To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.
I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. 2 He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. 3 And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord. Psalms 40:1-3 (KJV)
David got his start in public life because of his ability to make music. But even before – I wonder if David’s selection as king (by God) had a lot to do with this inclination? Was David chosen because he could produce a song?
You might be thinking, “If so – I’m doomed. I can’t sing my way out of a wet paper bag.” But you would be missing the point. Everyone has a New Song that God has given them. God’s purpose in our lives is fulfilled when we produce it effectively!
That’s why the the part of this verse that intrigues me most is the preface “To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David”. Many of David’s songs begin with these words. Some versions of the Bible don’t even include them as scripture. They appear as headers, but there is not actually a chapter/verse reference. As a result – we don’t actually pay a lot of attention to them. But these headings were a part of the original text, which was not divided into chapter and verse. So very literally they are part of the Word of God, and they deserve our attention as much as the words that follow them.
Who is the Chief Musician?
To whom was David directing these notes? Perhaps these notes were directed to:
- The Choir Director
- The Arranger that would put the words to music
- The unknown Artist that will one day sing the song, such as “to the leader of the band”, or “to the artist reproducing this song”
Ultimately, these headings reflect one thing – David knew that he would not tell his story by himself. He had a song. He had prepared the song. But the story-line and the words are only half of a song – it is ultimately the arrangement and the delivery of a song that moves us.
Like so much of the Psalms – David’s words had prophetic significance. The person speaking in the “first person” in most of the Psalms was David – but in a prophetic sense it was Jesus Christ. New Testament writers confirm that many of the words of David’s songs were actually intended to be sung by Jesus.
And ultimately, it is the arrangement and delivery by Jesus Christ – the Chief Musician – that makes the Psalms to resonate in our hearts today.
He’s my Chief Musician as well. Ultimately – He is what makes the difference in my story. He makes it beautiful. Thank God for a New Song. Thank God for a Chief Musician.
This is the first of two installments – click here to read the next.