On November 23, 2017 we in the USA celebrated our annual day of thanksgiving. Many cultures have a time or a day they celebrate the harvest season. This time of year is filled with celebrations. My country is not much different than others. Most cultures have their own gratitude celebrations. Ours has come a far way from its origin.
But beyond our season of gratitude, each of us have gratitude stories that line our hearts. Stories consisting of surprises and blessings. Stories of miracles and madness. Stories of beginnings and endings. So let's begin with one of the verses that King David gave us in 1 Chronicles 16.
"Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; His love endures forever." 1 Chronicles 16:34
This verse is the 34th verse of chapter 16. It is a fantastic verse, but what is before it? What is after it?
When we look into Chapter 15 we find that David is concerned about the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark was built after Moses received directions from God while the Israelites were in the desert.
(The Ark was a gold plated acacia chest holding the Ten Commandments and carried by golden embossed staves. The Ark was to be carried 2,600 feet in front of the Israelites as they traveled. The staves were never to be removed. A golden lid was also constructed and it held a seat which Christian tradition calls "the Mercy Seat")
The Ark was always carried by the Levites and was always covered by a large veil made of skins and a blue cloth. It was never to be seen even by the Levitical priests who carried it. When the Israelite tribe stopped the Ark was placed in a sacred tent called the Tabernacle.
After Moses built the Ark according to the LORD's directions at the foot of Mount Sinai, the Ark shows up in the Scriptures crossing the Jordan River and during the battle of Jericho.
In the prophet Samuel's early years (1 Samuel 3:3) the Ark was kept in Shiloh. After a few years the Ark was taken into battle by the elders of Israel and it was captured by the Philistines.
Upon losing the Ark to the Philistines, the elderly prophet Eli fell dead. The Philistines kept it for seven months until they realized it only brought them defeat. They took it back to the Israelites and in 1 Samuel we find it being set up in the field of Joshua.
While there, out of curiosity, several people gazed upon the Ark and they were all smitten and struck dead. After that it was moved and then settled into the house of Abinadab, whose son Eleazar was sanctified and he kept it. The Ark stayed there for twenty years.
[an aside: I, Robyn, love that name, Eleazar: means God helps.]
King Saul misused the Ark of the Covenant and during his reign it was put aside and not used for the benefit of the Israelites. In 1 Chronicles 13:3 we find that the people were no longer consulting the Ark during King Saul's reign.
King David's reign, however, brought the Ark out of misuse. He brought it out of Kirjath-jearim and sent it on its way to the City of David. There was much rejoicing during this transition, however one of the men, Uzzah involved in the transfer, reached out and touched the Ark with his bare hands to steady it. Uzzah was struck dead for touching the Ark.
This created a great fear among the people and even with King David.
King David took the Ark into the house of Obed-edom. It stayed there for three months instead of continuing on to the City of David. (2 Samuel 6 and 1 Chronicles 13)
After three months King David heard that Obed-edom was reaping great benefit from the Ark being within his house and he realized it was time to bring it on to the City of David. He sent the Levites to carry the Ark into the Tabernacle he himself had prepared. A tent designed and meant just for God and a place to worship and glorify Him.
You might have heard the story of how King David put on his linen ephod and danced in the streets with joy. He was dancing and singing, rejoicing in wild abandon. Think about how happy King David was as they brought the Ark into the City of David and finally into the Tabernacle he had designed and set up for the Ark of the Covenant.
You can read about it all in 2 Samuel 6, 1 Chronicles 16, and 2 Chronicles 1.
We find this wonderful song of Thanksgiving sung by King David in 1 Chronicles 16: 8-36.
Can you just imagine King David with all the joy and happiness dancing in front of the LORD. So full of gratitude and thanksgiving. Singing at the top of his lungs this song which holds this verse:
"Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; His love endures forever."
1 Chronicles 16:34
Within that attitude of joy and thanksgiving King David went home to bless his own home. Upon returning he began talking to Nathan and had the thought that he could no longer wait. He thought to himself, I live in a fine cedar house and the LORD resides in a cloth tent. I must build a house for the LORD.
He recognized the injustice and decided he, himself would build a proper house for the LORD to live in.
[And here is where I find myself falling in love with the God Most High all over again.]
As King David is speaking this to his friend Nathan, Nathan encourages King David to do what he sees fit to do. But that night the LORD comes to Nathan and tells him that he has another plan for King David. He tells Nathan to relay to King David all that He tells him.
[Oh this is so precious. The intimacy with which the LORD gives King David these words. So very wonderful. I cannot help but type this out for you to read. It is a gift of future blessing to King David for his honest and deep desire to worship the LORD in a place he thought would be more suitable for the GOD MOST HIGH.]
This is what the LORD told Nathan to say to King David:
7. "I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, to be a leader over My people Israel.
8. I have been with you wherever you have gone, and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make you a name like the name of the great ones who are in the earth.
9. I will appoint a place for My people Israel, and will plant them, so that they may dwell in their own place and not be moved again; and the wicked will not waste them anymore as formerly,
10. even from the day that I commanded judges to be over My people Israel. And I will subdue all your enemies. Moreover, I tell you that the Lord will build a house for you.
11. When your days are fulfilled that you must go to be with your fathers, that I will set up one of your descendants after you, who will be of your sons; and I will establish his kingdom.
12. He shall build Me a house, and I will establish his throne forever.
13. I will be his father and he shall be My son; and I will not take My lovingkindness away from him, as I took it from him who was before you. But I will settle him in My house and in My kingdom forever, and his throne shall be established forever."'"
1 Chronicles 17:4-14 NASB
Do you see the beauty in this?
King David had trusted God from the time he was a boy. He had been faithful. Granted he had shown his human character and was proven not to be a perfect man, in fact, an adulterer and murderer. But he asked forgiveness and God forgave him. Giving King David even more reason to love, honor, and praise this Majestic Ever-loving God. And God blessed King David for his entire life and beyond. How beyond? Because God promised King David that a son of his would build God a House. (King Solomon) And that son would be blessed with God's lovingkindness forever, it would never be taken away from him.
If you have children of your own, you know what a great blessing this was for King David. To know that God would always be there for his son. Oh the gratitude that must have flowed.
And there you have the reason I consider these verses some of the most valid Gratitude verses in the bible.
I too am imperfect. I have failed in huge ways. I stand before God on judgment day with only the Blood of Jesus Christ to protect me from doom. And God has blessed me by forgiving me and stepping in with a miracle to protect my oldest child. And for that I will never stop thanking him.
And because I believe in God's goodness. And because I accept that his Love endures forever. I know that He will find me guilt free. I have the precious Jesus Christ as my Redeemer. Such a blessed assurance.
I pray that you too have that blessed assurance. If you don't, I encourage you to talk to your pastor, or contact us. I have talked to many about this. Jesus waits to receive all who desire to come. It would be a blessing to share with you.
I promised you last week I would:
Come back next Monday to find out what amazes me about Jeremiah 29:11-14.
I will share more of my own story next week. But, I hope to encourage you to delve into the word too. Because in reality, His Word is what is more important than anything else. :-)
Because He is the Great I AM, i am,
Robyn & Biff
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Robyn Rochelle Cox
WHOSE AM I?