“For it was the king’s command concerning them that a certain portion should be for the singers, a quota day by day.” Nehemiah 11:23
In a document recording the organization and provisions for so many important things regarding the establishment and restoration of the city of Jerusalem I find our focus text very interesting.
There weren’t very many of the arrangements for the city that have attached to them the statement that this particular concern was the kings command but when it came to the arrangements for the Temple singers our focus text records that “it was the kings command” that a portion of the city, and of the food and money as well, should be allotted to the singers.
The king being referred to in this passage is the Persian king Artaxerxes. He’s not a worshipper of God but the considerations of a king for the worship of his people is an important concern for any king of that era. Religion was an essential part of all kingdoms of that time and the kings were responsible for ensuring that all matters pertaining to the worship of their people were provided for and apparently music, and the people that prepared the music for the worship, was a personal concern of king Artaxerxes himself.
I believe that music is important to God as well. Well composed and written music, properly performed, has the ability to raise the thoughts and focus the heart of the worshipper upon God.
We don’t always come to God with attitudes and emotions tuned to give to God the worship that he deserves and the service that we need to give to him and music, if we will enter into it and allow it to, has the power to transport us from the funk of the distraction, depression, anger, or indifference that may be filling our hearts and raise us to where praise, and joy, and reverence, and true worship abound.
Often we’re careless regarding the music we present to God in worship. I’m not saying that everyone ought to sing or play, I know that some cannot do either, but standing or sitting in silence is not the same as carelessness. If you are going to sing, or play, do so with all your heart and soul. Don’t mumble the words or be lazy with the melodies and harmonies. Remember you’re giving your music to God. If your part is to be silent and listen give your whole self to the listening and with your entire heart echo the offering of worship to God.
And when it comes to the music remember we’re all worshipping together and being critical and judgement is an impediments to worship. Our Heavenly Father accepts our best offerings, feeble and faulty though that are, and in his gracious love and mercy declares them perfect. How can we, as fellow worshippers, criticize and judge that which God, the one to whom the gift was given, has declared to be perfect?
Music is a powerful force in worship. All of us should invest in the offering of music to God each time we worship.