Music is an incredibly powerful force. Amazingly, it helps us through both good and bad times in life. I’ve experienced music’s power in some of life’s most joyous celebrations, and yet, music has also helped me process some of the darkest times in life. Contrary to what some may believe, I think God uses both Christian and mainstream music to stir and change human emotion. God may have actually used some of those secular records my youth leader encouraged me to burn to help me on my journey to finding Him. On the other hand, Satan recognizes the power in music, too, so it’s very likely he used music as well to make my journey to finding God a little more difficult.
One of the most well-known mentions of music in the Bible was when David was summoned to play his harp to soothe King Saul’s troubled soul. In an interesting twist, God brings torment to Saul’s soul but then uses David’s harp playing to assuage the torment.
Now the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and a harmful spirit from the Lord tormented him. And Saul’s servants said to him, “Behold now, a harmful spirit from God is tormenting you. Let our lord now command your servants who are before you to seek out a man who is skillful in playing the lyre, and when the harmful spirit from God is upon you, he will play it, and you will be well.” So Saul said to his servants, “Provide for me a man who can play well and bring him to me.” One of the young men answered, “Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing, a man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a man of good presence, and the Lord is with him.”Therefore Saul sent messengers to Jesse and said, “Send me David your son, who is with the sheep.” And Jesse took a donkey laden with bread and a skin of wine and a young goat and sent them by David his son to Saul. And David came to Saul and entered his service. And Saul loved him greatly, and he became his armor-bearer. And Saul sent to Jesse, saying, “Let David remain in my service, for he has found favor in my sight.” And whenever the harmful spirit from God was upon Saul, David took the lyre and played it with his hand. So Saul was refreshed and was well,and the harmful spirit departed from him.
(1 Samuel 16:14-23, ESV)
God also used music to give Elisha powerful words to speak.
And Elisha said, “As the Lord of hosts lives, before whom I stand, were it not that I have regard for Jehoshaphat the king of Judah,
I would neither look at you nor see you. But now bring me a musician.” And when the musician played, the hand of the Lord came upon him. And he said, “ Thus says the Lord, ‘I will make this dry streambed full of pools.’
(2 Kings 3:14-16, ESV)
While music plays a significant role throughout the Bible, those two examples show God using music for specific purposes. Clearly, the ability to create music is a powerful tool He gifts to some. Even when artists with rock star attitudes and lifestyles make it to the top of the Christian radio charts, God can still use the music to draw the lost to Jesus. A good friend of mine, Pete Orta, has an incredible story of how God used his music before he was actually saved. Pete was a member of the Christian rock group Petra. He played for large audiences around the world impacting thousands of lives. Pete didn’t have a relationship with Jesus during that time, but God still used him to spread the Gospel through music. Thankfully, Pete eventually found Jesus and is now being used by God in huge kingdom-building ways. A few years back, Pete founded In Triumph, a ministry that rescues and disciples troubled young men.
While God can and will use music made by non-believers for His purposes, it doesn’t mean the non-believers He uses will spend eternity with Him in heaven. Pete’s story of redemption is glorious, but sadly, not all will end in a similar way. The Bible tells us in Luke 12:48 that God expects much from those who are given much. Clearly, large platforms fall on the side of much. If Luke 12 is indeed true, then celebrity status comes with giant responsibility and eternal ramifications. I can’t imagine standing before God after living the monster-controlled life of a rock star and answering His question, “So, how did you use the platform I gave you?”