By Roydon Frost
1 Chronicles 29.10-22
10 Therefore David blessed the Lord in the presence of all the assembly. And David said: “Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of Israel our father, for ever and ever. 11 Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. 12 Both riches and honour come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. 13 And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.VIEW FULL PASSAGE
14 “But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you. 15 For we are strangers before you and sojourners, as all our fathers were. Our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no abiding.[a] 16 O Lord our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a house for your holy name comes from your hand and is all your own. 17 I know, my God, that you test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness. In the uprightness of my heart I have freely offered all these things, and now I have seen your people, who are present here, offering freely and joyously to you. 18 O Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, our fathers, keep for ever such purposes and thoughts in the hearts of your people, and direct their hearts towards you. 19 Grant to Solomon my son a whole heart that he may keep your commandments, your testimonies, and your statutes, performing all, and that he may build the palace for which I have made provision.”
20 Then David said to all the assembly, “Bless the Lord your God.” And all the assembly blessed the Lord, the God of their fathers, and bowed their heads and paid homage to the Lord and to the king. 21 And they offered sacrifices to the Lord, and on the next day offered burnt offerings to the Lord, 1,000 bulls, 1,000 rams, and 1,000 lambs, with their drink offerings, and sacrifices in abundance for all Israel. 22 And they ate and drank before the Lord on that day with great gladness.
Sometimes we struggle to worship God. At a time like this it may be even more of a struggle. David’s well-known prayer at the end of 1 Chronicles is a great help to those of us who are struggling.
The prayer may be well-known, but perhaps the context isn’t. At the end of his reign and his life, David gathered the people of Israel together. He charged them to remember the covenant God had made with him (2 Sam 7). He then charged them to join him in supporting his son Solomon to build the temple. In something like a spiritual revival, the people responded with an overwhelming rush of riches. The extravagance of their material response (1 Chron 29.6-8) was matched only by their joy in giving (1 Chron 29.9). David responded in prayer. His prayer is a model of worship. From it I draw these few focus areas:
Who God is
Greatness is his. If there is any power or glory, it is his. Victory belongs to him. Majesty is his. All these excellencies are his, because everything is his. There is nothing outside of his reign and rule. There is no good thing that isn’t on his asset register. There is nothing beyond his sphere of influence. Praise and thanksgiving haven’t arrived home until they have found their way to him. He is God the King (1 Chron 29.10-13).
Who we are
David asks and answers the question. Both the question and its answer are very telling (1 Chron 29.14-15):
14 “But who am I, and what is my people…? 15 …we are strangers before you and sojourners, as all our fathers were. Our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no abiding.”
How God relates to us
God the King is also God of the covenant. He is the LORD, the God of our Fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (1 Chron 29.10, 18, 20). He is the God who promises to be with us. Without him, we are mere shadows. But he has chosen to be “our God”. He is “my God” (1 Chron 29.16-17). And he loves to give good gifts to his people. “All things” come from him – even that which we give him was his to begin with (1 Chron 29.14). You may give him your very heart, but you are only giving it back to him (1 Chron 29.17-19).
How we relate to God
In the end, that’s what he wants – our hearts. On that day Israel sacrificed 1000 bulls, 1000 rams and 1000 lambs. But the climax only comes in verse 22: “And they ate and drank before the Lord on that day with great gladness.” God wants all of us. He wants us to delight in him, just as he delights in us. This is the heart of worship.
The delight of worship is available to us, no matter the circumstance. So, in worship, focus on who God is, on who you are, and on how he relates to you in spite of who you are. If you are faithful in praying through those precious truths, you may find, welling up inside, where there was only dryness, a deep delight in God. In any case, it’s worth the struggle.