Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 6 years ago

Joy in God (1 Chronicles 16:1-3)

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Rev. Christopher Chelpka

If you're able to remain standing, please do and let's give our attention now to God's word in First Chronicles, Chapter Sixteen. First Chronicle Sixteen, verses one through three. And they brought in the Ark of God and set it inside the tent that David had pitched for it, and they offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before God. And when David had finished offering the burnt offerings and the peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of Jehovah and distributed to all Israel, both men and women, to each a loaf of bread, a portion of meat and a cake of raisins. He may be seated. All over the last several chapters we've been watching this journey of the Ark. I'm coming from outside of Jerusalem into Jerusalem, brought in. We've seen mistakes along the way, and now I'm praises and good cheer and other things happening as the ARC is brought in. As we've been doing this all along, we've been considering this very important point of the way, the way in which the arc symbolizes God's presence among his people, the way that David is rightfully ongoing and seeking after God, seeking his presence, seeking to know his ways, to lead under his authority as a good king. We thought about that, as God is presented to it, presented it to us, in contrast with Saul, who did not do those things and suffered the consequences both him and the people. But as we see the ARC coming and now on being established not only in Jerusalem generally, but specifically in the Tabernacle, this place of worship where God will meet with his people and dwell among them. In there, in Jerusalem, we see three things happening here on which tell us and teach us more about the presence of God. The first is the offerings that are given on the second is the blessing that is given, and then the third is the food that is given. Are Offerings and then a blessing and food, and in each of these in their own way, demonstrate and symbolize something very important about God's presence. And each of them, in their own specific and important ways, I'm teach us what it means for us to belong to Jesus, because, you remember, all of this time David is serving as this type of Jesus to come, his son, a greater king, who God would who God promised to David and promise to us in David's actions. Then we have this earthly foretaste of what God will do for us in Christ. So focusing on these three, these three things help us, helps us to understand who we are as Israel, who we are as God's people. So let's look at at each of them and see what God has for us. I'm the first is there are offerings that are offered, in particular burnt offerings and peace offerings. You remember that there were different...

...kinds of sacrifices or offerings in the Bible, ones that are commanded by God and prescribed the various duties and obligations of them in various places, particularly leviticus one through seven. Here, two of those are men and the burnt offerings or sacrifices, and the peace offerings or sacrifices. Sometimes those words are used interchangeably. So why offerings? What would be significant? Why would David think to do this here at this moment? Well, we remember two things. First of all, there is no presence and communion with God without sacrifice, because there's always between us and God the problem of sin, and that's ultimately what the sacrifices were for they were to atone for our sin. This is particularly true for the burnt offering. The burnt offering was an offering of complete and entire dedication. The whole thing was burnt. Sometimes it's called the whole burnt offering. The offerers would offer it to God, placing their hands on it as a way of identifying with it and saying this is me, I am offering myself to you through this animal that God had given to them as that for the sacrifice, and the entire thing was burnt and consumed. There was that. Sometimes the smell of the offering was described. Is described in scripture. It's described as a pleasing aroma. As you smell the smell of the oxen, for example, being burnt, you would be reminded it would that smell itself would be a memorial, a testimony that God was pleased and had would have favor with you. The peace offering was a little bit different. It also was a sacrifice that was given, but instead of the whole thing being consumed, only partially and then it was in a sense kind of cooked and then shared among the people. Now, some of the offerings in Israel were given directly to the priests. It belonged to them. It was God's food, essentially, which he would then give to his servants as their provision. The peace offering was a little bit different, though. As the one who would bring this sacrifice, you would end up sharing it with the priests. You wouldn't simply give it to them and they would eat it, but it was a thing that would be had together, often with other sacrifices of bread and wine. Essentially, you're having a meal together with the peace offering in that the peace offering fell symbolized a communion, a fellowship. It emphasized eating together with the priest. It emphasized communion and reconciliation with the Lord. So there is this kind of in God's presence, eating God's food together. These are the things that were symbolized by the burnt offering in the peace offering and therefore very appropriate to come and offer these to God and to participate in those ceremonies, as the arc is taking a central place in the tent and in Jerusalem, because there's no connection to God without sacrifice. There's no connection to God without us being given to him and him receiving this. But as the Old Testament symbolizes. For us, that requires death, it requires...

...the sacrifice, it requires atonement for sin. You can't simply walk into God's presence without the sin being dealt with. You can't have fellowship with one another around a table in the name of God without sin being taken care of. There's no peace without atonement. So that's the first thing that's offered, is the the these offerings, these sacrifices. The second thing that's offered or given is a blessing, and we read in verse two that after David finished offering the burnt offerings in the peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord particularly we read. So they're right. So we read that David blesses the people. Now what is a blessing? I'm perhaps you've thought about this before. Perhaps you've wondered before, what is it that we really mean? What is the God means, more importantly, when he blesses? Well, blessing in a most general sense is a kind of wish that something would happen. You see this in the opposite as well, with curses. If somebody calls a curse upon your house, they're wishing that something bad would happen. But if they're using that language of blessing and cursing, they're probably elevating that beyond a wish. They're calling to calling to power, a some kind of spiritual force that can have the desired effect. I remember one time meeting a man who said he was a witch. He said he that's what he did, that was his job was. People would pay him to go bless or curse people. He would go to someone's house and, for a certain amount of money, cast a spell or bring some kind of evil or good, a power upon a person. and well, it's one thing when you are I bless or curse one another. It's another thing when God blesses or curses because, as we know, when God speaks it's never merely a wish. God desires to bless. You get blessing, God desires curse, there's cursing. Well, this kind of very firm. These blessings and cursings are right to understand in terms of good and evil. Results. Are Good and bad results, but even more essentially, they have to do with being in right relationship with God. If you are blessed, in other words, you are one who is in right relationship with God. You are one who is enjoying that. That's what it means to be blessed. This is the way the Bible talks about it. There's no blessing, no real blessing, apart from being in God. Likewise, cursing is being under a curse, or being cursed is defined essentially as being separated from God. Now, that might happen. There might be an earthlier material consequences of that, but essentially that's what's going on. One very prominent place you see this is in Deuteronomy. At the end of Deuteronomy you have a series of blessings and curses. God says to the people, if you obey me, if you live with me, if you dwell in my presence and with the obedience that I require, that I will bless you. Living in the presence of God, living in obedience and service to God, means enjoying God and all the good things...

...of life, but coming into disobedience means being cast away from God and it means experiencing things like death and destruction and dissolution and and division. So when God blesses his people, like he does at the beginning and ends of our worship services. It's not merely the pastor sort of wishing that something might happen, wishing that good things might happen to you. It is a pronouncement that those who are in Christ, those who belong and are connected with God through union with Christ, will be blessed. It's God's pronouncement of his will toward you. Grace and peace be to you from God, our father and the Lord Jesus Christ. This is God's speaking. It's one reason we give God, so to speak, the last word in the worship service. We leave with his blessing, we begin with his blessing. It's this great pronouncement of what it means to belong in his presence. But more than just a doctrinal statement, it is one of the ways in which God brings about those kinds of promises. He blesses us, and that's what David does here. As the ARC is brought into Jerusalem, as it's brought into this tent, and the people of God are surrounding, surrounding and worshiping, what happens? What happens when you're in the presence of God? You're blessed. You're blessed, and that's why David blesses them, not in his name, not in the name of David the king. I bless you and I provide these things for you and I'm going to be a great king. But as David a sends to power, what does he do? He points to the Lord and he says, blessings be to you from God, and not just God in particular, but Jehovah or Yahweh. He blesses people in the name of the Lord and the name of their covenantal God, the name of the God who has made them promises, who's promised them to be their God and that they would be as people. So David blesses them. God gives them this blessing through his servant. And then, finally, in verse three, we read that is disturbed. There's something distributed, food distributed to all Israel and the distribution is great, both men and women to each a loaf of bread, a portion of meat and a cake of raisins. That second thing a portion of meat. We're not entirely sure what's being said there. That's the most likely what's being said, but whatever it is, it has this feeling of a meal. Everyone is being given a meal, a men and women. It's difficult to know the exactly the populations at this time, but it was a lot. No doubt we have a city of people being provided for. Now it's very interesting and important to consider how food connects with the presence of God. You remember, if you go back to the beginning. I'm considering the FOO, food and presence go back to the beginning of Adam and Eve. What did he give to them in the garden? He gave them food. He gave them trees that they could eat and enjoy. We read various verses that connect us with the Lord and our food, like Psalm one, O, four, twenty seven and twenty eight. First we are read a various...

...a creatures, and then God says these all look to you to give them their food in duceason. When you give it to them, they gather it up. When you open your hand, they are filled with good things. We ask God to give us our daily bread. Why? Because it is God who gives us our daily bread. He is the one who provides for us. The presence of God is very much connected with our very life, our food, the ways in which we are sustained. But it's not just provision that we have in food, but it's also pleasure. These trees that God gave to Adam and Eve were called good. You remember Jesus, at the wedding of a wedding of Canaan provide A. Cana provided wine at that meal. It was for they're not only for their provision, they had water, but for their pleasure. The psalms say that wine is given to gladden the hearts of Man. In first Timothy Seventeen, there's a warning, but in the context of the warning we hear about the pleasure of food. Timothy is to remind those who are rich not to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but to set their hopes on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. Way Is that interesting? God Not only provides us with things, he not only provides us with everything, but he would provides us with everything to enjoy. And notice who the rich are. To set their hopes are what or who? There's just set their hopes on, not on the things itself, but on God. Nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. So you see how the Bible connects the provision, our provision of food with the presence of God, but not only the provision of food, but the pleasures of food. We can add one more to it, and that's companionship. Already in the peace offering we've seen how food brings people together. There's a unity that is expressed on when people gather around a table, as I mentioned this morning. That's one reason we refer to the refer to the Lord's supper as communion, eating together, joining together. We this is something that food food, that food and companionship go together, is clear in the peace offering. It's Cilier and other covenantal feasts that are made. It's something that Daniel probably understood and why he didn't want to eat of the king's food. He wanted a distance himself in that instance. He knew the kinds of things that would it would it might make people conclude and he wanted to a separate himself. Food has this way of bringing together, of providing communion, and that's exactly what we have here, as the people are given these things, as all Israel together in the presence of the Lord, is provided this pleasurable thing. Excuse me, so, as we go back to first chronicles and we consider what's going on here. We have offerings that are given, blessings that are given, food that's given, all in connection with the presence of God. And, as I said at the beginning, David in any ways his actions here are giving us an earthly foretaste of what it is we have in Christ and on each of these points we can see what it...

...means to be in the presence of God. What does it mean that we that the to be along and to be in God's presence requires offering and sacrifice. Well, the Bible tells us that ultimately these things, these burnt offerings, these peace offerings, would not suffice, they wouldn't do the job, finally and ultimately, but these things symbolized something that would become real, of course, Jesus, who gives his entire self so that we can have communion with God, so that we can join with him and with one another in and around around a table, eating and drinking good things. These sacrifice that Jesus gives reminds us all so that we have blessings in him. Paul says in Ephesians one three that we have every spiritual blessing in Jesus. We are not only blessed in his name, but we are blessed in him. This is how we come into blessing, isn't it? It's how we enjoy blessing, it's how we have any kind of life at all. It's in and through Jesus, and the same is true with food. Food, in many ways provides a great metaphor for all of it together. You remember what Jesus says and Luke Twenty three, that life is more than food, that there's a spiritual aspect. It's not just eating and drinking that we need, but it's our souls that ultimately need sustenance, that need providing for. Jesus points this out as well, and in John Chapter six, remember where he says he is the bread of life. Listen to how Jesus connects these things in in verse twenty seven. Do Not Labor for food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the son of man gives to you. That's what King Jesus gives. David gives every man and woman who is there a portion of meat and a cake of raisins and bread. What does Jesus give, as he distributes his gift, the food that endures to eternal life. Talk about provision, and of course this is Jesus himself. As we read in Verse Thirty Five, Jesus says to them, I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me shall not hunger, whoever believes in me shall not thirst. Do you see the connection between food and the presence of God? Whoever comes to Jesus, whoever comes and enjoys the rich blessings of God, shall never hunger and never thirst. And that's true, brothers and sisters, not only spiritually but physically as well. There will come a day when the Lord will return, where we won't suffer any more, with a great provision of God that's given in the garden will come into a consummated form. The curse that was placed on Adam and Eve because of sin, that toiling in the ground, that trying to make the food system work and it not working and it not working and getting hungry all again and again, gone. We simply enjoy the provision of God without any curse attached to it. All blessing. And what about pleasure? What about pleasure? These words and John reminds us of Isaiah's words and Isaiah fifty five, one and two. Come everyone who thirsts, come to the waters, and he who has no money, come by and eat. Come by wine and milk, without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which...

...is not bread? Why do you labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen Diligent andly, listen diligently to me, and eat what is good and delight yourselves. Delight yourselves in rich food. You know what boring food is like. I think job says something like this. I'm paraphrasing off the top of my head, but something like what? What taste is there in the white of an egg? We all know what sort of boring, bland food tastes like. This reminds me again, off the top of my head, that these sacrifices were always salted. We salt our eggs, we make them taste good. There is this way in which, when God makes this sacrifice in Jesus Christ, he not only gives us this provision, but he makes it pleasurable. He gives us something good, something rich, something to delight him. When Jesus says, I'm going to provide for you food that endures them to eternal life. It's rich food, Isaiah says, food to be satisfied in, to delight in. And of course, it's not only provision and pleasure that we find, but also companionship, communion fellowship. Listen to First Corinthians ten, versus, sixteen and Seventeen, about the Lord Supper, the Cup of blessing that we bless. Is it not a participation in the blood of Christ, the bread that we break? Is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread? We, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the One bread in Christ. In feeding upon him, who is the dread of life, we find union with one another, companionship, fellowship, Friendship. We are as even a body, one bread. So, going back to the main point, when David provides these things, some raisins, some meet, some bread, when Jesus provides these things, when Jesus blesses us, when Jesus gives himself as a sacrifice, when he gives himself as our bread, we have everything we could ever need. That is what it means to be in the presence of God. That is what it means to be in fellowship with him, in union with him. Jesus is our offering, our sacrifice. Jesus is our blessing. Jesus is our food and its provision and it's pleasure and its companionship. This picture that's given here in first chronicles nineteen is fulfilled in Jesus. And then in revelation chapter nineteen versus seven through nine, we read of how all of this will come to complete fulfillment when the Lord returns and we enter into glory. Consider these two things. Consider the this, this, consider what happens in the presence of God in First Chronicles Sixteen, and consider what's promised for you at the end of the ages and in the next revelation, seventeen, seven through nine. We finished with this. Let...

...us rejoice and Exalt and give him the glory, for the marriage of the lamb has come and the bride has made herself ready. It was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure, for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the Angel said to me write this. Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the lamb. And he said to me these are the true words of God. These are the true words of God. If you belong to Jesus Christ, if you have been given his righteousness, you know the presence of God, and all of that means in companionship and pleasure, in provision, in blessing, all through the great sacrifice of our Savior. Let's thank God, let us pray.

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