“And they were to stand every morning, thanking and praising the LORD, and likewise at evening…” II Chronicles 23:30
King David gave his son explicit instructions for the building of God’s house and the worship that would be offered there. Before he died, he appointed 4,000 Levites to stand every morning and every evening thanking and praising the LORD. The man after God’s own heart knew the priority and power of praise and thanksgiving. His Psalms testify to that.
“Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth! Serve the LORD with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing! Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.” (Psalm 100, ESV)
The temple was completed according to God’s design. The appointed Levitical singers arrayed in fine linen with cymbals, harps, and lyres, stood with 120 priests who were trumpeters and in unison made themselves heard in praise and thanksgiving to the LORD. When the song of praise was raised, the house was filled with a cloud. The priests could not stand to minister, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of God. (2 Chronicles 5:12–14, ESV) God inhabits the praise of His people (Psalm 22:3).
The man who slayed giants, killed tens of thousands of his enemies, and lived as a marked man in the desert for nearly 15 years while waiting for God’s promise lived by these words:
“I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the humble hear and be glad. Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together!” (Psalm 34:1-3)
“Bless the LORD oh my soul, and all that is in me bless His holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” (Psalm 103:1-5)
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 heart of those who seek the LORD rejoice! … Remember the wondrous works that He has done; His miracles and the judgments He uttered…” (I Chron. 16:8-12)
This wasn’t lip service. These words flowed from the heart of a man who experienced the goodness of God and gave himself over to worship based on faith, not feelings.
The apostle Paul endured multiple beatings, was stoned, left for dead, shipwrecked, adrift at sea, imprisoned repeatedly, and daily faced toil, hardship, hunger, and thirst. That man lived by these words:
“Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks.” (I Thess. 5:16-18)
“Be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything.” (Ephesians 5:20)
“… in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving make your requests known to God.” (Philippians 4:6)
Paul’s worship was based on his experiential knowledge of God. He gave thanks in all things and for all things because he knew that God was causing all things to work together for good (Rom. 8:28).
We are the temple of the Holy Spirit. We carry God’s glory. Does praise and thanksgiving flow freely from our lips? In the midst of our struggles, do we know the power and priority of worship? Can we rest in the faithfulness of God and praise Him no matter what’s going on around us? When we draw near to the throne with our petitions, do we bring them with thanksgiving (Phil. 4:6)?
Like the Levites, we are appointed to worship, not just in the church, but in the everyday moments. If we’re abiding in Him with our eyes fixed on things above and our hearts rooted in His love, we, like David and Paul, can live out of an attitude of worship. If our hearts are focused on our Father’s goodness, kindness, faithfulness, power, mercy, grace, and steadfast love, we will realize that He’s greater than our circumstances. We’ll overcome by faith whatever’s formed against us. The choice is ours – grumble, complain, murmur, fear, worry, doubt, or stir ourselves up to worship. Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together!