So David dwelt with Achish at Gath, he and his men, each man with his household, and David with his two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the Carmelitess, Nabal‘s widow. And it was told Saul that David had fled to Gath; so he sought him no more. 1 Samuel 27:3-4
David had no business being in Gath; Saul wasn’t pursuing him any longer and Gath was a stronghold of Israel’s enemy the Philistines. In a very real sense Gath is a type (or picture) of the world. David ends up in Gath because he mistakenly paid heed to what his heart was telling him. By now David should have known better, but thankfully we have his error for our example.
The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings. Jeremiah 17:9-10
David relies on his emotion to guide him, ends up back in the world, and puts together a series of blunders that will ultimately catch up with him. David may have been considered the apple of God’s eye, but nevertheless, God is not mocked and sinners always reap what they sow. However I don’t want to focus on David’s errors right now; I want to focus on one of his accomplishments. It’s found in Psalm 8, 81, and 84.
To the Chief Musician. On the instrument of Gath. A Psalm of David. O Lord, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth, Who have set Your glory above the heavens! Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have ordained strength, Because of Your enemies, That You may silence the enemy and the avenger. When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, And You have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, All sheep and oxen– Even the beasts of the field, The birds of the air, And the fish of the sea That pass through the paths of the seas. O Lord, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth! Psalm 8:1-9
Did You Catch it?
David writes this Psalm and he plays it on the instrument of Gath—a pagan instrument! The worshippers when they heard it must have been shocked; much the same way many of us were shocked when electric guitars were brought into out sanctuaries. Looking back, I suppose there was a likely uproar when the first pipe organ was introduced too. And believe it or not, some folks are still being shocked. Check out this little snippet I pulled from a recent internet blog:
Obviously, God does not want us listening to flute music. Flutes and other woodwinds are horrible instruments. They entice us to sin with their wistful tunes…Clearly, Satan operates through the flute….keep woodwind instruments out of our public high schools. Warning labels should also be attached to music containing saxophones, flutes, or other instruments that require the touching of the lips.
In light of David’s accomplishment on the Gathinite instrument, this quote is laughable. Our Father has filled the Bible with one account after another of His taking that which was meant for evil and using it for good. God through David makes that point melodiously clear in his Psalms. There is no such thing as a bad instrument, just bad musicians. When glorifying and worshipping the Lord, we can feel free to use whatever instrument we desire as long as we do so in an orderly fashion. (Now where can I find me on of those Gath-a-phones?)