“United Praise Glorifies God”
2 Chronicles 5:13-14
INTRODUCTION What is the meaning of 2 Chronicles 5.13-14
2 Chronicles chapter 5. I don’t know what better passage could express my heart this Thanksgiving. Are you getting ready for Thanksgiving? Did you get your turkey or ham and all fixings?
In all the busyness of this time of year and in preparing for Thanksgiving, have you prepared your heart? Do you attempt to nurture a thankful heart?
My wife and I are quite thankful. My wife is Canadian and I’m American. Canada’s Thanksgiving, for those of you Canadians who don’t know, Thanksgiving is the second Monday of every October. And American Thanksgiving is the last Thursday of each November. So, we have two Thanksgiving each year. We’re pretty thankful!
It’s the same with XMAS. Since my wife is Dutch, we celebrate Dutch XMAS; it’s on December 5th. And we celebrate XMAS on the 25th too, …in fact, we’re trying to add some other holidays so we’re investigating whether we’re Irish, Jewish, Chinese, Persian, or Slavic…
Well, in our text the Israelites are very thankful, to say the least. 2 Chronicles 5 is the middle of the story of the dedication of the temple. God had promised to David that his son Solomon would build a house for the Lord. And this promise has just now been fulfilled.
Solomon made the necessary preparations to build the temple and now the temple is complete. God has kept His promise. Solomon has assembled the elders and the heads the tribes to bring up the ark of the covenant. The ark of the covenant was that wooden box covered with gold and with two cherubbim …angels on it. And inside of the ark were the two tablets of the Decalogue, which is the 10 commandments, manna, and Aaron’s budded rod…it served as a meeting place of the Lord where the Lord would reveal His will to His servants. So it served as a symbol of God’s presence with his people.
So the temple is now finished and Solomon caused the elders and the heads of the tribes and the leaders of the people to assemble to bring the ark of the covenant and place it into the holy of holies. And they began offering thousands upon thousands of sacrifices…too many to count.
And in this most holy of occasions, the dedication of the Temple, while they were unified in their praise of God the priests and the Levites, with their voices and instruments of music, God comes down in the cloud into the temple and fills the temple with his glory. Let’s read 2 Chron. 5:11-14.
2 Chronicles 5:11–14 11 When the priests came forth from the holy place (for all the priests who were present had sanctified themselves, without regard to divisions), 12 and all the Levitical singers, Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun, and their sons and kinsmen, clothed in fine linen, with cymbals, harps and lyres, standing east of the altar, and with them one hundred and twenty priests blowing trumpets 13 in unison when the trumpeters and the singers were to make themselves heard with one voice to praise and to glorify the Lord, and when they lifted up their voice accompanied by trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and when they praised the Lord saying, “He indeed is good for His lovingkindness is everlasting,” then the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud, 14 so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God.
God is pleased; His people are truly thankful for God. What does it take to receive such blessing from God? Unified praise. Unified praise of God will glorify God and God will be in your heart of a truth!
What’s it going to take for us to please the LORD, to glorify Him, to receive the sweetness of His presence as the Israelites did on this occasion? It’s going to take unity and heartfealt praise of God.
So, I’m preaching this morning on that “United Praise Glorifies God”
I. How They Praised
So, how did they praise the Lord that day? It was unified praise. They were united in praise.
A. They were united in praise
EXP: Verse 11…It was all the priests who were present had sanctified themselves. Verse 12 … It was all the Levitical singers with the 120 priests…verse 13…they were in unison … with one voice they praised and glorified the Lord.
How many people were there that day do you think? It didn’t matter. They were one. They were as one body, as one orchestra working wonderfully together. Many instruments and many people, but with one voice they praised the Lord.
God was pleased with the unified praise.
Like as in Ezekiel 37:19 which says … ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel, his companions; and I will put them with it, with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they will be [*clap*] one in My hand.
God is glorified when his people are rightly unified. So we must lay aside all bitterness against each other. We must lay aside divisions and speaking evil against one another.
When God’s people were unified, God makes Himself known… This is like the old testament day of Pentecost. On the day of Pentecost, God’s people were together in one place, unified. The Holy Spirit comes fills them with His Spirit …and through the ministry that day thousands come to Christ. God is glorified and they continued with one mind together as they broke bread, took their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart.”
They were unified. Just like that, when we are unified and rejoice together over the goodness of God, the Holy Spirit empowers our hearts; God is glorified.
And Jesus’ prayer is thus answered when He prays…John 17:21 “that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.”
We must be unified. I know this can cause some of us to think of objections to unity, but when we are diligent to be unified on doctrine and when we’re diligent to be at peace with one another and forgiving each other, we’re unified.
When we’re seeking forgiveness and seeking to grow in God’s word with each other…this is unity. And when we sing, like these Israelites did… let’s sing together.
Let’s get our hearts in it and join the swelling tide of heaven, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, and hath redeemed us to God by his blood, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. …
Blessing and honour, glory and power,
be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne,
and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever.
ILL: Disunity in a church is a dangerous thing. The souls of people are at stake. Not a few churches have been killed and not a few spiritual lives have been done away with because of disunity in a church.
Like the story that too often happens …. a man climbs up the mountain all by himself only to fall to his death.
But if he had been united with other climbers and would have had the rope tied around his waist to other climbers, he would’ve been all good. When one falls the rest who are standing are strong enough to help him to be stable.
We should be like that. If one of us falls in sin, one of us is always there to help him up. We need to care for one another, spiritually.
Proposition: When we are one, when united, and we offer praise to God, this is glorifying to Him; this pleases the Lord.
But how hypocritical it would be to be grumbling at each other … grrr….and casting suspicious glances at each other and then come in to a service like this and give the outward appearance that we worship God. How hypocritical that is!
No, be unified! Get right with each other first; don’t hold grudges, get things right!
TRANS: So God was glorified that day because they were unified. They were all there … all of them and they sang in praise to the Lord with one voice in unison together. They were unified.
They were unified, but they offered thankful, joyful praise as well.
B. They were thankful/joyful in praise
EXP: I scarcely need to read it again to prove the point that they were thankful, but for our hearts sake let’s look at it…Feel the climax as we see it…
Verse 11 when the priests came forth from the holy place verse 12 and all the Levitical singers came and verse 13 in unison when the trumpeters and the singers to make themselves heard with one voice to praise and glorify the Lord and when they lifted up their voice and when they praised the Lord saying indeed he’s good, His lovingkindness is everlasting” then the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud.”
Praise and glorify the King! Worship Him who ever lives!
What good is our singing without thankfulness in the heart? What good is praying without a heart that is joyful in the One who gave you life, breath, and every good thing in Christ?
“!Stir up your heart; get ready to praise His holy name…”
Just like when the tabernacle was built back in Exodus. All those skilled at that time, as the wording goes, whose heart stirred him made their contribution to the Lord’s work.” Has your heart been stirred? Do you know that sweet stirring of the soul by the Holy Spirit?
Stir up your heart to thankful, joyful praise. Be united with each other in thankful and joyful praise.
TRANS: But what should we say when we thank the Lord?
Notice here the content of the Israelite’s praise. What did they say in their praise?
II. The Content of Their Praise
Here it is: Their hearts were stirred over an understanding of the glories of God’s goodness and lovingkindness. This ignited their hearts with fire from heaven.
End of verse 13… “they praised the LORD saying, “He indeed is good for His lovingkindness is everlasting”
A. He is good
God is good. He is good because He created. God is worthy of all praise because by His word all good things are and were created. The sun, moon, stars his calling them out by name, his leading in the things of this world, the redemption he’s provided in Christ … How can we not look about in our lives with a heart stirred over God’s goodness and say, “the Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all his works?”
How…how could you have never been able to say that?
Because you can’t praise Him if you don’t know Him. You can’t give heartfelt praise if Jesus’ Holy Spirit doesn’t reside in your heart. Your heart will be dead to what I’m talking about. Your heart deflates over these things. Do you know heartfelt praise? Have you ever had that glory in your heart before that you could just burst?
If you don’t know Jesus you can’t say this … Psalm 27:4 One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD and to meditate in His temple.”
You can’t have that heart if you’re not saved. If you’re not saved, that thought is not actually, positively attractive to you. “What? To actually think long and hard about God and His goodness all empowered by the Holy Spirit…I don’t want to do that…I’d rather…” You’d rather what? “One thing I have asked from the LORD that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD and to meditate in His temple.”
ILL: You may yet be in your sin … those still in sin see sin, like a fish in water sees water. But those in Christ know what it is to behold the beauty of the Lord. The blind at heart, the lame at heart, have not been tuned to sing God’s praise.
But Jesus has given himself for us, to save us from sin and to bring us to God…and as you gaze upon Him in His fearfully majestic wonder, you’ll praise Him in awe … for His goodness. You’ll sing with the angels in glory:
Holy, Holy, Holy is the LORD.
God has been good! He’s been good to give you food; praise Him! He’s loved you…
The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell.
It goes beyond the highest star
And reaches to the lowest hell.
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled
And pardoned from his sin.
God is good! Praise Him, let all the peoples praise Him…with joy unspeakable and full of glory…that praise, that united praise glorifies God and fills the longing soul with the sweetness of His presence.
“God is good, and His lovingkindess is everlasting.” That’s what the Israelites said that day praising the Lord … end of verse 13 … “He indeed is good for his lovingkindness is everlasting.”
B. His lovingkindness is everlasting
This word lovingkindness is God’s covenant love. It’s His faithful love…The love that drives Him to keep His promises.
God kept his promises to Israel and to Solomon in particular. God promised David that Solomon would build the temple and God has done it. He has brought to pass. He kept His promises; His lovingkindness is indeed everlasting. Praise him!
Psalm 136 repeats some 26 times, this very fact that his lovingkindness is everlasting. God will always keep his promises out of the great love and faithfulness that he has for his people. That will always be the case. His grace and favor are sure for those who love the LORD.
And He’s also faithful to His promises that for those who choose to live in defiance of His holy and righteous name, he will, Ps. 3:7, break their teeth.
He has made you and it has not been you yourself; you are His and He will do with you as He pleases. Will you submit to Him and give Him the glory He deserves; you aren’t your own!
Friends, God keeps His promises today. And when God promises to save, He saves! Some of you know what I’m about to say … you were children of wrath, sons of the devil, your life was a shambles and God reached down and plucked you out and rescued you from His own wrath. Will you praise him?
Some of you were blind, deaf, and lame, broken cords in your heart, but when Jesus came He opened your eyes, opened your ears, and made you walk again … now, does he need to loose your tongue again? Will you praise Him for His glorious salvation? His lovingkindness is for ever! He’s made the broken cords to vibrate once more…praise Him; He’s true to His promises of everlasting joy that’s at his right hand forever.
Will you sing with all God’s creatures in heaven,
Revelation 5:9 9 And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You …for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.
Revelation 5:12 12 saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.”
Revelation 5:13 13 And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.”
Are you apart of that number…who willfully and joyfully praises the Lord…you want toward the front of that crowd even …
As McCheyne said of this text, “There will be no soul-filling, heart-ravishing, heart-satisfying, outpouring of the Spirit of God till there be more praise and thanking the Lord.” Let’s stir up our hearts to praise the Lord.
Let’s affirm the goodness of the Lord in our darkest hours; let’s shout it from the rooftops in the our happiest times…but at all times, always know, the goodness of the Lord…His lovingkindness is everlasting!”
TRANS: If we do, what then? Let’s find out..the effect of this unified praise.
III. The Effects of Their Praise
A. The Cloud filled the house
The effect of this praise is that the glory of the Lord filled the house of God with the cloud. End of verse 13 they praised the Lord saying, “he indeed is good for his lovingkindness is everlasting,” then the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God.
What is this cloud? In Exodus, when the Lord led his people out of Egypt, it says that the Lord was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way … and he went before them in a pillar of fire by night to give them light that they might travel by day and by night.
God’s presence is in the cloud. The glory of the Lord fills this house. God has now accepted this temple. And he makes his entrance into the temple via the cloud.
Did the Lord come when Solomon brought in the things that his father David dedicated? No …
Did the glory of the Lord fill the house when the elders and all the heads of the tribes merely assembled? No…
Or when the men of Israel assembled …or when the Levites took up the ark ….or when they brought in the holy utensils…or when all the congregation of Israel was assembled … or when they were sacrificing so many sheep and oxen that they could not be counted or numbered …or did the glory of the Lord fill that house when the ark of the covenant was placed in the sanctuary of the house … No…
But when … the priest came forth from the holy place and all the Levitical singers clothed in fine linen with symbols and harps and lyres… And 120 priests blowing trumpets and in unison when the trumpeters and the singers were to make themselves heard with one voice to praise and glorify the Lord and when … They lifted up their voice accompanied by trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music and when … They praised the Lord saying, “he is indeed good for his lovingkindness is everlasting … yes, oh glorious, yes it was then…THEN… The house, the house of the Lord was filled with a cloud and the glory of the Lord filled the house of God!!
When they were unified…they were unified in heart and mind and intent on one purpose they came together … their hearts stirred over the goodness and lovingkindness of the Lord that they lifted up their voice in praise to God and the glory of the Lord filled that whole temple.
Today we don’t know the pillar of cloud and fire as God’s presence.
But the disciples of Jesus in the gospels knew that cloud. Jesus is transfigured before them and his face shines and his clothing is white like lightning and then the cloud forms and overshadows them and they were afraid because they themselves had entered the cloud and the voice comes out of the cloud … Saying, “this is my son my chosen one listen to him!”
But after the day of Pentecost, the disciples of Jesus have not known the cloud. But we do know his presence. Paul teaches us that his presence is in our hearts and his spirit indwells our church … And his Holy Spirit can testify with your spirit that you are his child.
Oh the sweet glories of his presence in this, His grace…His gracious presence to dwell with us!
If you’ve trusted Christ, you have much to be thankful for! If you’re guilt is all gone, what praise can you render to God! But don’t stop there…press on, don’t rest, labor in prayer, seek His face evermore, love Him onward and forward, in every area.
Do you have room for the Spirit of Christ in your heart, or are there too many other things there?
Some of you know the wrestling over sin; some of you know the struggle to get into God’s presence everyday…are you cold…do you get little out of the Scripture? Have you opened your heart to it? You need to cry out to God with the psalmist …
Psalm 119:25 My soul cleaves to the dust; Revive me according to Your word.
37 Turn away my eyes from looking at vanity, And revive me in Your ways.
40 Behold, I long for Your precepts; Revive me through Your righteousness.
88 Revive me according to Your lovingkindness, So that I may keep the testimony of Your mouth.
107 I am exceedingly afflicted; Revive me, O LORD, according to Your word.
149 Hear my voice according to Your lovingkindness; Revive me, O LORD, according to Your ordinances.
154 Plead my cause and redeem me; Revive me according to Your word.
156 Great are Your mercies, O LORD; Revive me according to Your ordinances.
159 Consider how I love Your precepts; Revive me, O LORD, according to Your lovingkindness.
The OT house was that temple of the Lord’s presence. But now, in our age, the NT house is church, God’s people. You are meeting today in the house of the Lord, because you are meeting with God’s people.
One effect of a unified people praising God for His goodness is that His presence fills our hearts and fills our church. But also that those who minister no longer can…
B. Priests could not stand to minister
Verse 14 says that the priests could no longer stand the minister because of the cloud.
No doubt they were busy about their work… They had gathered the instruments, they had brought the ark, they had offered the sacrifices, and when the floodgates of their praise was thrust open, and all in deafening glory raised up their voice in holiness to the Lord, they no longer could continue ministry because the cloud of God’s glory filled the house.
Note this, when God does His work, man can only step back and give glory to God. God has done the work he has come into our midst today and no man’s ministry receives any glory; all glory and praise goes to Him!
CONCLUSION What is the meaning of 2 Chronicles 5.13-14
Is this the longings of your soul this morning? Do you feel with me today …would that God the Lord would send forth his spirit and would descend in his almighty power … and would break the hardness of our hearts and melt the ice-stone coldness of our souls and convince His people of their sin and of His righteous glory forever.
Hosea 10:12 “Break up the fallow ground of your heart! Learn heartfelt praise and glorify the King!
The Lord has come and he will come again and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple … And the messenger of this new covenant in whom you delight …behold he is coming … But who can endure the day of his coming and who can stand when he appears for he is like a refiner’s fire…”
Cleanse your hands you sinners; and purify your hearts, you doubleminded…and seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
Oh, the pardoning grace of God in Christ…you have much for which to be thankful…will you set your heart to praise and glorify the King?
Let’s do that…