God’s chosen people certainly had music of their own before David arrived. However, David established music as a central feature in the worship of YHWH. Even in the New Testament when the apostle Paul encourages the church in Colossae to sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with grace in their hearts, Paul does so as a Jew formed by the songs of Israel written by David.
When he commissions Asaph and his associates to make music, David’s charge could be read as a charge for all musical artists, for all times, who write songs about God (1 Chronicles 16:8-36). In fact, David’s charge to Asaph includes categories for content that would fill the book of Psalms and shape the posture of those who make such music. Praise flows from being amazed at God; thus, David directs the gaze of Asaph and company to God’s goodness. David also speaks of God’s past works in saving Israel so that His former deeds might strengthen Israel in the present and give them godly hope for their future.
Though we still sing the Psalms, when we started Agapé Chicago, I prayed that we would be a church that would make new music to God. We have made two or three new songs in our church’s brief history, and our songs come from the cultural line of David and his work. In the future, when God puts conviction in hearts to write new songs unto Him through our family, 1 Chronicles 16:8-36 offers us solid direction for both musical content and artistic character for this work.