To those who are ready and want to hear, music makes an intense impact to the soul. It affects the inner man. No matter what the style or where the venue, music speaks unknown words to us. After I became a Christian, and began studying the scriptures, I think I found out why that happens. The Lord speaks to us through the things that move us. The thing we are most moved by is used by God to open our soul to hear his voice. It is not reserved only for music, God speaks to us in a variety of ways, but there are examples in the bible of how God uses music for His purposes.
Elisha was a prophet of God, his life is detailed in the Old Testament. There was one encounter that is particularly interesting to me. He was called upon to bring a word from the Lord to the Kings of Israel, Judah and Edom who were preparing to go to war with Moab. They were told about Elisha’s closeness with God and King Jehoshaphat said that, “The word of the Lord is with him.” So they went to him to get guidance from God. This passage, that is of most interest to me as a musician, is found in 2 Kings 3:13-15.
13 Then Elisha said to the king of Israel, “What have I to do with you? Go to the prophets of your father and the prophets of your mother.” But the king of Israel said to him, “No, for the Lord has called these three kings together to deliver them into the hand of Moab.”
14 And Elisha said, “As the Lord of hosts lives, before whom I stand, surely were it not that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, I would not look at you, nor see you.
15 “But now bring me a musician.” Then it happened, when the musician played, that the hand of the Lord came upon him.
In verse 15, the prophet calls for a musician. It doesn’t say why, but it does say that, “When the musician played the hand of the Lord came upon him.” Was it just a mood setting moment? I think there is something more to it. In 1 Samuel 10: 5, 6 the first King of Israel, Saul was given instructions from Samuel.
5 “After that you shall come to the hill of God where the Philistine garrison is. And it will happen, when you have come there to the city, that you will meet a group of prophets coming down from the high place with a stringed instrument, a tambourine, a flute, and a harp before them; and they will by prophesying.
6 “Then the Spirit of the Lord will come upon you, and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man.
Notice it says that the prophets are carrying musical instruments. It doesn’t say whether they are prophesying with their voices or with their instruments, but they were obviously musicians. After David became King there is an account in 1 Chronicles 25: 1, 2 where musicians are separated for the service of prophecy.
1 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. And the number of the skilled men performing their service was:
2 Of the sons of Asaph: Zaccur, Joseph, Nethaniah, and Asharelah; the sons of Asaph were under the direction of Asaph, who prophesied according to the order of the king.
Take note of the reference to, “who should prophecy,” and, “skilled men” (men is generic and does not eliminate women) in verse 1 and “who prophesied according to the order of the king,” in verse 2. Harps, stringed instruments and cymbals used in David’s time could just as well in our day be guitar, bass and drums.
From these accounts, I believe that God uses music as prophecy. The definition of the Hebrew word used for prophecy in the Strong’s Concordance is: to speak (or sing) by inspiration (in prediction or simple discourse). Webster’s dictionary defines it as: prediction of the future under the influence of divine guidance. God is pleased when we play music, even if we don’t acknowledge it as a gift from Him. Since God has created every person in His image, the act of creating music gives Him pleasure because we use what He has given us. There is a great example of this in the movie Chariots of Fire. The Scottish Olympic runner, Eric Liddell, who later became a missionary to China, tells his sister, “Jenny, Jenny, you’ve got to understand. I believe God made me for a purpose – for China. But he also made me fast. And when I run, I feel his pleasure!”
Like Eric Liddell when he ran, I feel God’s pleasure when I play music. His pleasure returns to me in the form of divine inspiration that can be used to speak hidden words to the soul of anyone who has ears to hear. If you have a personal relationship with God through Jesus, His Son and Messiah, ask Him to speak through your music every time you play. When people talk to you after words about how your music moved them, it is a perfect time to introduce them to the Creator of all music and show them how their future can be changed by God’s love. This is prophecy