The Chronicler wants God’s people to see his hand in their story. “Remember how good God was to us here? And here?” So as he recounts their history, he highlights God’s good heart.
After the Philistines kill Saul’s three sons in battle and Saul takes his own life, the brutish enemies place the royals’ bodies on public display. But brave Israelite warriors risk their lives, cross enemy lines and retrieve the bodies. God and his anointed ones are not to be mocked.
Israel crowns David king. He captures Jerusalem and then fortifies the city. God’s nation now has a capital.
King David longs to make God the center of life in Israel. So he formulates a plan to bring the ark of the covenant, God’s very presence, to Jerusalem. David’s first attempt fails—he neglects to honor God’s holiness in the way he transports the ark. But the second time he worshipfully and humbly follows every procedure. David commissions the Levites to both carry the ark and to be in charge of worship—including singers, instruments and cymbals. God is praised all the way home.
Once God’s ark is at home in Jerusalem, Israel lavishes God with worshipful sacrifices. David instructs the men who led the worship on the ark’s journey to Jerusalem to stay with the ark. God is to be worshiped continually.
The King’s Heart
“God, we can’t hold our love back from you. So we will sing it to you.”
As an expression of that, David assigned men to sing songs and hymns and adore God continually (see 1 Chronicles 16:4–6, 37–38). Before the ark, Asaph and his colleagues praised God. Before the altar in Gibeon, where the tabernacle remained, Levites “were responsible for the sounding of the trumpets and cymbals and for the playing of the other instruments for sacred song” (1 Chronicles 16:42). God’s presence was surrounded by praise.
This worship wasn’t mandated by God—his people were choosing to praise him. In the midst of sacrifices and ceremonies rose up the freely given songs of those who were thankful to be his. Every time an Israelite passed by, God’s praises would waft over the walls. Trumpets would blast, harps and lyres would spill out melodies and singers would express their love in words. Love for God was flowing out of the heart of his nation.
The worthy King was getting his heart’s deepest desire—his people’s heartfelt love.
First Chronicles is written from a positive perspective—to encourage the returned exiles. For example, the account of David’s life leaves out his struggles with Saul, his many wives, his sin with Bathsheba and the arranged murder of Uriah.