AFRICAN AMERICAN MUSIC MONTH: Scripture Proclaims the Benefits of Music
It’s African American Music Appreciation Month! Sacred music has historically been part of our praise as a people, and has been the vehicle and impetus which has kept us moving forward. On Westa.org we’re examining the scriptures for insight into God’s will for His gift of music and song. Read Part I below.
Music is powerful. At our very core, we were designed to function and to move to a uniform recurrence of a beat. The natural rhythms of our bodies — heartbeat, pulse, and breath – sing the praises of God’s miraculous handiwork.
Sound can literally penetrate the human body, therefore, it’s no surprise that music has been shown to affect our mental and our physical state, and can even affect the unborn. Sacred song and rhythm and are central to God’s governance of us, of nature and of all the earth.
MUSIC IN THE BIBLE
According to Scripture, musical talent is a divine gift, and musicians are anointed by God Himself. With this gift comes a sacred responsibility to:
- teach God’s ways
- illuminate His word
- promote the promises of God
- put us in the presence of God
- praise God and to give Him thanks.
A musician’s gifts have the power to place him before royalty (2 Chronicles 29:25 ). Musicians have even been appointed by their leaders to create music to influence and govern a people (Daniel 3:5). Music has the power to promote peace and hope, good health and wellness: but, if it’s misused, it can have the opposite effect. Most importantly though, at its best, music has the power to summon the power and miracles of God.
The following is a list of Scriptures which herald the power of music and musical gifts in the Bible:
TO GIVE THANKS AND PRAISE TO THE LORD
2 Samuel 6:21 – So David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me instead of your father and all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the Lord, over Israel. Therefore I will play music before the Lord.
Psalm 33:2 Praise the Lord with the harp; Make melody to Him with an instrument of ten strings.
Psalm 71:22 – Also with the lute I will praise You— And Your faithfulness, O my God! To You, I will sing with the harp, O Holy One of Israel.
Isaiah 38:20 – “The Lord was ready to save me; Therefore we will sing my songs with stringed instruments All the days of our life, in the house of the Lord.”
Ephesians 5:19-20 – And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
TO INVOKE THE PRESENCE OF GOD
2 Kings 3:15 – But now bring me a musician.” Then it happened, when the musician played, that the hand of the Lord came upon him.
2 Chronicles 5:13 – indeed it came to pass, when the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord, and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the Lord, saying: “For He is good, For His mercy endures forever,” that the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud,
TO UNITE A PEOPLE
1 Chronicles 13:8 – Then David and all Israel played music before God with all their might, with singing, on harps, on stringed instruments, on tambourines, on cymbals, and with trumpets.
1 Chronicles 15:28 – Thus all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the Lord with shouting and with the sound of the horn, with trumpets and with cymbals, making music with stringed instruments and harps.
TO BE SET APART BY GOD
1 Chronicles 25:1 – The Musicians – Moreover David and the captains of the army separated for the service some of the sons of Asaph, of Heman, and of Jeduthun, who should prophesy with harps, stringed instruments, and cymbals…
2 Chronicles 29:25 – And he stationed the Levites in the house of the Lord with cymbals, with stringed instruments, and with harps, according to the commandment of David, of Gad the king’s seer, and of Nathan the prophet; for this was the commandment of the Lord by His prophets.
TO ELEVATE FOR SERVICE
1 Chronicles 15:16 – Then David spoke to the leaders of the Levites to appoint their brethren to be the singers accompanied by instruments of music, stringed instruments, harps, and cymbals, by raising the voice with resounding joy.
1 Chronicles 15:22 – Chenaniah, leader of the Levites, was the instructor in charge of the music because he was skillful;
1 Chronicles 15:27 – David was clothed with a robe of fine linen, as were all the Levites who bore the ark, the singers, and Chenaniah the music master with the singers…
2 Chronicles 7:6 – And the priests attended to their services; the Levites also with instruments of the music of the Lord, which King David had made to praise the Lord, saying, “For His mercy endures forever,” whenever David offered praise by their ministry. The priests sounded trumpets opposite them, while all Israel stood.
Nehemiah 12:27 – Nehemiah Dedicates the Wall. Now at the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought out the Levites in all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem to celebrate the dedication with gladness, both with thanksgivings and singing, with cymbals and stringed instruments and harps.
TO INVOKE THE MIRACLES AND POWER OF GOD
Job 35:10 – But no one says, ‘Where is God my Maker, Who gives songs in the night,
Habakkuk 3:19 – The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills. To the Chief Musician. With my stringed instruments.
Psalm 4:1 The Safety of the Faithful. To the Chief Musician. With stringed instruments – Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have relieved me in my distress; Have mercy on me, and hear my prayer.
Psalm 5:1&12 – A Prayer for Guidance. To the Chief Musician. With flutes. A Psalm of David – Give ear to my words, O Lord, Consider my meditation.12 For You, O Lord will bless the righteous; With favor, You will surround him as with a shield.
Psalm 49:3-4 – To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David – My mouth shall speak wisdom, And the meditation of my heart shall give understanding. 4 I will incline my ear to a proverb; I will disclose my dark saying on the harp.
Psalm 32:7 – You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah
TO RESTORE THE EARTH
Psalm 66:1 – Praise to God for His Awesome Works. To the Chief Musician. A Song. A Psalm – Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth!
Psalm 98:4-7– Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music; 5 make music to the LORD with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing, 6 with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn— shout for joy before the LORD, the King. 7 Let the sea resound, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.
Psalm 150:1-5 – Let All Things Praise the Lord – Praise the Lord! Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty firmament! 2 Praise Him for His mighty acts; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness! 3 Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet; Praise Him with the lute and harp! 4 Praise Him with the timbrel and dance; Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes! 5 Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with clashing cymbals!
READ “Scripture Proclaims the Benefits of Singing,” Parts I & II, on Westa.org.
WATCH the West Angeles Mass Choir sing Edwin Hawkins’ legendary gospel piece, “Oh Happy Day” below:
 – Elena Mannes, “The Power Of Music to Affect the Brain”. NPR.org. https://www.npr.org/2011/06/01/136859090/the-power-of-music-to-affect-the-brain. Accessed 6-27-2018.
 -Markham Heid, “Is Listening to Music Good For Your Health?” Time.com http://time.com/5254381/listening-to-music-health-benefits/. Accessed 6-28-2018.