As most of you who know me are aware, I was a double major in college that included a degree in music. The music department was looked upon by the rest of the school as being a bit … well … more than a bit weird – inhabited by an odd mix of artsy people. And frankly, it was true; it was a pretty weird bunch. We were called “Twinks.” I was one of only two or three normal people there … I think – at least that’s how I remember it! As an athlete, I was my college’s version of Justin Tucker – the Baltimore Raven’s player who was an opera singing music major at the University of Texas.
But where would the world be without musicians? Who doesn’t listen to music for soothing enjoyment? (Actually, to be truthful, I don’t … just another area where I’m weird.) When things in life get tough, what do people do? They call for a musician on their iPod or phone playlist.
The French poet Alphonse de Lamartine said that “music is the literature of the heart; it commences where speech ends.”
“Music is the medicine of the mind,” said Civil War General and Congressman John A. Logan.
And it was a medicine for the mind that King Saul needed …
David in Saul’s Service
14 Now the Spirit of the Lord had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord tormented him.
Say what? God sends evil spirits?
The way we should read this is that God allowed an evil spirit in the absence of the withdrawal of the Holy Spirit. The indwelling Spirt of the Lord was not a universal experience of God’s people until the Day of Pentecost – which is what is so great about knowing Christ and being a part of his body, the church. We possess what was only given by God in the Old Testament to certain people at certain times.
15 Saul’s attendants said to him, “See, an evil spirit from God is tormenting you. 16 Let our lord command his servants here to search for someone who can play the lyre. He will play when the evil spirit from God comes on you, and you will feel better.”
17 So Saul said to his attendants, “Find someone who plays well and bring him to me.”
The secret service agents around King Saul knew that something had to be done to calm him down at these times of torment. And yes, maybe music would be the soothing answer. So they went on a search for the best Twink they could find, and look who it turned out to be …
18 One of the servants answered, “I have seen a son of Jesse of Bethlehem who knows how to play the lyre. He is a brave man and a warrior. He speaks well and is a fine-looking man. And the Lord is with him.”
19 Then Saul sent messengers to Jesse and said, “Send me your son David, who is with the sheep.” 20 So Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread, a skin of wine and a young goat and sent them with his son David to Saul.
21 David came to Saul and entered his service. Saul liked him very much, and David became one of his armor-bearers. 22 Then Saul sent word to Jesse, saying, “Allow David to remain in my service, for I am pleased with him.”
23 Whenever the spirit from God came on Saul, David would take up his lyre and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him.
That’s quite a coincidence isn’t it? Actually, no, it is not. Rather, it was the sovereign hand of God at work. God was giving young David the experience and exposure to the royal house – putting him behind the curtains and into the context of the sphere of the king, for better and worse.
On the day that I write this, I spent several hours with a young man who sought out my counsel to discuss knowing the “calling of God.” I think some pastors and others I know have had a dramatic moment-in-time experience of hearing God’s call to do a particular work.
But I think most people discover God’s call in their life in the cumulative experiences of life where God sovereignly opens and closes doors. And the pattern and pathways that He orchestrates can only be fully seen after it is all done.
Those paths are not always straight and not always pleasant. But God is at work at all times and in all things, composing within us a life symphony that is a crescendo of glory to his praise if we will yield to the Devine Composer’s notations and rhythms for our lives.