Entertainment—A Delight or Curse

“And David came to Saul, and stood before him: and he loved him greatly…and Saul sent to Jesse, saying, ‘Let David, I pray thee, stand before me; for he hath found favour in my sight.’ And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.” 1 Samuel 16:21-23

Webster’s dictionary defines entertainment as an amusement or diversion provided especially by performers. If we are bold enough to apply this definition to 1 Samuel 16, it appears that one of David’s first jobs in Saul’s kingdom was to be an entertainer! Apparently this future king of Israel was very good at it too. We read earlier of a talent search for a gifted player of the harp, sort of an Israeli version of American’s Got Talent—David won the contest! This young man had become proficient and exceptional with his instrument. To achieve such accreditation takes years of practice and patience. One does not simply pickup an instrument and become a virtuoso overnight. Only after years of cultivation and focus can an individual reach such talents. To play a musical instrument with the capacity that David exhibited meant devotion to the instrument. According to the Bible, David was an entertainer when defined by Webster’s dictionary. He played for the amusement and diversion of the king.

Using David as the Bible’s description of an entertainer, we discover quickly that entertainment in itself is not evil. This future king was able to use his gift to refresh a very deeply disturbed powerful man. Who knows what evil was prevented by David’s ability to simply refresh and clear up a troubled mind. As an entertainer of the king, the harpist used his gift to calm and create a pleasant atmosphere in the palace, one that would keep an influential man from rash choices. In contrast, Herod, a king in the New Testament, found entertainment of a sensual type from a woman and foolishly hastened the demise of the prophet, John the Baptist. The point being, it’s “man” that defiles entertainment by how he chooses to perform his gift. And entertainment can be a very influential means in society. The god of this world can use a man’s gift to proclaim demonic deceptions in any given culture. Satan has had years of rehearsing to perfect the best ways of destroying good wholesome entertainment and entertainers.

As those who walk in the light of God’s presence, let’s be careful what we choose as entertainment and reflective about others around us. What is acceptable to one person maybe a millstone of trouble around the neck of another! Discernment is the buzzword when considering what we take in with our eyes and ears. A clear choice of God’s presence will always help in deciding if entertainment is appropriate or not. “Could Jesus enjoy this amusement with me?” is a wonderful question to ask when in doubt. And so, let’s choose our entertainment with wisdom, discernment using godly insights.

J Robert Hanson

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