Biblical Qualifications of Apointed Worshipers
Rev. Barry Griffing, The International Worship Symposium
I. God's "Due Order" of appointing worshipers to minister continually in the House of the Lord is a Heavenly Eternal Truth which spans both the Old and the New Testaments.
A. Ezekiel 28:13-19: God created and anointed Lucifer to minister praise in an appointed place in appointed garments with appointed movements. (see also Isaiah 14:11-12)
B. 1 Chronicles 28:11-19: David appointed singers, players and dancers based on the pattern he had seen in heaven, which was confirmed by the prophets Nathan and Gad. (see also 2 Chronicles 29:25)C. Revelation 14:2-3; 4:9-11; 15:2-4: Heaven is a place where appointed worshipers minister unto God with singing and movement.
II. In 1 Chronicles 15, David applied the lesson that he learned the hard way in 1 Chronicles 13 - God has stiff prerequisites for His Appointed Worshipers
A. Loyalty: "None ought to carry the ark but the Levites..." (1 Chronicles 15:2)
1. "Levi" means "joined"
In Exodus 32:26 the Levites demonstrated their loyalty to the Lord by joining themselves to Moses
2. Appointed worshippers should be joined in spirit to the leadership of the local church.
B. Love of God's House: In Numbers 3:15, 23, 29, 35, we see that the Levites lived closer to the tabernacle than any of the other tribes. (1 Chronicles 6:31-32)
Appointed worshipers will demonstrate a special love for God's house through their punctuality at, proximity to and frequency in the local church facility.
C. A Servant's Heart: The Levites were willing and able servants of God and God's people.
(Numbers 8:1-19; 1 Chronicles 16:37; Numbers 3:7)
Appointed worshipers don't only move and minister in the "limelight", but are willing and diligent workers behind the scenes.
D. A Teachable Spirit: The Levites were to serve under the high priest; young Levites were to learn their craft by being apprentices to the older retired Levites. (Numbers 8:19, 23-26)
In 1 Chronicles 25:6-8, we see that the Levites and musicians continued this apprenticeship system.
E. A Sanctified Lifestyle: Before they could begin their public ministry, the Levites had to go through a specific voluntary cleansing ceremony (Numbers 8:5-7) which included:
1. Sprinkling (Studying God's Word daily): Ephesians 5:25-27)
2. Shaving their flesh (Applying God's Word daily to their behavior): Hebrews 4:12
3. Washing their garments (keeping their attitudes untainted by renewing their minds daily): Revelation 3:18
4. According to 1 Chronicles 15:12-16, David used only those musicians who took the initiative to go through this sanctification process.
III. After applying these special spiritual qualifications, David then began to apply musical qualifications to the prospective appointees.
A. Musical Flexibility: Notice that Asaph's music ministry included singing, percussion, orchestrating, brass, strings, composing, prophesying and teaching - 1 Chronicles 15:19 16:7, 37-42; 25:1; Psalms 73-83
B. Musical Virtuosity: Excellence in musical technique was a hallmark of the Tabernacle of David.
1. Chenaniah "instructed about the song because he was skillful":
1 Chronicles 15:22
2. The musicians in David's Tabernacle were "instructed in the songs of the Lord" and were "cunning": 1 Chronicles 25:
3. We are exhorted to play unto the Lord "Skillfully" with "cunning": Psalm 33:3;
4. We are to study to show ourselves approved unto God: 2 Timothy 2:1
C. Musical Literacy: The Levites did more than just play music, they recorded it by writing it down; that is why we have the book of Psalms today. (1 Chronicles 16:4)
In David's day, the Levites were the only Hebrews who could read or write; today appointed worshipers should develop their music reading skills.
IV. After David sanctified and qualified the Levites, he installed them into ongoing public ministry by the laying on of hands.
A. The sanctified Levites did not enter into public ministry until both leadership and congregation laid hands upon them: Numbers 8:9-11
B. Asaph, Heman and Jeduthun were publicly installed by David, the elders, and the people after they had successfully dispatched the assignment of bringing up the ark:
1 Chronicles 16:4,5, 37-43
Successful fulfillment of an assignment came before appointment: 1 Timothy 3:10
C. Note the following eight reasons why most local churches do not develop a scripturally solid music ministry. (Sometimes we develop a positive "Big Picture" from the "negative"!)
1. Failure to make corporate praise preeminent over everything else in church life.
2. Failure to obey Psalm 150 and utilize all the performing arts as acts of praise and prophecy.
3. Failure to design a sanctuary suitable for the sacred use of the performing arts.
4. Failure to set an adequate budget for music and the performing arts.
5. Failure to insist upon spiritual prerequisites as seen in the ministry of the Levites.
6. Failure to insist upon musical qualifications from those who meet the spiritual requirements
7. Failure to ordain as deacons those worshipers who meet both spiritual and natural qualifications for ministry. (In the Old Testament the "priests, as the sons of Aaron, were the equivalent to the "elders" of the church in the New Testament and the"Levites," the helpers of the sons of Aaron, were the equivalent of the deacons of the New Testament church.)
8. Failure to establish an ongoing performing arts training program within the local church.
D. David paid a high price for a place to worship the Lord: 2 Samuel 24:18-25
Are we willing to pay that price today?