Sing to the LORD, all the earth; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvellous deeds among all peoples.
1 Chronicles 16:23-24 (NIV)
Read: 1 Chronicles 16:23-36
Consider: We read in 1 Chronicles 15 that when the Ark of God was brought into Jerusalem it caused King David to dance and celebrate. Unfortunately his wife, Michal was unhappy with him acting in this way in front of the nation and we are told that ‘… she despised him in her heart’ (1 Chronicles 15:29). Michal thought that David, as king, should act in a particularly way and his exuberance horrified her.
Picking up the story in 1 Chronicles 16 we read about David: He appointed some of the Levites to minister before the ark of the LORD, to extol, thank, and praise the LORD, the God of Israel (16:4). Asaph, Zechariah and the other Levites were chosen by David to lead the worship before the ark of the covenant. As these men were to use instruments and their voices in worship, we can be sure that David chose those who were skilled musicians and singers to do this job. Reading this account made me realise that while David chose the Levites for the task of worship, it was God who gifted each of them in their use of musical instruments and their voices in worship.
Reading through David’s psalm given to the Levites to be used in worship (1 Chronicles 16:8-36), should remind us that the purpose of worship is to firstly praise God and then to encourage us to remember God’s mighty deeds, his faithfulness and our total dependence on him. I particularly like the people’s response to this psalm: Then all the people said “Amen” and “Praise the LORD” (16:36).
There will be some in our fellowships who are gifted musicians who will rightly be considered to lead in worship. We do, of course, always need to remember that worship in church is not a performance and, while it should be done as well as possible, God does not expect perfection. Also if a person’s heart is not right with God, the talent they have in using music will be discordant in God’s ears. Slick music may appeal to the senses, but if it does not cause us to praise God and rejoice before him, it is just music.
What can we learn from today’s passage? When appointing anyone to lead in the church (worship or otherwise) it is important that a person’s gifting is recognised and also that their calling is tested. Ability and calling are needed. Ability without calling would be meaningless, while calling without ability should cause us to question the person’s calling.
God wants each of us to use the gifting he has given us in his service. This requires two things: development of the talents we have and a calling from God to use them in his service.
Pray: Father, we thank you that each of us has distinctive talents and abilities that can be used by you. May we always be ready and willing to use the gifts you have given us in your service. Amen
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