Day 16

The Divisions of the Levites

from the reading plan

1 Chronicles 23:1-32, 1 Chronicles 24:1-31, 1 Chronicles 25:1-31, Romans 12:1

One of the great privileges of my life is to lead worship through music. Currently, I serve as the worship leader for the school where I teach, and every week, my job is to use music to celebrate the Lord with about 390 elementary school students, sixty or so staff members, and a few dozen parents.

It’s not Carnegie Hall, and nobody wants my autograph at the end of our weekly chapel gatherings. Still, there’s something undeniably special about hearing all those little voices sing modern worship music, old hymns, and a few songs I’ve written specifically for our school’s needs. They sing with earnest enthusiasm, and because of their age, they sing with a joyful innocence untainted by cynicism or self-consciousness. It takes about ten adults (four of whom are musicians) to organize and lead worship for our little flock of just over 400. 

With those numbers in mind, today’s reading almost broke my brain. Did you notice how many musicians David enlisted for leading the people in praise and worship? Four thousand.  

Even if you’ve never led worship, you can join me in imagining the magnitude of the worship experience in David’s temple. I thought that any more than two acoustic guitars in any setting would be overkill, and then I learned about David’s veritable supergroup. I’m sure that all four thousand instrumentalists weren’t playing all at once, but regardless of the arrangement, it must have been a spectacle to behold.

Later in the passage, the author asserts that “They are to carry out their responsibilities for the tent of meeting, for the holy place, and for their relatives, the descendants of Aaron, in the service of the LORD’s temple” (1 Chronicles 23:32). 

Reflecting on my responsibilities as a worship leader in light of what we read today, I get excited. I might not have an outrageous number of musicians to organize, lead, or instruct, but the scale doesn’t really matter. What seems to matter is that David took worship very, very seriously. He refused to cut corners, and I shouldn’t either. Even if my resources are nothing compared to his, what matters is that I offer everything I do have in the service of the Lord and His people. 

If you’re not a worship leader, I would encourage you to focus on the phrase “carry out their responsibilities.” I believe God has uniquely called and gifted each of us, and what we all share in common is a responsibility to carry out the work God has given us as an act of worship. However, each of us ought to contribute; as followers of Jesus, our highest calling is to praise God with everything we do. Whatever corner of the world we touch, we ourselves are to become living embodiments of worship. 

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