Why Did David Use Instruments?

Steven Deaton

In discussions with denominational folks about instrumental music, they will sometimes claim that David’s use of them justifies their use today. Is this true?

First, let us establish that David is not our Savior. He is not the authority in Christianity, Jesus is (Col. 3:17; Matt. 28:18). David was a prophet; he was the sweet psalmist of Israel, guided by the Spirit of God. Still, the New Testament reveals that we are not to follow and heed the Law or prophets, but the Son of God (Matt. 17:1-5).

Second, David used the instruments because God commanded him to (2 Chron. 29:25). It is not as though David presumptuously changed the worship of God. Many today believe they can. Without a commandment from God, they alter what the New Testament says about worship. They add instrumental music, social activities, even outright entertainment. All such activities are without divine authority and render the worship vain (Matt. 15:7-9).

Third, there are many things David did that we cannot do. David offered and commended animal sacrifices (Psa. 51:19). He had many wives (2 Sam. 3:2-5; 5:13; 12:8). Who will argue that we should offer bulls and goats or that a man can practice polygamy because David did? Honesty demands that none of these things are permissible because of David’s practices; not sacrifices, not polygamy, not instrumental music in worship.

The bottom line is, David used instruments because that is what God commanded him to do. In our worship we must sing, because this is what God commands us to do (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16). Let us be like David, people after God’s own heart, by submitting to the Lord’s will, not living by ours.