1 Chronicles 15:19–20 “The musicians Heman, Asaph and Ethan were to sound the bronze cymbals; Zechariah, Aziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Maaseiah, and Benaiah were to play the lyres … and Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, Mikneiah, Obed-Edom, Jeiel and Azaziah were to play the harps” (NIV).
Observation: David’s first attempt to bring the ark to Jerusalem had ended in disaster (see 1 Chronicles 13:10) because he had not followed God’s proscribed method of transport. This time he would not make the same mistake. First Chronicles 16 tells of David’s care in appointing Levites to carry the ark and then gives us a mind-numbing roster of men assigned to play cymbals, lyres, and harps as part of the joyous processional.
Application: The Levitical praise band. Why doesn’t God deem it sufficient for us to know that the ark was brought to Jerusalem in a party atmosphere? Admittedly a bit more detail could add texture and color to the story, such as listing the kinds of musical instruments employed. For some reason, though, God was not satisfied with such generalities; instead, He risks our bogging down in difficult pronunciations of unfamiliar names or, alternately, that we would notice the approaching swamp and rush to skip over or around such minutiae. He chooses to give us far more detail than we may think helpful to a quick reading over morning coffee and a Danish. Surely He should have known we’re far too busy for this.
But consider: the Christian faith always comes down to the individual. Through history’s broad sweep, Christianity has profoundly altered the world, but Scripture never quite celebrates the society-changing effect of the Christian movement. Rather, its focus is always on celebrating the individual changed heart. Revelation 21:27 delights in individuals “whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” Luke 10:20 similarly reminds us to rejoice that our name is written in heaven. Thankfully the Lord doesn’t skip quickly past my name.
Perhaps God’s memorializing of obscure cymbal clangers is meant to remind me that it’s my heart that He is jealous over. His kingdom contains countless millions of souls even as there are countless stars in the heavens, but the miracle is, He knows each by name. I make my mark by one thing only: that I love Him with my whole heart. Then, in joyous celebration of my fully belonging to Him, He takes the simplest of offerings, such as the ability to clang cymbals, and then exults to the Father, “This one is mine! I will use his simple gift to magnify My name through all eternity, and I will remember who he is forever!”
Prayer: Father, forgive my human tendency to think I must accomplish great things to catch Your eye. As I stumble again over the unfamiliar names in today’s verse, I rejoice that You cherish me as I am, and that You will remember my name forever.