Let's Talk About Rejoicing

by Andrea Murdock

Every week you’ll find different types of posts here on the ABS blog. Today’s post is for teachers, to encourage conversation and reflection in your Bible study group. Each “Let’s Talk About” activity can be used at any time during your meeting and lasts approximately 10-15 minutes.

Today, let's talk about...


1 Chronicles 16:8-36
Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name;
    make his deeds known to all people!
Sing to God, sing praises to him;
    dwell on all his wondrous works!
10 Give praise to God’s holy name!
    Let the hearts of all those seeking the Lord rejoice!
11 Pursue the Lord and his strength;
    seek his face always!
12 Remember the wondrous works he has done,
    all his marvelous works,
    and the justice he declared—
13         you who are the offspring of Israel, his servant,
        and the children of Jacob, his chosen ones.
14 The Lord—he is our God.
    His justice is everywhere throughout the whole world.
15 God remembers his covenant forever,
    the word he commanded to a thousand generations,
16     which he made with Abraham,
        the solemn pledge he swore to Isaac.
17     God set it up as binding law for Jacob,
        as an eternal covenant for Israel,
18         promising, “I hereby give you the land of Canaan
        as your allotted inheritance.”
19 When they were few in number—
    insignificant, just immigrants—
20     wandering from nation to nation,
    from one kingdom to the next,
21         God didn’t let anyone oppress them.
        God punished kings for their sake:
22 “Don’t touch my anointed ones;
    don’t harm my prophets!”
23 Sing to the Lord, all the earth!
    Share the news of his saving work every single day!
24 Declare God’s glory among the nations;
    declare his wondrous works among all people
25         because the Lord is great and so worthy of praise.
He is awesome beyond all other gods
26     because all the gods of the nations are just idols,
        but it is the Lord who created heaven!
27 Greatness and grandeur are in front of him;
    strength and joy are in his place.
28 Give to the Lord, all families of the nations—
    give to the Lord glory and power!
29     Give to the Lord the glory due his name!
        Bring gifts! Enter his presence!
        Bow down to the Lord
        in his holy splendor!
30 Tremble before him, all the earth!
    Yes, he set the world firmly in place;
    it won’t be shaken.
31 Let heaven celebrate!
    Let the earth rejoice!
    Let the nations say, “The Lord rules!”
32 Let the sea and everything in it roar!
    Let the countryside and everything in it celebrate!
33 Then the trees of the forest will shout out joyfully
    before the Lord, because he is coming
    to establish justice on earth!
34 Give thanks to the Lord because he is good,
    because his faithful love endures forever.
35 Say: “Save us, God, our savior!
    Gather us! Deliver us from among the nations
        so we can give thanks to your holy name
        and rejoice in your praise.”
36 Bless the Lord, Israel’s God,
    from forever in the past to forever always.
And let all the people say, “Amen!”
    Praise the Lord!

Key Passage:
Let heaven celebrate! Let the earth rejoice! Let the nations say, “The LORD rules!”
—1 Chronicles 16:31

As a boy David was brought to King Saul (see 1 Samuel 16) to play music in an attempt to improve the king’s depressed spirit. David would eventually succeed Saul as Israel’s king. David was able to heal division within the kingdom and to create a home for the ark of the covenant, the sacred box the people of Israel associated with God’s presence. The Israelites had carried the box with them during their journey through the wilderness and into the Promised Land.

When David brought the ark into his new capital of Jerusalem, he danced in the street and sang this song of praise to God (whose lyrics we find in some of the psalms attributed to David). It was David’s big moment as king, but he gave all the attention and glory to God. David praised God’s creation, God’s covenant, and God’s character.

It’s tempting, when we celebrate, to focus on drawing attention to ourselves and what we’ve accomplished. But, as God’s children, we must remember to keep the focus on the One who gives us reason to celebrate.

Questions to Discuss:
Which moments in your life do you associate with a particular song or piece of music?
How can our celebrations praise and bring attention to God?

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