God RESPONDS when we WORSHIP in ‘ONE ACCORD’
May 3 Bible Reading: 2 Chronicles Chapters 4-6
"And it came to pass when the priests came out of the Most Holy Place (for all the priests who were present had sanctified themselves, without keeping to their divisions), and the Levites who were the singers, all those of Asaph and Heman and Jeduthun, with their sons and their brethren, stood at the east end of the altar, clothed in white linen, having cymbals, stringed instruments and harps, and with them one hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets--that the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God." (2 Chron. 5:11-12, 13-14)
When we examine the priestly duties as assigned by God through Moses, the priests falling under the lineage of Aaron were divided into twenty-four families. Each family would thus come from its ancestral city to minister in the temple for fifteen days each year (see Luke 1:5, 9). In the similar manner, the Levites were apparently divided in the same manner (see 1 Chr. 24:31). However, we read in the above scriptural passage that during the dedication service of the temple, “all the priests…without keeping to their divisions” meaning that all the priests participated, not just the family that was assigned the priestly duty (v. 11b).
Thus, on the day of the temple inauguration, all the priests participated in the services regardless of their priestly divisions. This solemn occasion was of such great importance that every priest was required to be present for unity. In other words, all the twenty-four priestly families were present (see I Chron. 24) without any regard for the normal rotation of priests that would follow later (see 1 Chr. 24:1–19). The Most Holy Place was normally restricted to the high priest only (Lev. 16:15; Heb. 9:7); but on this occasion the regular priests had entered it to bring in the ark (v. 7).
Likewise, all the Levite singers i.e., all twenty-four courses (see I Chron. 25) were present and were singing, while one hundred and twenty priests were sounding the trumpets (see Num. 10:8). Altogether there were far more than one hundred and twenty priests; the ones numbered here were probably a select group of instrumentalists. Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun were the heads of the divisions of Levitical musicians, and everyone playing the instruments was present as well (see 1 Chr. 6:33, 39, 44; 15:17; 16:37, 42; 25:1).
The Ark of the Covenant was first installed in the Most Holy Place beneath the wings of the cherubim (5:7–10). That is when the priests withdrew and the Levitical choirs lifted up their voices in praise. With all the Levites and the priests assembled at the east end of the altar started praising and thanking the Lord for His goodness and mercy, the glory of the Lord filled the temple in such a manner that the priests could not minister inside. This signified that God was pleased and had personally come to dwell among His people in this symbolic way (5:11–14; compare Exod. 40:34–35). Israel was now experiencing a new beginning with new possibilities!
The Word of God makes it clear that God notices and responds when we worship Him in one accord! Our worship may be as formal and elaborate as the ceremony to dedicate the temple (2 Chr. 5:12–13), or, it may be as simple and spontaneous as the worship of the early church that is described in these words: "When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place" (Acts 2:1). As they were worshiping with their minds, hearts, thoughts and actions in one accord, suddenly God responded, and this was what happened right after: "And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:2-4).
It should be noted that when the musicians’ harmony in pitch and purpose brought the ceremony to its climax during the temple dedication (2 Chr. 5:13), God responded dramatically by blessing the occasion and filling the temple with His glory and presence (5:14). In the similar manner, God will respond to our worship with similar assurances of His presence and power (see Acts 4:31). We should therefore “come before His presence with singing” (Psalms 100:2); “enter His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise” (100:4). Let us be clear that what matters is not the setting or the program so much as the content of the worship and the united heart attitude of the worshipers. God responds when we worship Him in one accord!