By Major Beth Desplancke
Territorial Women’s Ministries Program Secretary
Bible Study on 1 Chronicles 16:8-36
It is November, and here in America we focus on the celebration of Thanksgiving, a time when we gather with family and friends and eat too much food and share what we are thankful for. The Bible tells us to be thankful, but it also tells us to praise God. What is the difference?
Author Mark Alan Williams explains the difference between thanksgiving and praise (https://www.markalanwilliams.net/post/2018/11/19/the-subtle-but-significant-difference-between-thanksgiving-and-praise/). He explains that “thanksgiving focuses on benefits bestowed to us… Whatever we are thankful for, we are grateful because of the blessing brought to US. The focus is on US… Praise focuses on the character of God and our love for Him. While thanksgiving focuses on blessings bestowed on us, praise focuses on God. We praise Him for His character, His attributes and His abilities.” The command to praise God appears approximately 250 times in the Bible. Praise should be a significant part of the believer’s life.
“10,000 Reasons” is a song by Matt Redman, about blessing the Lord through praise. The premise of the song is that we have so many things to praise the Lord for we couldn’t even begin to count them. Begin your time of Bible study by singing this son or watching the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XtwIT8JjddM
In 1 Chronicles 16, God’s people are celebrating because they had just safely brought the ark of God, which represents God’s presence with His people, back to its rightful place. In this chapter, let’s discover not 10,000 reasons but 10 reasons to praise God today and every day. (Note attributes are based on the New Living Translation of 1 Chronicles 16)
- Praise God because He is Great, v. 8, 25.
Great meant you did something well, or fantastic. God is great because He does everything well. Everything He does is fantastic! Remember that: everything He does is great, including what He does and is doing in your life right now. It may not feel great now, but eventually God will make it great.
Another way to think about great is in size. When we say God is great, we can say He is big, enormous. He is great over everything He created. When you think of the billions of people in this world it is a great big number, but God is bigger than that number. When you think about the size of the universe, God is greater than that. What that means is God is bigger than anything or anyone we face. Any problem we have, any struggle we go through, any addiction we have, God is greater.
- Praise God because He does wonderful things, v. 9, 24.
What God does is glorious and amazing. God doesn’t do anything half-heartedly or mediocre. All that He does is wonderful. Just take a look at creation – all the beauty He made. Did He have to create so many varieties of flowers in so many colors? No! did He have to create the sunset or sunrise to be so beautiful? Of course not.
Everything He does is wonderful, glorious and amazing. The same is true in how He works in our lives. He is doing something wonderful, glorious, and amazing to make you the man He wants you to be. By bringing you here He is doing something amazing and wonderful in your life – you’ve just got to allow Him to work because at times it doesn’t always feel or even appear amazing or wonderful.
- Praise God because He is holy, v. 10, 19, 35.
God is holy means He is without sin. He is perfect and everything He does is perfect. Think of it – He isn’t going to make a mistake in how He works in our lives. For example, because He is without sin means He isn’t going to blow His top and lose His temper because of something we do. He isn’t going to hold a grudge because of something we did. He is holy and perfect, and therefore, not a subject to the whims of misjudgments that would be made in sin. That means everything He does is perfect – the way He is working in your life is perfect. He isn’t punishing you because you got drunk too many times. He isn’t paying you back for your life of sin. He is holy and perfect and works perfectly in our lives to make us like Him – holy.
- Praise God He is Strong, v. 11, 27-28.
Remember the song, “He’s got the whole world in His hands?” God is organizing, governing, and watching over the entire world. V. 30 says the world stands firm and cannot be shaken. This is due to God’s strength. He holds the universe in His hand. God is strong and powerful; He is stronger than anything in this world.
We are weak but God is strong. In any problem or difficulty we face, God is strong enough to handle it. We think we can handle some on our own, but God is much stronger than we ever can be, so what is a challenge to us is nothing to a great big God, who is strong enough to bring order to the universe.
- Praise God because He is faithful, v. 15-22, 34.
God is a promise keeping God. He is going to be faithful to all His promises. What promises does He make to us? The Bible is full of them. Here are just a few promises God has made, and He will be faithful to keep: He promises salvation (Romans 10:9), He promises forgiveness (1 John 1:9), He promises His presence (Hebrews13:5) and He promises us that nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8:38-39)
- Praise God He is our Savior, v. 23, 35.
He saves us. This is good news. This is great news! God is holy and without sin and because of His holiness He can’t be around sin. We are sinners – all of us. We could never be in the presence of God because of our sin. God decided to solve our problem of sin for us. He sent His perfect Son – Jesus Christ – to die in our place for our sins.
- Praise God He reigns, v. 31.
To say God reigns is to acknowledge that God is King and He is the Ruler. God is ruler over all the earth. He is in control. Nothing will knock Him off His throne. We can trust God to reign according to His nature, which we’ve already mentioned.
In The Salvation Army Songbook (21016 edition) song #16 says, God is still on the throne, and He will remember His own; though trials may press us and burdens distress us, He will never leave us alone. God is still on the throne, and He remembers His own. His promise is true, He will not forget you; God is still on the throne.
- Praise God He is our coming judge, v. 33.
This is a two-fold praise. We can praise God that His Son is returning someday to take His children up with Him to heaven. This is exciting because this world isn’t all there is. God hasn’t forgotten about us. He will come again, someday, we just don’t know when. We have something better to look forward to.
But why is He coming? He is coming to judge. He is coming to judge the righteous and the wicked. But if we have received Christ as our personal Savior, we need not fear our judgment. Romans 8:1 tells us now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. If we belong to Christ, we won’t be condemned!
For those who haven’t received Christ as their personal Savior, the should fear judgment. If your name isn’t written in the Lambs Book of Life, you will be thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15) – which is hell.
All of the things we have thought unfair when the wicked seemed to get away with doing wrong, will finally get what they deserved. Read Psalm 37;1-2, 37-38 to see what happens to the wicked.
- Praise God He is good, v. 34.
God is good – all the time. All the time – God is good! Everything God does is out of His goodness. It may not seem good at the time, but if we remember that God’s very nature is good, and He has our best good in mind, when those unpleasant things come our way, we will remember it is all good! It doesn’t mean it always feels good, but we can trust that God is working good in your life in even the most unpleasant of circumstances.
- Praise God He is eternal, v. 36.
God is everlasting. He’s the same today as He was yesterday and He’ll be the same tomorrow. God forever will be how He is described in this passage of Scripture. I’m not going to wake up one day and discover God is no longer there – because He is eternal. He has always been and always will be. I’m not going to wake up one day and discover God is different, for He is everlasting and forever He will be who He is. Things come and go, leaders change, rules change, circumstances change, but God is eternal and remains the same every day.
In the devotional book, Be Still and Know (© 2016 by Broadstreet Publishing), the reading for August 17 is entitled, “Continual Praise” and it says this:
What would it look like to be people who praise God from the time we awaken each morning until the time we fall asleep each night? Not only would it be pleasing God as we worship him constantly, but we would also effect an incredible change in our personal outlook.
Intentional, continual praise can only naturally result in intentional, continual joy. When we choose to look at each moment as a moment in which to be thankful and worshipful, then we will find in each moment, beauty, joy and satisfaction.
What a challenge, to be women of continual praise. Can you come up with a top-ten list of what to praise God for? Close your Bible study time with the song “Great Are You Lord,” by All Sons & Daughters https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHJuzehKt8s.
Download the printable version of this Bible study.