1 CHRONICLES 16
4 And he appointed certain of the Levites to minister before the ark of Yahweh, and to record, and to thank and praise Yahweh Elohim of Israel:
Date: Circa 1000 BC - Since Asaph's appointment: 0 years
THERE was intense purpose in David's songs, for they were designed to guard a precious heritage. 1 He selected Asaph to sing before the ark, that he should cause Israel to always remember its meaning.
Giving thanks and offering praise
Two things, especially, he asked Asaph to accomplish by means of his music, namely to give thanks and to offer praise. 2 That they were not the same was made evident by their distinct and careful mention. Indeed, from this moment they would be distinguished, and Asaph was to know the meaning of each, and its place in his work. 3 To give thanks was to recognise God for what He does. 4 To offer praise was to celebrate God for who He is. 5
Together they formed a twofold chorus by which Asaph and his family would ensure that God was revered and exalted among His people. 6 There was good cause for both, since God manifestation (who He is), and human salvation (what He does), were bound together in the plan of heaven. The delight of Yahweh Elohim of Israel was to be revealed in a multitude, and the marvel of God's dealings with man involved both their redemption and His exaltation.
Who, knowing the divine intention embodied in His Name, could not but wish to give thanks for the importance of His covenant, for the blessing of His providence, and for the promise of His salvation? But beyond this lay the real cause for joy, in knowing that in that salvation He would be glorified. To come to that awareness was to ascend beyond any human benefit to the all-surpassing excellence of the Deity Himself.
And who, grasping the immensity of that thought, could not but feel compelled to offer praise for the greatness of His majesty, for the sovereignty of His rule, and for the wonder of His purpose? To give thanks and to offer praise lay at the heart of what acceptable worship would forever be. David, who knew all this, asked Asaph to preserve it, and gave to him the gift of a psalm in which both these ideas were permanently enshrined. It was to the everlasting credit of Asaph that he grasped its teaching and rose to its call
1 The statement "he appointed certain of the Levites ... to record" (1 Chronicles 16:4) captures an important idea. The word "record" (zakar) means 'to cause to remember, to make a memorial, to bring to remembrance'. It conveyed a distinct sense of safeguarding a spiritual legacy through the use of songs, which would forever remind Israel of their history and destiny in the purpose of God.
2 This is the first time the two words yadah and halal are found together (1 Chronicles 16:4).
3 These terms "thanks" and "praise" would be consistently associated with the music of the singers from henceforth (1 Chronicles 23:30; 25:3; 2 Chronicles 5:13; Ezra 3:11; Nehemiah 12:24).
4 The primary meaning of "thanks" (yadah) is 'to acknowledge'.
5 The primary meaning of "praise" (halal) is 'to acclaim'.
6 "The basic difference between this verb yadah and its synonym halal, is that the latter tends to stress 'acclaim of', or 'glorying in' an object, while yadah emphasises 'recognition' and 'declaration' ... If sometimes thanks is included in praise, then those numerous instances where yadah is used to praise God for some act or thing, may well be equated to our concept of giving thanks, especially if a basic meaning of the root is 'to acknowledge' as Brown Driver Briggs suggests" (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, Harris, Archer, Waltke, pages 364,365).
Bro Roger Lewis - The house of Asaph Ch 2
7 Then on that day David [ first committed the giving of thanks unto] Yahweh into the hand of Asaph [yad Asaph] and his brethren [achim].
"Then on that day David first assigned Asaph and his relatives to give thanks to the LORD" -NASB:.
The excitement of the journey to bring the ark to Zion, and the joy of the fellowship meal that all Israel shared with their king, were not the only highlights of this special and unique event. Something else gripped David's heart as a matter of such importance that he must needs attend to it on this very day. Before he could even think of returning to his own home, there was one thing he felt compelled to set in place with all the urgency of his spiritual being.
David was more concerned with who might minister before the ark, than to address the matter of its final abode. 23 This day, the nation had tasted with him the wonder of Yahweh coming amongst them. He wanted someone who could explain to all Israel the true power and importance of what the ark represented, and the real significance of this moment when God's presence had been tabernacled among them in Zion.
He needed someone who shared with him the solemnity of this thought, and who could celebrate this principle before the nation. Before anything else, then, this must be done; this appointment must be made, this man must be chosen, so that this precious moment might never be lost. 24
It was the mark of David's decisively spiritual mind, that he sought to make this appointment immediately; and, in the providence of God, Asaph had been brought within the king's orbit. The choice of Asaph, Heman and Jeduthun to lead the Levitical choirs had been the decision of the tribe itself, but now the king had met these three, heard them sing, seen their understanding. He knew whom he would choose.
Those who ascend to the highest moments of fellowship with God, and who touch things divine with the deepest of intensity, know with some spiritual prescience those whose hearts resonate with theirs. The friendship of kindred minds in the Truth is a rare but special bond, an affinity that needs no words, but knows true harmony. 25
Most will never find such kinship of the spirit. Those who do are blessed indeed, and doubled is the blessing when, in addition, such friendships result in a flowering of fruitful service to God. On this day there were many who had lifted up their voice in song, but there was one who David knew shared with him the same spiritual fervency of thought, the same sacred awe, the same passion for the Truth and for its zealous guardianship. His choice rested firmly upon Asaph to be the "chief of the singers". 26
It was an appointment of great honour for Asaph, but with it came great responsibility. As the first Chief Musician, Asaph's role was to encompass far more than the daily offering of thanks and praise before the ark. The king intended that Asaph should direct the entire system of music in worship that would become David's great legacy to the nation. To him would fall the task of organising the hymns for the feasts and other special occasions, and of training the choirs so that both the singers and the players on instruments were proficient to the standard of excellence needed.
23 The appointment of Asaph to minister before the ark (1 Chronicles 16:5) came before David's thought on the proper housing of the ark (17:1).
24 A careful comparison of the parallel records (2 Samuel 6:17-20; 1 Chronicles 16:1-3,43) reveals that the additional material in Chronicles (verses 4-42) is an interpolation. This special section is the original record of Asaph's appointment by David on this very day.
25 David experienced such a closeness of mind with Jonathan in his early years (1 Samuel 18:1; 20:17; 23:16-18; 2 Samuel 1:26) in the most memorable and poignant of all his friendships. He also knew such affinity with Ahithophel in the middle of his reign (16:23; Psalms 41:9; 55:13,14) as they shared the counsels of the kingdom. But this special bond with Asaph came to its fruition in the final period of David's life, when the system of temple worship was being established. Asaph's advice brought with it the blessing of a friendship in the Truth in David's old age.
26 1 Chronicles 16:5; Nehemiah 12:46.
The Chief Musician gathered the songs together, as the collector and organiser of the spiritual material to be used for worship. 27 He would be both director and librarian, conductor and precentor, and all this began with Asaph, who established the role and shaped its enduring influence. The day when Asaph as made the chief changed forever the place of music in the praises of the nation.
From this time forward, there was to be a permanent choir who ministered before the ark.
In addition to its singers, the priests upon trumpets were there, together with the brethren of the second degree, 28 who played upon the psalteries and the harps in musical accompaniment to the voices.
Only one person, however, was permitted the use of the cymbals. That role was Asaph's alone. The heavy drumbeat of the world's music was never to be felt in the hymns of the sanctuary. Instead, Asaph used the cymbals to give leadership to the choir, both as to speed and to timing. They all sang to the harmony of his heart and to the rhythm of his time.
On the day that the ark was placed in the tabernacle of David, the king singled out Asaph, made him the chief of the singers, and appointed him to lead the nation in thanking and praising Yahweh Elohim of Israel. 29 That David had put his hand upon the right man would be vindicated by later events, and from this day forth both Asaph and his family would always lead the singers among the Levitical choirs. But beyond his musical skill, and his spiritual discernment, there was another reason why Asaph was selected; and exactly why David's choice was so profoundly right was shortly to be revealed.
27 The phrase "to the chief Musician" (natsach) found throughout the book of Psalms indicated that each psalm so marked now belonged to the Chief Musician as the conductor for its singing, equally as it belonged to the poet who was its original author.
28 The names of these brethren (1 Chronicles 15:18) are subsequently linked to these players on instruments (verses 20,21; 16:5).
29 Note the italics in the phrase: "Then on that day David delivered first this psalm ... into the hand of Asaph" (1 Chronicles 16:7). Cp. NASB: "Then on that day David first assigned Asaph and his relatives to give thanks to the LORD". This is the correct meaning. It was on this very day that Asaph received his commission, as David appointed him to lead the song of thanks before the ark.
Bro Roger Lewis - The House of Asaph Ch 1
9 Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works.
Clearly the great love and ambition of David's life was the pure service and worship of God in Israel.
He found that worship broken down, scattered, almost non-existent: the neglected Tabernacle in one place, the forgotten Ark in another.
He left it firmly re-established and thoroughly arranged in careful, organised depth and detail: with a numerous and orderly course of priests, singers and Levites, the Ark brought to Jerusalem, a magnificent Temple completely planned and designed, and a vast wealth of materials for it assembled. It would have been built if God had permitted him.
The spirit of David was the spirit of song: of praise, worship, thanksgiving, supplication, prayer, adoration. This was his greatest gift to his own generation and to all subsequent generations of the sons of God.
The Psalms of David have been the cherished hymnal of God's people from that day to this, for three thousand years, and they will doubtless accompany them into the endless future.
They express all the joys and sufferings, hopes, and fears, praises and supplications of the children of God of all time.
The Psalms would lose much beauty and power and value for us without the deep spirit of repentance and supplications, and joy in forgiveness and reconciliation that David's bitter experiences added to them.
David gave life and power to the worship of God in Israel by giving it song. He gave Israel all the necessary exterior frame work for faithfulness and inspiration and unity and holiness.
We cannot help but think of bro. Roberts' similar vast labours and accomplishments for the people of God in these last days. The preparation of our hymn book, containing fifty of the Psalms, is one of the most powerful works bro. Roberts did for the Truth and the Brotherhood.
Bro Growcott - BYT 4.7.
12 Remember his marvellous works that he hath done, his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth;
In David's careful preparation for this day, he wrote several psalms to honour the occasion, a collection of songs that marked each milestone, from the moment the journey began to the moment the ark arrived. 7 But none of these songs of the journey were given to Asaph to sing with. Instead, David delivered to Asaph a psalm that ever after would be uniquely linked to his family, as if it belonged to them.
Unlike other psalms for this day, this one was specially written by the king to be sung when the journey was done, and when the ark had come into its rest. David wanted Asaph to read it, understand its meaning, and lead the nation in the remembrance of its teaching.
This psalm was composed to celebrate the real significance of
"the ark of Elohim, whose name is called by the name of Yahweh hosts that dwelleth between the cherubim". 8
It was a reflection upon what it meant for God's presence to be among His people, and how their lives ought to be affected by that reality.
As time passed, the words of this song were adjusted to match other experiences of the nation, to give testimony to its truth in other circumstances. These further reflections enriched the range of the original psalm, without diminishing its standing.
But its earliest form would be faithfully guarded by this one family throughout their generations, for they took ownership of it and made it theirs. In a way that no other family could claim, this was the song they would sing as their family hymn. And theirs was the master version, the initial writing from which later psalms would be compiled. 9
"Give thanks unto Yahweh" the psalm began, as Israel were encouraged to stretch forth their hands in that gesture of gratitude. 10 How blessed they were to be able to call upon His Name, which memorialised His purpose to be revealed in them. To sing psalms unto Him, to make known His deeds, and to talk of all His work, was their privilege, since that work centred on their calling unto Him as the people of His choosing.
But they were also to offer praise 11 to His holy Name, as they gathered to seek the presence of the One who inhabited the cherubim over the ark. 12 Since the ark was the place where He had promised to meet and to commune with them, they were to come before Him there, in full awareness of His presence. They could only remember His marvellous works if they never ceased to seek His face.
7 It has been suggested that Psalm 132 was sung as the procession commenced, Psalm 68 as the march progressed, Psalm 87 as the city came into view, and Psalm 24 as the gates of Jerusalem were approached (A Handbook to the Psalms, Ern Wilson, page 85). Whether sung at such designated times or not, these are all considered to be psalms relating to the bringing of the ark to Zion.
8 Notice the richness of the description (2 Samuel 6:2).
9 The psalm given by David to Asaph (1 Chronicles 16:8-36) is considered by some to be a compilation from other psalms (Psalms 105:1-15; 96:1-13; 106:1,47,48). In reality, the opposite was true, as the material from this primary source was later adjusted to suit the changed circumstances of the nation. Keil & Delitzsch provide a detailed and comprehensive argument in favour of the psalm being an original composition by David for use on this day and forward (Commentary on the Old Testament, C. F. Keil & F. Delitzsch, volume 3, pages 513-517).
10 Here (1 Chronicles 16:8) the term "give thanks" (yadah, from yad, 'the open hand') is correctly rendered. The idea "is commonly derived perhaps from gestures accompanying the act" (Gesenius, Brown-Driver-Briggs, page 392).
11 Here (1 Chronicles 16:10) the word "glory" is halal, 'to praise'.
12 To "seek" Yahweh (mentioned three times) was a figure for assembling before the ark, known as the "ark of His strength" (2 Chronicles 6:41; Psalm 78:61) and the "place of his presence", where the Shekinah glory resided as evidence of the paniym presence of God among His people (Exodus 25:22). The word paniym is a key word in the psalm (1 Chronicles 16:11,27,29,30,33,37x2).
Bro Roger Lewis - The House of Asaph Ch 2
15 Be ye mindful always of his covenant; the word which he commanded to a thousand generations;
The Abrahamic faith and hope
... there can be no dispute that Abraham believed and hoped for all the things which God promised him...
1. That God promised to give to Abraham himself the very land which he saw with his own eyes, lying between the Euphrates and the Nile, for an inheritance-though not in his present life-time, as he was then to be only a sojourner in it.
2. That this inheritance should be an everlasting possession.
3. That a promised resurrection to eternal life was here implied, because it would be impossible to have everlasting possession in a mortal body.
4. That he should have a seed, or son, in whom all the nations of the earth would be blessed, because he was the Lamb of God, to take away the sin of the world, and thereby bless all nations.
5. That this son should also inherit this same Land of Promise as an everlasting possession-and hence it is called "Immanuel's land," "the Lord's land," "the Holy land," "the glory of all lands," &c., &c.
6. That his seed should possess the gate of his enemies-involving the authority, power, majesty and dominion of the seed, the Christ.
7. That he should also have a spiritual posterity, which should share with him in the same promise.
8. That his seed, spiritually and naturally, should be numberless as the stars of heaven.
9. That he should be the father of not one, but "many nations."
10. That the Land of Promise should become a heaven-like country.
11. That Abraham and his seed should then possess it "as the days of heaven upon the earth."
12. That God would prepare for them a city in that land, which hath foundations, a "city of habitation," whose great architect is God himself.
Now, that this same Land of Promise, with its "Jerusalem, the City of the Great King"-its Mount Zion, "beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth"-when the Lord of hosts shall reign in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, before (Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and all) his ancients gloriously"-when
"many from the east and west shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, in the Kingdom of God"
-when that kingdom comes, and the
"will of God is done on earth as it is in Heaven"-when "the whole earth is filled with the glory of the Lord," and "this land, which is now desolate, shall be like Eden, and its wilderness like the garden of the Lord"
-I say, that this same Land of Promise, the territory of the Kingdom of God, with its metropolitan city, when these faithful sayings of the sure word of prophecy are accomplished, will be that heaven-like country and city for which Abraham looked, no spiritual son of Abraham can doubt for one moment!
But it is worthy of remark that the Abrahamic faith has passed through many editions, "enlarged and improved." Most of the promises, especially that concerning the land, were reiterated by covenant to Isaac and Jacob, "the heirs with him of the same promises," and the sweet singer of Israel sings, "Be ye mindful always of his covenant, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations, even of the covenant which he made with Abraham, and of his oath unto Isaac, and hath confirmed the same to Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant, saying-unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance.
Bro L. Edwards
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, May 1857
16 Even of the covenant which he made with Abraham, and of his oath unto Isaac;
What then had He done for His people, which called forth such expressions of thanks? Yahweh had entered into covenant relationship with them; and the very history of their nation thus far was evidence that they were always overshadowed by the divine presence.
His covenant declared that from Israel His light would shine, and through Israel His purpose would be proclaimed. A covenant commanded to a thousand generations was an everlasting covenant indeed, and it promised an everlasting inheritance in the land as only an everlasting covenant could do.
Even in its national application it gave evidence that, if the lot of their inheritance was to be an everlasting possession, then Israel must become an everlasting people in their successive mortal generations. Despite the vicissitudes of life, they would never be extinguished, but would remain forever.
And yet, the promise hinted still at deeper things, that would match, for some of Abraham's seed, an everlasting possession to an everlasting life.
The fact that they were His chosen led to an experience of divine guidance above all nations, for He suffered no man to do them wrong. Lack of numbers were not a barrier to the divine intervention on their behalf. Yahweh's purpose has always been with the few rather than the many, and his dealings with Israel were proof of it. 13
Such providential care, however, was so that His purpose in them might be accomplished, and the promise of His covenant fulfilled. Whether they rose to the heights of the promise would depend upon how close they came in approaching the presence of the One who had called them.
13 Deuteronomy 25: 5; Isaiah 1: 9.
22 Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.
The spirit of Abraham and Sarah lost
Generations passed where the word of God was rare, where visions were not open, and where the natural family bore little resemblance to their founding parents. These were times of spiritual darkness, broken only by the occasional example of heroic faith or humble obedience, offering but scant evidence that the spirit of Abraham and Sarah lived on in their offspring.
But at last came David, a man imbued with the spirit of faith, with a love of mercy, and with an appreciation of things divine that proved he was of Abraham's line. Jesse's son, ever mindful of the hand of God in his own life, was convinced of its touch upon the nation. When his kingdom was confirmed, and a place of worship established in ancient Salem, he composed a psalm of national thanksgiving:
...The certainty of the land given to the fathers was proved, in David's eyes, by the providential care of God towards Abraham and Sarah when first they entered the land and journeyed as pilgrims.
The house of Asaph sang this psalm of David through all the generations of the nation, and bade Israel never to forget their heritage from of old. For this remembrance was not to fill them with complacency, but to urge them instead to acts of dedication and songs of reverence, offered to the God whose way this household had pledged to keep.
This remembrance was to help them understand the spirit of the patriarchs and to follow, to live in faithful trust before the One who would protect and provide, and to know His greatness by drawing near in heart and mind to worship in His presence.
Under the inspiration of David's leadership, Israel for a time showed a measure of spiritual conduct that would have rejoiced the heart of Abraham had he seen his children. But their faith was not deep enough or strong enough to endure through successive generations. Fathers failed to command their children after them, and the nation, touched but briefly by the spirit of their forbears, fell to living lives of reluctant conformity to God's laws.
There were moments of earnest reformation when Israel, led by the passionate zeal of a righteous king, showed glimpses of their spiritual heritage from Abraham and Sarah. But these times of spiritual renewal were all too brief, all too short-lived, to change the course of the nation.
Bro Roger Lewis - Abraham and Sarah Ch 9
23 Sing unto the Lord, all the earth; shew forth from day to day his salvation.
Although Israel were to be the channel of His revelation, they were to be a light to the Gentiles, to reveal His salvation to the ends of the earth. The song first sung by Israel alone, to thank and praise their God, 14 was always to become the song that all the earth would sing, in recognition of His salvation. 15
The marvellous works, first declared in Israel, 16 would finally be celebrated among all nations. 17 How could it be otherwise? The God of Israel was He who made the heavens, whose creative power was beyond compare. Moreover, those very heavens God had made were prophetic of His intentions.
The sun in its glory, placed within its tabernacle as the greater light to rule, was the witness in heaven of the pattern to be seen in His sanctuary on earth. No god of the nations could ever set forth such a thing. The gods of the nations were but worthless idols, inanimate and powerless either to create or to redeem.
"Glory and honour are in his presence; strength and gladness are in his place"
declared the psalm, 18 for He who created the heavens was pleased to dwell among men in the place of his choosing. But the power of Yahweh, focalised in the glory of His presence among His people, could not in the end be constrained to Israel alone.
Not only was His power universal, but His purpose was as well. The glory of His presence was itself prophetic of His intention to be revealed in all those who recognised Him, whether Jew or Gentile, for there could be no constraint. The bringing of the ark to Zion was prophetic of Yahweh's intention to be glorified in a multitude.
14 1 Chronicles 16:9.
15 1 Chronicles 16:23.
16 1 Chronicles 16:12.
17 1 Chronicles 16:24.
18 It is relevant to note the subsequent use of these words in a later psalm, where the phrase "in his place" (1 Chronicles 16:27) was changed to "in his sanctuary" (Psalm 96:6), and the phrase "come before him" (1 Chronicles 16:29) was altered to "come into his courts" (Psalm 96:8). These changes reflected a later time in history when the temple was then built. The inference is that the psalm here (1 Chronicles 16) is the original version.
28 Give unto Yahweh, ye kindreds of the people, give unto Yahweh glory and strength.
Since the ark was known to be the place of the Shekinah majesty, it was the very symbol of God's glory among His people. 19 To ascribe 20 unto Yahweh glory and strength, therefore, was to recognise the attribute of His physical splendour as worthy of praise.
To ascribe unto Yahweh the glory of His name was to acknowledge its counterpart in the moral excellence that was uniquely His. But this call in the psalm came not to Israel, but to all families of the earth. It had always been part of God's plan that those Gentiles who reverenced the Name would be invited to participate in the divine service of the temple.
Worship at the sanctuary, however, involved bringing not taking, for it was not permitted to come before Him with empty hands. But the sacrifice God sought lay in the spirit of their approach.
"0 worship Yahweh in the beauty of holiness! / Bow down before Him, His glory proclaim; / With gold of obedience, and incense of lowliness, / Kneel and adore Him, Yahweh is His name."
True worship is voluntary obeisance before the King.
And the ark, already seen by David as the sign of God's presence, as the seat of God's strength, and the symbol of God's glory, would at the last be recognised as the place of God's throne.
With the ark in Zion, Yahweh was exalted over Israel, his mind, and guided by the Spirit, David saw in this event a prophecy of that day when He will be enthroned over all nations.
The day of the kingdom and the rule of Messiah were caught up in the triumph of bringing the ark to Zion, all of which would lead to the exultant cry, Yahweh reigneth!
Everything and everyone would be gathered into this celebration of the divine supremacy. Heaven and earth, sea and field, and every tree of the wood, would alike combine to sing at the presence of God, and shout aloud that Yahweh reigneth.
19 The word "glory" here (kabowd) is found three times (1 Chronicles 16:24,28,29). This connection with the ark is why its loss was described as the giving of His glory into the enemy's hand (Psalm 78:61), a tragedy which led to the lament of I-chabod - Iiterally "Where is the glory?" (1 Samuel 4:21,22).
20 The word "give" (yahab), used three times here (1 Chron 16: 28,29], should more properly be rendered "ascribe". We cannot "give" God glory, but we can attribute that quality as belonging to him.
Bro Roger Lewis - The House of Asaph Ch 2
34 O give thanks unto Yahweh; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.
How wonderful it was, then, that the psalm would sweep full circle, to finish on the very thought with which it had begun!
"0 give thanks unto Yahweh; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever",
was to become the final refrain, as it reached its climax in a doxology that would become famous in the history of the nation's worship.
But it would become famous in the House of Asaph as well, as they clung to its promise throughout their generations. Time would tell how oft the family would return to this golden theme as the motto of their lives. But how Yahweh had been good, and why his mercy had endured for ever, was a matter for each generation of the family to learn in their lifetime.
But learn it they would, as they added to the continuum of the family's faithful example. It was an expression that would inspire father and son, grandson and great-grandson alike. It was to become their perpetual cry, as their household in every age came to know its truth in their own life.
Part of that goodness and part of that mercy lay in the power of their God to save and to deliver them from their enemies, since His purpose was always at work among them. Here was the reality of God's presence in their midst, the evidence of His power manifest, in responding to the needs of His people. But never did the psalm breathe the fatal prayer of unconditional deliverance.
Why should God save, and why should Yahweh deliver? The God whose presence they sought did not exist for their benefit, but for the advancing of His own glorious purpose. All else was secondary to this one supreme truth.
God could certainly gather them together into this company, but only so that his people might
"give thanks to thy holy name, and glory in thy praise".
That one vital phrase, sanctified this prayer. All salvation, all deliverance, was only so that Yahweh could be honoured in the outcome. Without that perspective, and without that objective, prayer for help in any circumstance was but the expression of human desire.
God is not obliged to give the gift of immortality, or to grant a place in his kingdom, or to fulfil those countless petitions that might be made, unless at the centre of each request, and expressed at its heart, is so that His purpose might be advanced in our lives. His purpose, not ours. His will, not ours.
The crowning reason must be so that we may give thanks, and offer praise. Those twin aspects would draw the psalm to its end as firmly as they opened it. The beauty and power of this final plea lay in the fact that every generation who sang these words would need to feel personally bound to its call.
The phrase "that we may give thanks" could only be true for the present generation who sang at that moment. Future descendants of Asaph would need to discover and bow before that truth in their own time. It has ever been so.
Thee blessing which brought the song to its close reminded the nation of the supremacy of Yahweh Elohim of Israel, who alone was to be exalted in all their worship. Those who sang and those who heard were joined as one, for when the singers ceased,the people added their Amen and their Halleluyah, and only then was the song at an end.
Bro Roger Lewis - The House of Asaph
37 So he left there before the ark of the covenant of Yahweh Asaph and his brethren, to minister before the ark continually, as every day's work required:
Estabishing a family of faith
How wonderful was this utterance of the Spirit, written through David but given to Asaph as a sacred trust on this day. Here was the essence of true worship. Their song acclaimed the supremacy of God, wove scripture and promise into words rich with meaning, and exalted the mind to the ultimate purpose of Yahweh.
Here was a spiritual charge to be guarded with all their might, encoded in a hymn of such beauty that more than one singer must have wept at the privilege of singing it before their God.
David's commission to Asaph, then, was to perpetuate the principles of this psalm in the nation, that they might never be forgotten, and never be lost. For that grand objective to be fuIfilled, however, what was needed was not just Asaph, but a family of singers who might follow in their father's footsteps. This was why David had selected this man.
It was not just that he was musical and spiritual. He was also faithful, and would fulfil the charge given to him by founding a dynasty of sons who would be imbued with his spirit and lit with his flame. 23 For as long as the nation lasted, this family would be there to teach them in song what it truly meant to live in the presence of God.
They took ownership of that charge by becoming the embodiment within Israel of a family who lived every day by the lessons of their hymn. They could only bring these principles to remembrance before the nation if every generation of their family learned them, believed them, and guarded them. There would be no singers like these, who absorbed so deeply the spirit of their father.
David, confident in his choice, left them to sing their song alone. Of all the singers, just Asaph and his family were authorised to remain in Jerusalem, that they might minister before the ark in the service of continual praise. 24 Ministering in song, 25 their duty was to present the hymn which accompanied the offering of the daily lamb every evening and morning. 26 A new altar in the city of David made this possible, consecrated by the offerings David had made when first bringing the ark to this special place. 27
But, while Asaph and his brethren stood before the ark at the tabernacle of David in Zion, the choirs of Heman and Jeduthun sang before the altar at the tabernacle of Moses in Gibeon. 28 The one tabernacle stood related to the legalism of the law, but the other to the principles of worship in spirit and in truth.
The tabernacle of David, 29 so prophetic of future things under the New Covenant, was where this family would minister, as they celebrated the significance of the ark of the presence, in psalms which gave thanks and offered praise. The House of Asaph had been established, and the sound of their song would echo down through centuries of time, as they led the nation in worship.
How complete that leadership was to be had not yet been finalised, but already David was preparing for far greater things to come, in which the House of Asaph would fulfil an even more important role.
24 The word "continually" tamiyd in its essential meaning conveyed the sense of both continuity and perpetuity (1 Chronicles 16:37).
25 1 Chronicles 6:32.
26 The evening and morning lambs were known as the tamiyd or continual offering (Exodus 29:38,42; Numbers 28.3,6), and the song of the House of Asaph was part of the tamiyd service.
27 1 Chronicles 16:1,2.
28 1 Chronicles 16:39-42.
29 Amos 9:11,12; Acts 15:15-17.