Reflections on the Spiritual Power in Music

Now Elisha said to the king of Israel, “What do I have to do with you? Go to the prophets of your father and to the prophets of your mother.” And the king of Israel said to him, “No, for the Lord has called these three kings together to give them into the hand of Moab.” Elisha said, “As the Lord of hosts lives, before whom I stand, were it not that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would not look at you nor see you. But now bring me a minstrel.” And it came about, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the Lord came upon him. He said, “Thus says the Lord… (2 Kings 3:13-16a)

As much as the empiricist within me wants to deny that any sort of abstract object can affect human experiences, I could not help but be absolutely dumbfounded by this section in 2 Kings 3 where Elisha is moved from anger – albeit righteous – to speaking the very words of God through the influence of music.

David Guzik, senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Santa Barabara, in his commentary on 2 Kings 3 says, “Elisha wanted to become more sensitive to the leading and speaking of the Holy Spirit, so he asked for the service of a musician. This demonstrates the great spiritual power in music.”

The spiritual power in music resonates at a deep level with every individual, believer in Jesus or not. How many claim that music “heals the soul?” Or that music “speaks words necessary when nothing else can?” We can sense from first listen that there is something that transcends the physical about music, regardless of belief in the Divine.

Elisha reveals that what we experience in these soul engaging moments with music is spiritual power. There is an intrinsic quality in the creation and appreciation of music that is altogether a connection with the Almighty.

But what is important is not the intrinsic quality in itself, for that is morally neutral. What is important is where one directs their worship when engaging in the spiritually powerful act of listening to and creating music.

Guzik goes on further to say, “This nameless musician was endowed with God-given talents and he used them for the good of others. Surely it never occurred to him that by his music he would help win a military victory and have a dramatic effect on history. But when he shared his God-given ability, the power of God came upon the prophet.”

Music is a God-given talent that can be used for the good of others. Music can encourage the faint of heart. Music can bring joy in times of despair. And music can connect us to the living God in ways that nothing else can. But the direction of worship determines this result. A result that is far from morally neutral.

Time after time God teaches me something new about the ways that He wants to interact with those that know Him. And time after time do I cynically reject that those ways may apply to my relationship with Him.

A prayer: God, you promised to remove my heart of stone and put in a heart of flesh, to put a new Spirit within me. Lord, once more, remove my cynically prideful heart. Allow me to experience you in the ways that you know are best for me. Jesus, give me the ability to trust in your word, even when all of my senses and “reason” tell me otherwise. God, I know you. But I want to know you more. Allow me to know you more. Help me to explore knowing you more by using the talents you have given me to bless others. Amen.

(Link to cited article: http://www.enduringword.com/commentaries/1203.htm)

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