16 David told the leaders of the Levites to appoint their brothers as singers to sing joyful songs, accompanied by musical instruments: lyres, harps and cymbals.
This just makes sense to me. My brother is a pastor. I am a church musician. That's how it was in this passage too. The Levites were the priests in the temple and their brothers were the church musicians. The only difference between this setup and my family is my brother didn't appoint me to be a musician, God prepared me to be a church musician through a lot of encourgement by my parents.
Here's how the chapter goes on:
19 The musicians Heman, Asaph and Ethan were to sound the bronze cymbals; 20 Zechariah, Aziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Maaseiah and Benaiah were to play the lyres according to alamoth , 21 and Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, Mikneiah, Obed-Edom, Jeiel and Azaziah were to play the harps, directing according to sheminith . 22 Kenaniah the head Levite was in charge of the singing; that was his responsibility because he was skillful at it.
Wouldn't you just like to hear what that sounded like? Crashing cymbals, strumming harps and lyres, and skillful singers. It's not exactly a pipe organ, a piano, the trumpets of Easter, or even a praise band. But it's the music that God wanted in his temple.
There's just one phrase which keeps popping out at me in this passage: "because he was skillful at it." God gives talents to all of us, even musical talents. But it's up to us to use those talents for his glory. If God gave you five talents of singing ability and you chose not to use those talents, you'd be in danger of those talents being squandered just like what happened in the Parable of the Talents. But if God gave you two talents of musical ability and you used them faithfully, He promises to give you even more.
What does that have to do with the phrase "because he was skillful at it"? We need to cultivate and encourage the musical gifts that God has given to his children. We should not expect those musical talents to grow by themselves. We need to teach children how to sing and play instruments at every age and grade level so that it can be said of those same children that they are "skillful" at it. And then the music of worship will be as close to the music of heaven as we can approach on this earth.