Music and the Spirit

We find an obscure but telling episode in II Kings 3, where Elisha is going to prophesy to the kings. In verse 15 he says: “‘But now bring me a minstrel.’ And it came about, when the minstrel played, that the hand of YHWH came upon him.” This is a very revealing verse regarding the way that God’s Spirit uses music.

There are other passages which indicate similar things: such as when David soothed Saul’s spirit and drove away his demons, by playing music. Ephesians 5 and Colossians 3 refer to being full of the Spirit, speaking in Psalms, hymns, & songs. Each of these passages indicate that music plays a special role in relationship to God’s Spirit.

And in this passage we see it again. Elisha seems to want or need the “prompting” of worship music to inspire his prophecy. And when the music played, indeed “the hand of YHWH came upon him.”

This episode reminds us that we must not overlook the role that godly music can play, both in our personal lives and in our corporate worship. We should turn to it personally: when oppressed in spirit, to express joy, when inspiration is needed, or in order to draw close to the Lord in worship. We should also not hesitate to employ its power for God’s purposes in corporate worship; knowing the potential it holds to inspire both our ministers and our people.

(It may also be wisdom to recognize that the opposite is true as well: that music can be distorted from its original purpose and used for destructive and evil ends by the enemy!)

Elisha’s experience here should remind us that music is a gift from God, and we should recognize and employ its power both in our personal lives, and corporately in our churches.

About Shawn Thomas

My blog,, provides brief devotions from own personal daily Bible reading, as well as some of my sermons, book reviews, and family life experiences.
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