Bible Readings for November 28th
In 1 Chronicles 25, David directs and organizes a division of the non-priestly Levites to serve as musicians in the house of God. As we discussed in the meditation from 1 Chronicles 16, David appoints three leaders of the musicians, one from each clan of the tribe of Levi: Asaph the Gershonite, Jeduthun (who also goes by the name Ethan) the Merarite, and Heman the Kohathite. These leaders, however, are not merely skilled musicians, but they prophesy with lyres, harps, and cymbals (1 Chron. 25:1). Each leader is explicitly called a prophet in some way: Asaph prophesies under the direction of the king (1 Chron. 25:2); Jeduthun prophesies “with the lyre in thanksgiving and praise to the LORD” (1 Chron. 25:3); and Heman is “the king’s seer” (1 Chron. 25:5). In other words, music wasn’t as much about sound as it was about declaring the prophetic word of Yahweh. Furthermore, David establishes formal musical training, with teachers and pupils actively working together to develop the next generation of musical (and prophetic) leadership among the Levites (1 Chron. 25:7–8).
This prophetic ministry of music continues into the new covenant, with Paul commanding the church to “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Col. 3:16). Notice the context of the church’s singing: we are to sing so that the word of Christ may dwell in us richly—that is, the prophetic word of Christ written down in the Scriptures. Additionally, we sing so that we may teach and admonish one another in all wisdom—that is, so that we may train the next generations to be conformed to the image of Christ, who is the wisdom of God (1 Cor. 1:24).
But where music was the exclusive ministry of the Levites under David, this is the ministry of all God’s people under David’s greater Son. As we talked about at length during our study of the book of Numbers, the non-priestly Levites were given lesser privileges than the Levitical priests but greater privileges than the rest of Israel. The reason for this was both to protect and preserve the holiness of God but also to foreshadow the day when Jesus Christ would cleanse and sanctify all his people as the new dwelling place for the Holy Spirit. Here too, the ministry of the Levites foreshadows the way God would lead all of us into musical ministry in our worship.
Singing to the Lord is a great privilege that we must not take lightly, and Christ himself came as the ultimate Son of David in order to qualify all of us to sing in his presence. Brothers and sisters, let us therefore sing for joy to the Lord.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.