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Music: A Matter of the Heart


By Benjamin H. Liles

          I sometimes think it's a great idea to revisit certain things. Today after doing a little digging to see how scriptural an item was I felt it was a matter of the heart to talk about music. Music affects us whether we believe it or not. And when I say this next part, I also believe music has a huge part to play about what thoughts, imaginations, musings, and ideas come from our hearts as well. We're told in scripture to "Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life" (Proverbs 4:23, Holman Christian Standard).



          Now, in like fashion, according to past articles I wrote so far this topic came up from conversations past with my lovely wife, Tanya. She told me that within scripture it mentions a certain angels being in charge of music. This same angel had access to God's throne. Stop me if you've heard this before.

           We read, "Your pomp is brought down to Sheol, and the sound of your stringed instruments;
the maggot is spread under you, and worms cover you. How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High’" (Isaiah 14:11-14, New King James)

          I do listen to some Country music, not a great deal of it. The music I listen most of my time is praise and worship music; along the lines of Petra, Jeremy Camp, Todd Agnew, and Steven Curtis Chapman to name a few. For those of you who have seen I take care on my Biblical approach to scripture, as best as I possibly can with the grace of God, I am the same way with my music. I want it to be good, honest, heartfelt and true. 

          Jesus said this to the Samaritan woman at the well, "But a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for the Father is seeking such as these to worship Him" (John 4:23, Berean Study). The whole point of this is that if we worship God, the Father, as well as Jesus Christ, in spirit, praise, and in worship, and in truth, then we should have our hearts aligned not just with Him and His word, but what we listen to is a measure of what He sees in our hearts as well. 

          Jesus also told others, "It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man" (Matthew 15:11, New American Standard). So, our hearts connect to our mouths, and from our mouths comes forth speech that shows the attitude (or the lack thereof) of where our heart is. I believe a great deal of you would agree with that as well. James, a half-brother to Jesus, said, "In the same way, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it boasts of great things. Consider how small a spark sets a great forest on fire. The tongue also is a fire, a world of wickedness among the parts of the body. It pollutes the whole person, sets the course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell" (James 3:5-6). 

          What does all of this have to do with Lucifer being the chief angel over music and God's throne? Ezekiel was given this by God to tell us, "You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering: the sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold.
The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes was prepared for you on the day you were created. You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; you were on the holy mountain of God; you walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones (this is a play on words about how he found himself of equal status with God, but is now reserved for devouring fires). You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you" (Ezekiel 28:13-15). 

           The words timbrels and pipes have two roots in the Hebrew language: 1) toph, which means timbrel or tambourine; 2) naqab, which means pipes, like that of a flute. So, the verse would read more as "The workmanship of your tambourines (drum beat) and pipes (such as a flute, or wind instrument) was prepared for you on the day you were created." Now, if I'm wrong on this I would love to be corrected. But if in fact the passage says that then it implies that indeed this chief prince whom once guarded the throne of God is also the angel in charge of music. 

          The angel that fell and took a third of all Heaven was once Lucifer, morning star. But since that fall he goes by a new name as he's our adversary: Satan. He opposes everything that is from God. He wants everything that belongs to Him on High gone. He seeks to devour any and all who serve Him. He also seeks to keep those who are already under his rule and authority there. He'll do whatever it takes, but his primary means has always been through music. But he perverts the music God gave and makes it seem as if it's right and good. It isn't. 

          And that's the over-arching point I'm making. If our tongue is indeed hard to handle, but yet it makes it boastings from our hearts, then the music we listen to influences our hearts desires; thus, we speak the essence of the music we listen to. When Paul speaks the words, "The old life has passed away; behold, the new has come" (2 Corinthians 5:17, Berean Study), he's calling to mind what the prophet Isaiah was told by God to write: "Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert" (Isaiah 43:18-19).

          I can give a small bit of my testimony here to prove this overall point: I used to listen to groups and music such as Def Leppard, AC/DC, Aerosmith, and Led Zeppelin. These groups were closely related to how they saw and treated women. More than that most of the members of these groups suffered from addiction to alcohol and various drugs. I was fortunate enough to not pollute my body in the same manner. But the attitude that was pervasive in that music held a strong hold on me much later than I intended. Even while I listened to these groups I was immersing myself in the music of Petra, Michael W. Smith, Amy Grant, and Steven Curtis Chapman. I had to get to a point where what I listened to was strangled out. A good working definition of a stronghold is "that which cannot be taken easily." Jesus said, "But no one can enter the strong man's house and plunder his property unless he first binds the strong man, and then he will plunder his house" (Mark 3:27, New American Standard). I was coming to the end of my "addiction" to music that was making me angry, insufferable, and treating women like play toys.

          I will admit that I am still drawn to that music. But when I feel that urge, I start listening to something far more uplifting. I listen to the music I grew up listening to: Petra, Steven Curtis Chapman, and now Jeremy Camp, Todd Agnew, among others. I also do a lot of heavy reading as well. I'll address that issue about what we put in front of our eyes in another post. And a lot of that content will be the same as it is here. But for now we need to focus on the heart of the matter: music. 

          There is a lot of God-honoring music out there. Bands and artists that sing scripture are of the highest value in my book. I don't follow after artists who water down the message or peddle a soft version of the gospel of Christ. As you all know I am all for Christ and I prefer the music I listen to in the same manner as well. Take it or leave it, the gospel of Christ will not be changed. Either you stand firm or you sink with the sifting sand that will destroy your home. I want the sure foundation that keeps me high and dry: Jesus Christ is that foundation. No one else can take that place. I pray this blesses and helps all of you out. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.