1 Chronicles 16:7-36 (Part 2) – Praise in the Poo-Poo Times of Life

Posted: April 24, 2020 in 13-1 Chronicles

1 Chronicles 16:7-36 (Part 2 of 4)

David’s Song of Praise

This week at the church I serve as pastor, Lamar United Methodist Church, in Lamar, SC, I will begin a new sermon series. This Sunday is the beginning of a six-week series called Certainty in Uncertain Times. In the midst of this global pandemic that seems to have been with us forever (but in reality is only a couple of months). It has wreaked havoc on the normalcy of life that we know beforehand. The loneliness, the isolation, the disruption, the changing of how we do business with and even associate with one another, all of it has changed. Our economy is on the brink of a complete meltdown and it was this same economy that was reaching new heights in productivity and gains in wealth of all Americans just a few short months ago. It’s all very disconcerting. It creates a feeling of uneasiness and uncertainty among many people in the world. This week’s first sermon in the series is about being able to have faith in the midst of trouble when you have no idea when the trouble is going to end. These times of life are what you might call the poo-poo times of life – when our circumstances are just plain awful according to our view of thinking. Let’s talk about praise in the poo-poo times of life.

The central character in my sermon is Joseph after he is sold into slavery by his own brothers. He is purchased by one of the most powerful men in all of Egypt. He rises in trust and responsibility in Potiphar’s household to the point he was chief of the household for Potiphar. Being a high-ranking official in the Egyptian empire, it is pretty certain that Potiphar had a big, swanky house with lots of employees. Then, the he gets accused (falsely) of raping Potiphar’s wife and his life goes into a tailspin again. My sermon finds him in prison where he stayed for about 12 years (based on the clues about his age given in Genesis). In the midst of the storm of his life, Joseph just continues being trustworthy, continues giving his best, continues doing his best wherever he was planted. I am sure he had his days of sulking while in prison, but overall, he kept going. He kept serving through Lord through being excellent at whatever he did regardless of what it was. He figured that God had him in that place for a reason and He just trusted it and kept on blooming where he was planted. He was in the midst of a stinking pile of poo-poo when you look at his life from the outside, but He trusted that God had a purpose in it and did his best at where he was.

Here, in this passage, we see David giving glory to God in vv. 23-29. When you reflect on David’s life, he had some really bad times – on the run from King Saul – for a looong time, and then on the run again during the civil war caused by Absalom’s rebellion (trying to overthrow his own dad from power). David had some long hard stretches in his life. Sure, some of them were of his own making, but some of them weren’t. But through it all, David was able to praise the Lord. The Psalms are a testament to David’s ability to praise God in the darkest of times in his life. He often only had his faith in God to get him through the darkest of times. We are reminded of that ability to praise the Lord in the darkest hours here in this passage. David even when he was on the run from Saul, for example, was able to see hope in the Lord. Why was he like that? Why was Joseph like that? I think its because they did not let their circumstances determine how much they loved and trusted the Lord.

That’s what I thought of this morning when I read through this passage, 1 Chronicles 16:7-36. That idea of the priority of loving the Lord first and seeing my circumstances second is what I find profound in my thinking this morning. Let’s read the whole passage now but with special attention to verses 23-29:

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 sing for joy before the Lord,

    for he 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.

David wrote some of the most beautiful poetry about the magnificence of and his love for God and those poems became the Psalms. Those poems became the music of worship at the Temple long after David was gone. But the thing that strikes me about David here is this all out praise He has for God. And reflecting on David’s life, he had this level of praise for God regardless of what his circumstances were. His faith in the Lord was not contingent upon his circumstances. His love of God was not contingent upon what he saw in front of him. It was the same with Joseph. Both Joseph and David were mighty men of God because they looked at their circumstances as God having them there for a purpose. They believed that God had them in the moment that they were in for a purpose either for them personally or for some greater purpose that they did not understand or see. However, they trusted that God had them right where He wanted them at that moment.

Isn’t there a great peace that comes with that conception of life’s activities. God has you planted right where he wants you at the moment. It reminds me of that passage in Acts where Jesus speaks to Saul (who later becomes Paul) when he says in Acts 26:14, “14We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice say to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’” We can fight against our circumstances, kick against the goads, or we can see that God has a purpose in our right now, right where we are. We can see that God may have a personal purpose for the valley that we are in or it may be something that God will use in our lives later. Or even more nebulous to us personally, maybe, God is using this moment in our lives right now to teach someone else something or to teach an entire people something. It is that idea that can blow you mind. It is that idea that we need to be our best for the Lord regardless of what we think of our circumstances. It is that idea that we don’t always know what God is doing or is going to do with our circumstances that we are in. We can either kick against the goads and not learn a thing and dissolve into self-pity, jealousy, and anger. Contrastingly, we can see this moment as part of God’s plan for our lives and trust that and then go about being the best we can be for the Lord in this moment we find ourselves in. Keep plowing the field to the best of your ability and to the glory of the Lord. Trust Him with what He is going to do with it…and that is enough reason to sing the praises of our God.

Amen and Amen.

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