1 Chronicles 16:8, “Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples!”
1 Chronicles 13-16 recounts the story of David bringing the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem (see 2 Samuel 6-7). As the ark – the very presence of God himself – finally comes into the holy city, David bursts forth in a song of praise and thanksgiving (1 Chron 16:8-36). David exclaims, “Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! Sing to him; sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works! Glory in his holy name … He is the Lord our God; his judgments are in all the earth … Sing to the Lord, all the earth! Tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among the peoples! For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised … Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting!”
I want to make two brief comments on this passage: the first concerning the content of the verses; and the second concerning a challenge to Christians today. First, as to the content: David’s words are filled with praise to God; and David’s praise arises ultimately because of who God is. That is, David does not see God as somebody to be used or manipulated, but rather as the King of Kings who alone is worthy of worship. God is the Lord our God! We are called to glory in his name! The Lord is great and is to be greatly praised. In other words, David praises God because God is on the throne, and David is his servant. Such God-exalting praise leads to my second comment – a challenge to us: Does our praise sound like this? Do we praise the Lord because of who he is – the exalted creator of heaven and earth! Do we say with John the Baptist, “He must increase and I must decrease.” Does not our world tell us that we should seek to be lifted up – that what we need is better self-esteem? What the Bible teaches, on the other hand, is that what we need is to be filled with praise and worship to our Lord – acknowledging that apart from him we are helpless and hopeless, but mere worms in the dust. In fact, we have been created and redeemed to worship and give glory to God. Thus dear friends, may our hearts be lifted up to their proper place – in humble worship of our wonderful and magnificent Lord.
“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever” (v. 34).
-Rev. Robert Arendale