Devotional: June 17, 2020
Now the spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord tormented him. 15And Saul’s servants said to him, ‘See now, an evil spirit from God is tormenting you. 16Let our lord now command the servants who attend you to look for someone who is skillful in playing the lyre; and when the evil spirit from God is upon you, he will play it, and you will feel better.’ 17So Saul said to his servants, ‘Provide for me someone who can play well, and bring him to me.’ 18One of the young men answered, ‘I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite who is skillful in playing, a man of valor, a warrior, prudent in speech, and a man of good presence; and the Lord is with him.’ 19So Saul sent messengers to Jesse, and said, ‘Send me your son David who is with the sheep.’ 20Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread, a skin of wine, and a kid, and sent them by his son David to Saul. 21And David came to Saul, and entered his service. Saul loved him greatly, and he became his armor-bearer.22Saul sent to Jesse, saying, ‘Let David remain in my service, for he has found favor in my sight.’ 23And whenever the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, David took the lyre and played it with his hand, and Saul would be relieved and feel better, and the evil spirit would depart from him.
First Samuel 17: 14-23
What is your favorite song? How do you feel when you hear it? Does the music affect you deeply?
During this shut down, one of the things I have missed is hearing live music. Thankfully we always have other ways to hear a favorite melody. Often, music has a way of bringing back wonderful memories.
The power of music to soothe and to heal comes across in this passage. King Saul battled dark moods, and very possibly mental illness, during the latter part of his reign. Saul’s servants felt helpless about the emotional torment he experienced. However, they did come up with the idea to bring a musician to him, who could provide him with calming music. What a wonderful idea!
Archeologists have found an example of the kind of lyre David may have played, under 26 layers of debris, in the ancient city of Megiddo Har. It sits atop a hill in the Jezreel valley in Northern Israel. David was a musician, singer, and purportedly writer of many of the Psalms. He was said to have played a 10-string lyre (“kinnor” in Hebrew) which is exactly the type of instrument that was found in Megiddo.
The importance of music to our faith is witnessed by the fact that one of the most well-known and beloved of all of the books of the bible is the Psalms. Many individual Psalms have been put to music. So often, we may be singing a Christian song, and not realize that the lyrics originate from a particular Psalm. Psalm 23 is the most recognized Psalm, and has been put to many tunes, down through the centuries.
We don’t know exactly what tormented King Saul, but I believe that music provided some healing for him. During this shut down, people have told me how comforting it has been to hear the singing of familiar songs during our Sunday morning on-line worship. The comforting calm of music is something we ought to turn to when we are in a sad place. Often, music can lift your spirits, and brighten your day!
On this day, we give thanks to the Lord for the power of music, and for the many ways in which we are encouraged to give thanks to and praise the Lord, through music!
Sing God a brand-new song!
Earth and everyone in it, sing!
Sing to God—worship God!
Shout the news of his victory from sea to sea,
Take the news of his glory to the lost,
News of his wonders to one and all!
For God is great, and worth a thousand Hallelujahs.
Psalm 96: 1-4 The Message
God of music and laughter,
We are thankful for the many ways in which you help to inspire us, calm us and encourage us. As we move through life, may we always be ready to praise You. You are a God who is worthy of all our praise! Help us to share that message with You through our music, and through our prayers.
We pray this prayer in Jesus’ name.