Title: Blessed, For The Singers
Introduction: I would like to read to you from 2 Chronicles 25: 1, 6-7, “David, together with the commanders of the army, set apart some of the sons of Asaph, Heman and Jeduthun for the ministry of prophesying, accompanied by harps, lyres and cymbals…” “…All these men were under the supervision of their fathers for the music of the temple of the LORD, with cymbals, lyres and harps, for the ministry at the house of God. Asaph, Jeduthun and Heman were under the supervision of the king. Along with their relatives—all of them trained and skilled in music for the LORD…” I also want to read from Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” (Colossians 3:16; Ephesians 5:20) Let us pray!
It should be noted that the entire church service is to be considered as a time were Christians can worship the Lord in spirit and truth. Sunday school is a wonderful opportunity to study the Word of God with other people. The announcements are a wonderful opportunity to share with others all of what God has coming up in the church. The proclaiming of God’s Word should be prepared properly and received with expectation that God will have correction, guidance, and comfort for us. Jesus said that God’s house should be called a house of prayer. (Matthew 21:13) It is also a time in which all should gather together and sing praises to the Lord.
Psalms 147:1 says; “How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise Him.” The heart of the Psalmist reflects what should be in the heart of all Christians as they participate in the song service. The heart attitude that is pleasing to the Lord is one that says it is all about the Lord, and not about us.
Proposition: I would propose to you that God wants you to worship Him in spirit and truth. He longs to deliver His people from the religious bondage that comes from legalism, traditionalism, denominationalism and faddism. Our Lord longs for His church to look into God’s Word so He can bring forth worship in the song service that has freedom and actions that together are a response from a joyful undivided heart. Therefore, we should consider ourselves - blessed, for those who have the gift of music for the house of the Lord.
A Hebrew word, "blessed" (אַשְׁרֵי- ǎš•rê) means fortunate, (Holladay, W. L., & Köhler, L. (2000). A concise Hebrew and Aramaic lexicon of the Old Testament. Leiden: Brill.) happy, (Gesenius' Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament) a heightened state of happiness and joy, implying very favorable circumstance and enjoyment. (Dt 33:29; 1Ki 10:8; 2Ch 9:7; Job 5:17; Ps 1:1; 2:12; 32:1, 2; 33:12; 34:9[EB 8]; 40:5[EB 4]; 41:2[EB 1]; 65:5[EB 4]; 84:5[EB 4],6[EB 5],13[EB 12]; 89:16[EB 15]; 94:12; 106:3; 112:1; 119:1, 2; 127:5; 128:1, 2; 137:8, 9; 144:15; 146:5; Pr 3:13; 8:32, 34; 14:21; 16:20; 20:7; 28:14; Ecc 10:17; Isa 30:18; 32:20; 56:2; Da 12:12 ) (Swanson, J. (1997). Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.)
When a local Body of Christ opens the door for a song service, they are giving opportunity for Christians and non-Christians to enjoy music that was written for the purpose of blessing the Lord and meant to be sung as a proclamation of His love for us. God has a gift to the church: music ministers who are anointed to bless us and lead us to heart-felt worship to the Lord.
Interrogative Sentence: Just what is the church able to enjoy today during the church service?
Transitional Sentence: The heart that gets the most from the song service is the person who understands God's word about the purpose of music. King Hezekiah knew the value of a song service.
The Bible says this about King Hezekiah, he “…trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him.” (2 Kings 18:5) His first official act was to cleanse the Lord’s temple of its pollutants. (The Expositors Bible Commentary) After the purification process, the Bible says, “He stationed the Levites in the temple of the Lord with cymbals, harps and lyres in the way prescribed by David and Gad the king’s seer and Nathan the prophet; this was commanded by the Lord through his prophets.” (2 Chronicles 29:25) Hezekiah was putting together a gathering of the city officials; they were having a public worship service in the temple and Hezekiah was following the directions given by God through King David in order to have a service that was pleasing to the Lord.
King David, the man after God’s heart, (Acts 13:22) had a powerful desire in his heart to build the temple of God. (2 Samuel 7:2) However, he was not permitted to partake in the construction of God’s house. (2 Samuel 7:5-7; 1 Chronicles 22:8) Although he was not involved in the actual building of the temple of God, he did prepare the plans and materials for it. (1 Chronicles 22:1-19; 28:1-29:9) He was also God’s agent in establishing the method of temple service; we read all about that in 1 Chronicles chapters 22-26. All this was the leading of God, through David to set in order corporate worship.
Here are the facts: the song service is not the conjuncture of man; the foundation of the song service is birthed from and sustained by the written word of God.
Transitional Sentence: Not only is the song service ordered by God's Word and anointed by the Holy Spirit; it is the empowerment of spiritual warfare. 1 Samuel records a time when music was used to combat spiritual attacks. Now the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and a evil spirit from the LORD tormented him. - And whenever the harmful spirit from God was upon Saul, David took the lyre and played it with his hand. So Saul was refreshed and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him." (1 Samuel 16:14; 23)
Evil (רָעָה rāʿāh) has a wide range of meanings, from misery to moral perverseness. (Bergen, R. D. (1996). 1, 2 Samuel (Vol. 7, p. 182). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.) This “mental illness” is not to be confused with normal mental illnesses brought on by different medical reasons—such as clinical depression—but this illness is a spiritual attack, making Saul jealous, irritable, vindictive and subject to morbid melancholy. (Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (1 Sa 16:23). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc; Keil, C. F., & Delitzsch, F. (1996). Commentary on the Old Testament (Vol. 2, p. 478). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson.)
When this evil spirit came upon King Saul, David would play upon the lyre and the evil spirit would leave. Matthew Henry wrote, "By the account of Josephus, he added vocal music to it, and sung hymns, probably divine hymns, songs of praise, along with his harp. Music has a natural tendency to compose and exhilarate the mind, when it is disturbed and saddened. Elisha used music for the calming of his spirits. 2 Kings says, “'But now bring me a musician.' And when the musician played, the hand of the Lord came upon him.'"
"Author and Counselor Alan Loy McGinnis instructs his readers to take charge of their feelings. This can be done, in part, by employing uplifting music to lift your mood.… Music can be an important stimulant to optimistic thinking. Churches have always included singing in worship, and music is far more effective when the whole congregation sings rather than when they listen to a choir perform. Singing reinforces one’s beliefs. Horace spoke of music as ‘the healing balm of troubles.’ Congreve in The Morning Bride said, ‘Music hath charms to soothe the savage beast.’ Coleridge said, ‘I feel physically refreshed and strengthened by music.’ And Goethe, who was not particularly musical, said music made him unfold ‘like the fingers of a threatening fist which straighten [peacefully].’” (Morgan, R. J. (2000). Nelson’s complete book of stories, illustrations, and quotes (electronic ed., p. 466). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.)
Picture this if you will: if a fist is coiled up for prolonged periods of time, it would soon develop painful muscular dystrophies, causing much pain which would cripple a person's ability to live. If a spiritual heart stays tight, hardened all the time, it will have a negative affect on a person's entire life. Music is one way God softens—essentially loosening—the heart. The Bible teaches we are in an ongoing spiritual warfare. (Ephesians 6:12)
In Closing: Psalms 147:1 says; “How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise Him.” The heart of the Psalmist reflects what should be in the heart of all Christians as they participate in the song service. An attitude that is pleasing to the Lord is the one that says “it is all about you Lord, not about me.”
Steve Camp, in his written reformation to the contemporary Christian music industry wrote; “Music is a powerful tool from the Lord Jesus to His church intended for worship, praise, encouragement, edification, evangelism, teaching, admonishing and exhorting God’s people to holiness. Its chief aim is always to glorify God and worship Him.”
One of the most powerful influences in my life was Christian music. After surrendering my mind and heart over to the Lord's thoughts, there are several Christian song leaders who help me learn about the different ways to sing to and about the Lord. They taught me about hymns, psalms and spiritual songs. Faithful song leaders helped me purchase, and some even paid for Christian tapes, so I could have Christian music to listen to as I drove thousands miles every week.
From the heart, I say, "Blessed are we for God's singers!"
Let us pray!