1Chronicles 16:4

Sunday Morning Bible Study

October 13, 2002


A Frenchman, an Englishman and a New Yorker were captured by cannibals. The chief comes to them and says, “The bad news is that now we’ve caught you and we’re going to use your skins to build a canoe. The good news is that you can choose how to die.” The Frenchman says, “I take ze sword.” The chief gives him a sword. The Frenchman says, “Vive la France!” and runs himself through. The Englishman says, “A pistol for me please.” The chief gives him a pistol. The Englishman says, “God save the queen!” and shoots himself. The New Yorker says, “Gimme a fork.” The chief is puzzled, but he shrugs and gives him a fork. The New Yorker takes the fork and starts jabbing himself all over. The chief asks, “My goodness, what are you doing?” And the New Yorker responds, “So much for your canoe!”

Well, I’d like to ask you a question today.  What are you doing here?  Do you know why you’re here in church?  I hope that the main reason you are here is to worship.

A. W. Tozer (1897–1963) said, “We are called to an everlasting preoccupation with God.” He also said, “God wants worshipers before workers; indeed the only acceptable workers are those who have learned the lost art of worship. . . . The very stones would praise him if the need arose and a thousand legions of angels would leap to do his will.”

Learning to worship

:4 he appointed certain of the Levites

appointednathan  (Qal) to give, bestow, grant, permit, ascribe

This is a word that seems to speak to a person’s will, their “choice”.

Lesson #1

Worship is a choice

It’s a choice you make.
You choose whether or not to “appoint” yourself to worship or not.
This wasn’t an issue of whether or not they “felt like it”.
It was their job, their responsibility.
And these guys had to do it every day.
(1 Chr 16:37 KJV) So he left there before the ark of the covenant of the LORD Asaph and his brethren, to minister before the ark continually, as every day's work required:

:4 to minister before the ark of the LORD

ministersharat - to minister, serve. This word speaks of the service that the Levites would give in worship.

David is appointing these men to perform worship before the ark. Their worship will be made up of music – there were singers, stringed instruments (psalteries and harps), cymbals, and trumpets. (vs. 5-6)

The Ark was the place where God would meet with man (Ex. 25:22).  The Ark was to be a model of God’s throne in heaven.

In a sense, these Levites were going to be “performing” before the Throne. God’s throne.

Lesson #2

Worship is performed to God

If you’re a performer, there are going to be times when some performances are a little more important than others.
I’ve been in choirs since I was a kid. I’ve been in school choir concerts. I’ve been in choirs that toured and performed many places. Some performances are a little more awe-inspiring than others. I remember in high school going to nursing homes, church luncheons, and retirement parks. But those didn’t seem near as important as when we competed in the big high school choir competitions each year at Chapman College.
But when it comes to worship, sometimes I have this feeling that we don’t really understand who is in the audience.
The Best for the Queen
One day while walking with some children and palace attendants, Queen Mary was caught in a sudden thunderstorm. The queen quickly took shelter on the porch of a home. To avoid attracting a crowd, she disguised her appearance by putting on a hat that partly covered her face and a plain coat she borrowed from one of her attendants. The queen then knocked at the door and asked to borrow an umbrella. “I’ll send it back tomorrow,” she told the unfriendly woman who answered the door. Despite the assurances about returning her umbrella, the woman did not want to lend her best umbrella. So she retrieved an old umbrella stored in the attic. One rib was broken, and there were several holes in it. With a haughty attitude and scornful words, she handed it to the unrecognized monarch. The next day the woman had another visitor—a man with gold braid on his uniform and an envelope in his hand. “The queen sent me with this letter,” he said, “and also asked me to thank you personally for the loan of your umbrella.” The woman was stunned, and then brokenhearted. She burst into tears. “This is just horrible—I missed an opportunity to give my queen my very best!” she sobbed. “And my attitude was shameful,” she added.
The thing about our church worship time that may be misleading is the fact that there are microphones and lights up front. It may lead you to think that the people up front are performing for you. The people up front may even be confused from time to time about this.
But the truth is, you aren’t the audience. You are part of the performance. You are part of the presentation.
There is only One in the audience. We are all to be performing to Him. We present our songs, our hearts, our lives to Him.

:4 to record

The three verbs that follow describe their worship, they tell how they worshipped (record, thank, praise).

to recordzakar – (Hiphil) to cause to remember, remind; to mention; to record

In the Psalm that David gives the Levites to sing (vs.8-36), David uses the word twice: It is used in 1Chron.16:12 “Remember His marvelous works”, and in 1Chron.16:15 “Be ye mindful always of His covenant”.

The form of the verb (Hiphil) is causal, so the emphasis should be on “causing to remember”.

The idea here is that the Levites were to minister in a way to cause the people to remember about the Lord and His work.

Lesson #3

Worship requires remembering

What we do in worship should provoke our minds to recall how good God is and what He has done for us.
See how the word zakar is used in:
(Psa 63:1-6 KJV) A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah.

David wrote this Psalm when he was out in the middle of nowhere. He didn’t write this in the palace in Jerusalem.

O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;

David is in a time of need. This is not the kind of time that we think of praising God in.

{2} To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.

David remembers the glimpses of God that he’s caught at the Tabernacle.

{3} Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. {4} Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name.

“Praise” and “blessing” are words describing worship.

{5} My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: {6} When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches.

This all comes when David “remembers” the Lord while on his bed. He chooses to think about the Lord, even when he’s not in a great place.

I think it’s valuable to take time to remember those “glimpses” you’ve gotten of the Lord. It’s good to remember the things that God has done in your life.
But frankly, sometimes we get so depressed that we couldn’t remember a nice thing if we tried.
I think there is one thing we should always remember – God’s love for us that was demonstrated by Jesus on the cross.

(1 John 3:16 KJV) Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

We’ll be sharing in communion today – and that’s what communion is all about – remembering what Jesus has done for us.

:4 and to thank

to thankyadah – to throw, shoot, cast; (Hiphil) to give thanks, laud, praise; to confess, confess (the name of God)

Here, it is used to express one’s public proclamation or declaration (confession) of God’s attributes and His works. This concept is at the heart of the meaning of praise. “Thanks” is a confession or declaration of who God is and what He does.

Lesson #4

Worship gives thanks for God’s greatness

Our worship should contain expressions of acknowledgment of God’s great character and works.
There is a progression here: From causing our minds to remember who God is and what He’s done, to outwardly expressing these things.
This is how David writes the Psalm (vs. 7-36) as well. David uses this same Hebrew word (yadah) in the Psalm. The Psalm starts with:
(1 Chr 16:7-8 KJV) Then on that day David delivered first this psalm to thank the LORD into the hand of Asaph and his brethren. {8} Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people.

This is how the Psalm starts, telling the people to give thanks to the Lord.

Then David launches into reminding the people of the wonderful things that the Lord has done. He reminds the people of how awesome and powerful the Lord is.

At the end of the Psalm, after having demonstrated God’s mercy towards the people, David writes,
(1 Chr 16:34 KJV) O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.

David has demonstrated God’s wonderful mercy, and the result is that we ought to give thanks to Him.

Some years ago on a hot summer day in south Florida a little boy decided to go for a swim in the old swimming hole behind his house. In a hurry to dive into the cool water, he ran out the back door, leaving behind shoes, socks, and shirt as he went. He flew into the water, not realizing that as he swam toward the middle of the lake, an alligator was swimming toward the shore. His mother in the house was looking out the window saw the two as they got closer and closer together. In utter fear, she ran toward the water, yelling to her son as loudly as she could. Hearing her voice, the little boy became alarmed and made a U-turn to swim to his mother. It was too late. Just as he reached her, the alligator reached him. From the dock, the mother grabbed her little boy by the arms just as the alligator snatched his legs. That began an incredible tug-of-war between the two. The alligator was much stronger than the mother, but the mother was much too passionate to let go. A farmer happened to drive by, heard her screams, raced from his truck, took aim and shot the alligator. Remarkably, after weeks and weeks in the hospital, the little boy survived. His legs were extremely scarred by the vicious attack of the animal, and on his arms, were deep scratches where his mother’s fingernails dug into his flesh in her effort to hang on to the son she loved. The newspaper reporter who interviewed the boy after the trauma, asked if he would show him his scars. The boy lifted his pant legs. And then, with obvious pride, he said to the reporter, “But look at my arms. I have great scars on my arms, too. I have them because my Mom wouldn’t let go.”
You and I can identify with that little boy. We have scars, too. No, not from an alligator, or anything quite so dramatic. But the scars of a painful past, Some of those scars are unsightly and have caused us deep regret. But, some wounds, my friend, are because God has refused to let go. In the midst of your struggle, He’s been there holding on to you. The Scripture teaches that God loves you. You are a child of God. He wants to protect you and provide for you in every way. But sometimes we foolishly wade into dangerous situations. The swimming hole of life is filled with peril, and we forget that the enemy is waiting to attack. That’s when the tug-of-war begins and if you have the scars of His love on your arms be very, very grateful. He did not and will not - let you go.
We have much to be thankful for.

:4 and praise

praisehalal – to shine; (Piel) to praise; to boast, make a boast; The word “hallelujah” comes from this word, meaning “Praise Yah”. Whereas the word yadah seems to be something a little more in the mind, “giving thanks”, I think this word seems to be a little more in the emotions.

Lesson #5

Worship is filled with joy

Our worship should be filled with deep felt joy and adoration to our Great King.
Again, there seems to be a progression: First we cause to remember, then we acknowledge with thanks, then our hearts become involved in praise.
We see the same progression in the Psalm where David encourages the people to “remember” what God has done (vs. 12,15), then to “give thanks” (vs. 34), and then the people respond:

(1 Chr 16:36 KJV) …And all the people said, Amen, and praised the LORD.

Sometimes joy comes …
As we’ve worked through these aspects of worship – remembering, thanking, praising – making the choice to seek the Lord.
As we experience His cleansing and forgiveness.

(Psa 32:1 KJV) Blessed (“how happy”) is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

As we are healed by His touch.

When Peter raised the lame man to his feet, he went “walking and leaping and praising God” (Acts 4).

As we recognize God’s presence

(Psa 16:11 KJV) …in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

Sometimes joy is loud and exuberant.
In this same occasion of bringing the Ark to Jerusalem, David danced with all his might before the Lord.
Sometimes joy is quiet because words can’t express it.
(1 Pet 1:8 KJV) Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
The essence and goal of worship is joy.