1 Chronicles 16:11

‘Seek Yahweh and His strength.
Seek His face forever’
(1 Chronicles 16:11)

This comes from a psalm of ‘thanks to Yahweh [God]’(1 Chronicles 16:7&8) recorded in scripture after David had brought ‘the ark of the covenant’(1 Chronicles 16:6) into ‘Jerusalem… to its place’(1 Chronicles 15:3), ‘in the middle of the tent that David had pitched for it’(1 Chronicles 16:1). It reflects David’s attitude to life well. Living by such wisdom is how he’d reached this point; he knew it was the way forward too. It’s in scripture as sound advice for us all.

First, we’re to notice our implied weakness, in contrast to ‘Yahweh and His strength’. So the wise depend on Him, rather than themselves, understanding that even ‘the weakness of God is stronger than men’(1 Corinthians 1:25), infinitely so! This psalm recalls when Israel ‘were but few… in number… very few’(1 Chronicles 16:19), going ‘about from nation to nation’(1 Chronicles 16:20), reduced even to slavery, in Egypt. However, by David’s time God had freed them from that, brought His people into their promised ‘“land”’(1 Chronicles 16:18), then taken David from tending ‘“‘“sheep”’”’(2 Samuel 7:8) to crown him as king over Israel. David recognised how this had happened: ‘“Who am I, Yahweh God, and what is my house, that you have brought me this far?”’(1 Chronicles 17:16). He understood his utter dependence on God’s providential grace and power. For example, when confronting Goliath he’d announced, ‘“You come… with a sword… a spear, and… javelin; but I come… in the name of Yahweh”’(1 Samuel 17:45). Jesus taught the same: ‘“apart from me you can do nothing”’(John 15:5), and the prophets too, i.e. it’s not ‘“‘by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says Yahweh”’(Zechariah 4:6).

So this was David’s approach, and it’s wisdom for us all. His key was to depend on God, not his own strength. In fact our weaknesses can even help, as the Lord taught Paul: ‘“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”’(2 Corinthians 12:9). So Paul adopted the attitude: I will… glory in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest on me’(2 Corinthians 12:9).

Moreover, we should note that God provides not only the power, but the plan as well. This psalm celebrates how that had unfolded through ‘Abraham… Isaac… Jacob…’(1 Chronicles 16:16-17) etc., and also highlights that He’s the only true God, over all ‘nations, “Yahweh reigns!”’(1 Chronicles 16:31). This means that trying to enact any other plan is folly, in effect ‘“fighting against God!”’(Acts 5:39). It stands to reason therefore that we should seek His plan, in addition to ‘His strength’, which obviously involves seeking ‘His face’, as this verse continues.

So where to look? The main place is His word. God advised even the likes of Joshua: ‘This book… shall not depart from your mouth… meditate on it day and night… observe… all that is written in it’(Joshua 1:8, cf. v7); then, properly directed, he could be ‘“strong and courageous… for Yahweh your God is with you wherever you go”’(Joshua 1:9). The Israelites’ first attempt at bringing the Ark into Jerusalem had ended disastrously because they didn’t follow the way ‘Moses commanded according to Yahweh’s word’(1 Chronicles 15:15, cf. v13) written centuries earlier. So, we’re to review the ‘works that He has done… the word which He commanded’(1 Chronicles 16:12-15), as this psalm both recommends and demonstrates. Then we’ll find His face and guiding hand, and find that ‘those who wait for Yahweh… renew their strength… mount up with wings like eagles… run’(Isaiah 40:31) ‘with perseverance the race’(Hebrews 12:1) marked out for them, and ‘finish’(2 Timothy 4:7) well.

However, we mustn’t miss the fine tuning that God provides as well, marking out our individual lanes. For example, Esther responded to Mordecai’s inspired observation ‘“Who knows if you haven’t come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”’(Esther 4:14), then found the strength to run her course. Similarly, Paul and his companions were directed by nudges from ‘the Holy Spirit… to go… to Macedonia’(Acts 16:6-10). Such nudges can take many forms, not least guidance through prayer.

The observant will note that the lives of Joshua, David, Esther and Paul demonstrate another aspect of this reliance on God – it’s not passive! We’re to deploy/‘employ… the strength which God supplies’(1 Peter 4:10-11), including using various gifts and abilities He blesses us with too – in a way ‘strengths’. So there’s a subtle balance understand here.

Finally, we should note the role of joy in this, since ‘“the joy of Yahweh is [our] strength”’(Nehemiah 8:10). So let’s ‘Sing… rejoice. Seek Yahweh and His strength…’(1 Chronicles 16:9-11), always ascribing the ‘glory’(1 Peter 4:11) to Him.

Please feel free to share this via social media etc.

(or anywhere else)

by copying/pasting its URL link: https://etheldreda.net/1-chronicles_16_11/

if you’re on Xtwitter,
please do let me know @etheldredanet

(This website currently does not have social media share buttons, to avoid using cookies – see Privacy Policy.)