I am on my second annual read through the Bible in a year. I use to be one of the ones that took offense when others would say, I'm reading through the bible this year. It use to strike a jealous chord in me that I never really understood. But along with a few good friends for accountability, we’re on lap two. It has become my oasis every day to see what God would have to say to me today. I’ve been a student of the bible for a number of years, but somehow this discipline has taken me to new levels of loving and living in The Word. The challenge of course is to “read for transformation, not information.” When you seek God, especially in His word, you’ll find Him.
Having said all that, we are now in 1 Chronicles as part of our Old Testament reading. I love King David, (the man after God’s heart). I think because that is what I long to be. When I arrive in heaven, I hope to hear my Lord say, “well done my good and faithful servant.” I’ve been musing lately, how can some of this seemingly senseless flapping, be well done? And I’m reminded that God’s measuring stick is called “Grace & Mercy.” In Him is where anything of real eternal value happens.
In the book of First Chronicles 16:4 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. (Thank you biblegateway.com) This passage jumped off the page for me. The Levites in this scripture were the ones to offer up sacrifices, the workers in the temple. They were also the musician’s for the tabernacle worship. They were gatekeepers, butchers, custodians, artisans, you get the picture. In this text, the Ark of God’s Covenant is returning to Jerusalem, one of the most glorious days of all time. Israel had squandered and wandered all over that region of the world. Because of sin, idolatry in particular, they broke their Covenant with God. The price they paid was separation from Him. (Sound familiar?) Over time, things became so bad, that they lost the Ark of God in which God’s covenant was placed. Finally after years and years of turning their back on God, they found the Ark, and King David rejoiced with the honor of returning it to Jerusalem-The City of David.
David’s charge to the Levites is threefold. Remember, the Levites were the worship leaders of the day, and this is what he charged them to do.
1. “…to invoke His blessings,
What a glorious honor! To call upon God’s blessing for His people. To speak words of truth over them, to love them as God loves them. One of the things I’m learning this trip through the Bible is that God loves to bless His children. He has blessings for us, and longs to give them to us. He IS good!
2. …to give thanks,
The worship leaders are to lead in having thankful hearts! Attitude is contagious! When we grumble about circumstances: why don’t the people sing louder, why can’t he or she sing in tune? It’s too loud! It’s not loud enough! I wish we’d sing more... And on and on it goes! Choose your attitude! It IS about Him, not me! Everything else pales in comparison to His glorious splendor. Focus on Him not those external things that can become distractions, if we choose to let them.
3. …and to praise the Lord, the God of Israel.”
With hearts filled with His blessing, and longing to give that away to others, and a thankful heart, the natural response is to praise Him. He is so incredibly good! How could we have any other response but, to praise?
So, if you happen to get to lead, heed these words spoken to the Levites, the lead worshipers of David’s day. If you are not, you still are, because you are the gatekeeper to your own heart. Speak blessings to others, be thankful, and give Him all the praise, glory, and honor that are due His name!