1 Chronicles 16:23-36
Sing to the LORD, all the earth; show forth from day to day his salvation.…
It cannot be denied that there was an aspect of exclusiveness in the religion of Jewry, as seen in the days of our Lord. But it is a question how far this was a lawful and how far an unlawful development of the teaching which had come from above. To some extent it was necessary that the people of God should be separated, in intercourse as well as in thought and sympathy, from the nations around them. We may, however, be assured that the narrow and bigoted ideas which were so firmly embedded in the Jewish mind were the product of their own misconstructions of the Divine Word. Our text, indeed, shows:
1. That the Jewish nation was taught to feel that God was their God in a peculiar sense. He was continually spoken of, in worship, as "the Lord God of Israel" (ver. 36). He had not dealt with any nation as with Israel: he had not made known his judgments to any people as he had to them (Psalm 147:20). He was their God, inasmuch as he had shown peculiar and distinguishing favour to them.
2. That they looked to God for deliverance and separation from other nations. "Save us... and gather us together, and deliver us from the heathen" (ver. 35). They were led to regard surrounding peoples, with their idolatries and immoralities, as foes over whom they might religiously triumph, and from contact with whom they would wisely shrink. Yet, on the other hand, in distinction from this element of exclusiveness and this narrowness of view and ambition, we have certain elements of breadth. They were taught to regard -
I. THE ENTIRE EARTH AS GOD'S CREATION, AND THE WHOLE WORLD AS UNDER HIS RULE. They sang "of his marvellous works among all nations" (ver. 24). So far were they from imagining that the gods of other nations made those lands, while Jehovah brought themselves and their own land into being, that they sang continually, "All the gods of the people are idols, but the Lord made the heavens" (ver. 26); "The world also shall be stable, that it be not moved" (ver. 30). They undoubtedly believed that the God whom they worshipped had unbounded sovereignty over all lands and nations.
II. THE HEATHEN AS THOSE WHO OUGHT TO WORSHIP GOD. They were invited, in their public worship, to express the sentiment that it was only "due to the Name of the Lord" that "all the earth" "should sing to him, and show forth his salvation from day to day;" that all "kindreds of the people" should ascribe "glory and strength" unto him (vers. 23, 28, 29). They expressed, before God, their desire that his glory might be declared among the heathen (ver. 24), that all the earth should fear him (ver. 30). They evidently felt that it was right and due that anthems of praise should be sung to Jehovah by every lip, that before him every knee should bow.
III. THE HEATHEN AS THE FUTURE INHERITANCE OF GOD. In their higher moods and more exalted hours, they looked forward to the time when all the world should be subject to the Divine sway. How far this grand hope took possession of the popular mind we cannot tell, but it was not beyond the reach of those who thought the most and saw the furthest (vers. 31-35). All inanimate creation was invoked to rejoice, because the Lord was coming to judge the earth, because the good and merciful One (ver. 34) was to reign over all the nations (ver. 31). It is for us:
1. To rejoice that what was only dimly foreshadowed to them is clearly revealed to us. We have a clear vision of the blessed and glorious time when "Jesus shall reign where'er the sun," etc.
2. To rejoice that God's gracious purpose is being fulfilled before our eyes. All nations are coming and worshipping, etc. (Psalm 86:9).
3. To do our part in our generation towards the blissful consummation. God has committed unto us the word of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:19). - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: Sing unto the LORD, all the earth; shew forth from day to day his salvation.