by Aiden Whitaker
David the skilled, David the real deal, David the anointed of God finds himself playing music for Saul and as he plays: Saul feels better, is refreshed and the tormenting spirit leaves. Great therapy if you ask me. But is there more here? We already know what music does and how it affects our physical and emotional states and how it is used to help cognitive functioning, but can music have a spiritual element to it as well? Can music cause spirits to bow their knee and depart? Can music cleanse the soul? If so, what type of music makes spirits do this? Maybe we can find out and start playing this new sound on Sundays…If I were a tormenting spirit I would run away if some types of music were played. In actual fact if I were a tormenting spirit I would use certain styles of music to torment people. As much as I am having fun with this it’s clear to see that music is not spiritual. If it were and if it had the power to change things then more people would be free. Music is not spiritual. Nothing is spiritual but everything is spiritual. But that is another conversation. The music was good therapy for Saul, but it wasn’t the music that made the tormenting spirit flee. How do we know this? We started by reading 1Samuel 16:14 where the Spirit of God leaves Saul and is replaced by a tormenting spirit, but just before this in verse 13 we read that the Spirit of the Lord came on David in power. This is important. The music made Saul feel better, but it was the Spirit of God in David that made the tormenting Spirit go away. David’s skilful playing (the river banks) channelled the presence of God (the river) into a desperate and tormented situation that brought freedom. Even though it was temporary freedom where the tormenting spirit would return to Saul, the atmosphere still shifted when David played and the presence of God changed things and his kingdom came.
Do we really believe that? Maybe then we would do things differently. Your package is important but it is what is inside the package that really matters.
Wait. Stop. Think. Our music on Sunday has the power to alter people’s emotional and physical states and even help their cognitive functioning but without the Spirit of God it will just be music therapy. Read that again. And again. Let it sink in. Imagine people leaving week after week feeling great because our music refreshed them and made them feel better but never addressed their spiritual problems?
Music and the Spirit are not enemies just as much relevance and the presence of God aren’t. We place them on the continuum at opposite ends because we fail to realise that it is God working through the form, not God fighting the form; that really changes things. God believes in packaging, but God is Spirit (see John4:24). God believes that the package is important, so much so that He packaged His Son in weak and humble human form and sent Him to the earth so that we could understand Him and know Him and identify with Him and all this in a way and language we understood. This is relevance. We should look to Jesus for relevance. My question is: “What are we packaging?” Are we the empty box left over after a party unwrapped and full of nothing? Or are we presenting a beautiful gift to the world, skilfully wrapped and packaged in a way that they can understand and identify with, filled with the very presence of God? Makes you think, doesn’t it? Do we really believe Jesus was human, like really human, like tempted in every way just like us? Do we really believe that His power came from the Spirit of God? That Jesus relied on the Holy Spirit to do it all? Do we believe this? Jesus did. David had the full package, but more than that, He had the Spirit of God and as He played the atmosphere shifted and the presence of God changed things and his kingdom came. Music and the Spirit.