1 Chronicles 23
Of everything written in this chapter of 1 Chronicles, this stuck out to me the most: "[The Levites] were also to stand every morning to thank and praise the Lord. They were to do the same in the evening and whenever burnt offerings were presented to the Lord on the Sabbaths, at the New Moon feasts and at the appointed festivals." (vs 30-31)
Hmmm... it sounds like the Levites were basically supposed to praise the Lord all the time. In the morning, in the evening, whenever sacrifices were presented (which was all the time), and during holy days. Was there any time when the Levites weren’t supposed to stand and praise the Lord?
I think this was very intentional. I think it was meant to be an example to the Israelites—and to us—about the most important thing for us to do in life: praise the Lord. Let’s face it. This isn’t always easy for us. We tend to relegate "praising" to a set time and place—namely, church. But God wanted the Levites to show us that our number one duty in life is to praise Him.
Why would that be, exactly? I believe it’s because praising the Lord is the only thing that can keep us grounded in a chaotic and evil world—especially when we are confronted by an unexpected crisis or some senseless evil. It is in these times, when praising God seems the least intuitive thing to do, that praising God is the most important thing to do.
It was my father who taught me this when he was dying from ALS. During his ordeal, he observed that choosing to praise God—even in the midst of suffering—affirms that there is a higher reality than we are sensing and feeling at the moment. That’s right. Most of the time, we really don’t live in reality—God’s reality, that is. We see things as we see them, but it is not generally how God sees them, because He can see the bigger picture. And when we choose to praise Him, we remind ourselves and affirm that He is in control, no matter if our life looks like it is crashing down around us.
As we examine the evidence of all God has done in the past (not only in the Biblical record, but in our own personal lives), we will find all the reason we need to praise Him, even when it doesn’t make sense. And the more we choose to stand like the Levites in praise and thanksgiving—morning, noon, and night—the more we will immerse ourselves in the reality God lives in. And in that reality, we will find joy, comfort, and peace, even in the midst of the storm.