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Dr. Jay P. Cook, Pastor

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Amen! Praise the Lord
1 Chronicles 16:1-36

Introduction
Someone once called a preacher to say he wanted to become a church member.
But, he went on to explain that he did not want to: worship every week, study the Bible, visit the sick, or serve as a leader or teacher.
The minister commended him for his desire to be a church member, but told him the church he was looking for was located in another part of town.
The man wrote down the address and hung up.  When he arrived at that address, the man came face to face with the result of his own attitude of not wanting to be involved.... There stood an abandoned church building boarded up and ready for demolition.

 

1 Chronicles 16:1-36 (NLT)
1  They brought the Ark of God and placed it inside the special tent David had prepared for it. And they presented burnt offerings and peace offerings to God. 2  When he had finished his sacrifices, David blessed the people in the name of the LORD. 3  Then he gave to every man and woman in all Israel a loaf of bread, a cake of dates, and a cake of raisins. 4  David appointed the following Levites to lead the people in worship before the Ark of the LORD—to invoke his blessings, to give thanks, and to praise the LORD, the God of Israel 7 On that day David gave to Asaph and his fellow Levites this song of thanksgiving to the LORD:
8 Give thanks to the LORD and proclaim his greatness.
Let the whole world know what he has done.
9 Sing to him; yes, sing his praises. Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds.
10 Exult in his holy name; rejoice, you who worship the LORD.
11 Search for the LORD and for his strength; continually seek him.
12 Remember the wonders he has performed,
his miracles, and the rulings he has given,
13 you children of his servant Israel, you descendants of Jacob, his chosen ones.
14 He is the LORD our God. His justice is seen throughout the land.
15 Remember his covenant forever— the commitment he made to a thousand generations.
16  This is the covenant he made with Abraham and the oath he swore to Isaac.
17 He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree, and to the people of Israel
as a never-ending covenant:
18 “I will give you the land of Canaan as your special possession.”
19 He said this when you were few in number, a tiny group of strangers in Canaan.
20 They wandered from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another.
21 Yet he did not let anyone oppress them. He warned kings on their behalf:
22 “Do not touch my chosen people, and do not hurt my prophets.”
23 Let the whole earth sing to the LORD!
Each day proclaim the good news that he saves.
24 Publish his glorious deeds among the nations.
Tell everyone about the amazing things he does.
25 Great is the LORD! He is most worthy of praise! He is to be feared above all gods.
26 The gods of other nations are mere idols, but the LORD made the heavens!
27 Honor and majesty surround him; strength and joy fill his dwelling.
28 O nations of the world, recognize the LORD,
recognize that the LORD is glorious and strong.
29 Give to the LORD the glory he deserves! Bring your offering and
come into his presence. Worship the LORD in all his holy splendor.
30 Let all the earth tremble before him. The world stands firm and cannot be shaken.
31 Let the heavens be glad, and the earth rejoice! Tell all the nations, “The LORD reigns!”
32  Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise!
Let the fields and their crops burst out with joy!
33 Let the trees of the forest rustle with praise,
for the LORD is coming to judge the earth.
34 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.
35 Cry out, “Save us, O God of our salvation! Gather and
rescue us from among the nations, so we can thank your holy name
and rejoice and praise you.”
36 Praise the LORD, the God of Israel, who lives from everlasting to everlasting!
And all the people shouted “Amen!” and praised the LORD.

 

I.   We worship together to celebrate what the Lord has done.

A.  This text calls us to “Let the whole world know what he has done.
9 Sing to him; yes, sing his praises. Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds.

1.  Verse 12 tells us to “Remember the wonders he has performed, his miracles, and the rulings he has given…  The Hebrew word for wonders means things that amaze.

2.   What are things that God has done that make you think, How’d He do that? Take creation out of nothing, for example or when we hold a baby in our arms or how about the parting of the Red Sea?  In worship we celebrate the things God has done that leave us gape-jawed and bug-eyed.

3.  What amazes you about God?

B.  The word behind “miracles” implies miracles that “mean something,” or “signs,” like the night in Egypt when the angel of death passed the houses with lamb’s blood on the doorposts, or when Elijah called down God’s fire on a water-drenched sacrifice. Those are miracles with a message.

C.   The word for “judgments” can mean verdicts that God has rendered, like when he destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah for their sin. God’s judgments are what set things right!
1.   But the same word can also mean God’s plans—His blueprints for His people, His rules of life, His decisions. There is a beautiful genius in God’s Word.

D.  The most amazing – jaw dropping thing that God has done and still does is love us.  It is that love that God took on flesh, who lived among us and died for us. We celebrate Christ risen from the grave. That’s why we worship; that’s why we sing.

E.   We are people who seek and search for God. We worship because worship draws us closer to God; worship helps us seek God and hear Him and inquire of Him.  Verses 10 and 11 tell us to Exult in his holy name; rejoice, you who worship the LORD. 11 Search for the LORD and for his strength; continually seek him.

F.   We worship because we are welcome at God’s throne. We’re welcome to bring our requests and needs to God. We’re always welcome to seek God’s wisdom for whatever confronts us. “Let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!”

II.   Secondly, we worship together to remember God’s covenant of love with us.
He is the LORD our God. His justice is seen throughout the land.
15 Remember his covenant forever— the commitment he made
to a thousand generations.
16  This is the covenant he made with Abraham and the oath he swore to Isaac.
17 He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree, and to the people of Israel
as a never-ending covenant:
“I will give you the land of Canaan as your special possession.”

A.   They celebrated the covenant God made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, especially the promise to give them the land of Canaan. At the root of that covenant was God’s choosing of them out of all the people on earth, simply because he loved them. This is why God listens to us when we seek him.

B.   We have God’s New Covenant, signed in Jesus’ own blood, as our pledge of his everlasting love for us. It is a marriage made in heaven. When we worship, we celebrate that covenant.

C.   We sing often of God’s love for us. We come to the Lord’s Table often to celebrate the New Covenant and to wait for our wedding feast with Jesus. We remind each other, too, to love, honor, and obey him because he loved us first, and to be faithful to our Beloved Lord.
19 He said this when you were few in number, a tiny group of strangers in Canaan.
20 They wandered from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another.
21 Yet he did not let anyone oppress them. He warned kings on their behalf:
22 “Do not touch my chosen people, and do not hurt my prophets.”

D.   The chronicler reminded his people at their low ebb that there were other times in Israel’s history when they’d been outcasts, when they’d been weak or small in number, but God had always cared for them.

E.   That is the same thing we do together now when we worship. Here is where we remember that, though the world pays us little attention or respect, we are a people called by God’s name; we are children of the heavenly Father; our home is found in Him. We worship together to remember God’s covenant of love with us.

III.  We worship together for the world’s sake.
A.  “The nations” are prominent in this psalm. Verse 8 says: “Make known among the nations what he has done.” Here are the Jews standing before the chronicler, with the years exiled from home still very much on their minds. They have no political power. They have no  king. They are vassals of the faraway Persia. Yet God reminds them that they have something to say to the world’s nations, that they are the most significant people on earth because they represent God to the world.

B.  That is still part of our worship, too. We celebrate the fact that God is worshiped in hundreds of languages, in every nation on the face of the earth. Worship constantly kindles our desire to make God known among those who do not know him.
1.   We want God to be worshiped more widely. We sing, “O for a thousand tongues to sing my great Redeemer’s praise.” So we go out as evangelists, intending to set other tongues singing of our great and loving God.

C.  The psalm emphasizes two things that we set before the world.
1.   First, the God of Israel, the God of Scripture, the Lord Almighty is the only true God. “He is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the Lord made the heavens” (Psalm 96:4).
a.   He possesses a glory and power that no other gods have or even pretend to have. There is a nobility and grace in our God, a beauty and holiness that no other religions even imagine for their gods.
b.   And our God has made himself visible and present through Christ Jesus, who is the image of the invisible God.

2.   Second, nature itself resounds with the glory of God. Verses 3133 say,
31 Let the heavens be glad, and the earth rejoice! Tell all the nations, “The LORD reigns!”
32  Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise!
Let the fields and their crops burst out with joy!
33 Let the trees of the forest rustle with praise,
for the LORD is coming to judge the earth.

3.   Wherever people live, they can see the glory of God’s creation, and that creation always points to the God who is powerful and personal. God’s creation is our helper in sharing our faith in Christ. Nature sings of God in every language.

Sofia Cavalletti wrote a book entitled The Religious Potential of the Child, in which she relates a three-year-olds experience. This child was growing up in an atheistic home in which no one ever spoke of God. One day she asked her father, “Where does the world come from?” Her father explained what he believed, but then he added: “However, there are those who say that all this comes from a very powerful being, and they call him God.” “At this point the little girl began to run like a whirlwind around the room in a burst of joy and exclaimed: ‘I knew what you told me wasn't true; it is Him, it is Him!’”
4.   Children aren’t the only ones that know, deep within, that this world only makes sense with God at the center. And our worship equips us to tell them that. People who do not worship will not evangelize. Worshipers love God out loud, not just in church but wherever we go. So we worship together for the world’s sake.

IVWe worship together for our security.  Now we come to the last verses, a kind of summary:

34 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.
35 Cry out, “Save us, O God of our salvation! Gather and
rescue us from among the nations, so we can thank your holy name
and rejoice and praise you.”
36 Praise the LORD, the God of Israel, who lives from everlasting to everlasting!
And all the people shouted “Amen!” and praised the LORD.

A.  Worshiping together reminds us again and again of God’s goodness and love. Think of all the songs we sing that say so! Worship is the temple from which we cry out for God’s salvation of us as a people in the midst of a dark world.

B.   Worship is also where we lock on our spiritual GPS systems to the coordinates of heaven.

C.   Without worship we forget who we are in the world. Haven’t you found that as the week grinds on sometimes, God grows dimmer, that his beauty goes to grayscale and that our faith shrinks little by little? We worship together not only because God deserves our worship, but because we live in the grayscale and darkness of the world.

D.   Worship is when we remember the wonders God does and find our faith freshened and rejuvenated. In worship we remember that the Lord Jesus loves us as a bridegroom loves his bride. We remember that God deserves the praise of all the earth and that nature itself sings of his greatness.

Conclusion:
Worshipping God: Duty or Delight?
In a recent TV commercial a young man is struggling with whether to go through with an arranged marriage. In his home country arranged marriages were the norm. But after living in America, he was having second thoughts about adhering to this ancient custom, especially since he'd never met his wife-to-be.
Still, when she flew into the airport, he dutifully waited for her, flowers in hand, and a gloomy expression on his face. But when she stepped through the terminal, everything changed. She was beautiful! Suddenly his glum demeanor disappeared. The thought of marrying this woman was no longer a dreaded duty; it was a delight. What had changed? He'd seen her.
Often we serve God out of obligation. We drag ourselves to church, force ourselves to serve others—but our hearts aren't in it. We're like that guy at the airport, grudgingly holding flowers for God. We're trying to live holy lives because we know we should, but it's burdensome, joyless.
What can change this? Seeing God – Experiencing God. When we get a vision of who God truly is, suddenly we're energized to do His mission. Once we gaze upon His grandeur and glory, obedience ceases to be arduous. Once we grasp His great love, serving is no longer a duty—it's a joy!
Drew Dyck, Yawning at Tigers (Thomas Nelson, 2014), page 54


Please click here for slides to accompany the sermon.