1 Chronicles 23-24, 1 Thessalonians 1
For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God… – 1 Thessalonians 1:9 ESV
Serving and worshiping God should be our primary objectives as His people. The Westminster Shorter Catechism states that the chief end of man, or his primary purpose in life is “to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” As David’s grew older, he began to prepare his son to carry out his dream of building a temple for God. David had a desire to provide a place of worship for his God, in which sacrifices could be made. David divided up the Levites and gave them specific responsibilities, one of which was to “stand every morning, thanking and praising the Lord, and likewise at evening” (1 Chronicles 23:30 ESV). Their praise and thanksgivings were also to be regularly offered to the Lord on “Sabbaths, new moons, and feast days” (1 Chronicles 23:31 ESV). A big part of what was to go on in the temple was the worship of God, expressed in praise and thanksgiving to Him for all that He had done for His people. David desired to build a temple in which His God would dwell and in which the people of Israel would honor their God through obedient sacrifice and ongoing praise.
What does this passage reveal about God?
Over in Psalm 145, we have the words of David written concerning his God: “I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable” (Psalm 145:1-3 ESV). David went on to write of God’s graciousness, mercy, patience, kindness, and steadfast love. He declared that “One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts” (Psalm 145:4 ESV). They were to talk about God’s majesty. They were to meditate on His wondrous works performed on their behalf. They were to speak of His might and declare His greatness. They were to sing of His righteousness. For David, serving God was not just about doing things for God. It was recognition of His glory, majesty, holiness and greatness; and a outward expression of that recognition in praise and worship. David said, “My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord, and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever” (Psalm 145:21 ESV).
In the old hymn, When We All Get To Heaven, Eliza Hewitt wrote the following lyrics: “Sing the wondrous love of Jesus, Sing His mercy and His grace; In the mansions bright and blessed He’ll prepare for us a place. When we all get to heaven, What a day of rejoicing that will be! When we all see Jesus, We’ll sing and shout the victory!” Even in heaven, we will find ourselves praising, singing, rejoicing, and worshiping God for His greatness, goodness, and glory. But David knew that the praise of God was not something to be reserved for heaven, but was to be the regular lifestyle of those who understood and had experienced God’s amazing grace and mercy in this lifetime.
What does this passage reveal about man?
In his letter to the Thessalonian believers, Paul spoke of their “work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 1:3 ESV). He said that their “faith in God has gone forth everywhere” (1 Thessalonians 1:8 ESV) and how they had “turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven” (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 ESV). Their lives had become living expressions of their belief in and worship of God. They were serving God, not just through doing good things and living right kind of live, but by expressing unfailing hope in Jesus and faithfully waiting for His return from heaven. Rather than put all their stock in this world, they were counting on the promise of God for eternal life made possible through Jesus, “who delivers us from the wrath to come” (1 Thessalonians 1:10 ESV).
We see in the Thessalonians an example of what it looks like to serve God faithfully. They had “received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 1:6 ESV). Their faith in God had become visible and well-known to all those around them. It was not secret, hidden, or some kind of personal, internal thing, but an outward manifestation of their faith in God that was easily seen and acknowledged by all those around them. Their lives were different than they had been before. Others could see that they had turned away from idols and were now worshiping the one true God. They were serving Him and it showed in how they lived their lives. It was evident in how they talked about God and placed their hope and trust in God. They were waiting on the return of Jesus and living with an eternal mindset. But in the meantime, like David, they were singing of the wondrous love of Jesus. They were telling of His mercy and grace. In the midst of all their troubles on this earth, they were counting on the reality of heaven and the promised return of Jesus Christ.
How would I apply what I’ve read to my own life?
My service for God needs to be more than just outward acts of goodness and righteousness. It must stem from a desire to praise and worship Him for who He is and for all He has done. Too often I can become just like the Pharisees, of whom Jesus said, “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me” (Matthew 15:8 ESV). Like David, I want to be able to say, “My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord” (Psalm 145:121 ESV), and I want to mean it. It begins with a recognition of just how great He is. Then it shows up in verbal expressions of praise and thanksgiving. I must learn to tell of His greatness, goodness, graciousness and ongoing love. I must place my hope in His Son’s eminent return. I must live my live in faithful obedience to His will and in loving submission to His Word. That is true service to God.
Father, I want to serve You with all my heart. I want all my devotion to be focused on You, but so often I find myself in love with the things of this world. I find it so easy to praise temporal things and find satisfaction in objects that have no lasting value. Teach me to sing of Your wonder and grace, to talk of Your glory and majesty, and to praise You for all Your incredible activity in and around my life. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men