Extravagant Celebration


Early Christianity was infectious, energizing and joyous. 21st-century Christianity needs to recapture that same verve.


Eternal One, I thank You for the gift of this new day. May the light of Your presence set my heart on fire with love for You.


1 Chronicles 15:25-16:6


Consider: “Early Christianity was infectious, energizing and joyous. 21st-century Christianity needs to recapture that same verve. This will attract the needy, lonely, sick, and oppressed into the arms of a loving heavenly Father” (Tony Campolo).

Think Further:

Some cultures know how to celebrate significant events extravagantly--with long processions, loud music, huge crowds, lavish decorations, maybe fireworks. For Israel this event was one of its finest. To an uninformed observer, it might just have been about transporting a small wooden box a short distance. To “all Israel” (28), it was about their new monarch and his leaders bringing the symbolic presence of God to its new home.

The key participants in the procession--David, the Levites and musicians--were simply but finely attired. The crowd added their shouts of joy to the official music coming from all manner of portable instruments. (As a singer/musician, I am encouraged that Kenaniah, the song leader, was chosen “because he was skillful at it” (1 Chron. 15:22).) The king was so excited that he danced his way into the city. At the end of the journey the Ark was safely installed in its new tent, where offerings were presented to God and edible souvenirs were given to the people.

Two phrases caught my eye: first, “because God had helped the Levites” (26). Divine-human cooperation is an important theme in Chronicles. Here the sacred task was carried out by consecrated human hands, but under the divine protection of Yahweh. Second, “she despised him in her heart” (29). Michal was affronted by what she regarded as David’s shameless exhibitionism (2 Sam. 6:20-23). She may also have resented David taking the monarchy from her father or misunderstood the significance of the contrast between David’s priorities and Saul’s. So, sadly, while the Levites celebrated their God-enabled achievement with a sacrifice of thanksgiving, the complex political love match between David and his first wife (1 Sam. 18:20-29; 19:9-18) was irretrievably broken.


Imagine yourself at the celebration--perhaps as David, Kenaniah, Michal or someone in the crowd. What would have been most significant or memorable for you?


Gracious Lord, sometimes life saps all the joy out of my life. Keep me close to Jesus so that his joy will pervade my life.

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