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This chapter concludes the description of the major event of placing the ark in the royal city. This confirms the public worship of God during the reign of David. That the ark was not brought to Gibeon, where the altar stands and what is left of the tabernacle, is of great significance. It means the judgment of the whole system connected to the tabernacle.
Offerings and Blessing
When the ark is placed in the tent and has come to rest, as it were, from his wanderings, the consequence is that offerings are offered. The placing of the ark works worship, of which the burnt offering speaks, and fellowship, of which the peace offerings speaks. There is no sin offering here, it does not fit with this event.
After offering the offerings mentioned above David distributes blessings to the whole people. David is the king-priest who as a true Melchizedek distributes food (Gen 14:18). Every member, without distinction between man and woman, gets “a loaf of bread and a portion [of meat] and a raisin cake”. When it comes to the blessings which the believer has received in Christ, there is no difference between man and woman (Gal 3:28).
The ‘food package’ that David distributes represents, in picture, a rich blessing. The loaf of bread speaks of the Lord Jesus: He is the bread of life. The portion of dates [as the Dutch HSV translates] speaks of victory: dates come from the date palms, the palm tree is a symbol of victory. The raisin cake speaks of lasting joy: raisins are dried grapes and from grapes is made the wine that rejoices the heart of God and people (Jdg 9:13).
We see this lasting joy with the apostle Paul in the letter to the Philippians. Even the tears that he weeps (Phil 3:18) are not able to dispel the presence of that joy which is so characteristic of that letter. This has to do with the fact that life for him is Christ, which we can connect with the ark being placed “inside the tent which David had pitched for it”. When Christ, of whom the ark is a picture, is central to our lives, lasting joy is our part, and we can also pass it on. David does this in the picture of the raisin cakes and Paul does this to the believers in Philippi in his letter to them.
In the picture we can see here that the Lord Jesus is in the midst of the church when it comes together in His Name (Mt 18:20). The church is a place of worship and fellowship, with the result that every member receives spiritual nourishment.
Praising the LORD
After the ark is placed and the offerings are offered, it is arranged by David that the name of the LORD is mentioned in the presence of the ark and that He is praised. David introduces music and singing into the worship service. He establishes an order for this and commands to praise the LORD. The place of worship is now not only a place of sacrifice, but also of praise. David instructs Asaph to praise the LORD.
The words used in the following 1Chr 16:8-36 for this praise are quotations from three psalms. The person who made the psalms is not mentioned. Since David quotes from these three psalms, it is likely that he wrote them. We can divide the hymn into three parts, according to the quotations from the psalms:
1. 1Chr 16:8-22 are, with a single modification, Psalm 105:1-15,
2. the 1Chr 16:23-33 are, except for a few initial words, whole Psalm 96 and
3. 1Chr 16:34-36 are Psalm 106:1,47-48.
Psalms 105 and 106 are the last two psalms of the fourth psalm book. In the fourth psalm book the ways are sung along which God will reach His great end goal. That goal is to introduce His Son as the Son of Man into the world to establish His kingship.
Psalm 96 is also part of the fourth psalm book, which begins with Psalm 90, the prayer of Moses, the man who led the people through the wilderness. In an ascending series of psalms, the establishment of the kingship of the Messiah takes place. That fits in with what we have here, the establishment of the kingship of David, in connection with the ark and with Jerusalem. It is worth pointing out that in Psalm 102 we read about the basis of God’s end goal, which is the work of the Lord Jesus on the cross. In Psalms 105 and 106, we hear as a result of this, the great jubilation.
The first part, 1Chr 16:8-22, which consists of the first part of Psalm 105 (Psa 105:1-15), shows the faithfulness of God in keeping His covenant. The second part, the 1Chr 16:23-33, which consists of Psalm 96 (Psa 96:1-13), is a hymn. The third part, 1Chr 16:34-36, which consists of the opening verses and the closing verses of Psalm 106 (Psa 106:1; 47-48), contains the thought of meeting together. In the subjects of these three parts – fidelity, hymns and meetings – we can recognize the meaning of the names of the three main singers. Heman means ‘faithfulness’, Jeduthun means ‘choir of praise’ and Asaph means ‘one who gathers together’.
The content of the praise of the LORD is indicated by David and put into practice by “Asaph and his relatives”. It is good to learn from the Lord Jesus how to praise God. He sings praises to the LORD – for us, the Father – in the midst of the church (Heb 2:12) and the church may agree with Him. David here is a picture of the Lord Jesus who leads God’s people through the Spirit in worship.
We can make the application that it is good to learn from faithful brothers how to worship God. We do not do this by taking a course with them or just by repeating what they say, but by listening to their thanksgiving and going into it with our hearts.
First Part (Psalm 105:1-15)
These verses are about the unchanging and unconditional promises God has made in grace to the fathers. Psalm 105 consists of two parts. In 1Chr 16:1-15 it is about the great deeds of God towards the fathers. The second part from 1Chr 16:16 onwards is about God’s ways with Israel and His care for them to give them the promised blessing.
In this section the activities of God’s people are first sung (1Chr 16:8-13) and then the promises of God (1Chr 16:14-22). In 1Chr 16:8-12, the people are called to various activities. The call is made to a people who have a special relationship with God. That relation is given in two names, each with another addition. They are “seed of Israel”, to which is added “His servant” (1Chr 16:13a). “Israel”, which means “prince of God”, is the name that points to their special position before God. The word “servant” is associated with this. Whoever knows His special position will be pleased to serve the Lord.
They are also “sons of Jacob”, to which is added “His chosen ones” (1Chr 16:13b). With “sons of Jacob” the emphasis is on the weakness of their dedication to God and the wrong ways the people have gone. That is why it is so beautiful that it is precisely behind this name that there is the addition “His chosen ones”, which speaks of God having chosen them despite their weakness and wrong ways.
When we read 1Chr 16:8-12, we see the activities to which the people are called as descendants of Israel and Jacob. The activities, which fit in a book like 1 Chronicles, consist of praise, call upon, make known (1Chr 16:8), singing, singing praises, speaking (1Chr 16:9), glory, be glad, seek (1Chr 16:10-11), remember (1Chr 16:12).
In all these activities the marvels of the LORD are made the object of the song and the deeds are displayed in which He reveals Himself, also in the sight of the nations (1Chr 16:8b). We should remember that for us all this is far surpassed by the marvels of the Lord Jesus at His coming in the flesh, His work on the cross, His resurrection and His glorification. What a reason to ‘display’ all that in adoration before God.
David points to the LORD as “our God” (1Chr 16:14), Whose judgment are in all the earth. Is it not more than justified to call for praise for Him? Additional reasons for this are given in the following verses (1Chr 16:15-18). In those verses it is about God’s covenant with and His promise to Abraham (Gen 17:7; 13; 19), about His oath to Isaac (Gen 26:2-5; 23-24), about the statute confirmed to Jacob and the everlasting covenant for Israel (Gen 28:13; 15; Gen 35:9-13). In short, it is about God’s electing grace and unrepentant promises (Rom 11:29), and all this in view of the land of Canaan as their inheritance. With so many blessings and security, the heart cannot remain unmoved, and the mouth cannot remain silent.
In the last verses we have the history, but not the responsibility (1Chr 16:19-22). In these verses the past of the people is described, how weak and vulnerable it was. It shows how we too can live in the world. But then the people will be reminded how God stood up for them in the circumstances in which they seemed to be prey to hostile forces. What is said in 1Chr 16:22 is found in an event in Abraham’s life in which he has departed from the way of faith (Gen 20:6b-7).
Second Part (Psalm 96:1-13)
Psalm 96, from which comes the second part of this hymn of praise, is one of the psalms that speak of the return of Christ. David calls not to sing of his own kingship, but of the kingship of the LORD. David’s kingship and that of the Lord Jesus are most closely connected, for the great Son of David is the LORD of the hosts. These verses look forward to the fulfillment of the promises, when the LORD openly exercises His authority over the nations.
After the praise of the LORD for all His great deeds and His covenant follows in 1Chr 16:23 the call of Israel to all the earth to sing for Him. The people of God are overwhelmed by the great goodness that is their part. In it they want to share the nations who have been brought into contact with them. In their turn, those peoples must bring the message of the salvation that is Israel’s part “from day to day”, that is to say, constantly. Something like this is expected of us: “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name” (Heb 13:15). Here the singing for the LORD is done by the nations as a testimony of His wonderful deeds (1Chr 16:24).
The direct reason for this call is the incomparable and awesome greatness of the LORD above all gods because they are idols, they are nothing, while the LORD is also the Creator (1Chr 16:25-26). Everything that is before Him, what is in His presence, radiates splendor and majesty (1Chr 16:27). Perhaps we could think of angels. They have power and joy because they are in His place, the place where He is. When we think of “His place” we can also think of the ark here. All the people rejoice at the presence of the ark as the dwelling place of God.
If this is true for angels and God’s earthly people, how much more so then for us who are children of God and are blessed in Christ with all spiritual blessings in the heavenly places (Eph 1:3). Do we rejoice in this too?
In the following verses we see the nations in the temple (1Chr 16:28-30). They have come to see the face of the LORD. They are called to come there with offerings and bow down before Him. Someone can only come into the presence of God by virtue of the offering of Christ and in a humble mind. The whole earth, that is to say all the nations of the earth, is called to tremble before Him. That shows their respect for Him. To those with whom this is found, He gives them unshakeable firmness.
When the whole earth has thus taken its place in relation to the almighty LORD, heaven is also involved. The heavens and the earth are called together to rejoice (1Chr 16:31). This situation is the result of the reign of the LORD. He always rules, but then it will be visible to everyone. The whole creation in all its parts, the visible and the invisible, is called to expressions of joy, because the moment has come when the LORD sits on His throne to judge the earth (1Chr 16:32-33).
This is an impressive moment, a moment of unprecedented importance. It is the great turning point in the history of mankind. Now everything will be completely different, God will reign through His Son. He has given all judgment to Him because He is the Son of Man (Jn 5:27).
Third Part (Psa 106:1,47-48)
The words of this third part come from Psalm 106, the final psalm of the fourth psalm book. In the first verse and the two final verses of that psalm (Psa 106:1; 47-48), the hallelujah sounds, which means ‘praise the LORD’. ‘Hallelujah’ is the word of the kingdom of peace, together with the praise of the mercy of the LORD which we find later in this chapter (1Chr 16:41).
Once again the call “give thanks to the LORD” sounds (1Chr 16:34). It is the call that started this song in 1Chr 16:8. The reason is that the LORD is good. He is not just for a moment, but “His lovingkindness is everlasting”. The latter statement is characteristic of the millennial realm of peace.
This trust in God’s goodness is the basis for the call to God to deliver them from the power of the nations of Gentiles (1Chr 16:35). They call God the “God of our salvation”. Salvation is the salvation in the full sense of the word and concerns spirit, soul and body and land. It is the deliverance from all evil powers and the receiving of all promised blessings. They ask for that salvation and deliverance to be able to praise God’s holy Name and to glory in God’s praise. That will find its full fulfilment in the realm of peace.
Yet they do not wait until the kingdom of peace has arrived, to only then praising God’s holy Name. They do so right here, when they say: “Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, From everlasting even to everlasting” (1Chr 16:36a).
The last words (1Chr 16:36b) are words that immediately follow this song of praise and show that all Israel is a people of singers. The whole people agree with the song of praise sung by Asaph and his relatives by adding their “amen” and praising the LORD themselves.
The Service at the Ark
Here the thread of history with the ark and the service in connection with it (1Chr 16:1-6) is picked up again. There is a dual service. We have the service at the ark (1Chr 16:37) and the service at the altar of burnt offering (1Chr 16:39-40). We don’t know how the tabernacle ended up in Gibeon. First the tabernacle was in Shiloh, in the days of Eli. It has been suggested that the Philistines destroyed Shiloh and left the tabernacle and accessories to the Amorites who established it in Gibeon. That would later have been conquered again by the Israelites.
In any case, there is a separation between the tabernacle and the ark. In front of the ark a tent is pitched by David. He must have understood that the tabernacle has had its time and has been dismissed before God. The service that takes place takes place at the ark. With the temple, which will be built by Solomon, a whole new building will be built on a new place where the altar of burnt offering will be placed. At the same time, this means that the tabernacle service will definitely cease to exist.
The difference between the service and place of the ark and the altar of burnt offering indicates different interests and occasions. Where the ark is, there is the service according to the will of the LORD. Where the altar stands, the ark is no longer. This indicates a tradition, which may continue for a while, as a transitional period. During that transitional period God can endure that service. Before the ark, the service of the song is performed daily, as is the burnt offering, which is also brought every morning and every evening (Exo 29:38-42; 1Chr 23:30; Lk 2:37).
What we read in the last verse of this section (1Chr 16:42), we find spiritually in the church. The father’s house in Luke 15 is a house of music and dance (Lk 15:25). When music is made, it must result in dance or expressions of joy. Music represents the prophetic ministry that is intended to move the hearts of the believer, whether in joy or sadness, depending on the message that the servants of the Lord bring (cf. Mt 11:16-17).
Everyone Departs to His House
Everyone goes home, David too. David says that he returns to bless his household. The question may be asked to us where we are going after a meeting around the Lord Jesus. For some that is unfortunately a return to the world, the worldly atmosphere. For others, however, the family has the same atmosphere as the meeting. There is shared what is enjoyed in the presence of Lord Jesus and He is involved in all daily things.
Kingcomments on the Whole Bible © 2021 Author: G. de Koning. All rights reserved. Used with the permission of the author
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de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op 1 Chronicles 16". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13