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This chapter contains an account of the finishing work, in bringing up the Ark to the Holy City. David's gifts to the people in consequence thereof, and the Psalm of praise David delivered upon the occasion.
1 Chronicles 16:1
No doubt, after the breach of Uzzah, and which, had occasioned great grief in David's heart, the Lord's approbation, in his bringing home the ark, had wrought in David's mind a proportionate joy, There were many things which served to contribute to the joy of this high festival. The ark had been long removed from Israel. The people had often mourned after it and the want of its presence had given much sorrow of heart not only to David but to many a gracious soul: the bringing it home was, therefore, a subject of great delight to the people at large. But to David it must have been eminently so. Reader! you have never known, perhaps, the want of ordinances; but if you have, you may form some idea what the restoration of the ark must have been from its long absence, in your own enjoyment of the return of those hallowed seasons. But, Reader, think from hence, what joy of the heart that must be, when after nights of the hidings of Jesus's presence, he hath come again, leaping over the mountains, and skipping over the hills.
That love of God is sweet which is always accompanied with the love of man. David appears in an amiable light, in the view this gives of him, in his generosity to his people. I beg the Reader not to overlook the expression, that be blessed the people in the name of the Lord. The Targum hath it, In the name of the Word of the Lord; that is, the Uncreated Word; which was made flesh, and dwelt among us. Hence if so, it was by faith in him which was to come. Precious thought! for all blessings flow through Him and in Him. How delightful is it, to see that the early church had such views of the coming Saviour!
Probably, in consequence of the breach of Uzzah, the king thought it right that the Levites should never more be out of the path of duty, and therefore made a revisal of their office.
This is a proof of the bent of David's mind, in the composition of this beautiful and devout Psalm. If the Reader will critically examine it, he will discover that it is a compilation from several other Psalms. Some of the first verses of it are gathered from Psalms 105:0 . The 23rd to 34th (1 Chronicles 16:23-34 ) are taken from, or rather are the whole of Psalms 96:0 . And another part is take from Psalms 136:0 , and the two last verses of Psalms 106:0 . Some from hence have thought, and there seems a great propriety in the opinion, that the way to praise God with the spirit and with the understanding also is to gather our songs of praise from various parts of the Book of God. It is evident, I confess, to me, that whether in prayer or praise, the best words we have to take with us to turn unto the Lord are the words of the Lord. The hymns and compositions of men, however beautifully turned in period or in the jingle of rhyme, cannot be so proper to draw nigh to God with, as the words which the Lord hath himself given us.
The scope of this psalm, taken altogether, is to celebrate the praises of Jehovah, and especially in his covenant love to his redeemed. Hence he is to be praised for the glories of his own name, for his mercies in creation, in redemption, in providence, and in grace. These glorious acts of the Lord are to be proclaimed throughout the earth that the whole heathen world may rejoice: and surely they will rejoice that seek the Lord. Then comes in the praises of his name for his covenant-love and mercy, of which he had been ever mindful, and whereby he hath proved his faithfulness. The mercies of redemption in Egypt come next, in this sweet song, to be celebrated: when the people were but few, and those few strangers; yet such was the love of Jehovah, that none were suffered to hurt his redeemed. So that the Psalm calls upon all the redeemed to this service, and that from day to day. This is a sweet thought, because the salvation is all along considered in the church with an eye to Christ. And when the Psalm had thus called upon Israel in a more eminent and exalted manner, all creation are invited to join in the universal chorus; and finally all sing aloud, Amen. It must have formed a most interesting sight to have been present at such a solemnity. The instruments used upon this occasion were suited to the dispensation in which the church then was. But I find no authority in our New Testament dispensation for such things. I rather fear, if men were true to their principles, that gracious souls could not be pleased with the use of them. They were never (I venture to believe) found the means of leading the heart to God; but I venture to assert, that they have in numberless instances led the heart from God. The harmony of organs, flutes, and fiddles, may, and will suit carnal ordinances; but they who worship God in spirit, need only the Spirit's leadings to worship God in spirit and in truth.
Observe the everyday service appointed to Asaph and his brethren. Reader! if you and I can in spirit sing the Psalm here given one day, depend upon it, that every day the privilege, and the joy, are the same.
The morning and evening offering were beautiful types of Jesus. His all-powerful sacrifice, and all-prevailing mediation, were thus kept in remembrance, in those ages of the church.
The whole forms a most delightful representation of the services of the old church. And as all the services were with an eye to Christ, we never can sufficiently admire the grace of the Holy Ghost in the appointment. Think, Reader, of what vast, what infinite importance, is the redemption by Jesus in the eyes of Jehovah; when the mere shadow and type of it was so regularly observed, in daily services, through to many intermediate generations, from the fall of man to the coming of Christ?
PAUSE, my soul, over the perusal of this chapter, and behold the earnestness with which David entered upon the service of the sanctuary, when the Lord had blessed him and the people once more with the symbol of his divine presence. Observe with what holy joy he celebrates God's praises. How often he repeats in song the glories of the Lord, and the wonders of his grace. And how earnest he is that all the people should partake in the mercies of Jehovah. And when thou hast paid all due attention to David, and the children of Israel, in their joy and thankfulness over the ark of the Lord, then, my soul, turn thyself to behold him whom that ark represented, and think, if it be possible, what a vast increase of mercy thou hast to bless the Lord Jehovah for, in that thou art called in happier times, than to the symbols of the Lord's presence, for Jesus himself hath tabernacled among men in substance of the flesh, and hast wrought out and completed eternal redemption by his blood and righteousness. Hail! thou holy, glorious, gracious, precious Emmanuel! Oh let my soul be everlastingly rejoicing in thee, I would indeed sing unto thee; I would sing Psalms unto thee; I would forever glory in thy holy name, and be talking forever of thy wondrous works. And no less to thee, in my Redeemer's name and mediation, would I look up with thankfulness, O Father of mercies, and God of all comfort! Thy everlasting love, and grace, and mercy first raised up Jesus, and gave him for a covenant to the people. And it is the same unchanging love, and grace, and mercy which accepts poor sinners in him now, and makes them forever blessed. Arise, O Lord, into thy rest, thou and the Ark of thy strength. Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness, and let thy saints shout with joy. Oh! let thine Holy Spirit so graciously take of the things of Jesus and show them unto us, that every knee may bow before thee, and every tongue confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 16". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany