It’s that time again. It’s that moment in the year that all we talk about is giving. You know Thanksgiving! Well, now it’s the season of giving, well forgiving, but that’s for another lesson. Today we get to embrace a part of our history that inspires us to be thankful.

We come together to celebrate the idea of thankfulness. We recognize all that we have and are happy with before getting into a frenzy that same day as the Black Friday shopping and shipping has went to utter insanity. It is so easy to be insatiably distracted. We are grateful for a lot, but this holiday rarely points our culture to the Lord.

The creation is great and the creator is even greater! It is a fantastic moment to celebrate all that the Lord has given you. It is an important moment to reflect on what has happened in your life and in the lives of those you love. It is invaluable to show value for those you love in this time.

It’s like that moment at the Thanksgiving table when the one person finally speaks up and asks everyone to say one thing they are grateful for. Some him and haw about it, but that little precious child says, I am grateful for my mom. Everyone awes and see the sincerity behind it, and then laugh as the random brother/uncle says the same thing with a sarcastic and comical undertone. But, you are gripped by the sincerity of the moment of the little child.

How spectacular is our worship of the Lord in that moment of sincerity. How desperately do we strive to be in that moment of sincere excitement about the creator! What drives that type of worship and what destroys that worship is extremely revealing about our perspective of the Lord.

What drives you to thank God? Seriously, more than the fact that He is God, what has He done so impactful in your life to transform you, to grab hold of your mind, your heart, and all of your efforts to love Him and praise Him.

This is not to be taken lightly. The drive that inspires, you encourages you, and reminds you of who God is not only to all of creation but to you intimately effects your worship. It does not depreciate from His glory, but your recognition of Him or not actively limits your ability to see and worship His glory.

Sometimes we need to return to active worship and the counsel of the Lord.

 Let us bring the ark of our God back to us, for we did not inquire of it during the reign of Saul.” – 1 Chronicles 13:3

King David did more than just slay a giant. He did more than out live an army hunting him. King David did more than be such a fantastic warrior and general that made a nation stable as well as larger than it ever was. King David longed for the Lord.

But, David did more than long for the Lord. He inspired a nation to seek their God whom they had ignored, disobeyed, and rejected for generations. They did what was right in their own eyes throughout the time of the Judges and forsook their commitment they made with Joshua to serve the Lord.

“Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” – Joshua 24:14-15

David did more than serve the Lord. David inspired a nation to pursue the Lord again. He had recognized that for a period of time the people of God had failed to pursue the Lord. The people of God had withdrew from their worship of their true King. The people of God had stopped seeking the Lord’s path, the Lord’s purposes, and the Lord Himself. And so, David does something about it.

He had sought the Lord as a boy. He had sought the Lord as a servant. He had sought the Lord as a fugitive. King David was teaching a nation how to pursue the very God that had given them everything. David turned the people back to their God and away from even himself. It was not about Him, it was about God.

Similarly, each of us have opportunities in our lives to focus on the Lord here and now. David did this at numerous stages of his life. He had rough times where he had to return to the Lord. But, that is another discussion. Today is the time to return to the Lord. Today is the time to bring the focus of your day back to the Lord.

David was bringing the Ark of the Lord to the capital. He was bringing the Ark of the covenant to a place where he and all the leaders of the nation would be continually reminded and given the opportunity to seek the Lord. He did not want the Lord far off and at a distance, instead David desired that God be near to him and to his decision. And, he asked the people of God to join him in this perspective and purpose.

David conferred with each of his officers, the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds.  He then said to the whole assembly of Israel, “If it seems good to you and if it is the will of the Lord our God, let us send word far and wide to the rest of our people throughout the territories of Israel, and also to the priests and Levites who are with them in their towns and pasturelands, to come and join us.  Let us bring the ark of our God back to us, for we did not inquire of it during the reign of Saul.”  The whole assembly agreed to do this, because it seemed right to all the people. So David assembled all Israel… – 1 Chronicles 13:1-5a

Bumps on the path can hinder our worship, but they do not prevent it.

But, following the Lord often is not as simple or smooth as we often want it to be. Even when we give it our best. David had not abandoned the Lord or his purposes at this point in his life. He had obeyed the Lord, he had followed His instructions. He honored the Lord by even honoring a king striving relentlessly to kill him. Yet, when David determined to bring the Ark of the Lord to its place of prominence he brought the Ark of the Lord on a new cart.

A new cart!

This was intentionally put in the text. New. There was no shame intended. The opposite was true David aimed to honor the Lord. David was moving the Ark of the Lord with style and intentionally to display God’s greatness. It was readily apparent and understood that, David became more and more powerful, because the Lord Almighty was with him. – Chronicles 11:9 This was why David was bringing the Lord, to honor Him!

But, the new cart failed.

As David was bringing the Ark, Uzzah tried to save the Ark of the Lord from falling. In doing so he touched something he was not supposed to. In trying to honor the Lord they failed to do so and paid a costly price. Uzzah was killed by the Lord in that very moment, not by the weight of the Ark, not by accident, Uzzah was struck down by the Lord in the Lord’s anger.

After David had done something so spectacular as point the people back to God he was angered at the Lord’s anger. He was not willing to thank the Lord. He was no longer willing or desirous to praise the Lord, to bring the Lord to his home. David no longer was thankful to the Lord, he was disappointed in God.

After all David was trying to honor the Lord, isn’t that enough?

An important thing for anyone and everyone to know is that intentions are not the only thing the Lord cares about. He is God, and He will be honored the way He wants to be honored. He has not been unclear about what His will is for us. He has given great detail as to how to honor, love, and praise Him.

This situation itself is a great example. The Ark of the Lord is not to be touched by anyone. More than that, the new cart is quant, it was adorable, it was a disgrace. David had gathered all of the people. The only people who are to move any part of the tabernacle of God and the Ark are the Levites and priests. This tribe of Israel had no inheritance in Israel. They were one of the twelve sons but not considered one of the twelve, they were set apart as holy. Joseph’s two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, were recognized as two of the twelve tribes of Israel.

This tribe’s sole purpose was to serve the Lord. They were to minister before the Lord and care for the Holy things through their whole lineage. Yet David did not use the obvious people to bring the holiest item in the entire history of his people.

Even the Levites and Priests were not allowed to touch the ark or the other holy items (Numbers 4). This was not a small or insignificant moment in the life of the people of God. God was declaring that He is still God and if you would worship Him it would be Him that you worship and not who you wish for Him to be.

There will be times and moments when worshiping the Lord is going to be difficult. It’s interesting that when we share the hope of eternity with a new believer or talk about following God we miss that life will not be perfect. Sometimes when we believe in the Lord we endure more struggle instead of less.

Moses believed and stood up for his people and had to flee to save his life. He met with an angel of the Lord in a burning bush only to have to return to the strongest nation with a stick to stand for the Lord and his people. After unmistakable power displays from God the people of God and Moses a sea and a brutal army stood between freedom and the promised land. And, the path he took to follow the Lord only got harder. With every great act of God there was a real and definite struggle for Moses.

Similarly, David struggle never diminished and often were elevated with every time he worshiped the Lord. Maybe you have endured this. Every time you show your faith trust and endurance in the Lord you seem to have another trial ordeal and a harder rain storm. When it rains it pours, more and more!

Prepare yourself, your life, and your surroundings to praise Him.

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

David again revitalized his purpose of worshiping the Lord where he was at. Yet again, David did not hold back. He prepared a place for the Lord. But, this time David ensured that the place and the movement of the Ark of the Lord would be moved by the Levites and priests. He decided to worship the Lord the Lord’s way. David recognized the need to follow the Lord in the way obviously displayed by God.

He prepared the place and purposed to give the best to the Lord. Unfortunately the Lord would later forbid David from building a permanent home for the Ark of the Lord. David would not have the honor of putting a permanent building for the Lord. But, remember that the Tabernacle nor the Temple would be the limits of God’s presence or His power. They were simply a place for the people of God to set apart and show they are for God.

This was what David was doing. He was displaying that the Lord would be at the forefront of the kingdom he would rule. He wanted the world and the people of God to know that the God of Israel was the King.

One of the most remarkable things about the life of David was that the Lord would be his focus. No matter how many situations, circumstances, and events might draw David away, he always returned to the Lord with zeal and was welcomed into the Lords presence with grace!

No matter how much has gone wrong or has gone right, make the Lord the focus of your life. Make Him the purpose of all that you do.

Praise the Lord! Remember His acts in your life and creation. Sing because of His greatness and celebrate with creation.

And so, as we prepare for our lives, for our time in the daily moments afflictions we must not forget that the scriptures we read were written about and from people who were broken, who made mistakes, who no matter how they strived after the Lord failed.

There was only one perfect person in all of history and He was tempted in every way not to Lord it over us but to be able to sympathize with us in our weaknesses. David being far from perfect even in the early parts of his life. Struggled to understand exactly what it looked like to worship the Lord. He understood God’s greatness yet failed to appreciate it in every moment and in every situation.

So, as we approach life it is invaluable to praise God in the way described in this wonderful psalm of David, found after all of this.

 [David] appointed some of the Levites to minister before the ark of the Lord, to extol, thank, and praise the Lord, the God of Israel: …

 That day David first appointed Asaph and his associates to give praise to the Lord in this manner:

 Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done.

 Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts.

Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.

Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.

Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced, you his servants, the descendants of Israel, his chosen ones, the children of Jacob.

He is the Lord our God; his judgments are in all the earth.

He remembers his covenant forever, the promise he made, for a thousand generations, the covenant he made with Abraham, the oath he swore to Isaac.

He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree, to Israel as an everlasting covenant:

“To you I will give the land of Canaan as the portion you will inherit.”

When they were but few in number, few indeed, and strangers in it,

they wandered from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another.

He allowed no one to oppress them; for their sake he rebuked kings:

“Do not touch my anointed ones; do my prophets no harm.”

Sing to the Lord, all the earth; proclaim his salvation day after day.

Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.

For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods.

For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the Lord made the heavens.

Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and joy are in his dwelling place.

Ascribe to the Lord, all you families of nations, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.

Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering and come before him. Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.

Tremble before him, all the earth! The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved.

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let them say among the nations,

“The Lord reigns!”

Let the sea resound, and all that is in it; let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them!

Let the trees of the forest sing, let them sing for joy before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.

Cry out, “Save us, God our Savior; gather us and deliver us from the nations,

that we may give thanks to your holy name, and glory in your praise.”

Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting.

Then all the people said “Amen” and “Praise the Lord.” – 1 Chronicles 16:4-36

Praise the Lord. Never forget to praise Him. No matter the circumstance. When you go to the hospital, when the person you love’s life is destroyed, praise the Lord. When the good people in your life seem to never catch a break. Praise the Lord.

Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced, you his servants, the descendants of Israel, his chosen ones, the children of Jacob.

He is the Lord our God; his judgments are in all the earth.

This is difficult to do. It is tremendously difficult to trust in the Lord’s choices and judgement when they directly and detrimentally affect you and those you love. But, those are the times where we display more accurately our faith in Him. When David brings up the jubilee of creation in God we should be reminded that as long as creation is subject to Him we can and should praise Him.

Remember all that He has done! Remember that what He has done is far greater than the moment or the culmination of your present circumstance. There are plenty of songs of lament to display that we are encouraged to share with God our sorrows and pain. Yet, we can and should focus also on what we can praise Him for rather than just what we are frustrated by.

Sing to the Lord, all the earth; proclaim his salvation day after day.

Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.

David had lost people close to him. His best friend was killed on the battle field. Now, amidst trying to honor the Lord, the Lord had in His anger killed a man for trying to protect the Lord’s holy items. For trying to do good severe penalties had been inflicted. Yet, David says sing to the Lord. Declare His greatness.

It would be easy to be distracted by todays light and momentary troubles and lose sight of creation and eternity. It often times can feel more simple, straight forward, and relieving to complain about today. But, where is the complaining getting you? No, where!

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.

Yes, give thanks to the Lord. When He saw a broken world He loved us more than we can truly grasp. He became broken so that we can become whole. Everything was not perfect for David when wrote this, no. David still needed the Lord to help protect his country and himself from numerous nations who actively wanted to kill them or enslave them. Their homes weren’t safe. Their losses were still real.

Yet, their praise was real.

How do you need to return to praising the Lord? How can you praise Him louder? How can you honor Him amidst the tragedies you are enduring?