Read 1 Chronicles 25
Focus on verse 7
David organizes the musicians for the soon to be built temple. For now they will minister in the tabernacle. By the time he is done he has a men’s choir of 288 skilled singers along with a sizable orchestra of harps, lyres, cymbals and such. They were sufficient in number that they could minister in shifts, which were determined once again by lot.
It must have been an amazing spectacle to be part of temple worship during Solomon’s reign. I’m not sure I would have been all that interested in watching the animal sacrifices as such, but the music must have been amazing.
We are told the first lot fell for Asaph, whose name appears often in the book of Psalms. He wrote many of the Psalms that appear in the Bible along with those written by David, and Korah. The book of Psalms was the temple songbook, much like what we might call a hymnal in contemporary churches (though not many churches still use hymnals). The big difference between the Psalms and our current worship music would be that the Psalms were included in the Bible under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. While it is possible that many of the hymns and choruses we sing were also written by people who were inspired by the Holy Spirit, it is not to the same extent nor do they hold the same authority as those included in the book of Psalms. I suspect that there were many more Psalms and songs written during the time of David and Solomon that may have been sung as part of temple worship which were not included in the book of Psalms. It would be interesting to do some historical research and read through some of the extra-biblical psalms, comparing them to the music we currently sing.
While I would not suggest we limit our worship music to only that which we find in the Bible, I do believe it is important that we consider carefully the music we do include in our worship to verify that it is teaching principles that are consistent with what the Bible teaches as truth. Music is a often what sticks in our memory and affects our emotions more readily than words alone. Many of the truths that I remember best about the character and nature of God is that which I learned by hearing and singing sacred songs throughout my life. Music plays a significant role in shaping not just the culture of the church, but also the culture as a whole. If music has such lasting influence on our thinking and culture, perhaps we would be wise to be at least a little discriminating in terms of the music fill our minds with.