1 Chronicles 16:4
And he appointed certain of the Levites to minister before the ark of the LORD, and to record…
Although the Levites were set apart for the service of the Lord's house, even from the days of Moses, it is certain that the Levitical services were more fully organized by David, and that from his time there was more of system and more of efficiency in their ministrations. There is so marked a difference between the Jewish Church and the Christian Church, that we can only apply the general principles of the former to the latter. Yet the text may well suggest to us that -
I. PUBLIC WORSHIP HAS SCRIPTURAL AUTHORITY. Worship, to be acceptable, must be from the heart. But out of the abundance of the heart the mouth will speak. It is natural and appropriate that the sentiments and desires of the soul should find a vocal utterance; and it is also natural and appropriate that those who have the same tribute to offer should join together and offer it in common. The Book of the Acts in the New Testament sanctions such worship equally with these Books of Chronicles in the Old.
II. PUBLIC WORSHIP SHOULD CONSIST LARGELY OF THANKSGIVING AND PRAISE. According to the text, the Levites recorded and celebrated the glorious deeds of the Most High, adored his attributes, gave thanks for his forgiving mercy, his bounty, and loving-kindness. We do not want less prayer in our congregations, but we do want more praise. "His mercy endureth for ever;" and while his mercy endures his praises should not cease.
III. PUBLIC WORSHIP SHOULD BE LED BY APPOINTED MINISTERS. Common sense may teach us so much. If praise is to be sung, some musical leaders must conduct it. If the Scriptures are to be read, some human voice must read them. If prayer is to be offered, some one must pour forth the language of petition, in which others may join, whether silently or audibly. If the gospel is to be heard by men, "how shall they hear without a preacher?" Scripture precedents abound for ministerial service.
IV. While public worship must be properly conducted, IT MUST NOT BE DELEGATED ANY FUNCTIONARIES OR OFFICIALS, WHOSE SERVICES MAY BE SUBSTITUTED FOR THAT OF THE PEOPLE. Levites under the old dispensation, pastors and teachers under the new, may aid the devotions of the people, but their offering cannot be accepted in the place of what God requires - a song, a prayer, from every heart. "Praise the Lord, all ye people!" The Christian Church admits of no exclusive priesthood; all Christians are priests unto God the Father, inasmuch as all offer to him sacrifices of willing obedience and grateful praise.
1. A rebuke to the ungrateful and undevout, who, whilst they daily receive God's mercies, acknowledge not the Giver.
2. A rebuke to the formal and ceremonial, who excuse themselves from offering sacrifices of praise on the ground that this "religious duty" is fulfilled by appointed officials.
3. A reminder and summons, to which all sincere Christians will do well to take heed. Some spiritual ministry and service may be fulfilled by every Christian; and it is a high honour to be permitted to lead the praises and the supplications of the people of the Lord. - T.
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: