Scripture reading – 1 Chronicles 16
The arrival of the Ark of God in Jerusalem inspired a celebration that continued in 1 Chronicles 16. David prepared a new tent for the Ark. The original Tabernacle, dating to the days of Moses, remained in Gibeon, a city north of Jerusalem, and located amid the territory of the tribe of Benjamin.
The Ark’s Arrival in Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 16:1-7)
The Ark’s return and the restoration of sacrificial offerings (1 Chronicles 16:1-2) were cause for a national celebration. David did not usurp the role of the Levites; however, as king, he placed himself at the forefront of the celebration. After blessing the people in the name of the Lord” (1 Chronicles 16:2), we read that “every man and woman [was given] a loaf of bread, and a good piece of flesh [possibly a serving of meat], and a flagon [clay jar]of wine” (1 Chronicles 16:3).
David also re-established the service and order of the Levites and priests (1 Chronicles 16:4). He appointed singers and musicians to lead in daily worship (1 Chronicles 16:4-6), reminding us of the prominent role music and singing have always held when believers worship the God of heaven. A poet and musician, David had prepared a special psalm of thanksgiving for the occasion (1 Chronicles 16:7-36) and entrusted it to Asaph, one of three chief musicians (1 Chronicles 16:7).
A Festive Song, A Psalm of Thanksgiving (1 Chronicles 16:8-33)
David’s psalm heralded a new day and beginning for the people. Calling upon all Israel to worship and give thanks to the LORD, David invited the congregation to sing: “Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, Talk ye of all his wondrous works” (1 Chronicles 16:9). Boast of the LORD, and “10Glory ye in his holy name: Let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord” (1 Chronicles 16:10).
The song called upon the people three times to “seek the LORD” (1 Chronicles 16:10-11). What did it mean to “seek the LORD?” It meant to seek Him diligently; call upon Him as one wholly dependent on Him (1 Chronicles 16:10).
Not only were the people to glory in the LORD and seek Him, but they were to remember all He had done for them as a nation (1 Chronicles 16:12). Abraham and Jacob were dead, but the covenant promises of the LORD had not failed (1 Chronicles 16:13-17). All that He had promised He had fulfilled. He had given Israel “the land of Canaan” for their inheritance (1 Chronicles 16:18). Though Israel had been small among the world’s nations, the LORD had protected His people from the heathen. He had warned the kings of the earth, “Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm” (1 Chronicles 16:22).
The song then focused on rejoicing as the people were reminded that the LORD is King and Sovereign of the earth (1 Chronicles 16:23-33). All the world was encouraged to “sing unto the LORD,” for every day declares His salvation, and His glory is not hid from the eyes of the heathen” (1 Chronicles 16:23-24). Though fools look to the heavens and say, “No God” (Psalm 14:1; 53:1), the heavens themselves declare the glory of their Creator (1 Chronicles 16:25). He is great and “is to be feared above all gods. 26For all the gods of the people are idols: but the Lord made the heavens” (1 Chronicles 16:25-26).
How should believers respond when they realize the glory and majesty of the LORD? (1 Chronicles 16:27-33)
With hearts of thanksgiving and rejoicing, we are to bring our offerings to the LORD and worship Him who is holy (1 Chronicles 16:27-29). Though turmoil surrounds us, we should not forget that God sustains the earth, and “the world also shall be stable, that it be not moved” (1 Chronicles 16:30). All nature should rejoice, for “The LORD reigneth” (16:31). “Let the sea roar…let the fields rejoice…the trees of the wood sing out at the presence of the Lord” (1 Chronicles 16:32-33a).
Why all this rejoicing? Like all the faithful saints of the Old Testament, David was looking for the LORD’s coming. The Psalm declared that the LORD “cometh to judge the earth” (1 Chronicles 16:33b).
A Doxology of Praise (1 Chronicles 16:34-36)
David’s psalm recorded in 1 Chronicles 16 concluded with a prayer for deliverance and a doxology of thanksgiving. In my mind, I can hear the crescendo of voices and instruments as the people sang, “O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever” (1 Chronicles 16:34). Acknowledging that salvation is from God (1 Chronicles 16:35), the song fell silent with the last refrain: “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel for ever and ever” (1 Chronicles 16:36). The voices of the people thundered in response, “Amen, and praised the Lord” (1 Chronicles 16:36).
1 Chronicles 16 concluded with a registry of Levites assigned to minister before the Ark in Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 16:37-38). The names of men assigned to the altar and sacrifices in Gibeon were given, where the Tabernacle of Moses remained (1 Chronicles 16:39-40). As in Jerusalem, so it was in Gibeon that musicians accompanied the worship of the LORD (1 Chronicles 16:41-42).
Closing thoughts –
With the celebration ended, David and all of Israel returned to their houses (1 Chronicles 16:43). Though the episode with Michal, the daughter of Saul and the first wife of David, was unwarranted and disheartening (1 Chronicles 15:29), the past was the past, and David and the nation looked forward to the blessings of the LORD (1 Chronicles 17).
I encourage you to do the same! Be willing to forgive and leave the past in the past. Don’t allow yourself to stumble over trifles, make minor issues major, and fail to recognize the blessings of the LORD. Take a moment and count your blessings. Then pause and meditate on the greatness of God displayed in His Creation and your salvation.
Let all the earth rejoice and praise the LORD.
Questions to ponder –
1) How did Michal, Saul’s daughter and David’s first wife, behave when she saw David celebrating the Ark’s arrival in Jerusalem? (1 Chronicles 15:29)
2) What was the first response to the Ark’s arrival in Jerusalem? (1 Chronicles 16:1)
3) What elements of worship were called for in David’s psalm? (1 Chronicles 16:8-12)
4) What was the difference between the gods of the people and the God of heaven? (1 Chronicles 16:26)
Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith
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