The Ripple Effect of a Blessing

Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.

1 Chronicles 18:1 (NIV)
In the course of time, David defeated the Philistines and subdued them, and he took Gath and its surrounding villages from the control of the Philistines.

1 Chronicles 18:1 (MSG)
In the days that followed, David struck hard at the Philistines, bringing them to their knees, captured Gath, and took control of the surrounding countryside.
“After this it came about that David defeated and subdued the Philistines, and he took Gath and its villages out of the hand of the Philistines.” -AMPLIFIED

What we see happening in 1 Chronicles 18 was only possible because of what happened in David’s encounter with God in 1 Chronicles 17. That sweet communion inspired him in such a strong way; that he went about his kingly duties with extraordinary vigor and courage. We find also that God was blessing David’s monarchy immensely.

We find here in 1 Chronicles 18 David conquering many of the surrounding nations that had been a thorn in Israel’s flesh for a very long time. First he conquered the Philistines. Then it was the Moabites. Next, vanquishes Hadarezer, king of Zobah. He then defeats the Syrians of Damascus, and takes several of their cities. Tou, king of Hamath, became overjoyed at David’s defeat of Hadarezer; for he himself has been at war with Hadarezer. In order to congratulate David on that victory Tou sent him vessels of silver, gold, and brass. These things David dedicated to the Lord God for use in the Tabernacle; along with all the gold and silver that he had taken as spoils from the various battles.

“By subduing these nations, David not only secures the safety of Israel, but he reaffirms God’s selection of Israel as His people over all the other nations in the land.” -VOICE footnote

We need to notice as well that God was not just blessing David, but also those who worked shoulder-to-shoulder with him. We are told that one of his chiefs, Abishai (son of Zeruiah), defeated 18,000 Edomites in the valley of Salt. This chapter even winds up with a list of men who were blessed in their own duties because of the ripple effect of the blessings that God had bestowed on David.
“David was a just and righteous ruler over all Israel—over his people and the lands he conquered. Joab (son of Zeruiah) led the army; Jehoshaphat (son of Ahilud) was the recorder; Zadok (son of Ahitub) and Abimelech (son of Abiathar) were priests; Shavsha was secretary; Benaiah (son of Jehoiada) governed the Cherethites and the Pelethites. David’s own sons were his trusted chiefs giving him advice.” -1 Chronicles 18:14-17 (VOICE)

We are told in verse 13 something very important:
* “The Eternal helped David wherever he went.” -(VOICE)
* “Thus the Lord helped David wherever he went.” -(AMP)
* “God gave David victory wherever he marched.” -(MSG)
* “The Lord gave David victory wherever he went.” -(NIV)

All of this was made possible because David sought God’s direction in his life and submitted to God’s plans for him. David was obedient. God blessed David and that blessing was just like a stone being dropped into the surface of a quiet pond; it had a ripple effect. The blessing did not just touch David’s life, but many, many others; all because he chose to be obedient.

“The Lord has given us a table at which to feast, not an altar on which a victim is to be offered; He has not consecrated priests to make sacrifice, but servants to distribute the sacred feast.” ~John Calvin

Scripture has much to tell us about the need to share God’s blessings with others:

* “The generous man [is a source of blessing and] shall be prosperous and enriched, and he who waters will himself be watered [reaping the generosity he has sown]. The people curse him who holds back grain [when the public needs it], but a blessing [from God and man] is upon the head of him who sells it.” -Proverbs 11:25-26 (AMP)

* “The servant who knows what his master wants and ignores it, or insolently does whatever he pleases, will be thoroughly thrashed. But if he does a poor job through ignorance, he’ll get off with a slap on the hand. Great gifts mean great responsibilities; greater gifts, greater responsibilities!” -Luke 12:47-48 (MSG)

* “So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover’s life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God.” -Philippians 1:9-11 (MSG)

* “But I will say this to encourage your generosity: the one who plants little harvests little, and the one who plants plenty harvests plenty. Giving grows out of the heart—otherwise, you’ve reluctantly grumbled “yes” because you felt you had to or because you couldn’t say “no,” but this isn’t the way God wants it. For we know that “God loves a cheerful giver.” -2 Corinthians 9:6-7(VOICE)

* “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” -Hebrews 13:16 (NIV)

Take the time to bless someone today. Do an act of kindness. Reach out and lend a helping hand. Say a kind word to someone who needs it. Smile at someone who looks sad. Take the time to be a blessing and stand back and watch the ripple effect.

“God didn’t add another day to your life because you needed it. He did it because someone out there needs you!” ~ UNKNOWN

My Prayer:
Lord, help me to be a blessing to others today. I know that the blessings that you have given me were not intended for me to keep to myself, but to share with others. Help me to be generous in sharing them. Help me to let my light shine brightly for you as I try to bless another. Every day is a new opportunity, Lord, to bless someone for you. Begin that ripple effect in me.


Who am I, Lord God?

Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.

1 Chronicles 17:16 (NIV)
Then King David went in and sat before the Lord, and he said:
“Who am I, Lord God, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?

1 Chronicles 17:16 (MSG)
King David went in, took his place before God, and prayed:
Who am I, my Master God, and what is my family, that you have brought me to this place in life?
“Then David the king went in and sat before the Lord and said, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house and family that You have brought me this far?” -AMPLIFIED

Our focus today will be on David’s response and prayer of humility to the Lord. We see David, having heard God’s Message, delivered by Nathan, going into the Tabernacle, to a secret place, to sit quietly before the Lord. There was no ranting or raving because God had denied his request. What we will notice as we look into David’s conversation with God is his humbleness, submissiveness, and his trust.

“I am persuaded that love and humility are the highest attainments in the school of Christ and the brightest evidences that He is indeed our Master.” ~John Newton

David begins his prayer with God with these words, “Who am I, Lord God?” David understood that God had brought him, the youngest member of a large family, who came from the backside of nowhere (the armpit of Israel), to the place that he was; now king of Israel. There was no pride in David about having “hit the BIG-TIME”. He knew that without God’s Hand in the whole matter he would still be back in Bethlehem; probably taking care of sheep.

Next, David addresses the promise that God has made to him. “But that’s nothing compared to what’s coming, for you’ve also spoken of my family far into the future, given me a glimpse into tomorrow and looked on me, Master God, as a Somebody.” -(MSG) David is blown away by the fact that God has promised that the Messiah will come through his bloodline. This is a very high honor and David understands the significance of it.

David wonders in his heart and mind how to thank God for such a privilege and honor. He even voices this question to God:
“What more can David say to you for honoring your servant? For you know your servant, Lord. For the sake of your servant and according to your will, you have done this great thing and made known all these great promises.” -1 Chronicles 17:18-19 (NIV)

Immediately David’s heart does what it was created to do; praise God. David starts by vocalizing the awesomeness of God:
“O God, out of the goodness of your heart, you’ve taken your servant to do this great thing and put your great work on display. There’s none like you, God, no God but you, nothing to compare with what we’ve heard with our own ears. And who is like your people, like Israel, a nation unique on earth, whom God set out to redeem as his own people (and became most famous for it), performing great and fearsome acts, throwing out nations and their gods left and right as you saved your people from Egypt? You established for yourself a people—your very own Israel!—your people forever. And you, God, became their God.” -1 Chronicles 17:20-22 (MSG)

We then find David asking God to let His promise last forever; to bring it to pass. David insists though that God be glorified through it all. This is the true sign of the humbleness of this man’s heart. David desired that God take center-stage in every area of his life. David prayer:
“Eternal, may Your promise last forever, and may You do as You have spoken over your servant and his house. May Your name be established and magnified forever: “The Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies, God of Israel, is Israel’s God; and the house of Your servant David is established before You.” You, my God, have revealed Your intention to establish my kingdom; therefore, I have the courage to pray before You. Now, Eternal, You are God and have promised this good thing to Your servant. You are pleased to bless the house of Your servant; may Your pleasure continue forever. For You, Eternal, have blessed and will bless forever.” -1 Chronicles 17:23-27 (VOICE)

This man, who went form a nobody to a somebody, realized that it was only because of God’s Hand on his life that any of this could have happened. He was not afraid to acknowledge this fact even to God.

Humility, on the part of the child of God, is essential in our relationship with God as well. Scripture tells us:

* “With JUSTICE, He directs the humble in all that is right, and He shows them His way.” -Psalm 25:9 (VOICE)

* “Humble yourselves [with an attitude of repentance and insignificance] in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you [He will lift you up, He will give you purpose].” -James 4:10 (AMP)

* “The payoff for meekness and Fear-of-God is plenty and honor and a satisfying life.” -Proverbs 22:4 (MSG)

* “So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you.” -1 Peter 5:6-7 (MSG)

* “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you
except to be just, and to love [and to diligently practice] kindness (compassion), and to walk humbly with your God [setting aside any overblown sense of importance or self-righteousness]?” -Micah 6:8 (AMP)

“God interrupt whatever we are doing so that we can join You in what You’re doing.” ~Francis Chan

Live your life humbly before the Lord and see the mighty works that He will do in your life for His glory.

My Prayer:
Lord, have your way in my life. I humbly submit to your will. Whatever it is that you desire to do in my life; go right ahead God. I will trust you. I am yours. What can I say and what can I do to bring more glory to you and your Name? This is my heart’s deepest desire. Be glorified in me, Lord.

The Promise-Keeper

Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.

1 Chronicles 17:15-16 (NIV)
Nathan reported to David all the words of this entire revelation. Then King David went in and sat before the Lord, and he said: “Who am I, Lord God, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?

1 Chronicles 17:15-16 (MSG)
Nathan gave David a complete and accurate report of everything he heard and saw in the vision. King David went in, took his place before God, and prayed:
Who am I, my Master God, and what is my family, that you have brought me to this place in life?”
“According to all these words and according to all this vision, so Nathan spoke to David. Then David the king went in and sat before the Lord and said, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house and family that You have brought me this far?” -AMPLIFIED

Nathan the prophet heard and received the Message of the Lord loud and clear. He then went and delivered that Message to David. He told him everything that God had spoken to him.

We need to really take in God’s Message. Now remember, it had been David’s desire to build God a permanent dwelling place in Jerusalem. God rejected that idea. Instead we find God reminding David from whence God had brought him from and then pledging that one of his sons would be the one to build the Temple to the Lord God.
“At the end of your life, when your reign on earth is complete and you have joined your ancestors, I shall select one of your sons in your place, and I shall build his house. In return, he will build a house for Me, a temple where I shall dwell and where your people will worship Me. And I will establish his throne forever. I shall be his Father, and he will be My son. I shall not take My loyal love from him as I took it from Saul who reigned before you. I shall establish him in My temple and in My kingdom forever. His throne will last forever.”1 Chronicles 17:11-14 (VOICE)

Notice the last part of God’s Message. “I shall establish him in My temple and in My kingdom forever. His throne will last forever.” This was not in reference to David’s immediate son (Solomon); who would take his place, but of the Messiah; the Savior of the World.

This passage runs parallel to the passage in 2 Samuel 7. The Chronicler included it in order to give inspiration to the returning exiles of God’s Promises and the need to rebuild the Temple. God is faithful and they needed to remember that. God had made a promise and He always keeps His promises.

“This promise gives the Jews the inspiration they need as they rebuild the temple. Certainly buildings are fleeting, for even Solomon’s glorious temple that David draws the plans for is destroyed. But God’s promise remains. David’s descendants continue to lead His people, just as He has led the Jews back from Babylon.” -VOICE footnote

God has taken this opportunity to address something much more important than just a building (Which would not truly contain God’s Presence.); that would be David’s ascendency and his monarchy. God wanted David to know that His plans were much BIGGER than David’s plans.

David’s reaction to God’s Message was one of humility and submissiveness. He did not become angry that God would not allow him the honor to build the Temple. Instead David takes this opportunity to sit in the Presence of the Almighty and exalt His Greatness. (We will spend a little more time looking into David’s Prayer tomorrow.)

God always keeps His promises. Scripture reminds us of this truth:

* “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken and will He not make it good and fulfill it?” -Numbers 23:19 (AMP)

* “God wasn’t attracted to you and didn’t choose you because you were big and important—the fact is, there was almost nothing to you. He did it out of sheer love, keeping the promise he made to your ancestors. God stepped in and mightily bought you back out of that world of slavery, freed you from the iron grip of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know this: God, your God, is God indeed, a God you can depend upon. He keeps his covenant of loyal love with those who love him and observe his commandments for a thousand generations. But he also pays back those who hate him, pays them the wages of death; he isn’t slow to pay them off—those who hate him, he pays right on time.” -Deuteronomy 7:9-10 (MSG)

* “For the God who calls you is faithful, and He can be trusted to make it so.” -1 Thessalonians 5:24 (VOICE)

* “Fix this picture firmly in your mind: Jesus, descended from the line of David, raised from the dead. It’s what you’ve heard from me all along. It’s what I’m sitting in jail for right now—but God’s Word isn’t in jail! That’s why I stick it out here—so that everyone God calls will get in on the salvation of Christ in all its glory. This is a sure thing: If we die with him, we’ll live with him; if we stick it out with him, we’ll rule with him; if we turn our backs on him, he’ll turn his back on us; if we give up on him, he does not give up—for there’s no way he can be false to himself.” -2 Timothy 2:8-13 The Message (MSG)

* “Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.” -Joshua 21:45 (NIV)

Our God is a Promise-Keeper. You can trust that if He has made a promise to you He intends to keep it. Do you trust in God’s Promises?

“A readiness to believe every promise implicitly, to obey every command unhesitatingly, to stand perfect and complete in all the will of God, is the only true spirit of Bible study.” ~Andrew Murray

My Prayer:
Lord, you are in control of my destiny. You have promised to always be with me, guide me, and take care of my every need. Help me, Lord, to rest in those promises. Please, take away all that fear, anxiety, and stress that creeps in; a distraction from the Enemy of my soul. Help me to keep my eyes firmly focused on you and your promises. I will trust you, Lord!

Aspirations and Intentions

Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.

1 Chronicles 17:1 (NIV)
After David was settled in his palace, he said to Nathan the prophet, “Here I am, living in a house of cedar, while the ark of the covenant of the Lord is under a tent.”

1 Chronicles 17:1 (MSG)
After the king had made himself at home, he said to Nathan the prophet, “Look at this: Here I am comfortable in a luxurious palace of cedar and the Chest of the Covenant of God sits under a tent.”
“As David sat in his house (palace), he said to Nathan the prophet, “Behold, I live in a house of cedars, while the ark of the covenant of the Lord is under tent curtains.” -AMPLIFIED

David has successfully moved the Ark of the Lord into Jerusalem. It was then placed within the tent that he personally had prepared for its arrival. Once he had settled himself into his own palace we find him having a conversation with Nathan the prophet. This conversation went a little bit like this:
“I live in a sturdy house made of expensive, imported cedar, but the covenant chest of the Eternal lives in a temporary house made of curtains. This does not seem right.” -(VOICE)

Now, something that we need to consider is that at this point in time there were actually two places of worship within Israel. There was the one in Jerusalem that David had set up; this was where the Ark of the Lord was residing. There was also one in Gibeon; this was the original Tabernacle traveled around the wilderness with the people. David’s desire was to was to make one permanent place of worship right there in Jerusalem. He had big aspirations and good intentions. We need to understand that David’s desire was to please God. David was not looking for any kind of glory for himself.

Nathan thought David’s idea was a good one. In fact, it appears that he quickly, without thought or prayer, responded. He said to David,
“If you want to build God a house, then do it. God is with you.” -1 Chronicles 17:2 (VOICE)

God had different ideas though. That night He had a bit of one-on-one with Nathan and set him straight. God told Nathan what it was that He wanted and desired from David. God was very adamant that it would NOT be David who would build Him a permanent place.

God then reminds David, through Nathan, that it was He (God) who had taken him from the back pastures and placed him in the position as King. God said:
“I, the Eternal One, Commander of heavenly armies, pledge this: I moved you from the pasture, where you followed behind sheep, to the palace, where you now lead My sheep, Israel. I have accompanied you wherever you have gone and have destroyed your enemies from before you. I will exalt your name to the level of the great ones who are on the earth. I will select a land for My people Israel; I will plant them so they may live in their own land and not be moved again. The wicked will not exhaust them anymore, as they did from the beginning and as when I commanded judges to be over My people Israel. I will humble all your enemies. I, the Eternal One, will build a house for you, instead of you building a house for Me. At the end of your life, when your reign on earth is complete and you have joined your ancestors, I shall select one of your sons in your place, and I shall build his house. In return, he will build a house for Me, a temple where I shall dwell and where your people will worship Me. And I will establish his throne forever. I shall be his Father, and he will be My son. I shall not take My loyal love from him as I took it from Saul who reigned before you. I shall establish him in My temple and in My kingdom forever. His throne will last forever.” –1 Chronicles 17:7-14 (VOICE)

God wants David to realize that despite his grand aspirations and good intentions it would NOT be his job to build this Temple to the Lord God. Instead, it would be David’s son who would build the Temple.

All of this is a reminder to us as well that we need to be careful about pushing ahead with our own personal plans and agendas without taking the time to pray and consult God on what His intentions are for us. Scripture warns us:

* “I don’t think the way you think. The way you work isn’t the way I work.”
God’s Decree. “For as the sky soars high above earth, so the way I work surpasses the way you work, and the way I think is beyond the way you think. Just as rain and snow descend from the skies and don’t go back until they’ve watered the earth, doing their work of making things grow and blossom, producing seed for farmers and food for the hungry, so will the words that come out of my mouth not come back empty-handed. They’ll do the work I sent them to do, they’ll complete the assignment I gave them.” -Isaiah 55:9-11 (MSG)

* “For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”Jeremiah 29:11 (AMP)

* “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” -Proverbs 19:21 (NIV)

* “Listen carefully, those of you who make your plans and say, “We are traveling to this city in the next few days. We’ll stay there for one year while our business explodes and revenue is up.” The reality is you have no idea where your life will take you tomorrow. You are like a mist that appears one moment and then vanishes another. It would be best to say, “If it is the Lord’s will and we live long enough, we hope to do this project or pursue that dream.” -James 4:13-15 (VOICE)

God is glad when we get excited in doing things for Him, but we need to carefully consult Him in prayer before forging ahead. Seek the Lord first and see what it is that He desires; then jump into action.

My Prayer:
Lord, I too desire to do great things for you. I realize the need to seek you in prayer first. I want to do things in your way and with your blessing. Help me to patiently wait on you before plunging into situations and completely making a mess of things. I am not omniscient, but you are. You know what is ahead; I do not. I give every desire, aspiration and intention to you; asking that you will lead and guide me in the ways that I should go. Take control, Lord.

Use Your Talents for God

Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.

1 Chronicles 16:7 (NIV)
That day David first appointed Asaph and his associates to give praise to the Lord in this manner:…

1 Chronicles 16:7 (MSG)
That was the day that David inaugurated regular worship of praise to God, led by Asaph and his company.
“Then on that day David first entrusted to Asaph and his relatives to give thanks to the Lord [as their chief task].” -AMPLIFIED

We have been addressing the day that David and the people escorted the Levites and priests as they transported the Ark of the Lord to Jerusalem. We have looked at the joyous occasion that it was and read of their sacrifices and offerings to the Lord God. We saw how David provided for the people food to eat on that particular day.

The Chronicler now takes the time to tell us it was at this time that David approaches Asaph with a request; “Please, will you and your relatives be in charge of leading the people in giving thanks to the Lord.” (This was to be their chief task.) David then turned over to their care the following song:

Thank God! Call out his Name!
Tell the whole world who he is and what he’s done!
Sing to him! Play songs for him!
Broadcast all his wonders!
Revel in his holy Name,
God-seekers, be jubilant!
Study God and his strength,
seek his presence day and night;
Remember all the wonders he performed,
the miracles and judgments that came out of his mouth.
Seed of Israel his servant!
Children of Jacob, his first choice!
He is God, our God;
wherever you go you come on his judgments and decisions.
He keeps his commitments across thousands
of generations, the covenant he commanded,
The same one he made with Abraham,
the very one he swore to Isaac;
He posted it in big block letters to Jacob,
this eternal covenant with Israel:
“I give you the land of Canaan,
this is your inheritance;
Even though you’re not much to look at,
a few straggling strangers.”
They wandered from country to country,
camped out in one kingdom after another;
But he didn’t let anyone push them around,
he stood up for them against bully-kings:
“Don’t you dare touch my anointed ones,
don’t lay a hand on my prophets.”
Sing to God, everyone and everything!
Get out his salvation news every day!
Publish his glory among the godless nations,
his wonders to all races and religions.
And why? Because God is great—well worth praising!
No god or goddess comes close in honor.
All the popular gods are stuff and nonsense,
but God made the cosmos!
Splendor and majesty flow out of him,
strength and joy fill his place.
Shout Bravo! to God, families of the peoples,
in awe of the Glory, in awe of the Strength: Bravo!
Shout Bravo! to his famous Name,
lift high an offering and enter his presence!
Stand resplendent in his robes of holiness!
God is serious business, take him seriously;
he’s put the earth in place and it’s not moving.
So let Heaven rejoice, let Earth be jubilant,
and pass the word among the nations, “God reigns!”
Let Ocean, all teeming with life, bellow,
let Field and all its creatures shake the rafters;
Then the trees in the forest will add their applause
to all who are pleased and present before God
—he’s on his way to set things right!
Give thanks to God—he is good
and his love never quits.
Say, “Save us, Savior God,
round us up and get us out of these godless places,
So we can give thanks to your holy Name,
and bask in your life of praise.”
Blessed be God, the God of Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting.” -1 Chronicles 16:8-36 (MSG)

Asaph’s mission, if he chose to accept David’s offer, was to lead the people in worship. Thankfully he chose to accept; for he ended up being David’s music director and wrote 12 of the Psalms. He had a lot of influence on the worship during his time and his sons and decedents took after him; many of them being poets, singers and musicians.

Asaph was very gifted and talented in what he did. He knew and understood where that special gift came from and so he dedicated his life to using that gift for the glory of God. Asaph used his music to praise and worship the Lord. His desire was to communicate the glory of the Lord to the World.

Let us look at a few sample’s of Aspah’s gift shared with us in the Psalms:

* “The Mighty God, the Eternal—God of past, present, and future—has spoken over the world, calling together all things from sunrise to sunset. From Zion, that perfectly beautiful holy place, shines the radiance of God.” -Psalm 50:1-2 (VOICE)

* “Even so, the True God is my King from long ago, bringing salvation to His people throughout the land. You have divided the sea with Your power; You shattered the skulls of the creatures of the sea; You smashed the heads of Leviathan and fed his remains to the people of the desert. You broke open the earth and springs burst forth and streams filled the crevices; You dried up the great rivers. The day and the night are both Yours—You fashioned the sun, moon, and all the lights that pierce the darkness. You have arranged the earth, set all its boundaries; You are the Architect of the seasons: summer and winter.” -Psalm 74:12-17 (VOICE)

* “Sing with joy to God, our strength, our fortress. Raise your voices to the True God of Jacob. Sing and strike up a melody; sound the tambourine, strum the sweet lyre and the harp. Blow the trumpet to announce the new moon, the full moon, the day of our feast. For this is prescribed for Israel, a rule ordained by the True God of Jacob.” -Psalm 81:1-4 (VOICE)

Both David and Asaph used their gifts and talents to edify the congregation and glorify the Lord. Ask yourself if you are using your gifts and talents in the same way. Whatever your gifts happen to be; use them for the glory of God.

My Prayer:
Lord, help me to use those gifts and talents that you have given to me for your glory and the edification of your people. I want to worship you with everything that is within me; nothing held back. I want you to be blessed, Lord. I praise you for who you are and give you thanks for all the gifts that you have blessed me with, oh Lord.

Keep God at the Center

Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.

1 Chronicles 16:1-2(NIV)
They brought the ark of God and set it inside the tent that David had pitched for it, and they presented burnt offerings and fellowship offerings before God. After David had finished sacrificing the burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord.

1 Chronicles 16:1-2 (MSG)
They brought the Chest of God and placed it right in the center of the tent that David had pitched for it; then they worshiped by presenting burnt offerings and peace offerings to God. When David had completed the offerings of worship, he blessed the people in the name of God.
“So they brought the ark of God and set it inside the tent which David had pitched for it, and they offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before God. When David had finished offering the burnt offerings and the peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord.” -AMPLIFIED

Today we will be addressing the need to keep God in His proper place in our lives. God needs to be front and center; if He is not, than there is a problem. We have been looking at David and his efforts to move the Ark of the Lord to Jerusalem in order to place it inside the tent that he had erected for the Ark.

David, along with all the priests, Levites and people  had gone to retrieve the Ark from Obed-edom’s  home. On the way back they came celebrating as they carried it into Jerusalem. This was a joyous occasion. The Levites brought it inside the prepared tent and place it down in the middle of the tent; right in the center.

Could there be significance to where the Ark was placed within this Tabernacle? Yes, indeed. God needs to be at the center of His people’s lives. Once the Ark has been placed in its respective place of honor we find David and the people making sacrifices and burnt offerings to the Lord. Their focus and attention was wholly and completely on the Lord God.

Once those rituals of burnt offerings and peace offerings were completed we find David taking time to bless the people in the Name of the Lord. David then gave a gift to each and every man and woman of Israel. Everyone received a loaf of bread, a slice of barbecued meat, and a raisin cake. (Imagine providing for all those people.)

Next we see David assigning various jobs to some of the Levites. Some were to lead worship, others to intercede, and still others to give thanks and praise the God of Israel. Scripture tells us this bit of information:
“Asaph was in charge; under him were Zechariah, Jeiel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Mattithiah, Eliab, Benaiah, Obed-Edom, and Jeiel, who played the musical instruments. Asaph was on percussion. The priests Benaiah and Jahaziel blew the trumpets before the Chest of the Covenant of God at set times through the day.” -1 Chronicles 16:5-6 (MSG)

“Then on that day David first entrusted to Asaph and his relatives to give thanks to the Lord [as their chief task].” -1 Chronicles 16:7 (AMP) David then gave to them a specific song of Psalm of thanks to sing; which we will consider tomorrow.

Notice, God is taking center stage in all of this. If God is first in our lives then everything else tends to fall into place. Remember, the solemnity and seriousness God imparted to the people when He gave the Ten Commandments:
* “Then God spoke all these words: “I am the Lord your God, who has brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself any idol, or any likeness (form, manifestation) of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth [as an object to worship]. You shall not worship them nor serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous (impassioned) God [demanding what is rightfully and uniquely mine], visiting (avenging) the iniquity (sin, guilt) of the fathers on the children [that is, calling the children to account for the sins of their fathers], to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing graciousness and steadfast lovingkindness to thousands [of generations] of those who love Me and keep My commandments.” -Exodus 20:1-6 (AMP)

Scripture is very specific about keeping God in His rightful place within our lives:

* “And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.” -Colossians 1:18 (NIV)

* “I have been crucified with Christ [that is, in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body I live by faith [by adhering to, relying on, and completely trusting] in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” -Galatians 2:20 (AMP)

* “We cannot wrap our minds around God’s wisdom and knowledge! Its depths can never be measured! We cannot understand His judgments or explain the mysterious ways that He works! For, who can fathom the mind of the Lord? Or who can claim to be His advisor? Or, who can give to God in advance so that God must pay him back? For all that exists originates in Him, comes through Him, and is moving toward Him; so give Him the glory forever. Amen.” -Romans 11:33-36 (VOICE)

* “Blessed and worthy of praise be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms in Christ, just as [in His love] He chose us in Christ [actually selected us for Himself as His own] before the foundation of the world, so that we would be holy [that is, consecrated, set apart for Him, purpose-driven] and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined and lovingly planned for us to be adopted to Himself as [His own] children through Jesus Christ, in accordance with the kind intention and good pleasure of His will—to the praise of His glorious grace and favor, which He so freely bestowed on us in the Beloved [His Son, Jesus Christ].” -Ephesians 1:3-6 (AMP)

God has created us for a purpose. We have been bought with a price. Jesus is the Head and we are the body; does it not stand to reason that He needs to be at the center of everything in our lives. John the Baptist had the right idea:
“He must increase [in prominence], but I must decrease.” -John 3:30(AMP)

My Prayer:
Lord, be at the center of everything in my life. Take your rightful position. Every plan, hope and desire of my own I will gladly set aside in order that you may have the prominent place; You rightfully belong there. I am nothing without you. Thank you for not only creating me, saving me, delivering me, but also continuing to be part of my everyday life. I am yours, Lord.

The Heart of Worship

Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.

1 Chronicles 15:1-2 (NIV)
After David had constructed buildings for himself in the City of David, he prepared a place for the ark of God and pitched a tent for it. Then David said, “No one but the Levites may carry the ark of God, because the Lord chose them to carry the ark of the Lord and to minister before him forever.”

1 Chronicles 15:1-2 (MSG)
After David built houses for himself in the City of David, he cleared a place for the Chest and pitched a tent for it. Then David gave orders: “No one carries the Chest of God except the Levites; God designated them and them only to carry the Chest of God and be available full time for service in the work of worship.”
“David built houses for himself in the City of David; and he prepared a place for the ark of God and pitched a tent for it. Then David said, “No one is to carry the ark of God except the Levites; for the Lord chose them to carry the ark of God and to minister to Him forever.” -AMPLIFIED

David has completed the construction of his own palace and various other buildings. His attention turns once again to God’s Tabernacle. If you remember, an attempt had been made to move the Ark of the Lord to Jerusalem, but it had failed. It had failed because the attempt to move it had been carried out improperly. David and the people had undertaken this project without consulting God’s directives and they failed miserably when they did not have the Levites doing their job. This is when Uzzah put his hand out to hold and steady the ark when the oxen stumbled and God struck him dead for touching the Ark.

We find that David has done his homework this time. He was going to ensure that he was doing things God’s way. He instructed the people that no one could carry the Ark, but the Levites. (This did not mean that everyone else was exempt from participating the transporting the Ark; we will see.)

David called the priests and Levites together and there were many of them, commissioning them to carry His covenant chest. Sanctify yourselves and your relatives, so you may deliver the covenant chest of the Eternal One. David had already prepared a place there in Jerusalem for the arriving Ark. David was very serious while speaking to them; trying to impress upon them the need to be consecrated and prepared for the business that lay before them.
“You did not carry the chest from Kiriath-jearim the first time we moved it, so the Eternal our God was infuriated at us for ignoring His commands. This time, we will bring it to Jerusalem in the way He told us to.” -1 Chronicles 15:13 (VOICE)

David realized the need to carry out this mission with the proper attitude and he impressed this need on others as well. When everyone was consecrated and prepared we find them all going to carry the Ark back in a grand procession, not unlike a magnificent parade. First there was the choir and the marching band. Next came the chest; carried by Berekiah and Elkanah on one side and Obed-Edom and Jehiah on the other side. Parallel with them were various priests who were blowing trumpets with all they had within them. Then we find the people following rejoicing with all of their might; for the Ark of God was being moved to its rightful place into the royal city.

Now, take notice of David, the king of Israel. David was dressed simply, much like the priests were. There was no arrogance, no pretensions. (Here we can see him as a symbol of our Priest/King, Jesus.) He walked right along with the masses praising God and worshiping Him with everything within him; with all his heart, soul and mind.

David was not worried about what others were thinking. He was not inhibited, reserved, vain or haughty. He entered into this time of worship and celebration right along with the rest of the people. Scripture tells us:
“It happened that as the ark of the covenant of the Lord came to the City of David, Michal [David’s wife] the daughter of Saul, looking down through a window, saw King David leaping and dancing [in celebration]; and she despised him in her heart.” -1 Chronicles 15:29 (AMP)(Sad to see that David’s wife did not have the same attitude about God as he did.)

The Ark has finally arrived safely to its new home. What was different with this attempt then the last attempt? Attitude and obedience were the difference. This time the people did things God’s way and they came with the proper attitude; an attitude of worship and humbleness.

We have all been called to having a heart for true worship. Scripture tells us:

* “Love God, your God, with your whole heart: love him with all that’s in you, love him with all you’ve got!” -Deuteronomy 6:5 (MSG)

* “And Jesus replied to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’” -Matthew 22:37 (AMP)

* “Praise the Eternal! Praise the True God inside His temple. Praise Him beneath massive skies, under moonlit stars and rising sun. Praise Him for His powerful acts, redeeming His people. Praise Him for His greatness that surpasses our time and understanding. Praise Him with the blast of trumpets high into the heavens, and praise Him with harps and lyres and the rhythm of the tambourines skillfully played by those who love and fear the Eternal. Praise Him with singing and dancing; praise Him with flutes and strings of all kinds! Praise Him with crashing cymbals, loud clashing cymbals! No one should be left out; Let every man and every beast—every creature that has the breath of the Lord—praise the Eternal! Praise the Eternal!” -Psalm 150 (VOICE)

God has called us all to have a heart of worship. The question is; have you been carrying this duty out with the right attitude?

“Depend on it, my hearer, you never will go to heaven unless you are prepared to worship Jesus Christ as God.” ~ Charles Spurgeon

My Prayer:
Almighty God, humbly I come before you to worship who you are and what you have done. You deserve my respect and gratitude; for you are great and greatly to be praised. I love you, Lord, and my heart overflows with joy thinking about you. Because of this I cannot keep my mouth shut; for to do so would make me feel as if I would explode. I must lift you up high. I must sing and dance in praise to you. God, YOU ARE AMAZING!