Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 20, 1961

David's Invention

Cecil B. Douthitt, Fort Smith, Arkansas

Under the Mosaic dispensation God tolerated polygamy, divorce and re-marriage, the kingly government and instrumental music in worship, though he was never pleased with any of these things. We would not know that God was not pleased with, and did not approve of, any of these, if he had not registered a protest against them. (See 1 Sam. 8; Matt. 19:3-9; Amos 6:1-6)

Some argue that Amos 6:1-6 is not a protest against David's introduction of instrumental music under the law, because these people were guilty of many other sins listed in these verses, which ordinarily are not sinful. But it seems to me that a careful reading of these verses would reveal to all that a woe was pronounced upon them for doing something like David did it.

We know that David's invention was the introduction of mechanical music into the worship of God. Whatever these people of Amos 6:5 did, they did it like David. Would God pronounce a prophetic woe upon a people for doing something like David, if David did nothing wrong in what he did?

If the Lord should say, "Woe to them who are baptized like the twelve men of Ephesus" (Acts 19:1-5), you would not think it strange at all, for you would conclude immediately, if you did not know already, that God was not pleased with their baptism. However, if you should hear someone say, "Woe to them who are baptized like the Jews on the day of Pentecost," you would know immediately that one of two things is true: (I) that the statement is totally false, or (2) that God was not pleased with the baptism of the Jews on Pentecost. We know that the statement, "Woe to them....that invent for themselves instruments of music, like David," is true. Therefore we know that God was not pleased with what David did.

How could their other sins with which the people of Amos 6:1-6 are charged remove the woe pronounced upon them for doing something like David?

God's displeasure with David's introduction of mechanical music in worship is as plainly and clearly revealed in Amos 6:1-6 as his displeasure with divorce, remarriage, polygamy, and kingly government, or anything else which he merely tolerated under the law.

Some contend that 1 Chron. 25:1-7 and 2 Chron. 29: 25, 26 teach that both the "instruments of David" and the "songs of Jehovah" were commanded of God. But if they would read the passage more carefully along with Ezra 3:10 and Neh. 12:36, I think they would be able to see two things: (1) that David is invariably accredited with the introduction of instrumental music under the Old Covenant; (2) that the mechanical instruments in the house of God according to the commandment of David are mentioned in contradistinction to the songs and praise according to the commandments of Jehovah.

The timbrel, the dance, stringed instruments, heavenly planets, inanimate objects of the earth and "every thing that hath breath" mentioned in connection with the praise of Jehovah in the Psalms are figurative expressions declaring the universality of praise of which Jehovah is worthy. All animals of field and forest have breath, but Psalm 150 does not teach that they should be or ever were introduced into the worship of God with the Lord's approval.