2 kings 3:15-16 “But now bring me a harpist. While the harpist was playing, the hand of the Lord came upon Elisha.”
Reading these scripture verses led me to ask –
“What is the connection between playing the harp or a musical instrument and hearing from God?”
Let’s get some background to what led to that verse there. Joram, son of Ahab was king of Israel and Jehoshaphat was king of Judah at the time. They along with the king of Edom set out to fight against the king of Moab. In 2 Kings 3: 9 we read “They set out on a roundabout march for seven days (through the desert of Edom) and their armies had no more water for themselves or the animals with them.”
Joram exclaims “What! Has the Lord called the three kings together to hand us over to Moab?”
Then Jehoshaphat asks “Is there no prophet of the Lord here, that we may inquire of the Lord through him.” An officer answers “Elisha son of Shaphat is here.”
The kings go to Prophet Elisha but he doesn’t seem very receptive to the presence of Joram who did evil in the eyes of the Lord. He says “What do we have to do with each other, go to the prophets of your father and mother.”
Elisha goes on to say that only because he has respect for king Jehoshaphat (who was a godly king), he would pay attention to what they ask. And then he says “But now bring me a harpist. While the harpist was playing, the hand of the Lord came upon Elisha.”
Elisha could not prophecy just when he liked it. The spirit of God had to come upon him for him to be able to speak the word from God.
Elisha seemed to be a bit irritated with king Joram. And in feeling so, he was not in the best possible position to receive a word from God.
In 1 Samuel 16:14-23 we read “David was called upon to play the harp for Saul” Saul at the time was tormented by an evil spirit and the spirit would depart when David played.”
I am inclined to think that it was music of praise and worship that David played. The book of Psalms filled with David’s various pieces of songs and worship to the Lord tells us that he was inclined to do so. It was not the harp in either of those situations that invited the presence of God but the worship. There is power when we worship and praise God.
In Psalm 22:3 God has promised to inhabit the praises of His people “You are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.”
Worshipping and praising God invites the presence of God, He has promised His presence as we worship and the Lord keeps His promises. Our worship creates a place for us to encounter, experience and hear from God.
Playing the harp, helped Elisha focus on God and not anything else. He had to quiet every distracting thought or emotion so that he was in a position to hear from God.
It takes some preparedness to quiet our minds from the stress in our lives, the happenings around us and focus on God. We all desire to hear from God, but do we take the time to prepare our hearts and minds to do so? To quiet the noise and solely focus on Him.
Is our time with him rushed? Is it peppered with thoughts of things that need to get done? Or is it inundated with worry of how that which is worrying us is going to get sorted out?
There is power when we worship and praise God. Just like the evil spirit from Saul departed when David played, may anything that the enemy tries to throw at us, be it fear, anxiety or the impossibility of our situation flee when we worship. His name is greater than all of those.
Worshipping God puts what the enemy tries to magnify in our eyes into the right perspective for us.
When the enemy uses anything to keep us distracted, worshipping God points our compass back to our True north (God).
Worship has the power to break through the darkness and make way for God to move. In Acts 16:23-26 we read of how Paul and Silas who were in prison, worshipped the Lord in the midst of their situation and God’s power poured out.
A great prophet like Elisha showed us the importance of quieting our minds, to leave behind that which distracts and focus on God. The verses above is a wonderful reminder for us that there is a part we have to play to enable us to be able to hear both the loud clear nudges of God and His quiet whisper. Be it either worshipping God or just seeking Him in some moments of quiet with prayer, whatever helps us focus on Him and invite His presence, let us remember to create a disposition in our hearts and minds conducive to hearing, discerning His will and experiencing God’s power in our lives.