Music In The Old Testament
The first musician in the Bible, Jubal, is mentioned as “the father of all who play the harp and flute” in Genesis 4:21. In Exodus, Miriam played timbrels and danced.
Perhaps the Biblical figure who most remember for his musical abilities is David. David charmed others with his harp playing wrote songs and made music. His music caused the evil spirit to depart from King Saul.
Psalm 22 begins with “For the director of music. To the tune of, The Doe of the Morning.” A Psalm
of David.” The Psalms speak often of praising the Lord with song. Nowhere is it more evident that music was used for worship than in Psalm 150:
“Praise the Lord! Praise God in His sanctuary;
Praise Him in His mighty firmament!
Praise Him for His mighty acts;
Praise Him according to His excellent greatness!
Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet;
Praise Him with the lute and harp!
Praise Him with the timbrel and dance;
Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes!
Praise Him with loud cymbals;
Praise Him with crashing cymbals!
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord!”
- Singing caused evil spirits to leave Saul.
- Singing and music gives God praise.
- Singing and musicians are used in battles.
- Songs are used to teach, as in the song of Moses.
- Music is used to express great joy, as in Miriam’s song of deliverance.
18 Jehoshaphat bowed down with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the Lord. 19 Then some Levites from the Kohathites and Korahites stood up and praised the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice.
20 Early in the morning they left for the Desert of Tekoa. As they set out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.” 21 After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his[c] holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying:
“Give thanks to the Lord,
for his love endures forever.”
Notice how they worshipped the Lord before the battle and even sent the singers and musicians out ahead of the army. They were indeed victorious and did not even have to fight in that battle!
Music In The New Testament
- Jesus sang hymns with His disciples.
- Paul and Silas sang hymns in prison.
- Spiritual songs are used for admonishment and teaching
- We are told to sing.
- There is singing and worship in heaven for eternity!
In the New Testament, hymns were a source of comfort and strength as early Christians faced their challenges. Jesus sang hymns with his disciples. One of the most mentioned times is after the Last Supper. “When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.” (Mark 14:26.)
In Acts 16: 25 Paul and Silas used hymns to comfort them when there were in prison.–“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.”
The Bible further talks about the role of music in Colossians: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” (Colossians 3:16).
In Revelations, the Bible talks about music during the end times. “And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.” (Revelations: 14: 2-3).
The role of music in worship continues today. Most church services start with worship. This is because music is an international language we share and it helps us focus on God. Like the musicians and heroes of the Bible, modern day Christians use music to exalt the name of God.