Music has always been a major aspect of serving and worshiping Jehovah. It’s so important to God that it was present when he created Earth (Job 38:4-7) and it will be present when he goes through the process of ending Earth (Revelation 15) in the last of the last days. In our service to the Lord under the New Testament, God annulled the bulk of the rituals of the Old Testament, but one ritual that was carried over into the NT was the use of music.
If we study the prominent role that was given to music by David as he helped Solomon prepare for the building of the temple in Jerusalem, it will help us understand its vital role in churches today. In 1 Chronicles 25:1-8, David set about selecting individuals to run the music ministry. It was such an important task that he didn’t carry it out unilaterally. David included his captains in the decision-making process (1 Chronicles 25:1). They understood that divine service can only be complete when there is both praise and instruction encompassed in both the spoken word and sung words. In the end they chose the families of three men to be in charge of the music: Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun.
All three of these men had interesting histories. All of them were skilled singers as well as skilled musicians who played several instruments (1 Chronicles 15:19, 16:42). But as an added bonus, all three of them were prophets, or seers (1 Chronicles 25:5; 2 Chronicles 29:30; 35:15). David and his captains chose their sons to run the ministry because they were known to “prophesy with harps, with psalteries, and with cymbals,” and with horns (1 Chronicles 25:1,5). All of their names listed in that chapter have prophetic significance. Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun made sure they passed their godly legacies to their descendants.
Another interesting note about all of them, mentioned in verses 7-8 of 1 Chronicles 25, is that every last one of them was educated in their musical skills and in expansive knowledge of the word of the Lord. That’s why they gave the prophetic music ministry at the temple the four characteristics any genuine prophetic ministry requires: (1) Orderliness; (2) Excellency; (3) Variety; and (4) Equitable goodwill. The equitable goodwill was especially displayed when they cast lots for scheduling the dates for singers and musicians, giving equal opportunities to “the small as the great, the teacher as the scholar.”
When churches today take note of this pattern that David and his men set for God’s people of any time period, they will experience a wealth of spiritual blessings in the same way that Solomon and the nation of Israel did in the early years of the temple. Since the Holy Spirit indwells believers to dispense spiritual gifts and talents in all aspects of church ministry, we should expect God’s prophecies to come forth out of our music and lyrics to admonish us and build us up in the faith to serve the Lord with excellence.
Moreover David and the captains of the host separated to the service of the sons of Asaph, and of Heman, and of Jeduthun, who should prophesy with harps, with psalteries, and with cymbals… 1 Chronicles 25:1