DELIBERATELY PURSUING GOD
THE LEVITES: PIONEERS OF PRAISE
The ancient world of praise and worship is fascinating and worthy of research for those who desire to learn more about how mankind has expressed his adoration to God throughout the centuries. Since creation man has offered sacrifices as a way to show his affection, devotion and love. Musical worship has been from the beginning and even included Lucifer as a leader of angelic choirs and heavenly musicians that produced the most beautiful sounds to the glorious majesty of the Almighty. Through the centuries man has developed his abilities and has made instruments to play along with his shouts of joy, praise and thanksgiving. This reverential fear and desire to proclaim God’s awesome power has produced libraries of written songs and organized musical presentations. Our spiritual relationship with God is enhanced with music and these gifts help us tell Him the way we feel in intimate worship.
If we look at I Chronicles chapters 15 and 16 we notice several things that are difficult to understand completely but are still very interesting. There are ancient words that have lost some translation such as “second section”, “porters”, “alamoth”, “shemineth” etc., but it is clear that certain individuals were chosen to lead in specific areas of wind and string instruments. These words could possibly pertain to musical scales, harmony, octave, modulation, pitch, rhythm, beats, notes, chords, keys and other related musical structure. Vocals were separated into sections and the entire musical presentation was developed by many leaders including trumpet and cornet teachers, cymbal instructors, psaltry and harp teachers, choir and vocal directors, arrangers and of course the psalmist and prophetic song writers.
We have actually been given a record of some of the ones who participated in this historic account of David as he brought the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. He chose the children of Aaron (the Levites) to literally carry the ark and be in charge of watching over it and for them to be sanctified and minister in worship for the occasion. We see He’-man and A’-saph were appointed to sound the cymbals and A’-zi-el on the psaltry. Az-a-zi’-ah on harp, Je-du’-thun and Be-nai’-ah on the trumpet and Chen-a-ni’-ah (verse 22) who (is referred to in Chapter 15 verse 27 as “the master of the song”) was evidently talented with instrument and vocal arrangements. We also notice in chapter 25 and 26 that musicians and singers were appointed to minister songs in the “house of the Lord” (the new temple.) In modern day comparison we see the traditional worship pastor, choir leader, organist, pianist, the soloist and the chair order of an orchestra and the role of a conductor as parallels of these ancient patterns. Music was very serious, strict and precise.
What does all this have to do with today’s worship? It is awesome to realize that what we are doing each week comes from a blueprint that represents the organization and coordination of a worship band – 1000 years before Jesus! We have the writers, arrangers, teachers, musicians, singers and leaders that have been appointed by God to minister unto the Lord in the house of the Lord just like they did. We see how powerful and anointed this ceremony was and the sound must have been impressive but it is interesting to note they were dancing around a box that represented God’s presence. We are so much more blessed to be (the box) filled with Jesus and the Holy Spirit within our own heart and to experience the “personal relationship” of His presence, power and glory.
Those who dedicate themselves to a worship team realize that sacrifice and humility is more important than talent because attitude is the thermometer of our effectiveness. Whether you are a leader or the leader everyone is held accountable to the same standards. On a worship team each person is contributing and representing a vital part of a unified vision and serves in the specific local assembly as a holy divine appointment. We are all responsible to develop and share our gift, and our musical mission is ALL about serving the Lord and serving His people. Just like the ancient music world, everyone that is musically talented does not necessarily have the mantle to lead worship, or write songs but each “musically inclined person” has been given their own specific gifts and abilities and is just as equally anointed. Like the parts of a smooth running engine, the spark plug is just as important as the fan belt. The armor bearers, weapon makers, medics, uniform makers and cooks are just as crucially important to a military battle as the ones who launch the missiles. No matter what part you play – you are needed. It is a team effort and in the rank and file of divine order with the gifts and callings of God, we have peace and admiration for each others ministry in the spirit of love.