Sunday, 1 May 2016

David in Prayer - 1 Chronicles 16:8 - 36

The people of Israel were defined by their story - of God leading them out of slavery, of making promises and covenants with them. God had instructed them to make an ornate box - 'the ark' - in which they kept etched tablets of stone. This was a focus to help them in their worship. Many years on they were finally able to settle in the land God had promised, and now they had a king who could establish them as the people of God in the land of Israel. David succeeded in bringing the ark to Jerusalem, to form the epicentre of their worship. It was a day of great celebration. Since the people were to be characterised by their worship of God, David appointed people to praise - not just on that great day, but each day thereafter. The 1 Chronicles passage records a poem of praise written for the occasion.

It starts with a call to praise, to sing your heart out, rejoice, and enter the glory of God.

v12 has a call to remember, what God has done and His actions.

In v23 and 31-33 all creation joins in praise: sea, trees of forest, all the earth and heaven join in!

v23, 24 and 28 all suggest an invitation for the whole earth, for all nations, to join and praise. The people of God were at the centre of something global - the desire of God to draw all to Himself.

v35 Cry out, give thanks, glory in your praise: beginning and end there is a connection between our determination to praise and the glory of God being present.

David had brought the ark to Jerusalem, to establish it as the centre of worship. But this wasn't just for them to look inwards, but the start of ever increasing ripples to spread out across the world. David got a sense that he was part of something much much bigger - do we? Hence the key question:

Key Qn: [IN] Do you feel part of God's bigger purposes
Challenge: Contribute one sentence of praise per day

We too as the people of God are a people of praise and worship - hence the challenge to give at least one sentence of praise per day!

Back in v12 David was able to remember because he rehearsed the original promises of God, their history and story. Whether it was oral tradition or already written down, he went back to these sources to bring to mind once again what God has said and done. This is a good reminder to us to make reading scripture - our wonderful source of what God has said and done through history - another of our bedrock habits (alongside prayer). There are countless different ways and aids to do this - at the very least there is a 1 or 2 chapter per week suggestion on our church newsheet week by week!

The praise and celebration on this day was not supposed to be a one-hit-wonder, but the start of lives lived in worship of God and lived in God's purposes. These purposes, from the first promises to Abraham onwards, were intended to reach out across the globe: a people who declare that 'God Saves' to all peoples, a people who in their praise are caught in the glory of God.

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