1 Chronicles 16:4-7, 36-43
And he appointed certain of the Levites to minister before the ark of the LORD, and to record…
These verses may suggest to us wholesome truths respecting the constant worship of God as distinguished from acts of exceptional devotion.
I. THAT DEVOTION MUST NOT BE ALLOWED TO EVAPORATE IN TEMPORARY EXCITEMENT, David was wise in not sending the people home (ver. 43) until he had designed a plan or arrangement in virtue of which the thankful spirit of the people should express itself in ordinary and regular exercises (vers. 4-37). The time of revival, of exceptional religious excitement, of spiritual ecstasy, may be very pleasant and promising, but it will end in nothing or in positive evil, if those who prompt and lead it do not devise measures by which it shall find due utterance in permanent institutions.
II. THAT SACRED THINGS MUST BE ENTRUSTED TO THE CHARGE OF CAPABLE AND RESPONSIBLE PERSONS. However admirable the institution, it will not take care of itself. Good things will soon wane and die if they be not taken charge of by living earnest souls. David sought and found the best men to be engaged in the service of praise (vers. 5, 6). In every part of Divine service, success can only be attained and maintained by competent and responsible men taking the matter in hand. If we trust to the intrinsic excellency of the exercise, and allow negligence or favouritism to enter, we may expect speedy, or, at any rate, certain decline and ultimate extinction. In God's service let each post be assigned to that man whom he has made fittest for it, and who will feel that he is personally accountable for the way in which it is kept.
III. THAT INFERIOR POSTS ARE NOT WITHOUT A REAL IMPORTANCE IN THE SERVICE OF GOD. Much mention is made here (as elsewhere) of doorkeepers (vers. 38-43; see Psalm 84:10). The doorkeepers of our sanctuaries are men of humble position; nevertheless, they may contribute much by conscientious carefulness and Christian courtesy to the comfort, peace of mind, and devoutness of spirit of the worshippers; and thus to the cause of God. Any position in the service of the Supreme, of a gracious and almighty Redeemer, is one which we do well to "magnify" in our esteem, that we may do our duty therein faithfully, as unto the Lord as well as unto men.
IV. THAT PRAYER AS WELL AS PRAISE MUST BE INCLUDED IN DIVINE SERVICE. Though there was to be daily service at Jerusalem for the future, there must also be daily sacrifice at Gibeon (vers. 39, 40). The choir-master could not do the work of the priest; there must be sacrifice as well as praise. We should multiply our service of song and can hardly go too far in sacred psalmody; yet we must never make light of the prayer of confession, of the entreaty for Divine mercy, of our need to seek again the pardoning love of God.
V. THAT ONE MAN MAY LEAD, BUT ALL MUST PARTICIPATE IN, THE SERVICE OF GOD. David alone prepared and delivered the psalm. Asaph alone received it at the king's hand, and made the musical arrangements (vers 5-7); but "all the people said Amen and praised the Lord (ver. 36). It is well sometimes that one man should speak for others, they following and participating in thought, and saying "Amen" at the end, in token and utterance of their hearty assent. It is also well - perhaps better - that" all the people" should utter together the words of prayer and praise. Most men can best follow the sense when they utter the sound of sacred words. This is a question fur individual and congregational aptitudes and preferences; the matter of importance is that, whatever method be adopted, the service of God shall be one in which all hearts unite in supplication, in adoration, in thanksgiving, in consecration. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: And he appointed certain of the Levites to minister before the ark of the LORD, and to record, and to thank and praise the LORD God of Israel: