Bible reading for weekend of Nov 21-22.
1 Chronicles 16-17
make known his deeds among the peoples!
Sing to him; sing praises to him;
tell of all his wondrous works!" (16:8-9)
SING TO THE LORD! (ch 16) David had a heart for the honor of God. Early in his reign he appointed singers and musicians to serve in the temple courts (then, the tabernacle), so that the truth about God would be heard by all who entered the temple precinct to worship. The first songs listed in this chapter are David's compositions, Psalm 105 (the first half) and Psalm 96, along with an oft-sung refrain, "Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!" (Psalm 106:1; cf Psalm 136). Singing the Psalms in the temple court would accomplish a number of purposes. First, it was a way the gathered worshipers could praise God and give him thanks (Heb 13:15). It was also a way of reminding each person of the truths about the nature, character, goodness, deeds, judgments, salvation, and promises of God. And it also served an evangelistic purpose, for the songs would be heard in the area where observers could gather (later the "Court of the Gentiles") and thus were an ongoing, musical proclamation to the nations of the worth and beauty of God.
THE TESTIMONY OF SONG. Singing Scripture-rich songs, whether the Psalms, hymns, or spiritual songs (Eph 5:19), was a way to worship God, to encourage one another, and to let God's word "dwell richly" among them (Col 3:16). It is also evangelistic. For many years I served in a church to which many international guests would come and visit. For those coming from different religious backgrounds, one of the first things they noticed was the joyful singing of the congregation and the beauty of the songs. To them this was a testimony to the greatness of our God, for in Christ we have so very much to sing about! In our current world, however, many desire to remove the praise and testimony of God from the public square. If the church cannot be silenced, at least it should be driven underground. Our modern (and post-modern) culture believes that all religious claims should be private, kept to oneself. (Of course, their own secular and atheistic views are exempted!) But the Bible says that our proclamation of God should not be privatized, but rather publicized! Will you pray that soon Christ-honoring, Bible-teaching churches may return to unhindered public worship, and that many seekers would crowd our sanctuaries to hear God's word proclaimed and his praises sung?
A HOUSE AND A DYNASTY. (ch 17) This account parallels that of 2 Samuel 7. This is the establishment of the Davidic covenant (Psalm 8:2-3). This applied to the reigns of Solomon and of the Davidic kings that followed, but ultimately this covenant finds its fulfillment in our Lord Jesus, the greater Son of David, who reigns as King forever (Isa 9:7) and who himself is our eternal sanctuary (John 2:21; Rev 21:22-23).
BONUS. What did an ancient lyre (Heb., kinnor; 16:5) look and sound like? Here's one possibility. And here's a modern Jewish (Messianic) version of Psalm 121.
"But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere." (3:17)
WISDOM FOR LIVING. These two chapters, like Proverbs, include counsel regarding use of speech, having good interpersonal relationships, attitude toward business, and choosing humility over pride. Wisdom is more than knowledge -- it includes the right use of knowledge in living well before God and with fairness toward others. This also involves insight and discernment. As I look around at our information-rich world I see much knowledge (or at least, data), but little of the insight, discernment, and wisdom that the Scriptures promote. T. S. Eliot once wrote, "Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information? It is for lack of wisdom, not lack of information, that the people perish."
REFLECT. Pray for yourself, and others, to have a heart that seeks wisdom. Ask God to give you a love for his wisdom and holiness, and for skill to think well, to speak wisely, to relate justly to others, and to live with discretion before all. The Apostle Paul wrote, "Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person" (Col 4:5-6). Which of the issues listed in these two chapters most needs your attention right now?
Image credit. The Lyre of Megiddo by Peter Pringle on YouTube. We are following the Robert Murray M'Cheyne (RMM) two-year reading schedule, as arranged by D. A. Carson. Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. One recommended resource is NETBible.org, a ministry of bible.org.