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Bible Commentaries

The Biblical Illustrator
1 Chronicles 16

 

 

Verse 3

1 Chronicles 16:3

And He dealt to every one of Israel, both man and woman.

Individuality

I. The great event itself does not absorb all. We can easily understand how the bringing of the ark to Jerusalem would have absorbed all minor considerations, but it does not. Israel is not generalised into simply the male heads of the families; the bread and flesh are distributed to “both man and woman.” God was being glorified, and simultaneously the people blessed. Diffusion is what God delights in; He connects the blessing of many with His own glory.

II. There was a special provision here for personal enjoyment. The placing of the ark in its tent of rest was not to be a mere historical fact, involving no personal enjoyments. It is not in bare abstractions that God delights, but in their bearing upon individuals. Perhaps one reason why the future glory of Christ is so unsubstantial to many, and operates so little on their feelings, and raises so few thoughts of joyousness in them, is the fact that they see so little of its bearing upon themselves. The beams of this glory are to light up every individual; every believer has actually a personal interest in them. Each man has his own independent existence with its longings and aspirations, and no generality will satisfy them. He must have for his own very self. This is not selfishness; it is a law grounded on the very constitution of our nature. No future lies before God’s people in which God Himself absorbs everything. He will pervade all, which is a very different thing.

III. We are struck with the distinct individuality of each. We cannot be too particular in preserving our individuality. It is the foundation of our responsibility, of His closest dealings with us, of all our capacity for happiness or sorrow in the time to come. Every man is to give account of himself to God; every man is to receive according to his works.

IV. The consciousness of individual life is the foundation of individual effort. Let us be encouraged, then, to have individual expectations. Let us link ourselves individually with the great events of God. Both man and woman triumphed in the bringing up of the ark; and both had the portion of bread and flesh and wine. (P. B. Power, M. A.)


Verses 4-7

1 Chronicles 16:4-7

And to record.

The recorders

These recorders were to take notes of what God had done; they were to be the chroniclers of the nation, and out of their chronicles they were to compose the psalms and songs. The original of the word “record” bears another meaning--“to bring to remembrance.” We gather--

I. That if recorders were appointed, there is some fault in our memory towards the Lord.

1. Memory has been prejudiced by the fall.

2. Memory towards God’s mercy has been very much impaired by neglect.

3. Memory touching God’s mercy is often overloaded with other things. I think Aristotle used to call memory the stomach of the soul, in which it retains and digests what it gathers; but men cram it full of everything that it does not want--upon which the soul cannot feed, and thus they ruin it for remembering the best things.

4. Memory has also suffered from its connection with the other faculties.

5. Our memory of God’s goodness is often crushed down by a sense of present pain.

II. That we ought to do all we can to assist our memories towards God.

1. It is a good thing to make an actual record of God’s mercy.

2. Be sure to praise God thoroughly at the time you receive His goodness.

3. Set apart a little time for meditation.

4. Often rehearse His mercy in the ears of others.

5. Use everything about you as a memento.

III. We have all had mercies to remember.

1. Common mercies.

2. Special providence.

3. The long-suffering of God.

IV. That all our memories should tend to make us praise and bless God. Rowland Hill used to say that worldlings were like the hogs under the oak, which eat the acorns, but never think of the oak from which they fall, nor lift up their heads to grunt out a thanksgiving. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

And Jeiel with psalteries and with harps.--

The meaning of song

The meaning of song goes deep. Who is there that in logical words can express the effect that music has on us? A kind of inarticulate, unfathomable speech, which leads us to the edge of the infinite, and lets us for moments gaze into that. (T. Carlyle.)

Musical talent dedicated to God

Jenny Lind believed that her art was the gift of God, and to be dedicated to His service. “I have always put Him first,” said she, in her last illness. (Church Worker.)


Verses 7-22

1 Chronicles 16:7-22

Then on that day David delivered first this psalm.

A psalm of thanksgiving

This, a composite psalm, represents a form of service rather than a psalm. The whole of it, with slight variations, found in Psalms 96:1-13; Psalms 105:1-15; Psalms 106:47-48. It celebrates redemption as unfolded in the history of Israel, proclaimed to the world, and triumphant in judgment. This part sets forth.

I. An exhortation to the noblest work--praising God. In three ways, chiefly, is this duty recommended.

1. In giving thanks to God.

2. In seeking God.

3. In commemorating God’s works (verse 12).

II. Motives to influence us in this noblest work.

1. God’s great love.

2. God’s great manifestations of love.

3. God’s great dominion.

4. God’s great claims.

5. God’s vindication of these claims. (J. Wolfendale.)

A memorable day

Let us gather up a few of the lessons which Providence read out to humanity on that day.

I. That religion is a subject in which the leaders of the people should endeavour to interest the masses.

1. Religion is suited to the common and primary instincts of human nature.

2. Religion provides for the fallen condition of human nature.

II. That religion develops the distinctive characteristics of mankind. Through it “the thoughts of many hearts are revealed.” In the history of this “day” four states of mind are developed in relation to the Divine.

1. An enthusiastic interest in the Divine. Such was David’s state.

2. A stolid unconsciousness of the Divine. This was revealed in Uzzah’s conduct. To him the ark only appeared as a common chest. He was a type of those who engage in religious services without the religious spirit.

3. A calm confidence in the Divine. This was revealed in the conduct of Obed-edom. The terrible fate of Uzzah filled David with overwhelming excitement. The people were panic-stricken. But Obed-edom was calm. He took the ark into his own house for three months; he stands by a deserted cause.

4. A thoughtless contempt for the Divine. This was developed in Michal (1 Chronicles 15:29). She is a type of a class who despise religious observances, religious people, and religious services.

III. That religion is always associated with the cheerful and the generous.

1. Here is music.

2. Here is hospitality. True religion is evermore the parent of true philanthropy.

IV. That religion is the patron of the highest art as well as the inspirer of the holiest feelings (1 Chronicles 15:16-24). (Homilist.)


Verse 9

1 Chronicles 16:9

Sing psalms unto Him, talk ye of all His wondrous works.

Good conversation

I. The subject here suggested for our commonplace talk: “his wondrous works.” We ought to talk more about God’s wondrous works.

1. As we find them in Holy Scripture.

2. As we find them in the history of our own country.

3. As we find them in our own individual history.

II. The excellency of this subject is both negative and positive.

1. Negative. Were we to talk more of God’s wondrous works--

2. Positive. The habit once acquired of talking more of God’s wondrous works--

III. Let me urge this taking ordinarily and commonly about God’s wondrous works. Not only will it prevent much evil and do us much good, but it will be the means of doing much good to others. It will--

1. Impress the sinner.

2. Enlighten the ignorant.

3. Comfort the desponding. (C. H. Spurgeon.)


Verse 11

1 Chronicles 16:11

Seek the Lord and His strength.

The seeker encouraged

There are three reasons for this.

I. Because it is an evidence of grace.

II. Because their success is sure.

III. Because, when they have found, their aim and wish in seeking are fully answered. (W. Jay.)

Threefold seeking

I. The Lord for mercy

II. His strength for service.

III. His face for happiness. (A. G. Brown.)


Verses 15-22

1 Chronicles 16:15-22

Be ye always mindful of His covenant

The national covenant

Learn:

I.
That God’s method of intercourse with men has ever been in the form of a covenant. Tayler Lewes says: “There is no religion without this idea of covenant with a personal God, and therefore all such views as those of Comte, Mill, and Spencer are, for all moral and religious purposes, wholly atheistical.”

II. That this covenant method of intercourse with men displays the sovereign will and free grace of God (Ephesians 1:5).

III. That this covenant method of intercourse puts man under deep obligation to God.

1. They are chosen to great favours.

2. They should render thanks for these favours.

IV. The obligations of men to God for his covenant mercies can never cease.

1. It is of Divine authority.

2. It is confirmed from time to time.

3. It is “an everlasting covenant” (1 Chronicles 16:17), “made with man as an immortal being, and in itself an evidence of his designed immortality.” (J. Wolfendale.)


Verses 19-22

1 Chronicles 16:19-22

He suffered no man to do them wrong.

Evil-doing restrained

I. Here is the nearness and dearness of the saints unto God.

II. Here is the great dancer to kings and states to deal with His saints otherwise than well.

III. Here is the care and protection which God had over them, set and amplified.

1. By the number and condition of the persons whom He defended.

2. By what He did for them. (Thomas Goodwin.)

Touch not Mine anointed:--

Touch not Mine anointed

I. The person whose the speech is. “He is the Lord our God” (1 Chronicles 16:14).

II. The persons to whom. In general to all; specially to some.

III. The persons concerning whom. His anointed.

1. The patriarchs, who were the rulers of their people. The name implies fatherhood and government. They were anointed before there was any material anointing at all.

2. The kings who were the successors of the patriarchs.

(a) The third general Council of Ephesus.

(b) The great Council of Toledo the Fourth.

(c) The great Western Council of Francford.

3. The fathers use the term in the same way.

4. After the patriarchs, this term is appropriate to kings, and kings only, all the Bible through. It is used--

In the text and in Psalms 105:1-45. it is applied to the patriarchs; all the other instances refer either to Christ or to kings. (Bp. Andrewes.)


Verse 23-24

1 Chronicles 16:23-24

Declare His glory among the heathen.

Declaring God’s glory

I. Declare among the heathen the glory of God’s perfections, that they may acknowledge Him as the true God.

II. Declare the glory of His salvation, that they may accept Him as their only Redeemer.

III. Declare the glory of His providence, that they may confide in Him as their faithful guardian.

IV. Declare the glory of His word, that they may prize it as their chief treasure.

V. Declare the glory of His service, that they may choose it as their chief occupation.

VI. Declare the glory or His residence, that they may seek it m their best home. (William Jackson.)


Verse 25

1 Chronicles 16:25

He also is to be feared above all gods.

The theology of The Old Testament

in the perusal of the Old Testament few sentiments more frequently meet our eye than comparisons between the great object of worship among the Jews and those imaginary deities to which the Gentiles in general paid adoration. This contrast pervades alike their doctrines of religion, their precepts of morality, and their hymns of thanks and praise. To the mind of a legislator, a judge, or a prophet of Israel, comparisons of this kind naturally and unavoidably arose, when he witnessed the ignorance, the polytheism, and the superstitions of the nations around him. As the religious sentiments of the Jews and Gentiles correspond with the objects of their faith and worship respectively, a concise comparison between the theology of the Bible and that of the heathen philosophers cannot fail to be interesting and instructive.

I. The Greeks and Romans undoubtedly excelled the Jews, if not in the natural endowments of the mind, at least in every artificial improvement. But in their doctrines respecting the Creator, and His providence and His laws, they can come in no competition with the nation whom they fancied they had reason to despise.

II. The writers of Greece and Rome greatly exceeded those of Judea in the variety of their publications in the variety of the subjects to which their genius appears to have been adapted. In the authors of the Old Testament, when we again advert to the peculiar subject of their excellence, we find such poetical addresses of reverence or supplication to the supreme Being, and such descriptions of His proceedings and His providence, as the whole circle of human literature cannot elsewhere supply.

III. Amongst the Greeks and Romans the most rational opinions entertained on these difficult and important subjects were confined to a small number of the superior classes of society. From the unlearned populace those opinions were, for reasons of pride or policy, systematically and successfully concealed. Amongst the Jews, on the other hand, we find no traces of one creed for the learned and another for the ignorant.

IV. The philosophers of Greece and Rome, if they did not themselves believe, permitted or taught the people in general to believe that a different deity presided over every separate nation and every separate city; over almost every different profession among men, and almost every different object of nature; that these various deities often disagreed in their interests and opinions, and opposed each other in their wishes and pursuits. The Jews believed and taught that there was One mighty Being, the Maker and Ruler of the world; to whose authority every other sentient being owed implicit obedience.

V. The public worship of the Gentiles was addressed on various occasions to as various objects that were no Gods; and their rites and ceremonies were contaminated always by superstition, and not seldom by impiety. The worship of the Jew was addressed to one God, under one uniform character, as the only proper object of adoration; whose perfections no image could fitly represent, and to whom pure and spiritual worship was the most acceptable. To the one the Sabbath was a pious rest from his labours. With the other, religious festivals were seasons of intemperance, often immoral, and always licentious. (W. Barrow, LL. D.)


Verse 27

1 Chronicles 16:27; 1 Chronicles 16:29

Glory and honour are in His presence.

The beautiful place

Apply this to the sanctuary.

I. Beautified by God’s presence.

II. Beautified by attractive services.

1. Cheerful song.

2. Freewill offerings.

3. Spiritual fervour.

III. Beautified by loyal attendants.

1. Regular in attendance.

2. Mindful of its interests.

3. Obedient to its rules. (J. Wolfendale.)

Religious worship

I. It is due to God.

1. It is right.

2. It is acceptable. Though not enriching, yet well pleasing to Him. “Whosoever offereth praise glorifieth Me.”

II. It befits our moral nature.

1. It meets our aspirations.

2. It satisfies our wants.

3. It dignifies our character.

It detaches from earth and sin, gives beauty to contemplate, strength to imitate, and fear to humble and guide. “It is good for me to draw near to God.” (J. Wolfendale.)

Strength and gladness are in His place.

Abiding strength and gladness

We all need enthusiasm and vigour in our work. It is, however, a rare thing to find these as an abiding, continuous experience. Youth, of course, has freshness and freedom. Its ardent hopefulness covers everything, just as we find when, looking at distant objects through a lens not perfectly achromatic, we see them fringed with prismatic tints--a rainbow brilliancy which does not belong to the objects themselves. There are objects in life that lose their illusive and enchanting brightness when viewed in the sober inspection of maturer age. Health, too, has its influence in imparting enthusiasm. On a bright and bracing day we walk the street with resounding foot. The sunlit skies and the crisp air help to quicken and enliven our spirits. Contact with a friend we love warms our soul with new emotion, and pours the elixir of life into languid veins. A great thought, or the perusal of a delightful book, may stir our intellect to fresh activity. A new key to the mystery of life is given us by momentary contact with an illuminated mind. But society is complex. Cares are multiplied and minute in this our hurrying and exacting life. By no voluntary act of ours can we maintain this tension, any more than we can stretch a wire a hundred yards without a sag. With added years and with narrowing friendships we see less of pleasure ahead to anticipate. We come to feel the need of something to alleviate the weariness of life. Can we as Christian disciples find in our religion that ennobling and enlivening element which was found in the Hebrew? If not, ours is narrower and more limited than the Hebrew. Yes, we do not find strength and gladness here. We do not find a transient glow, an occasional enthusiasm, but an abiding joy, as we come under the power of the religion of Christ? Do you ask, How this is to be maintained?

I. We find it in the entire relief from solitude as to the future which the grace of Christ imparts.

II. We realise this abiding strength and gladness as we remember that we are working out God’s will concerning us in all that is done or borne by us.

III. We are educated by what we do. The thought of developed character and of virtues daily nourished within us is calculated to give abiding joyousness and strength to life.

IV. Life eternal is thus linked to this. A light supernal cheers and lifts up our spirits as the swing of the sea lifts and carries forward the waves till they flood every inlet and beach along the winding shore. We are released from apprehension as to the future. We see all things working together for our good, around us and within us. We do not rightly estimate the believer’s privilege. We go moaning and whining, instead of walking on the high places. We go with weights, and not with wings, over the bleak and barren paths of life. But if character have this abiding strength and gladness, freshness and exuberance; if each of us have this shekinah of glory within the soul, we shall show to men of the world that we have what they have not. We have more than a knowledge of the truth in its verbal exactness. We have Christ in us the hope of glory. We have an enthusiasm more continuous than the ardour of youth or the glow of health, or the inspiration of genius. This abiding power is what the world wants. Its fruits, seen in character, ennoble society and link earth with heaven. They make earth bright and vocal. Culture, art, science, mechanical skill cannot work this transformation. Wealth is powerless. (Richard S. Storrs, D. D.)


Verse 28-29

1 Chronicles 16:28-29

Give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name.

The claims of God to the worship and homage of His creatures

I. God is entitled to and claims the homage of His creatures.

II. These claims are made upon us, his intelligent creatures.

III. The worship and homage required elevates the man who pays it. (J. Robinson.)

The glory which is due to Jehovah

The whole preceptive part of the Bible is contained in this one command. Every being has a right and may justly claim to be regarded and treated by all who know him in a manner suitable to the nature and character which he possesses to the relations and offices which he sustains, and to the works which he performs. Consider what is due to Jehovah.

I. An account of His nature. He is God alone. He deserves something which is due to no other being in the universe--religious worship and adoration.

II. On account of the character he possesses. It is absolutely perfect. There is something in His character suited to excite every proper affection of which the human soul is capable.

III. On account of the relations and offices which He sustains.

1. Creator.

2. Preserver.

These imply that God must necessarily be the universal Teacher, Master, Sovereign, and Judge.

IV. On account of the works which He has performed. Conclusion:

1. How reasonable are God’s requisitions! He merely requires the payment of a great debt.

2. How immeasurably great, then, is the debt which our world has contracted, and under the burden of which it now groans. (E. Payson, D. D.)

The claims of the Supreme Being to the worship and homage of His creatures

These claims are founded--

I. On our relation to God as His creatures.

II. On the manifestations of the Divine excellence visible in the universe around us.

III. In the constitution and susceptibilities of our minds. Worship is not only fit and proper as an act of the mind, but one to which it is naturally prone.

IV. On a consideration of what is most conducive to the well-being of men. The very act itself elevates the mind; it reminds us of our true position as the creatures and the servants of God. Conclusion:

1. These acts of worship divide the world into two great classes--those that fear God and those that fear Him not.

2. That as the public worship of God is one most important means of proclaiming the great facts of His existence and government, it demands the special and constant attention of all that fear God.

3. That as worship and homage are the requirements and the just rights of the Supreme Being, and as they are intimately connected with our well-being in this life and that which is to come, it is a serious and important inquiry how we may be able to present it most acceptably. (J. Robinson.)

Bring an offering.--

Hearing and worshipping

I. What do we come to Church for? Not merely to get but to give. Not to take only but to offer. Not to hear simply, but to worship: “bring an offering,” “worship the Lord.”

II. What is the offering the bringing of which constitutes worship? It is the offering of ourselves. Spirit, soul, body, substance. Conclusion:

1. This true explanation of the object of our meeting in God’s house gives the clearest condemnation of those who absent themselves. “I can read my Bible at home” might be an answer if we be but “hearers”; none if we be “worshippers.”

2. How great is the honour of being allowed to honour God--as worshippers!

3. Our direct worship shall be the smoke of the incense; but our whole life shall be, as it were, a compound of sweet spices. (J. R. Vernon, M. A.)

The beauty of holiness

The religion of the gospel of Christ is the “beauty of holiness,” as it concerns--

I. Its author.

II. Its plan.

III. Its fruits. (Legh Richardson.)


Verse 29

1 Chronicles 16:27; 1 Chronicles 16:29

Glory and honour are in His presence.

The beautiful place

Apply this to the sanctuary.

I. Beautified by God’s presence.

II. Beautified by attractive services.

1. Cheerful song.

2. Freewill offerings.

3. Spiritual fervour.

III. Beautified by loyal attendants.

1. Regular in attendance.

2. Mindful of its interests.

3. Obedient to its rules. (J. Wolfendale.)

Religious worship

I. It is due to God.

1. It is right.

2. It is acceptable. Though not enriching, yet well pleasing to Him. “Whosoever offereth praise glorifieth Me.”

II. It befits our moral nature.

1. It meets our aspirations.

2. It satisfies our wants.

3. It dignifies our character.

It detaches from earth and sin, gives beauty to contemplate, strength to imitate, and fear to humble and guide. “It is good for me to draw near to God.” (J. Wolfendale.)

Strength and gladness are in His place.

Abiding strength and gladness

We all need enthusiasm and vigour in our work. It is, however, a rare thing to find these as an abiding, continuous experience. Youth, of course, has freshness and freedom. Its ardent hopefulness covers everything, just as we find when, looking at distant objects through a lens not perfectly achromatic, we see them fringed with prismatic tints--a rainbow brilliancy which does not belong to the objects themselves. There are objects in life that lose their illusive and enchanting brightness when viewed in the sober inspection of maturer age. Health, too, has its influence in imparting enthusiasm. On a bright and bracing day we walk the street with resounding foot. The sunlit skies and the crisp air help to quicken and enliven our spirits. Contact with a friend we love warms our soul with new emotion, and pours the elixir of life into languid veins. A great thought, or the perusal of a delightful book, may stir our intellect to fresh activity. A new key to the mystery of life is given us by momentary contact with an illuminated mind. But society is complex. Cares are multiplied and minute in this our hurrying and exacting life. By no voluntary act of ours can we maintain this tension, any more than we can stretch a wire a hundred yards without a sag. With added years and with narrowing friendships we see less of pleasure ahead to anticipate. We come to feel the need of something to alleviate the weariness of life. Can we as Christian disciples find in our religion that ennobling and enlivening element which was found in the Hebrew? If not, ours is narrower and more limited than the Hebrew. Yes, we do not find strength and gladness here. We do not find a transient glow, an occasional enthusiasm, but an abiding joy, as we come under the power of the religion of Christ? Do you ask, How this is to be maintained?

I. We find it in the entire relief from solitude as to the future which the grace of Christ imparts.

II. We realise this abiding strength and gladness as we remember that we are working out God’s will concerning us in all that is done or borne by us.

III. We are educated by what we do. The thought of developed character and of virtues daily nourished within us is calculated to give abiding joyousness and strength to life.

IV. Life eternal is thus linked to this. A light supernal cheers and lifts up our spirits as the swing of the sea lifts and carries forward the waves till they flood every inlet and beach along the winding shore. We are released from apprehension as to the future. We see all things working together for our good, around us and within us. We do not rightly estimate the believer’s privilege. We go moaning and whining, instead of walking on the high places. We go with weights, and not with wings, over the bleak and barren paths of life. But if character have this abiding strength and gladness, freshness and exuberance; if each of us have this shekinah of glory within the soul, we shall show to men of the world that we have what they have not. We have more than a knowledge of the truth in its verbal exactness. We have Christ in us the hope of glory. We have an enthusiasm more continuous than the ardour of youth or the glow of health, or the inspiration of genius. This abiding power is what the world wants. Its fruits, seen in character, ennoble society and link earth with heaven. They make earth bright and vocal. Culture, art, science, mechanical skill cannot work this transformation. Wealth is powerless. (Richard S. Storrs, D. D.)


Verse 31

1 Chronicles 16:31

And let men say among the nations, the Lord reigneth.

Pessimism

I. Now, what is the prevalent tendency of opinion, as illustrated in our day, in science, in art, in journalism, in literature, in social speculation? It may certainly be summed up in the one word “pessimism”--that is, unbelief and hopelessness. The illustrations of the tendency are manifold, they come from every side. If we turn to philosophy, we find, as a consequence of unbelief, the revival of the old doctrine that life is not worth living, that man is a failure, just as Pyrrho, the ancient sceptic, compared mankind to swine pent up in a foundering, wrecked, and rudderless vessel in the midst of a hurricane. “Since the human race,” says Schopenhauer, “always tends from bad to worse, there is no prospect but ever-deepening confusion and wretchedness.” “Existence,” says Von Hartmann, “is unspeakably wretched, and society will grow worse and worse.” “More dreary, barren, base and ugly,” said Carlyle, “seem to me the aspects of this poor, diminished, quack world, doomed to speedy death,” which he can only wish to be speedy. “A wave of doubt, desolation, and despondency has passed over the world,” says an English poet, Mr. Alfred Austin, in a lecture before the Royal Institution. “One by one all the fondly cherished theories of life, society, and empire have been abandoned; we no longer seem to know whither we are marching, and many appear to think that we are travelling to perdition.” This pessimistic spirit, he said, pervades all society and all thought.

II. I will speak mainly of the supposed connection of science with this pessimistic tendency. To science many attribute its growth and its spread. “Science,” says M. Zola, the French novelist, in his speech, “hath emptied nations, and is incapable of re-peopling them; it has ravished happiness from our human souls, and is incapable of restoring it; in proportion as science advances the ideal slips away.” Now I believe science to be beneficent, and I believe pessimism to be destructive, and, desiring to combat the predominant pessimism, I shall try to prove to you that science gives no ground for it at all. Science is part of revelation. Religion on one side is nothing but a knowledge of God, and science deepens our knowledge of God. Religion on the other side is nothing but morality. It is a good mind and a good life. There is not one law of morality which science does not repromulgate and emphasise in thunders louder than those of Sinai. Science is one of the Bibles of God by which, as St. Paul boldly says, the invisible things of Him are rendered visible; it is God’s revelation to the mind of man through the works of Nature, and whatever may be the voice in which God speak to us, it is impossible for Him to lie. If we are faithless, He abideth faithful; He is not able to deny Himself. The supposed antagonism between science and religion is merely due to the passion and ignorance of men. And science has been to men a boon unspeakable, an archangel of beneficence as well as an archangel of power. She has prolonged life, she has mitigated disease, she has minimised torture, she has exorcised superstitious terrors; she has given to feeble humanity the eyes of Argus and the arms of Briareus, she has opened to men’s thoughts unimaginable realms of faerie, and has made fire, flood, and air the vassals of His will

III. Does science tend to unbelief? And it is not true that science leads to unbelief. Whose name stands first in the modern era of science? The name of Sir Isaac Newton. Was he an unbeliever? He was one of the whitest, purest, simplest, most believing souls that ever lived. Whose name stands first in science in our own generation? The name of Michael Faraday. Was he an atheist? His friend found him one day bathed in tears, and asked if he was ill. “No,” he said, “it is not that”; but pointing to his Bible, he said, “While men have this blessed book to teach them, why will they go astray?” It has been sometimes assumed that Charles Darwin was an unbeliever; yet he wrote in his book on the descent of man: “The question whether there is a Creator and Ruler of the Universe has been answered in the affirmative by the highest intellects that ever lived.” There have been scientific atheists, but such men have not been atheists as a necessary consequence of their science, but because they have committed the very fault which they scorn so utterly in priests: it is because they have tried to soar into the secrets of the Deity on the waxen wings of the understanding; it is because they have pushed their science to untenable conclusions and mingled it with alien inquiries. H unbelief were a necessary result of science, no benefit which science could possibly bestow could equipoise its curse, for religion means that by which the spirit of man can live. The destruction of religion would be first the triumph of despair, and next the destruction of morality. Once persuade man that he is no better than the beasts that perish, and he will live like the beasts that perish; he will cease to recognise the intangible grandeur of the moral law, and will abandon himself to the struggles of mad selfishness. All religion is based on three primary convictions, of God, of righteousness, and of morality, and these convictions science strengthens and does not destroy. (Dean Farrar.)

God’s rule the saint’s comfort

John Wesley used to say, “I dare no more fret than curse and swear.” A friend of his said, “I never saw him fretful or discontented under any of his trials, and to be in the company of persons of this spirit always occasioned him great trouble. He said one day, ‘To have persons around me murmuring and fretting at anything that happens is like having the flesh torn from my bones. I know that God sits upon the throne ruling all things!’” (R. Newton.)


Verse 34

1 Chronicles 16:34

O give thanks unto the Lord.

Thanksgiving due to God for His goodness

I. Instances of the loving-kindness and mercy of God.

1. The unfolding of a plan of salvation for sinners through His well-beloved Son.

2. The furnishing so fully of the means necessary to salvation.

3. Temporal blessings.

II. The thanks-giving that is due.

III. This goodness ought to lead us to repentance. We ought to improve both the temporal and spiritual privileges we enjoy to the promotion of His glory. (Alex. Davidson.)


Verse 36

1 Chronicles 16:36

And all the people said, Amen.

The people’s amen

I. Indicating--

1. Attention.

2. Appreciation.

3. Interest in the service.

II. A solemn sealing.

III. A real duty. (J. Wolfendale.)


Verse 37

1 Chronicles 16:37

As every day’s work required.

Daily service

That was the law. Not as yesterday’s work required, not as to-morrow’s work might require, but as every day’s work required within its own twelve hours or twenty-four. That was order. The men had been singing. A musical man cannot be disorderly; he would refute his own song, he would annihilate his own music. “As every day’s work required”--morning by morning; now much, now more; now not quite so much; now a little variety; but every day had its duty; every morning had its opportunity. That is the secret of success. For want of knowing such a secret and applying it many men are without bread to-day. “As every day’s work required.” There is only one time--Now. “Now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation.” Now is God’s great opportunity given to us all. Yesterday is gone, to-morrow is unborn, to-day is now, and the golden portal rolls back to let us into the larger liberty. Things are not to be done at any time. That is where so many people go into confusion. To so many people there is no regular time; that is the reason of failure, that is the leak. They were going to do this, but they forgot. What I a man forgetting? He was going to do this at ten o’clock, but he was busy at that moment, and now he will do it in the afternoon. Never ask if you can do this to-morrow; no man has a right to promise you that liberty. The great secret of successful life is discipline, promptitude, military obedience--now! altogether! the best I can; as every day requires. That was the way that Jesus Christ lived. In that apparently coldly ethical doctrine there is a great evangelical gospel; the Son of God is hidden in that disciplinary prose: “I must work the works of Him that sent Me”: are there not twelve hours in the day? I must work while the light lasts; the night cometh wherein no man can work: I must not postpone Monday’s duties to be done in Tuesday’s light.” How is it possible for you to do so much? we say to this great king of labour, and that great leader of civilisation; and he makes answer, Only by doing the day’s work within the day. There are a great many persons who have out-of-the-way places in which they store things to be attended to some time; the fact being that there is no peace in that household, no music, no deep content; there is always something tugging at the conscience and reminding the memory of the arrears. Never have any arrears. What does a well-spent day mean? It means Sabbath every night, satisfaction; it is finished, it is enough; I have told my tale, I have woven my thread, there is nothing more to be done to-day; then comes the sleep of the labouring man, and that is sweet. The lazy man cannot sleep, he can only snore. Only he who works, works for God, with God, in the spirit of Christ, can sleep, and God will make up all that is due to him whilst he is sleeping. Secondly, let us enlarge the meaning of the word “day.” The term “day” is one of the most flexible terms in Holy Scripture, in poetry, and in general experience. “In six days the Lord made heaven and earth.” I have no doubt of it; but I do not know what “day” means. We speak of “our day”: does it mean from eight o’clock in the morning until eight o’clock in the evening? Is the word “day” there a term of clock-time, or does it relate to centuries, eras, epochs? We say, “Our little systems have their day”; does that mean a chronometer day, or a larger and variable period? Evidently it means the latter. So the text may be expanded without a change of word. “As every day’s work required”--as the time needed, as the exigency demanded, as the epoch called for, as the century required. You are fully aware that every day, in the larger sense of age, epoch, or era, has its own peculiar revelation and its own peculiar truth and special and even unique duty and obligation. We cannot go back upon the centuries and fit the expired aeons into the framework of the immediate day in which we are breathing. The apostle did not hesitate to speak of “the present truth,” the truth of this particular day, with all its thrill and pulse and feverishness; the present truth, precisely adapted and suited to the immediate intellectual and spiritual condition of the times. We read of men who fell asleep after serving their generation--“and having served his generation, he fell on sleep.” And he serves the next generation best who serves the present generation well. Your influence will not be cut off, it will run on when you are no longer visible; it will be a memory, an inspiration, an enthusiasm, an ever-recurring poem, lifting life’s prose into nobler music. We must catch the very spirit and genius of the time; our question should be, What will the people hear? Not in any grovelling or degrading sense, but, What is the supreme necessity of the human heart just at this hot moment? What is it, then, that covers and sanctifies all days?--the little day of twenty-four hours or twelve, and the great day of long centuries and piled millenniums? That permanent and all-sovereign quantity or force is Jesus Christ. It is said of Him, He is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. He describes Himself as He that is and was and is to come--Alpha, new as the dawn; Omega, venerable as the sunset of millenniums. He abides in the Church, He is ever on the throne, He gives the order of the day, He has a message for every morning. If we could lay hold of that great truth we should have a united Church at once. So much for working on the broader scale; so much for working within day, meaning century, age, epoch. We are not all working in the same way or all doing precisely the same kind of work. If the Church would but believe this she might have summer all the year round. We will compare one man with another; it would seem as if there were no escape from this lunacy. We think that unless a man shall begin where we expect him to begin, and continue as we expect him to continue, and conclude as we expect he will conclude, that such man is wrong. Never forget that that man could criticise you if he thought it worth while to stoop so low. Day--day--day--in its usual sense it means so short a space of time. Take short views of life. Mayhap I am speaking to some one who is worrying himself about the day after to-morrow. Where is that day? Who has seen it? What will it be like? Who told you about it? What rights have you in it? To-day is thy limitation. He who works well to-day shall have holiday to-morrow--holiday in the sense of renewed strength, increased vigour, and power to deal with the problems and handle the difficulties of life. You are wondering who will live in your house two years after you are dead. Why should you trouble yourself about two years after? You will not be there to see, why trouble about it now? To-morrow is with God; to-morrow is lingering by the lakes of heaven; to-morrow has not yet left the eternal throne. Why fret and worry and tear thyself about to-morrow? It may be the brightest day that ever shone upon thee; and if thou wouldst make it so, to-day be up and doing, and to-morrow thou shalt have joy in thy Lord. (J. Parker, D. D.)


Verse 41

1 Chronicles 16:41

To give thanks to the Lord.

Praise in song

(for a Choir Service):--King David was the greatest innovator in worship of whom Scripture contains a record, for he introduced instrumental music to guide popular singing in worship, and he formed the whole tribe of Levi into a guild of various branches, one of which was employed in the musical services of religion. There had always been in Israel a tendency to song. At the digging of a well, at the winning of a victory, at the issue of a great deliverance the people sang, not men only, or priests only, but men and women. But music was not in the stated worship of God till David organised it. It was this organisation that Solomon found ready to his hand. The purpose of the music, the purport of the song, was praise for the mercy of the Lord: “to give thanks unto the Lord, because His mercy endureth for ever.” “I am burdened with the sense of the mercies of God,” said the dying Norman Macleod. That was the burden of Israel and Judah in the old time (2 Chronicles 20:21; Ezra 3:11). That was the National Anthem of Israel. There is none like it yet, not even Luther’s, though that comes next to it. It is a hymn we might sing in eternity. There is something to stir the heart in the mercy of God. There were many things that stirred the heart of Israel, but this one was always the chief. We know very little about the hymns or music of the early Church. Everything that was sung that was not a psalm seems to have been called a hymn. Paul enjoins “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” as a means of instruction and teaching. Thus it was at the German Reformation. Thus it was at the Scottish Reformation, when almost all the learning was of rhyme; psalms, beatitudes, creeds, and commandments--they rhymed and sang them all. The Gnostic heretics had, through their hymns, such hold on the heart, that he was the best champion of orthodoxy who could write a rival hymn. The Arians also swayed the mobs of the great cities of the East by their processions and their songs, and their catches sung at meal hours, so that Ambrose and Chrysostom had to counteract them with hymns that were charged with the very truth of God and Christ and the Holy Ghost. To you members of the choir I would say, “You sing not as pagans sang; your music is not a refined amusement, or a toy, but a consecration to God of a great gift with which the Lord of the talents has entrusted you. It is given you that by its use you may lead us up to God. It is not congregational worship if some one sings in the presence of the congregation. The heart of the people must go with the singer. There is not much more worship in hearing some one sing than there would be in seeing some one paint. But there is a strange power in music--above all in the music of the human voice--to awaken emotion. Some of the grandest preaching I have ever heard was the singing of a hymn with a purpose. It was not worship, but it was wonderful teaching, and it led to worship--worship of the highest kind. Now triumph will be in the music that moves us to noble deeds. When one Greek orator spoke, men said, ‘What a noble speech!’ but when the other spoke men looked on each other, grasped their swords and said, ‘Let us march on Macedon.’ And if you use your gift to the highest purpose it will have for its result that we will arise and go to our Father.” Basil said the Holy Ghost was the author of Christian music. This lifts up the central purpose beyond mere notation; the Holy Ghost takes of the things of Christ and shows them to us. (Prof. Charteris, D. D.)


Verse 43

1 Chronicles 16:43

And all the people departed, every man to his house

On family worship

Public exercises of religion, when properly conducted, have a happy tendency to prepare the mind for those of a more private nature.
Our text tells us that David returned to bless his house--that is, to present them to God in prayer and entreat His blessing upon them. This suggests the duty of family prayer.

I. This duty is a practice by which good men have been distinguished in every age.

II. Family prayer is a natural and necessary acknowledgment of the dependence of families upon God, and of the innumerable obligations they are under to His goodness.

III. This duty is enforced by its tendency, under the blessing of God, to form the minds of children and servants to the love and practice of religion.

IV. Family worship may be expected to have a most beneficial influence on the character and conduct of the heads of families themselves.

V. Probable pleas which will be urged for the neglect of this duty.

1. Want of ability. Answer--

2. Want of time. Consider on what principle this plea depends: that religion is not the grand concern; that there is something more important than the service of God; that the pleasing and glorifying our Maker is not the great end of human existence--a fatal delusion, a soul-destroying mistake.

3. It has been neglected so long that they know not how to begin.

VI. Hints on the practice.

1. Let it ever be joined with reading the Scriptures.

2. Let it be constant.

3. Attend with a full decision of mind, with the utmost seriousness.

4. Seek the aid of the Spirit. (Robert Hall, M. A.)

David’s attention to his household

I. The work in which he had been engaged: the bringing up the ark to Jerusalem. A glorious work--

1. In itself.

2. As typical of Christ’s ascension into heaven (Psalms 24:1-10; Psalms 47:1-9; Psalms 68:1-35; Psalms 132:1-18.).

II. The work to which he returned: “to bless his house.”

1. To obtain blessings for them by his prayers.

2. To render himself a blessing to them by his conduct.

Learn--

1. How highly we are privileged. The ark, even the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, is present in the midst of us.

2. In what way we should improve our privileges. We should endeavour to communicate the benefit of them to others. (Skeletons of Sermons.)

Domestic duties

We cannot always live in public; it is true that we have tent work to do, temple work etc., but when all that is external or public has been done, every man must bless his own home, make his own children glad, make his own hearthstone as bright as he possibly can, and fill his own house with music and gladness. (J. Parker, D. D.)

 


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Bibliography Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "1 Chronicles 16:4". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/1-chronicles-16.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, June 26th, 2019
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12
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