Continuing with my brief studies of that devout Old Testament holy man and musician, Asaph, we take a different look at his music and his psalms. If you aren’t up to date with my writings and inspirations of Asaph, you can find them on my previous blogs entitled Interesting People of the Bible: Who Was Asaph?
My interest in Asaph began after studying 1 Chronicles chapter 16.
At the start of this chapter, we see David has finally succeeded in bringing the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem. The atmosphere is one of great joy and celebration with singing and dancing and music. It is in this text where we learn that Asaph was made the chief of the musicians and that he was the one in charge of clashing the cymbals.
One thing I also noticed scanning this text, we see present in this list of music leaders Obed-edom. Certainly this is the same man who had just housed the Ark in previous chapters who was extremely blessed by having the Ark in his household. For further reading and a brief study on the Ark, you can refer to some of my other blogs, too, Religion: Understanding the Ark of the Covenant.
There is quite a noise taking place with harps and lyres and cymbals. And the priests that were constantly blowing their trumpets before the presence of the Ark. All of this was to give praise and thanks to YHWH for allowing the Israelites to transport the Ark into Judah.
A wonderful thing in reading this chapter is that it was not left a mystery to us as to what they sung or how they praised the Lord. It is a fact that the Jewish people through the course of history have been the best record keepers and here is a piece of the proof right in 1 Chronicles 16. Recorded for us is the chief song of praise and thanksgiving. It is rich and beautiful and full of imagery.
If you are ever in despair and desiring something to sing to help you break out of it, begin here! After reading this psalm I was deeply inspired and wrote my own worship song based on some of these lyrics. I am sure to refer to the text again in the future for further inspiration.
This chapter closes informing us that Asaph was left in charge of assigning his relatives a musical place to continue giving praise to the Lord before the Ark as the rest of the clan was working. Others were left of offer burnt offerings in the morning and evening every day while others, still, were left in charge of clashing the cymbals and sounding the trumpets.
Keep in mind, the Ark signified the presence of the Lord who was now with them in Jerusalem. This was a magnificent thing; David knew it and continually offered up his thanks. We have the presence of the Lord now within us! Isn’t that something to sing about and be thankful for? What a magnificent fact! If we kept this at the forefront of our mind, wouldn’t we keep on rejoicing all day, even through our trials? Wow!
Something that gripped me here was the significance and purpose of music. I had lost sight of it, or, perhaps, never even knew its real place. As a musician and songwriter, it is not difficult for me to sit down and scratch out a song and a melody. For years I struggled in a band performing in bars and clubs, never quite satisfied, always wanting, striving and waiting for a record contract. It never came. Was that a good thing? What have I learned from it all?
If not a record contract now, so many years on, than what? What should I do with my musical talents?
Watch this space for Part 2
Written by Jori Sams