David Praises the Lord
1 Chronicles 29:10-13
"David praised the LORD in the presence of the whole assembly ..." What does this mean? What is this about? This is about David speaking well of God; David is expressing adoration and respect to God. But this is more than just a speech or something said repeatedly and ritualistically. No, this is about being so impressed by the character of God, so influenced by His marvelous attributes, we have to say something; we are compelled by the sheer power and majesty of the Lord to bless Him, or praise His name. We cannot contain our adoration for Him! His Word has reached our hearts and had the intended influence.
Today, how do Christians do this? How do we bless, or praise God? Let me suggest four ways we praise God:
1. WE PRAISE GOD IN SONG.
"And again, "Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and sing praises to him, all you peoples." (Romans 15:11, NIV).
Singing isn't just about music; vocal music, in this case, is just the medium. Fundamentally we are expressing our praise to God; we are thinking about God, and the things of God; we are honoring the Savior. We are edifying one another, and reminding ourselves of the promises of the gospel. We praise God in song. Mechanical instruments are not suited to this. They cannot think, honor or edify one another.
2. WE PRAISE GOD IN PRAYER
when we follow Jesus instruction, and express our adoration for Him -- "Hallowed be Thy Name," (Matt. 6:9).
Study the prayers of the Bible. Find, read and study the passages in the Bible where men and women prayed. You'll find great expressions of reverence and honor for God. We praise God in prayer.
3. WE PRAISE GOD IN OBEDIENCE,
for in disobedience, we fail to glorify Him (Rom. 3:23).
When I read something in God's Word, I'm convinced God is right and I have the faith and courage to act on that, I'm praising God - by the obedient attention I'm giving His Word. In the modern religious world there are flattering words expressed to the Father and Son, and much talk of praising God but little obedience to give that sentiment meaning. I am not really praising God until I decide to follow all His instructions. Jesus said, "But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord' and do not do the things which I say?" (Lk. 6:46).
4. WE PRAISE GOD THROUGH THE INFLUENCE OF FAITHFUL LIVES
"In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:16, NIV).
As I follow the instructions of God and honor the Son, there flows from my life just exactly the kind of influence that will do people good and not evil. Through godly behavior, we light the way for others.
David begins this stirring and prayerful statement by praising the name of God; in another place he wrote: "According to Your Name, O God, so is Your praise to the ends of the earth," (Psa. 48:10). The next thing David said is, an acknowledgment of the
ETERNITY OF GOD.
"David praised the LORD in the presence of the whole assembly, saying, "Praise be to you, O LORD, God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting." Only with great difficulty are we able to try and wrap our minds around this concept of ETERNITY. We are so time-oriented - we are so many years old; we have 24 hours a day; we do things at certain times... We are creatures of time - so only with great difficulty, are we able to think of eternity.
But to the extent we are able to entertain the concept - God is eternal; He is "from everlasting to everlasting." His existence is timeless; He had no beginning, He anticipates no end. We are creatures of time here on earth - He is timeless, "from everlasting to everlasting." Deity entered into a timed existence, in the person of Christ, but deity exists outside the flow of time - God is "from everlasting, to everlasting." Next . . .
DAVID ASCRIBES TO THE FATHER THE FOLLOWING:
Everything we know about God should cause us to regard and adore His greatness. His greatness should cause us to believe and confess what is written in Psalms 104:1 - "Praise the Lord, o my soul, O Lord my God, you are very great; you are clothed with splendor and majesty." Likewise, Psalms 117:2 - "For great is His love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the
Lord." Every time I worship God I need to be mindful of His greatness. When I pray, study His Word preach His Word, I ought to reflect on His greatness. And certainly in all my behavior, I should bear in mind how Great my Father is.
John heard the great roar of the multitude in heaven; they were shouting: "Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God," (Rev. 10:1). We through the gospel have access to God's Power -- when faith prompts us to obey Christ in baptism, THE POWER OF GOD LIFTS US FROM SIN. Colossians 2:12 says -- "...having been buried with him in baptism, and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead." And - God "did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self discipline," (2 Tim. 1:7). Power belongs to God.
God is characterized by GLORY, and that means everything about God signifies the highest esteem and honor -- He exhibits or exudes that which causes men to praise Him. In two Old Testament books - perhaps more than most of the others - we are told, over and over, about the glory of God: Isaiah and Psalms.
In Isaiah we discover statements like this: "The moon will be abashed, the sun ashamed; for the LORD Almighty will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and before its elders, gloriously. (Isaiah 24:23, NIV). "And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken." (Isaiah 40:5, NIV).
In Psalms, statements like this: The LORD is exalted over all the nations, his glory above the heavens. (Psalms 113:4, NIV). Not to us, O LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness. (Psalms 115:1, NIV). Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice. (Psalms 105:3, NIV).
In the New Testament some statements made by Paul help us take in this concept, of God's glory. When Paul describes what sin is, he says - when we sin, we fall short of the glory of God; one translation says, we fail to glorify God --- Rom. 3:23, "...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." This would suggest, if we will keep clear in our hearts the real glory of God, that will contribute to righteousness; it will help keep us from sin. In Romans one Paul is explaining how sin had developed and flourished in the human race - in particular, the Gentiles. As he speaks of the futility and darkness and ignorance of idolatry he says they exchanged the glory of God for images made to look like man and animals (Rom. 1:23). They "...exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles." So, it is exceedingly important to follow David's lead - and ascribe praise to God for His glory.
In the Mosaic dispensation and during the United Kingdom period, any good victory achieved by the Army of Israel was attributed to God. So you find statements - all through the Old Testament - like this in 2 Sam. 8:6, " ... the Lord gave David victory wherever he went." The victory they enjoyed - was victory God granted to them. This is Deut. 20:4 .. "For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory." Faithful children of Israel would sing about this - - "Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous: 'The Lord's right hand has done mighty things'." (Psa. 118:15).
The book of Hebrews begins with an eloquent, beautiful statement about GOD SPEAKING THROUGH THIS SON (Heb. 1:1-4). Simon Peter was privileged to see Jesus transfigured and he later wrote about it with these words: "We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eye-witnesses of his majesty," (2 Pet. 1:16). These are attributes of God; things that belong to Him: Greatness, Power, Glory, Victory, Majesty ... then - a statement about God's ...
"Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendour, for everything in heaven and earth is yours." The thrust of David's words are - God is worthy of our praise, our worship and obedience ... and He is worthy of praise due to His greatness; His power, glory, victory and majesty.
Reflecting on David's praise of God, let me say: no matter how closely we try to walk with the Lord, we cannot escape the impact of a disappointing and evil world ... THINGS HAPPEN THAT WE TAKE NO PLEASURE IN. There is a certain pain about life here on the earth and all the unpleasant things we encounter. God can help us meet all these struggles, if we will let Him influence us. And one way we let that influence work is to praise Him and worship Him and honor Him, because of who He is and what He is about. He is worthy of praise due to His greatness; His power, glory, victory and majesty. And next ... let's think about ...
THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD.
Sovereignty. That means complete independence in the exercise of rule or authority. Some exercise authority in some way - but they do not exercise authority independently. The civil servant, for example, does not enjoy independence. In the Bible, there is such a thing as parental authority, but that authority is a function of God's order for the home. They have authority, but not sovereignty!
When we speak of God - His rule, His authority and supremacy, HE ENJOYS AND EXERCISES AUTHORITY INDEPENDENT OF ANYBODY ELSE !! God has complete independence in the exercise of His authority. That means He doesn't have to clear anything with anybody! It means He is the Judge of all the earth, and what He decides is - by definition - RIGHTEOUS, and TRUE and GOOD and FAIR. His law may not seem good or fair to men - - but God is God; He is the Judge of all the earth; His name shall endure forever, and this is about SOVEREIGNTY!
Romans 11:33-36 is such an excellent statement of God's sovereignty. For eleven chapters Paul has been giving his comprehensive account of the gospel. Step by step he has shown how God has devised and revealed a way of putting sinners right with himself; how Christ died for our sins, and was raised for our justification; how we are united with Christ in His death and resurrection; how the Christian life is lived by walking in the Spirit not the flesh. We are educated, in the first eleven chapters of the Roman letter; there we find analysis and argument and affirmation. BUT NOW - at the end of all this analysis and argument and affirmation -- THERE IS ADORATION! Eventually, analysis and argument must give way to adoration ...
This is like a mountain climber. You work and sweat and put forth effort; then when you get to the summit, you enjoy the view; you adore this new perspective. Likewise - in our study of the Bible, we are called upon to really exert ourselves; there is debate and analysis and argument. But eventually - analysis and argument must give way to adoration. Paul - in the first eleven chapters - takes up the subjects of justification, sanctification, glorification and NOW, it's like he stops ... out of breath ... TO ADORE THE GLORY OF GOD, and to speak of His sovereignty. He celebrates the profound riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God.
He raises a rhetorical question, Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counsellor ... Who has ever given to God, that God should repay Him? Notice - he gives the reason for our dependence on God - for from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. Then the final ascription: TO HIM BE THE GLORY FOR EVER! Amen. This is Paul's outburst of praise, informed by revelation - and inspired by the sovereignty of God.
And, it is very much like David's statement in our text --- "David praised the LORD in the presence of the whole assembly, saying, "Praise be to you, O LORD, God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all."
David brought his reign to a close talking to God, and talking to His people about God. These were his thoughts, not only at the end of his life but throughout his life. When David was in trouble, suffering and running from enemies he had these thoughts of God. When David was confronted by Nathan about his sin and as repentance worked inside of David and bore fruit, he had these thoughts of God. When he - by inspiration - wrote the Psalms; and when he made mention of the coming Messiah he had these thoughts of God.
I hope we too will have these thoughts about God; and through continued reading, study, prayer and practice -- I trust we will be drawn closer and closer to Him, worshipping Him and obeying Him from the heart.
By Warren E. Berkley
From Expository Files 5.12; December 1998