Lent Devotional: 1 Chronicles 16:8-36

by Jonathan Haefs

1 Chronicles 16:8-36 (click here)
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;
let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice!
Seek the LORD and his strength;
seek his presence continually!
Remember the wondrous works that he has done,
his miracles and the judgments he uttered…

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 all the peoples!

Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and joy are in his place. (1 Chronicles 16:8-12, 23-24, and 27)

Reflection
Why do we gather to worship as a community?

I mean… all of life is worship, right? I can worship all on my own, right? As a believer, I am untied to Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit and can approach the Father… why in the world do I need to gather with other believers to worship?

“Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name;
make known his deeds AMONG THE PEOPLES!” (1 Chronicles 16:8)

There are certain things that happen within the context of communal worship that simply cannot happen anywhere else. Part of the purpose in our gathering is to sing, pray, and proclaim to one another the deeds of the Lord. Through song and speech we remind each other of the faithfulness of our God. We hear from his Word, of how he has always been faithful to us as a people, and we hear from one another current experiences of that faithfulness.

In the dark night of my soul, I need the community of faith to sing over me of the sovereign faithfulness of God. I need to be able to look across the room and see the tears streaming down the face of a mom I know has lost a child… and yet through the pain she is singing for joy in Christ. I need to sit beside the man dying of cancer and hear him sing, “whatever my lot, though hast taught me to say… it is well… it is well with my soul.”

Why do “I” need to gather with other believers to worship? That question is self-centered. It only sees value in the communal gathering because of what it can offer the self, but we gather to sacrifice ourselves for one another and minister to each other. We gather as a cruciform community.

…and we don’t just gather in this manner for one another, but as a witness to the watching world.

“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 all the peoples!” (1 Chronicles 16:23-24)

Communal worship offers a untied witness to the world that we stand together to declare the glory of our God to all peoples! As different people, from different backgrounds, education levels, socio-economic levels, races, ages, etc come together… the binding love and supernatural unity of the Gospel is put beautifully on display.

As we worship together, we equip and encourage one another to take the Gospel from within our wall out into our world. We remember that we are not alone, and we go forth with a clear calling and mission.

When we worship with the people of God with the goal of helping others and the world to behold God’s glory… I believe it is then that we find ourselves caught up into the joyous presence of God in a way that cannot be experienced in any other context.

“Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and joy are in his place.” (1 Chronicles 16:27)

It is as if everything is amplified and intensified when we gather together. Our voices unite, our hearts unite, and our joy unites.

So why do we worship together? There are a million beautiful reasons… but the three-fold answer we’ve seen is this… 1) In worshipping together we are able to participate in cruciform community as we sacrifice our own preferences to encourage others with our presence and participation… 2) We are able to participate in cruciform community as we stand united in sacrificial love as a witness to the world… and 3) We are able to be ministered to by the cruciform community as we see, meet, and are helped by Christ in them!

*All previous devotionals may be found at www.thejoyofglory.com
*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.

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