By Benjamin H. Liles
Give thanks to Yahweh; call on His name; proclaim His deeds among the peoples. ~ 1 Chronicles 16:8, New King James
Just a few short chapters before this David attempted to bring the ark of the Lord from the land of the Philistines into Israel to be put into a temple. What happened was that when one of the men tried to steady the ark he was struck dead by God: "And when they came to Chidon’s threshing floor, Uzza put out his hand to hold the ark, for the oxen stumbled. Then the anger of the Lord was aroused against Uzza, and He struck him because he put his hand to the ark; and he died there before God" (1 Chronicles 13:9-10).
After that, defeating the Philistine army in chapter 14, and being ever more careful to bring the ark to Jerusalem in chapter 15 - in which Michal despised David for his dancing and playing music - we get to where David is praising God. I don't know about anyone else, but I'd have a hard time praising God having struck down one of the men I was in charge of. But then again, also, Paul reminds us, "Give thanks in every circumstance, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thessalonians 5:18, Berean Study).
What's the point then? I look at the last part of the Chronicles verse and it says, "proclaim His deeds among the peoples." God brought these people that now inhabit Jerusalem from a distant and foreign land at least a millenia before from bondage in Egypt. What did God do that was so amazing? He had a man named Moses, who left Egypt and its riches, a fellow Israelite--after having murdered an Egyptian (see Exodus 2:11-12)--bring the people of Israel out of Egypt. He, Yahweh God, went before the people as a pillar of fire in the night and a pillar of cloud during the day. He was their protector. Even when it seemed all hope was lost at the sea before they passed through the waters, He kept them from harm (see Exodus 13:21-22).
The big picture is that God does a great deal for us and He doesn't have to. I look at my life, at how God has sustained me, when I was both His (which is now) and when I wasn't. He has done a lot for me and He didn't have to. Why did He? I believe He did so in order that I may know He is there in any time which I truly need Him. But you can't and haven't directly seen God? Exactly. How do you know He's there and why can you trust in Him? That's what faith is. Hebrews defines faith as "the assurance of what we hope for and the certainty of what we do not see" (Hebrews 11:1, Berean Study).
We have Him at His word He did these things on behalf of His people Israel. More than that, by the time Jesus walked the land He went about doing the same He saw His Father, Yahweh God, do: "Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. Blessed is the one who does not fall away on account of Me" (Luke 7:22-23, Berean Study). This fulfills the prophecy that Yahweh God gave to Isaiah, which reads, "Then the eyes of the blind will be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then the lame will leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute will sing for joy, for water will gush in the wilderness, and streams in the desert" (Isaiah 35:5-6, Holman Christian Standard).
Think about it this way, before God enters our lives to quicken our hearts and souls and minds it is like a desert. Nothing resides there in the least bit. Maybe scorpions and snakes, but nothing lives in a desert. Then comes this "refreshing" and "living" downpour of rain, this can be likened to God's Spirit being poured out and down. So, if water gushes into the wilderness, where streams flow in a desert, wouldn't life rebound? Everything that is recorded in the Bible, even though written by men, is true otherwise God would be a liar. More than that, the death Jesus atoned for us on the cross means nothing.
He restored sight to the blind, and I consider myself blind (even though corrective lenses--glasses--assist me to see); He caused me to walk even though I already could. I can walk through His word and see the miracles He made to happen. Where I knew nothing of Him I can now sing and praise Him for. It lines up with scripture. As I heard a teacher of God's word say not too long ago, "We line up our experiences up with God's word. We don't bring God's word to line up with our experiences." But for the sake of this article we give thanks to God for the work He's done within us.
He brought us from death to life through His Son Jesus the Messiah. He is the reason we have "rivers of living water" (see John 7:38) flowing within us, meaning we are now filled with the Holy Spirit that we are entrusted to give to others. It is our thankful duty to Him who revived and restored us from a life of death and sin to do so out of obedience and love. And that's the thing, the more I obey God on this I find I love Him more, and not the other way around. Faith can lead us to having authentic emotions. Here soon I plan on writing an article about testing the spirits, having discernment as it is important to our walk in the Messiah Jesus.
Father God, You are so holy, just, and pure that there is no way I can handle Your word accurately or even adequately if I didn't acknowledge Your sovereignty, Your will in my life. Thank You for causing a new heart to beat within this frail body. I praise You for the work you have started and will continue to do throughout my life. Your Son Jesus took upon Himself my sin, which was mine, keeping me from Your wrath thus bringing me to see Your saving hand. He did this so I can have a right relationship with You. I praise and thank You for this work You have done. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.