God’s Plan for Producing Praiseful People (1 Chronicles 16:1–36)

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Read: 1 Chronicles 16:1–36

We all enjoy hearing about heaven. As you read the book of Revelation, have you thought about how frequently praise resounds in the heavenly throne room?

Have you thought about the implications of the fact that God has stationed four angelic beings to praise Him ceaselessly, saying, “Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come” (Rev. 4:8)?

One of the major events the Apostle John reveals about the angels, the living creatures, and the elders who are around God’s throne, is their enthusiastic singing and praising God. Listen to what John tells us he saw: “And I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, ‘Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing’” (Rev. 5:11–12).

Does the fact that Heaven is filled with praise have a message for us today? Did you know that every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea and all things in them know how to praise God and will gladly praise Him (Rev. 5:13)?

What is your attitude toward public praise? Are you timid? Do you find it difficult to vocalize God’s praise during a worship service? If so, what are you going to do in heaven? Don’t you think you should start getting ready now for the great heavenly celebration of praise?

The Bible records a wonderful plan for developing your ability to be a praiseful person. God gave this program to King David to teach the people of Israel how to improve their praises.

The setting is the account of King David bringing the ark of God to Jerusalem. The ark was symbolic of God’s presence in the midst of the nation. One of God’s concerns for His people was for them to learn how to incorporate praise as an integral part of their life.

God taught His people that in order to become the praiseful people He desires them to be, at least two things must take place.

  1. First, they must plan on making praise to God an absolute priority in their life (1 Chron. 16:1–7).
  2. Second, they must practice praising God for who He is, what He has done, and what He promises to do (1 Chron. 16:8-36).

You Must Plan on Making Praise to God an Absolute Priority in Your Life (1 Chron. 16:1–7)

There is a three-fold methodology described in verse 4 that explains how David was to teach Israel to be more praiseful. God wanted the people to cultivate a spirit of praise.

In order to do this, the people needed to remember what God had said and done in their midst. Then they were to thank Him and praise Him for these actions.

To accomplish this, David “appointed [certain] of the Levites to minister before the ark of the Lord, and to record, and to thank and to praise the Lord God of Israel” (1 Chron. 16:4).

Step 1: “To Record” — Make Yourself a “Book of Remembrance”

The Hebrew verb translated in the KJV “to record” literally means “to cause to remember.” The context does not specify the method by which the people’s memories were to be stimulated. Whatever method they used, the goal was to remember. What do you need to be able to remember all the blessings of God in your life?

My suggestion, by way of personal application, is for you to make a “book of remembrance.”

In other words, start writing down and dating God’s specific answers to your prayers. Along with answers to prayer, write down any new insights the Spirit gives you from Scripture as well as the things for which you are thankful.

The basic idea is that each of us must make an effort to remember the wonderful things God does for us each day. If you can devise a better way of remembering than writing it down, use it.

And be sure to remember the little things as well as the big things.

Step 2: “To Thank” — Learn to Give Thanks

The Hebrew verb translated in the KJV “to thank” has as one of its meanings “to offer expressions of thankfulness.”

In this context it signifies public expression of thanks for God’s attributes and His works. The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament gives the following helpful information:

  • Initiators of thanks include righteous individuals (Psa. 140:13),
  • the people of Israel (Psa. 106:47),
  • the nations (Psa. 45:17),
  • all the kings of the earth (Psa. 138:4), and
  • even the heavens (Psa. 89:5).

They all give thanks for

  • God’s goodness (1 Chron. 16:34),
  • His great lovingkindness which endures forever (1 Chron. 16:41),
  • His righteousness (Psa. 7:17),
  • His holiness (Psa. 30:4), and
  • for all His wonderful works (Psa. 107).

Thanks to God is to be

  • public and is found among the nations (2 Sam 22:50) and
  • in the great assembly of the people of Israel (Psa. 35:18).

When an individual, or a people, came to praise God, they

  • gave praise orally by word or song (Psa. 109:30; Psa. 28:7),
  • often accompanied with musical instruments (2 Chron. 5:13; Psa. 33:2; Psa. 43:4).

Such thanksgiving was normally

  • given in the tabernacle (or temple) (Psa. 100:4; Psa. 122:4)
  • under the direction of those Levites appointed by David strictly for the ministry of celebration through praise and confession of God’s person (1 Chron. 16:4).

This was a major aspect of worship which was to be

  • carried on every morning and evening in the tabernacle (1 Chron. 23:30).

Further, this thanksgiving was to be

  • given wholeheartedly (Psa. 86:12; Psa. 111:1), and
  • was to be continual—forever (Psa. 30:12).

Will you become a praise-giver? Will you set an example for other Christians to follow? Your praise need not be “long-winded.” The key is simply to start following the instructions God gives us in His Word.

Step 3: “To Praise” — Learn to Praise the Lord God of Israel

The Hebrew verb translated in the KJV “to praise,” has as a basic meaning “to praise” or “to boast or glory in.” We are to “glory” in God’s holy name (1 Chron. 16:10). The LORD is “greatly to be praised” (1 Chron.16:25). David made four thousand instruments and appointed four thousand people to “praise” the Lord (1 Chron. 23:5).

This verb is part of the Hebrew expression, “Hallelujah.” Hallelujah literally means, “praise God!” Praise is to be offered with an attitude of delight, rejoicing, and joy. And the more frequently we remember God’s promises and actions in the past and present, the easier it becomes to praise God, for praise is the natural outcome of delight.

In fact, praise help complete our delight. As Christians, Peter tells us that we all occupy the office of the royal Christian priesthood. And as priests, we are to offer spiritual sacrifices to God which are acceptable through Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:5, 9).

The writer of the Hebrew epistle says we are to “offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name” (Heb. 13:15).

This brings us to our second truth. We must not only plan on making praise to God an absolute priority in our life (1 Chron. 16:1–7), but we must also practice praising God (1 Chron. 16:8-36).

You Must Practice Praising God for Who He is, What He Has Done, and What He Promises to Do (1 Chron. 16:8-36)

In 1 Chron. 16:8–14, David urges the people to find their joy and happiness in the Lord and to express it with jubilant praise. How are they to do that? [1]

They are to give praise for the person of God (“Who He is”) and for His power and promises (“What He does”).

Give Praise for the Person of God—“Who He Is” (1 Chron. 16:8–14)

Notice the variety of ways one should praise the Lord.

  • We are commanded to “give thanks,” to “call upon His name,” to “make known His deeds among the peoples” (16:8).
  • We are to “sing to Him,” and to “speak of all His wonders” (16:9).
  • We are to “glory in His holy name,” and “be glad” (16:10).
  • We are to “seek His strength and His face continually (16:11).
  • We are to “remember” His wonderful deeds, His marvels, and the judgments from His mouth (16:12).

Give Praise for the Power and Promises of God—“What He Does” (1 Chron. 16:15–36)

David urges the people to remember God’s covenant commitments He made with the patriarchs to give them the land of Canaan and how the Lord, in fulfillment of His promises, mightily and gloriously defended them (1 Chron. 16:15–22). David then turns and contemplates the whole world (1 Chron. 16:23–33).

Everyone and everything is to praise Him as the only true and almighty God. David concludes with a final summons to thankfulness, combined with a prayer that God would keep His people safe.

A doxology rounds off the whole hymn of praise (1 Chron. 16:34–36).

Conclusion

1 Chron. 16:1–34 teaches us the importance of remembering God’s words and actions, of being thankful, and of praising God. Let’s each personally commit to trying the plan God gave King David?

Begin with a “Book of Remembrance” or something equivalent. Then practice thanking and praising God for His grace, love, mercy, and answers to prayer.

Purpose in your heart that by God’s grace you are going to be much more vocal with your praises. Praise reflects a thankful heart.


Originally published in God’s Revivalist. Used by permission.

[1] As a note of interest, 1 Chron. 16:8–22 comprise Psalm 105:1–15; 1 Chron. 16:23–33 comprise Psalm 96 (almost the same, with slight variations); and 1 Chron. 16:34–36 comprise Psalm 106:1, 47, 48.

Allan Brown
Dr. Allan Brown is Professor and Chair of the Division of Ministerial Education at God's Bible School & College. He holds his PhD in Old Testament Interpretation from Bob Jones University and is the author of several books and articles.