When we first read that David set apart these men for the ministry of prophesying with various instruments, we might get the image of them proclaiming in song what will happen in the future. But prophesying isn’t always about proclaiming the future.
While the common use of the word describes someone receiving some knowledge of future events from God and sharing them, in the Bible, it often is less about telling the future and more about simply proclaiming the word of God.
The first use of the word prophet in scripture relates to Abram, when God spoke to Abimelek in a dream and told him to return Abram’s wife because he was a prophet and would pray for healing from the plague that came on his household after taking Sarai into his harem. Abram was not one who was telling the future, but rather one who prayed to God, heard from God, and shared what he heard.
The next use is when God appoints Aaron to be Moses’ mouthpiece. “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet.’ ” Aaron would hear from Moses what God had said and then proclaim it to the people.
In this context, we later see exactly what these musical prophets would be proclaiming when verse three provides the names of those “who prophesied, using the harp in thanking and praising the Lord.”
They were the first praise band!
I love that it was all in the family, too. With the exception of myself, I have a very musically talented family. I’ve been known to say that God’s calling of my husband to music ministry years ago (after we were married) was proof of His sense of humor, because music ministers' wives are supposed to play piano or sing in the choir and I can do neither!
I find it interesting that in the listing of the heads of household and their sons and relatives who served with them, each of them were groups of 12. It brings to mind a sort of Ancient Idol competition to see who in the family earned a spot in the top 12!
Here’s the point of my rambling this morning: God calls certain people to hear His Word and to proclaim it to others. As a writer, this calling is dear to my heart. It’s the reason I write, and the reason I write what I do.
When someone foretells the future, the test of whether they are speaking from the Lord is whether what they speak comes true. When someone tells forth God’s Word, the test is whether it lines up with scripture.
I’ve no doubt that I have missed the mark on many occasions, and I thank God for continuing to teach me to hear Him well and proclaim His truth faithfully and with clarity. This is why I share my thoughts each day about what God has shown me, and why I value your comments and responses—especially when they point me to other scripture that needs to be considered for a fuller understanding of the text. Just as those who lead worship are not there to entertain a passive audience, we who proclaim the word of God are here to point to God, not to entertain.