Glory in HIS Name
Above the entrance to our church’s auditorium there is a banner with this Scripture verse painted on it: “Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness” (1 Chronicles 16:29 JKV). We always considered that a reminder of what God expects of us as His followers—holiness. The more modern translations of the Scriptures render this verse like this: “Worship the Lord in the spender of his holiness” (1 Chronicles 16:29 NIV, emphasis mine).
While it is true that as followers of Jesus our lives need to be patterned after His—after all we are commanded to be holy as He is holy (1 Peter 1:16 among many others). the context of this verse from Chronicles highlights, not who we are, or should be, but who God is.
The scene is David’s song of praise on the occasion of the return of the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem. As David consolidated his kingdom, one of the first orders of business was to return the people to the worship of the Lord their God. David’s ambition was to build God a magnificent temple but for now the ark had to reside in a tent as it had during Israel’s pilgrimage through the wilderness.
As David brought the ark into Jerusalem, he was filled with praise and 1 Chronicles 16 give us that song,—a song all about the glory of God and the worship due to Him. Verses 8 through 36 make an excellent pattern for worship today—it’s all about HIM.
Look at the context around verse 29.
“Sing to the Lord, all the earth; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among the peoples. For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the Lord made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and joy in his dwelling place. Ascribe to the Lord, O families of nations, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength, ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name. Bring an offering and come before him; worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness. Tremble before him, all the earth! The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved. Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let then say among the nations, ‘The Lord reigns!’ Let the sea resound, and all that is in it; let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them! Then the trees of the forest will sing, they will sing for joy before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth.” (16:23-33)
Because this is all about God, it seems right to take the newer translation of the verse, with its addition of “his,” as being the intent of the author.
Worship is declaring God’s worth-ship, not ours. The glory must go to Him, not us. All the attention must be directed to Him and focused on Him. We come in our own unworthiness, covered by the blood of Jesus which allows us access into His presence, to declare Him to be worthy of all glory and honour and praise. Worship testifies to His greatness. It tells the story of His salvation. It reminds us of our need for reverential fear because of who He is. Worship declares Him King and Lord. And, yes, worship reminds us that, as His children, our desire should be to imitate our Father and God in holiness.
It’s not about the instruments, the voices, the staging, speakers and microphones, or hymns versus contemporary worship songs—all of that tempts us to think about us! It’s about Him and bringing glory to His Name.
“Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of his wonderful acts. GLORY IN HIS HOLY NAME; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice” (16:8-10).