Restoration & Praise
Christian Fellowship Center
Devotional Reading: Deuteronomy 16:1-11
Background Scriptures: 1 Chronicles 26:7-36
LESSON SCRIPTURES: 1 Chronicles 26:8-12; 28-36
Exerted from: Standard Lesson Commentary KJV (2019-2020).
8 Give thanks unto the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people.
9 Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works.
10 Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord.
11 Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually.
12 Remember his marvellous works that he hath done, his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth.
28 Give unto the Lord, ye kindreds of the people, give unto the Lord glory and strength.
29 Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.
30 Fear before him, all the earth: the world also shall be stable, that it be not moved.
31 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice: and let men say among the nations, The Lord reigneth.
32 Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof: let the fields rejoice, and all that is therein.
33 Then shall the trees of the wood sing out at the presence of the Lord, because he cometh to judge the earth.
34 O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.
35 And say ye, Save us, O God of our salvation, and gather us together, and deliver us from the heathen, that we may give thanks to thy holy name, and glory in thy praise.
36 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel for ever and ever. And all the people said, Amen, and praised the Lord.
After participating in this lesson, each learner will be able to:
1. Tell why much of the text is in the nature of a psalm.
2. Explain how David's gratitude is reflected in the imperatives give, sing, remember, etc.
3. Identify one of those imperatives most lacking in his or her worship and make a plan for improvement.
"The King of ..."
Even though we may not live under a monarchy, the word king is still an important part of our vocabulary. We often use it to signify that someone or something is the best in its category. In baseball the pitcher who leads the major league in strikeouts is termed the Strikeout King, and the leader in home runs is called the Home Run King. NASCAR driver Richard Petty became known as simply the King because of his accomplishments in the sport.
In music, Elvis Presley is generally given the title of King of Rock and Roll, while Michael Jackson receives the accolade of King of Pop. Fans of the genre would likely disagree over who the King of Country is, depending on their preference for older or more contemporary versions.
If one were to create a title such as “King of Psalms,” there is no question who would be the recipient of that honor; it would have to be given to King David. It is he who became known as the “sweet psalmist of Israel” (2 Samuel 23:1). If David were to be offered such an honor, he most likely would refuse to accept it because his music was devoted to the praises of a far greater king: the Lord God of Israel. Whatever talent David possessed, he recognized it as being a gift from that same God.
This lesson text closely follows the passage covered last week. There David brought the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem amidst great celebration and joy (see 1 Chronicles 15; lesson 1). After the ark was placed inside the tent that David had provided for it, burnt offerings and peace offerings were sacrificed (16:1). These expressions of worship were needed following the first attempt to transport the ark (see chapter 13). Likely they were partly given in repentance for the previous flippant attitude toward transporting the ark; partly they were offered undoubtedly to thank God for restoring and repairing their relationship with Him.
A burnt offering was completely consumed on the altar, signifying the worshipper's complete devotion to the Lord. Peace offerings were given with a desire to establish fellowship or communion between the worshipper and the Lord. They included a shared meal among the worshippers. On this occasion, David blessed the worshippers, then provided each one with food for their meal (1 Chronicles 16:2, 3).
David then appointed some of the Levites “to minister before the ark of the Lord” (1 Chronicles 16:4). That ministry was to focus primarily on leading the people in worship, specifically in the area of music. David desired to show utmost reverence toward the sacred space associated with the ark of the covenant. He assigned specific individuals to play certain instruments and even appointed two priests, Benaiah and Jahaziel, to sound trumpets regularly before the ark (16:4-6).
Chief among the men appointed by David for these sacred tasks was Asaph, who had already assisted in bringing the ark to Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 15:17). Asaph's authorship of certain psalms was noted in last week's study (see lesson 1 commentary on 1 Chronicles 15:16). David commissioned a special psalm of thanksgiving for Asaph for use on this important day and then for use in any future occasions of celebration and praise (16:7). David did not want Asaph to sing a solo or lead a professional chorus. Instead, this appears to have been an opportunity to teach the people a new worship song.
The resulting psalm contains sections that are similar to three psalms found in the book of Psalms (compare 1 Chronicles 16:8-22 to Psalm 105:1-15; 1 Chronicles 16:23-33 to Psalm 96; and 1 Chronicles 16:34-36 to Psalm 106:1, 47, 48). None of these three psalms are credited to David, nor is the psalm in 1 Chronicles 16 specifically attributed to him. He could have commissioned another writer to provide a psalm for Asaph (1 Chronicles 16:7). David, whose heavy involvement in this ceremony has already been noted, also could easily have composed a psalm for this occasion. The new song called attention to the Lord's goodness to His people throughout their history. It also challenged His people to give God the glory due His great name.
8. Give thanks unto the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people.
The psalm is a call to all God's people. The word “people” in this verse is plural, meaning “peoples” (compare Revelation 10:11; 17:15). Thus, not only does David desire that all of God's people engage in giving thanks, he also intends for the people of other lands to hear about all that the Lord has done (see 1 Chronicles 16:19-27).
9. Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works.
The exhortation continues with the command to sing psalms (such as this one) to the Lord. As in the previous verse, the worship of the Lord is not always meant to be private. The worshipper is to talk of the Lord's wondrous works.
The world could use more talk about the Lord. Such conversations include telling all of what God has done in creation and the history of His people. We should also share personal testimonies about His work in our lives as David models elsewhere (Psalms 19, 30, 34, 63, 142, etc.). Christians have a greater story to share than David knew: we tell of Jesus' mighty work for all the nations (Matthew 28:18-20; Ephesians 2:11-22; Hebrews 11:32-40; Revelation 15:3, 4; etc.).
What Do You Think?
What are some of God's wonderful works we can and should proclaim in worship services?
In what ways have you found memory and proclamation of God's work to be connected to your own moral behavior?
10a. Glory ye in his holy name.
The Hebrew word hallelujah is translated here as glory. The holy name of the Lord is ample reason to glorify Him. In a biblical context, one's name is associated with the person's character or reputation (Exodus 20:7; Proverbs 22:1). The name of the Lord is truly above all names, for His character and reputation are far superior to any possible rival (Exodus 3:14, 15; Psalms 8:1, 9; 20:1, 5, 7; etc.; compare Philippians 2:9-11).
10b. Let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord.
Today, the heart is connected primarily to romantic affections. Throughout the Old Testament, heart often indicates the inner person that is home to one's deepest desires (Genesis 6:5; Exodus 4:21; 35:21; etc.). For one's heart to rejoice shows that the heart is pursuing or has found what it most wants.
The discipline of seeking the Lord is found throughout the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 4:29; 1 Chronicles 22:19; 2 Chronicles 14:2-4; Isaiah 55:6; Jeremiah 29:13). The Psalms regularly admonish worshippers to seek the Lord (Psalms 9:10; 24:6; 27:8; etc.). The people do not seek someone who intends to stay hidden. God has revealed himself in many ways throughout history (Hebrews 1:1, 2). This seeking is an unending though fruitful quest on earth (1 Corinthians 13:9-12). Our search will be completed when we are with the Lord for eternity (Revelation 21:3).
11. Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually.
The Israelites may be tempted to seek strength by the worship of foreign gods (Exodus 32:1; Numbers 25:1-3; 1 Kings 18:18-40) or by forming treaties with other nations (Exodus 34:12, 15; Joshua 9:3-15; 2 Chronicles 35:20-24). Instead of trusting God, the Israelites may be tempted to put their trust in a mighty military (Judges 7:1-8; 1 Samuel 8:10-12; 1 Kings 22:1-39) or by using oppressive economic practices to make them secure in wealth (Isaiah 10:1, 2; Amos 2:6, 7; 8:4-6). Instead of relying on these worldly sources of power, David exhorts the people to seek God's strength (compare 1 Samuel 2:10; Isaiah 45:24).
To seek the Lord's face continually suggests that a person should strive to know Him well. Moses is described as someone “whom the Lord knew face to face” (Deuteronomy 34:10). Yet, not even Moses was permitted to see the face of the Lord in the sense of viewing His glory directly (Exodus 33:18-20). Jesus later tells His disciples that seeing Him is seeing God (John 12:44; 14:7, 9; compare Colossians 1:15-20). The climax of seeking the Lord's face will be seeing Him face-to-face in the New Jerusalem (Revelation 22:4).
Specialized computer applications identify a person by examining his or her face. In the mid-1960s, programmers Woody Bledsoe, Helen Chan, and Charles Bisson used computers to select from a database a small group of faces that most nearly resembled the face in a photo. As one might expect, results changed when photos varied by lighting, camera angle, and even facial expression of the subject.
Nevertheless, the technology continued to improve. Today, an algorithm analyzes the position, size, and shape of the subject's eyes, nose, cheekbones, and jaw. By looking at specific characteristics, the program can seek the face of a person with increasing accuracy.
A common command in Scripture is to use “facial recognition” of a sort to know God! How are you growing in your recognition of God's face? —J. E.
12. Remember his marvellous works that he hath done, his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth.
The exhortation to remember the Lord is common in the Old Testament (examples: Deuteronomy 8:2, 18; Ecclesiastes 12:1). His people tend to forget Him without constant reminders (Deuteronomy 32:7-9, 18; Judges 3:7; 1 Samuel 12:9-15; compare 1 Corinthians 11:20-29). If we remember the Lord's marvellous works and his wonders, we will be less apt to act unfaithfully.
The judgments of the Lord refer to more than judicial decisions. The Hebrew word can refer to the principles and commandments He has given His covenant people to live by (Exodus 21:1; Deuteronomy 4:14; Psalm 119:175). For the people to have received such judgments from the Lord is just as much a sacred privilege as having witnessed His wonders (Psalm 147:20).
First Chronicles 16:13-27 (not included in today's text) highlights the Lord's works on behalf of His covenant people—works they should remember. Also included are exhortations to sing to the Lord and to speak of His great works to other peoples (1 Chronicles 16:23, 24).
28. Give unto the Lord, ye kindreds of the people, give unto the Lord glory and strength.
God has always had a plan to provide salvation for the kindreds. Within the Old Testament, in which the nation of Israel is God's “peculiar treasure” (Exodus 19:5), there are hints of His intention to bless all the people in the entire world (Genesis 3:15; 22:18; Isaiah 2:2; 11:9; Micah 4:1; etc.). Jesus fulfills that plan (2 Corinthians 5:17-19; Colossians 1:21-23). It will come to full fruition in Heaven, where the righteous from “all nations, and kindreds” will find their home (Revelation 7:9).
29. Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.
True worship is expressed in more than words. It must include action, specifically an offering (Leviticus 7:29; 9:7; 22:29; contrast Psalm 51:17; Micah 6:6-8). Such an offering could be an animal, raw grains or other produce, fruits and grains already prepared as food and drink, or other valuable goods (Exodus 25:21-29; Leviticus 2; 22:21; 23:13, 18, 37; etc.). The most important feature of an offering is the excellence of the gift—so good as to be perfect (example: Leviticus 3:6).
One should keep in mind the historical backdrop of this psalm: proper transportation of the ark of the covenant following an improper attempt (1 Chronicles 13, 15)—an attempt that was unholy in manner. The quality of holiness is central to God's character (Joshua 24:19; 1 Samuel 2:2; etc.). To worship in the beauty of holiness means not only being aware of God's holiness but also approaching Him as His holy people (1 Peter 1:15, 16). This can happen only as we obey Him. God desires that His covenant people live holy lives. Christians must understand that this is the primary reason God has given us His Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 4:7, 8; compare Hebrews 12:14).
What Do You Think?
What are some ways to ensure that your worship is characterized by a holiness that honors God's holiness?
How should holiness in worship reflect the fact that God's people are set apart for His special purposes in the world? How do Psalm 29:1, 2 and 1 Peter 1:15, 16 inform your response?
30. Fear before him, all the earth: the world also shall be stable, that it be not moved.
The command to fear reflects a concern that proper reverence be shown to the Lord, particularly in light of what happened during the first attempt to carry the ark (see 1 Chronicles 13). The phrase all the earth is emphasized by appearing three times within this psalm (see 16:14, 23). The Lord's control over the entire world stabilizes and sustains it. Nothing throws it out of its orbit; the planet remains in the place assigned by its Creator. When God desires to remove it from its place in order to establish the new heavens and earth, that will indeed happen (2 Peter 3:10-13).
31. Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice: and let men say among the nations, The Lord reigneth.
The entire heavens and the earth, which the Lord has created (Genesis 1:1), are now called on to rejoice in their Maker. People—who are not only created by God but made in His image (1:27)—should witness among the nations, in the chorus with all creation, that the Lord reigneth. None other is worthy of this declaration.
32a. Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof.
The members of this choir continue to grow in number as the waters and the land and all their inhabitants add their voices. The sea, far from being a tranquil retreat, often represents chaos (Psalm 46:2, 3; Proverbs 8:29; Habakkuk 1:14). Its worship of the Lord reveals that even the seemingly untamable depths, with all its creatures, falls under God's power and yearns to see His greatness (Job 41; Psalm 74:13; Jonah 1:17; 2:10).
32b. Let the fields rejoice, and all that is therein.
The fields represent a contrast to the sea. Far from being chaotic, they can be depended on to provide for the people as long as God blesses the fields to yield their bounty. Their rejoicing looks like bountiful food for people and their animals, a riot of thriving vegetation.
33. Then shall the trees of the wood sing out at the presence of the Lord, because he cometh to judge the earth.
Elsewhere trees “clap their hands” in praise to the Lord (Isaiah 55:12). This image helps round out the growing picture of all creation worshipping the Lord. It does so because the Lord's judging will include the release of all creation from the curse of sin. Paul pictures the creation as groaning even now for that deliverance from the “bondage of corruption” (Romans 8:19-23) that will one day take place.
What Do You Think?
What can you do to become more aware of God's presence in the everyday world?
Which psalms do you find especially suited to teaching how to see God's world in a way that is worshipful to Him?
All Nature Sings
Throughout history, natural sounds and patterns have shaped the works of classical composers. Antonio Vivaldi's The Four Seasons is an example of this. This work consists of four concertos, each incorporating the sounds of each of the four seasons. Ludwig van Beethoven's sixth symphony, also known as the Pastoral Symphony, takes the listener on a leisurely stroll in the Vienna countryside. Claude Debussy clearly identifies his inspiration for La Mer (The Sea) as he takes us on an ocean voyage. Chirping birds greet the dawn in Edvard Grieg's Peer Gynt, and a frantic piccolo takes us on Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's Flight of the Bumblebee!
Long before any of these composers lived, another songwriter sang of the music of nature. David heard these sounds as worship. The roar of the oceans, the rustling of the trees, and the gentle whisper of the winds over a field all sing of the sovereignty of God. Are we listening? —J. E.
34. O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.
The final two phrases of this verse are repeated with slight variations several times within the Old Testament, often accompanied by a command to give thanks (2 Chronicles 5:13; 7:3; Ezra 3:11; Psalms 107:1; 136; Jeremiah 33:11). Such repetition suggests the refrain's importance. No one can overstate the fact that the Lord . . . is good.
Being repeatedly reminded of God's goodness and mercy prompts His people to thank Him for all that He does. That thankfulness in turn should direct the people to walk in the Lord's ways (Romans 2:4).
What Do You Think?
How would you explain God's goodness to someone who wonders why there is so much evil in the world?
Under what circumstances would you use or not use the Bible in your explanation?
35. And say ye, Save us, O God of our salvation, and gather us together, and deliver us from the heathen, that we may give thanks to thy holy name, and glory in thy praise.
Thus far this psalm has featured a series of exhortations to praise, give thanks to, and worship the Lord. For the first time, words of request appear. The people's praying to be delivered from the heathen (translated “nations” in 1 Chronicles 16:31) reveals that salvation in this context concerns physical well being, not primarily spiritual realities.
The heathens are called to know that the Lord is king (1 Chronicles 16:31), but the song recognizes that they often pose a threat to God's covenant people. The plea for deliverance springs not from selfish or vengeful motives but from a desire that the Lord's name (His character and reputation) be exalted (Psalm 115). When God acts on behalf of His people, He gives them fresh material for which to give thanks.
What Do You Think?
What techniques can we use to ensure that we continue worshipping God actively during difficult times?
What do the successes and failures in this regard reveal about human nature? Give biblical examples.
36a. Blessed be the Lord God of Israel for ever and ever. And all the people said, Amen, and praised the Lord.
The psalm concludes with a final tribute of praise that foreshadows the very picture of Heaven (Revelation 7:11, 12; 21:22-27). God by His nature is to be blessed, and the saved will spend eternity blessing Him.
One can only imagine the rousing response of Amen that climaxes this unforgettable day. The people react as the songwriter and leaders intend.
Eyes of Gratitude
I'll never forget the first time I put glasses on, back in the seventh grade. My teacher had noticed my squinting to see the blackboard. I went through the tests with an eye doctor and didn't think too much about it. Then came the day when I first put on my glasses. Just before doing so, the lady said to me, “Look across the street.” I did. Then she had me put on the glasses, and she said again, “Look across the street.” I couldn't believe how clear everything was; it was amazing! I had no idea how poor my vision was until I could see clearly.
We are accustomed to praying with our eyes closed. That way, we can shut out distractions and approach prayer with the right frame of mind. But it doesn't hurt to pray with our eyes open—to see the many reasons around us for which to be thankful. This is something we can do as we drive (we don't want to close our eyes then, anyway!) or when we walk through the neighborhood or look out the window—or across the street. Such a practice can enhance our spiritual vision and deepen our sense of God's presence in everyday life.
Father, we thank You for the mercy You demonstrated to all of humanity in the sending of Jesus, our Creator and Savior. May our worship of Him be offered each day in word and deed from grateful hearts. We pray in Jesus' name. Amen.
Thought to Remember
Make each and every day a day of thanksgiving.