. Develop the practice of giving praise to God and you will experience greater joy and strength to face anything.

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In 1 Chronicles 16:4 David "appointed some of the Levites to minister before the ark of the Lord, to make petition, to give thanks, and to praise the Lord (emphasis mine), the God of Israel.

Later in 1 Chronicles chapter 23, he divides up the Levites, giving them all very specific jobs. Six thousand were to be officials and judges. Four thousand were to be gatekeepers and four thousand were to praise the Lord with musical instruments. 

From David's time on, the use of music in worship was much more organized. Music for the temple became refined. Why do you think this was the case? Why did he put such heavy emphasis on music? Notice he assigned 4000 people to the job - the same number he assigned as gate keepers! Music and security were on the same level in his eyes.

My personal opinion is that David knew something about worship. David knew the power that it held. He knew strength could be drawn from this powerful praise. He had spent years in the wilderness running from Saul perfecting his worship skills. He drew his strength from God through worshipping him. He didn't have fancy teachers and preachers. All he had was alone time, with God, to praise him.

Not only did he know the power of worship, he understood that worshiping God showed no favoritism. Notice in 1 Chronicles 25: 6-31 how David divided the musicians:

"All of these men ... trained and skilled in music for the Lord .... young and old alike, teacher as well as student, cast lots for their duties."

This is amazing to me. They divided them equally with no regard to age or skill level. My commentary reads "This division of labor gave order to the planning of temple work, promoted excellence by making training easier, gave variety to worship because each group worked a term and provided opportunities for many to be involved."

I personally love worshiping the Lord through music. And, I think most people do. We may not agree on the type of music or what instruments should or should not be played in the church, but I think we can all agree that there is power power power in worshiping God! I can hear a song on the radio and go directly to the thrown of God without ever hearing a sermon or opening my bible. That is the power of worship. (Disclaimer: I believe strongly in preaching and teaching and especially reading the word of God. I'm simply making a point about the power of worship.)

David got this! He understood it like no one else. He changed the course of history because he believed so strongly in worship. We have to give it that same priority in the house of the Lord. We have to give it that same attention to detail. We especially need to divide the work load - appoint others - pass the baton. But, we have to keep it top of mind, and give it due diligence.

With that in mind, as a parent, I feel it is important to make sure my kids know something about music. I should devote as much time and attention to making sure they learn an instrument as I do making sure they learn their math or how to play baseball. I have not done this! I was not taught to play an instrument, and I regret not possessing that skill. I see the importance. It is a dying art form. Computers can produce music these days. I don't even need an instrument! So, I really don't have an excuse.

Today, I'm convicted to be more like David. I'm convicted to change the course of my little world by teaching myself and my kids how to play an instrument, and how to use that talent to praise the Lord. It is just that important!

Lift up Your Hands - Meredith Andrews

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