1 Chronicles 16 (NLT)
1 They brought the Ark of God and placed it inside the special tent David had prepared for it. And they presented burnt offerings and peace offerings to God. 2 When he had finished his sacrifices, David blessed the people in the name of the Lord. 3 Then he gave to every man and woman in all Israel a loaf of bread, a cake of dates, and a cake of raisins.
With great celebration and generous gifts indicating God’s goodness, the ark is finally in a good, although temporary, home. And David has further plans for housing it more appropriately.
The NRSV translates “a cake of dates” as “a portion of meat,” which is even more generous!
4 David appointed the following Levites to lead the people in worship before the Ark of the Lord—to invoke his blessings, to give thanks, and to praise the Lord, the God of Israel. 5 Asaph, the leader of this group, sounded the cymbals. Second to him was Zechariah, followed by Jeiel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Mattithiah, Eliab, Benaiah, Obed-edom, and Jeiel. They played the harps and lyres. 6 The priests, Benaiah and Jahaziel, played the trumpets regularly before the Ark of God’s Covenant.
Now particular people were assigned certain jobs in the ongoing task of leading worship. Daily prayers of praise, thanksgiving, and supplication were joined with musical offerings in this new era of spiritual life for Israel under David.
David’s Song of Praise
7On that day David gave to Asaph and his fellow Levites this song of thanksgiving to the Lord:
8 Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness.
Let the whole world know what he has done.
9 Sing to him; yes, sing his praises.
Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds.
10 Exult in his holy name;
rejoice, you who worship the Lord.
11 Search for the Lord and for his strength;
continually seek him.
12 Remember the wonders he has performed,
his miracles, and the rulings he has given,
13 you children of his servant Israel,
you descendants of Jacob, his chosen ones.
David has listed nine ways we can worship the Lord. None of these ways requires special talent or extra funds. All we need is a willing heart! How many of these can you do today?
14 He is the Lord our God.
His justice is seen throughout the land.
15 Remember his covenant forever—
the commitment he made to a thousand generations.
16 This is the covenant he made with Abraham
and the oath he swore to Isaac.
17 He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree,
and to the people of Israel as a never-ending covenant:
18 “I will give you the land of Canaan
as your special possession.”
It was entirely appropriate that this psalm focuses on the idea of His covenant, because it was written for the arrival of the ark of the covenant into the place David prepared for it in Jerusalem.
- God made a covenant with Abraham regarding a land, a nation, and a particular messianic blessing (Genesis 12:1-3).
- God made a covenant with Israel as a nation, regarding a law, sacrifice, and choice of blessing or cursing (Exodus 19:5-8).
- God made a covenant with David regarding the specific lineage of the Messiah (2 Samuel 7).
- God made a covenant with all who would believe on His Son, the New Covenant through Jesus Christ (Luke 22:20).
19 He said this when you were few in number,
a tiny group of strangers in Canaan.
20 They wandered from nation to nation,
from one kingdom to another.
21 Yet he did not let anyone oppress them.
He warned kings on their behalf:
22 “Do not touch my chosen people,
and do not hurt my prophets.”
David reminds the people that God protects them wherever on earth they are.
David reminds us that our security is not in our knowledge or prestige or bank balance or job, but in the kindness of God.
23 Let the whole earth sing to the Lord!
Each day proclaim the good news that he saves.
24 Publish his glorious deeds among the nations.
Tell everyone about the amazing things he does.
25 Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise!
He is to be feared above all gods.
26 The gods of other nations are mere idols,
but the Lord made the heavens!
27 Honor and majesty surround him;
strength and joy fill his dwelling.
28 O nations of the world, recognize the Lord,
recognize that the Lord is glorious and strong.
29 Give to the Lord the glory he deserves!
Bring your offering and come into his presence.
Worship the Lord in all his holy splendor.
Do you ever feel uneasy about the future? One of the best antidotes for that uneasiness is to look back upon the past and see the miracles of God’s prevenient grace: how he worked in your life even before he brought you to himself. It helps to consider how many strings he pulled and what power he used to bring us to the place where we found Christ. Notice his providential, sovereign hand on you since that day, and remember that God’s will toward you has not changed. His will toward you is just as good today as it was yesterday, as good as it was when you were a sinner who did not know him and he was lovingly working to bring you to himself. And he will continue to work and bring you to ultimate, final, and full salvation.
–Dennis F. Kinlaw
30 Let all the earth tremble before him.
The world stands firm and cannot be shaken.
31 Let the heavens be glad, and the earth rejoice!
Tell all the nations, “The Lord reigns!”
32 Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise!
Let the fields and their crops burst out with joy!
33 Let the trees of the forest rustle with praise,
for the Lord is coming to judge the earth.
Mountains, trees, lakes — nature and all of creation are full of praise for God!
34 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
His faithful love endures forever.
35 Cry out, “Save us, O God of our salvation!
Gather and rescue us from among the nations,
so we can thank your holy name
and rejoice and praise you.”
36 Praise the Lord, the God of Israel,
who lives from everlasting to everlasting!
And all the people shouted “Amen!” and praised the Lord.
Worship at Jerusalem and Gibeon
37 David arranged for Asaph and his fellow Levites to serve regularly before the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant, doing whatever needed to be done each day. 38This group included Obed-edom (son of Jeduthun), Hosah, and sixty-eight other Levites as gatekeepers.
39 Meanwhile, David stationed Zadok the priest and his fellow priests at the Tabernacle of the Lord at the place of worship in Gibeon, where they continued to minister before the Lord. 40 They sacrificed the regular burnt offerings to the Lord each morning and evening on the altar set aside for that purpose, obeying everything written in the Law of the Lord, as he had commanded Israel. 41 David also appointed Heman, Jeduthun, and the others chosen by name to give thanks to the Lord, for “his faithful love endures forever.”
The praise of one generation inspires the next. I can look back on so many saints (“chosen by name” and written in the Lamb’s Book of Life!) who have encouraged me along the way to know God and his truth! Some I know/knew in person, others only by book or music or spoken account. May I be the same kind of witness to my children and others, with my thoughts, words, and deeds giving “thanks to the Lord” and proclaiming that “his faithful love endures forever.”
42 They used their trumpets, cymbals, and other instruments to accompany their songs of praise to God. And the sons of Jeduthun were appointed as gatekeepers.
43 Then all the people returned to their homes, and David turned and went home to bless his own family.
For years, as an organ student in college, I studied pieces from Bach’s Das Orgelbüchlein, The Little Organ Book. These short arrangements of hymn tunes, arranged according to the church year, show a marvelous variety in technique, registration, and mood. They feed my soul and I love them! HERE is my favorite celebratory piece from this collection: “In Dir Ist Freude” (In Thee Is Gladness), BMV 615, played at a very rapid tempo by Massimo Pinarello in Treviso, Italy.
New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.