By Aiden Whitaker
There is an interesting account in 1Samuel 16:14-23 that speaks about music and the Spirit of God – as I began to read I saw things I have never seen before. I love it when God’s word does that.
The story starts with the Spirit of God leaving Saul and an evil spirit coming instead and tormenting him. Saul feared man more than God and as a result failed to obey God’s word to him. Saul was God’s chosen, God’s anointed, the man out of all of Israel God chose to be king, yet he messed it up. We read that the Spirit of God leaves Saul an evil spirit rocks up; a reminder that God’s kingdom and the kingdom of this world have nothing in common and that they can’t coexist. This verse makes it clear that it is “either or”, no shaky ground in the middle where we do the splits, compromise and hide it under the guise of seeing the lost saved. No, it’s either God or the world. This is particularly important to us today, especially when it comes to worship and music and relevance and where it all fits in church.
When it comes to relevance and our call as Believers we need to remember that it is either the Spirit of God or a spirit of torment and there is no common ground. What does light have in common with darkness? Nothing (2Cor6:14-17).
What happens next is that Saul and his servants try to find a solution to his evil spirit torment; their solution? Some really cool music therapy on the harp that will make Saul feel better. So Saul sends his servants out to find someone who can play well and here enters David. On the one hand it’s very interesting that they turn to music, but on the other hand it isn’t surprising at all. They know that the spirit Saul is tormented by is not the Spirit of God he used to have – so it is interesting that they don’t seek a spiritual solution for a spiritual problem. But on the other hand we can understand why they turn to music: music speaks to us on all levels. Music can alter our emotions and cause us to feel things we have never felt before, and it can heighten our senses and cause us to see things in different ways. Modern science is showing how music affects the brain and music is now being used more and more in therapy for those with brain injuries/disabilities and the findings are that music affects the brain and its development and helps with cognitive functioning. Now rewind a little and we find Saul turning to music to solve his torment – he wanted the music to make him feel better. It is no surprise that the music that sells is all about love, broken hearts, sex, money and social standing – it’s no surprise because these are some of the biggest problems our world identifies with; these are spiritual problems with no apparent solution so the world numbs the pain and attempts to make it feel all better by turning to music. It’s funny how some things don’t change. This is important for us because just as things haven’t changed, so the solution hasn’t changed. What we have to offer as musicians is not skilful music therapy that will make you feel better; no our solution is a spiritual one – a spiritual solution for a spiritual problem – what we have to offer is far greater: a greater kingdom and a greater Spirit – think about it. Enter David.