I Chronicles 16 provides us with a model for praising the Lord (1 Chronicles 16:7). Because the model was provided by King David, the chief Psalmist, we will do well to consider its structure. However, our circumstances are very different from those of David, and we may need to modify some of the components, and definitely add a few of our own. Ultimately, praise is personal. It very much depends on the peculiar chemistry between the individual and God. Just as the same parent evokes different relationships with different siblings, so God, the Creator of us all and the Father of every born-again Believer, relates to us, and we to Him, in ways that reflect the chemistry between His changeless nature and our changing selves. So let us take a look at David’s model of praise.
1 Chronicles 16:11-12 contain two critical commands each with a pivotal word. Seek His face ALWAYS. We never have a difficulty looking to the Lord and seeking His face occasionally, either when things are good, or when things are bad. However, the keyword in the model is “always” – whether things seem good, or whether they seem bad.
The second command is to REMEMBER. The opposite of “remember” is forget… and that is what we do best, or at times most conveniently. And here is a good time to remind you that it is the Devil’s job to help us forget the goodness of God and the wonders He has done. For if we remember, then we may be tempted to praise the Lord. In Exodus and Deuteronomy, God detailed to the Israelites, strategies designed to help them “remember” (Deuteronomy 6:6-8). We may wish to modify those today. But just as we prepare for a school exam by remembering what we have been taught, so and even more, we must work our strategies to help us remember all the good things, and the “bad” things that God has done in our lives, and as are recorded in the Bible.
Many of the promises made by God to Israel are covenant specific to the Israelites. However, to Abraham He said, through you all nations will be blessed, and the Church is in a sense, the offspring of Abraham, and definitely headed by Jesus Christ, the descendant of David. 1 Chronicles 16:13-18 definitely appear to be Israelite-specific. However, how God dealt with Israel is very informative as to how He will deal with us, for He is the same yesterday, today and forever. The focus of this section is found in 1 Chronicles 16:15. “He remembers his covenant forever…” It must be comforting to know that God, unlike anyone else in our lives is able and willing to keep His promises. Many of our loved ones are able, but not willing; and some are willing, but not able. Our God is both. But even beyond that, He has no choice. It is His nature to keep His promises. We can therefore rest in the assurance that regardless of how the present may seem, the promises of our God are as good as done.
1 Chronicles 16:28-33 cast the net wide and encompass the diversity of God’s creations that must give thanks and praise Him. It is “all you families of nations”. It includes the “heavens” and the “earth”. It includes “the nations”. Then there is “the sea” and “all that is in it”. “The fields” are not left out, and included is “everything in them”. The “trees of the forest” are covered among that which must give thanks to God. And I may add, “the trees” that are outside of the forest. This is a total sweep of the inhabitants of air, land and sea. We all must praise the Lord and give thanks.
And yet, there is a paradox. Everything else that God has created continues to praise Him today, and to remember to praise Him always, except his “flag-ship” creation – man! Let this not be true of the sub-section of man referred to as Believers in Jesus Christ.
1 Chronicles 16:34 is the rejoinder, or lines fitting to be the chorus of an eternal hymn… “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.” It provides us with a solid base and a fool-proof rationale. God is good. Define “good” as you like. It is the polar opposite of “bad”, “evil” and the “Devil”. Flowing forth from his nature of being “good”, is His “goodness”. We are the beneficiaries of His goodness. And for that, we must give thanks. We must remember to give thanks. We must remember to give thanks always. I have found no better song as yet, than Johnson Oatman’s – “Count Your Blessings, name them one by one! And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”
Remember to visit RBC’s Our daily Bread Devotional today at www.ODB.org