1 Chronicles 16 Devotional
By Pastor Lawrence
Clearly, this is one of the red letter days in the history of Israel with the Ark of the Covenant being brought, in the proper manner, into the city of Jerusalem with great joy in celebration. The festivities would begin with numerous offerings unto the Lord for the Israelites to dedicate their lives unto God and to commemorate their covenant of peace with the Lord. King David then would send out generous gifts of food from his own storehouse to every single man and woman in the tribes of Israel that they might realize their standing and their share at the Lord’s Table, if you will, as subjects of God’s kingdom and as children of God.
To ensure that God’s people would not forget the Lord their God, David then appointed a number of Levites who would regularly minister before the Ark of the Lord leading God’s people in praise and prayer. The official blowing of the trumpets before the ark was for the purpose of calling God’s people at a set hour to lift up their hearts unto God through the mediation of the priest. By appointing Asaph and his brothers to continually sing songs of thanksgiving before the Lord, David was instituting not only an atmosphere or mood in Israel enveloped in the truths of God but also an example and a pattern for the people to follow at home, for you’ll notice that after David blesses the congregation of Israel, he then goes home and blesses his own family in a similar manner, thus solidifying the connection between corporate and family worship. Finally, David also chose a number of men to serve as gatekeepers to keep the Israelites from trying to go in and touch the Ark of the Covenant, and significantly, David chooses Obed-edom as one of these leaders, since he was the original guard over the ark after the death of Uzzah when the ark remained at his house. Because David loved the people of Israel, he didn’t want to see another one of his brothers die needlessly for not heeding the holiness of God. To this day in the corporate worship of the Church there is still the need to balance the joy and celebration of the Lord with that holy reverence for God remembering that our God is a consuming fire.
In vv.8ff we read one of the psalms of David written for such a joyous occasion that sets the pattern for Israel in terms of thanksgiving, praise and petitions unto the Lord. With the ark now resting in Jerusalem, David is reminded of all God’s wonders performed in the past with the symbolic presence of God in their midst through the ark. Even as David teaches Israel to make their petitions unto God, they are called to remember his wondrous deeds, which is actually a part of the petition-making process, since what we are asking God to do in many situations is to remember his covenant promises unto us. As we remember his covenant, we are asking God to be faithful to His Word, praying His word back to Him. And we must keep in mind that although the events recorded in this passage took place at one of the high points in the history of Israel, these words were actually recorded by the chronicler and written to a generation of Israel that had just come out of exile and had been humbled greatly. They were not the proud people they once were, but now were the scattered remnant of Israel who were remembering God’s wondrous works of old and remembering his covenant promises unto them to make them into a kingdom, to protect them from oppression and to give them a land of their own.
Now this ragtag group of very little might and means are being exhorted not only to call upon the Lord, but to pray, in agreement with God’s promises, for all of the nations to give glory to the one true God. At this time in Israel, at one of the lowest ebbs in their history, the chronicler is reminding them that their God is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Even though, they don’t currently have a king, and even though they are under the power and sovereignty of an evil regime, and even though they are far and few in number, they still serve the only true God who not only created the world but who also ordained every single event in history, even the dark days and even the days of failure and defeat. Thus they are exhorted to praise the name of the Lord again each morning and to remember that there will come a day when all the nations, and all the states will turn away from their worthless idols and fear the Lord, worshipping Him with strength and joy giving him the glory and a tribute worthy of His name. So let us heed that same exhortation and worship the Lord this morning with that same joy and gladness, trembling before his holy throne, and saying with faith once again, “The Lord reigns!” “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!” “Blessed be the name of the Lord from everlasting to everlasting!” And let all God’s people say, “Amen!” and praise the Lord.