“The duty of the Levites was to help Aaron’s descendants in the service of the temple of the LORD…They were also to stand every morning to thank and praise the LORD. They were to do the same in the evening” (1 Chronicles 23:28, 30-31).
Came across this passage in my daily reading of the Bible. The Levites were a tribe of Israel who were tasked with serving at the Temple in Jerusalem. One of their main jobs was to stand in the Temple to thank and praise God every morning and evening. Their job was to thank and praise God on behalf of the people of Israel. It didn’t matter whether they felt like it or not. This was their job.
But what if they didn’t feel like they had a reason for praising God? What if they were having a really bad day? How were they supposed to praise and thank God when the last thing they were feeling was thankful?
While these questions may seem relevant, they are wrong because they are starting with a false assumption.
Let me explain.
For us moderns, we start with our personal experience, feelings, and thoughts as the basis of all knowledge and truth. So what can be true for you may not be true for me because our personal experiences, feelings, and thoughts may be different.
But, personal experience, feelings, and thoughts are not to be the basis of knowledge and truth for the people of God. For the people of faith, the basis for all knowledge and truth is the reality of salvation. Salvation through Jesus Christ has already happened. Salvation is the basis and the foundation of our reality.
That’s why the most important truth of the Ten Commandments is not the commandments themselves but the phrase, “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery” (Deuteronomy 5:6), which precedes the Ten Commandments. It is because of what God had already done for Israel that, “You shall have no other gods before me…You shall not make for yourself an image…You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God…etc.”
Since God’s salvation is the basis of reality for the people of faith, thanksgiving and praise is ALWAYS appropriate because salvation is something that God has already done for his people. That the people of faith give God thanks and praise him has nothing to do with our personal experiences, feelings, or thoughts. We give thanks and praise because of all that God has already done for us in Jesus Christ.
Just as praise and thanksgiving were the job of the Levites, this is our calling as recipients of God’s grace and love through the cross of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.