The power of music 

Posted on · Posted in Culture, Music

Music is powerful. Read this account of a young and popular musician.

He was as concerned about the way he appeared when he performed as the music he played . . . Around him young women swooned, others fought for and tore articles of his clothing . . . The musician encouraged such conduct because it made his legend grow.

Who was this wild man after whom young women clamored? Is this a scene from today, the 90’s, 80’s, 70’s or 60’s? Actually, it is from the 30’s—the 1830’s. The musician was Franz Liszt, the noted classical pianist and composer. No, he wasn’t the first rock musician. His music is neither loud nor raucous by today’s standards. It is not performed by strange-looking musicians whose photos give parents nightmares. Liszt produced the same reactions in his listeners as Elvis, the Beatles, Drake, Ariana Grande, or Bruno Mars. Why is music powerful? To answer this, we must understand the source and purpose of music.

The Bible gives insight about the power of music. We know from Revelation 5:9 and from the announcement of the birth of Christ and other passages that music is an act of worship that goes on in heaven. This tells us that music is of heavenly origin. Music existed before man was created. Anything that is used in heaven has great power and significance.

From the Psalms we learn that God’s purpose for music here on earth is to strengthen and intensify our relationship with him. Do not miss the importance of this point when you think or talk about music. Music is not the invention of man, but of God. Music is designed first and foremost to praise God. The Psalmist says it is a good thing to make music and praise God.

Music expresses love and loyalty for God’s truth. After God rescued Israel from Egypt, Moses led the Israelites in a song to celebrate the power of God’s redemption and to remember his power. The Psalms  provide a record in song for us to remember the great redemptive acts of God in the history of Israel.

Music also brings calmness as we see when David played his songs to sooth the tormented spirit of King Saul. The psalms are alive with the power and beauty of music. And in Colossians 3:16, Paul speaks of music “in your heart” to keep Christians focused on priorities that please God.

These are good things associated with music. Music has the power to enhance our relationship with God and with others. However if music is not centered on the wonder and beauty of God, it’s power can be destructive.  Instead of music enhancing a relationship with God it can draw us and bind us to other things. 

God commands that the music that plays in our hearts to be about him.  Don’t allow the music of unbelief and discontent to dominate your thoughts and your heart. Instead play the music of gratitude, joy, and honor to God. This music will strengthen you, protect you and draw you closer to Christ.

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Jay Younts
John A. (Jay) Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger, and is a ruling elder serving at Redeemer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He has written Everyday Talk, Everyday Talk About Sex & Marriage, Finding the Right Track, the In Touch With Paul stewardship series, and What About War. He has studied and taught about biblical childrearing for 30 years. He and his late wife Ruth have five adult children.