Our Priestly Service
1 Chronicles 16:4
We are a royal priesthood (1 Pet. 2:9).
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.
Every Christian is a priest before God.
Our High Priest is Jesus.
We often fail to realize the magnitude of what this means.
One way is to consider the role of the priest in the O.T.
Time fails us to talk about every role of the Levitical priesthood, but one verse sums it all up (1 Chron. 16:4).
This is by no means a detail or exhaustive list, but it gives us a basis to consider our roles and responsibilities as Christian priests.
They were to minister before the ark of the Lord (of the covenant).
This was something that needed daily attention (1 Chron. 16:37; Lev. 24:1-9).
The Hebrew word (שרת – sharath) means to minister or serve.
They made daily sacrifices.
The area had to be cleaned.
The incense had to be renewed.
The lampstands needed tending to.
The showbread needed to be taken care of.
There was a lot of work that needed to be done before the ark of the Lord.
I’m sure much of the work we aren’t aware of.
The Christian priest is to work!
There is a lot that needs to be taken care of.
This can vary from congregation to congregation based on needs.
We always need people to serve during worship, e.g. at the Lord’s table.
We have been having difficulties with the pandemic getting things started again, but as we do, well, there’s plenty for us to do!
But we are never to rest on our laurels and be lazy.
Fall just began, and there is so much to do.
While the Hilltop Fall Festival has been canceled, we still have our door-knocking campaign coming up that same day on Oct 2, and I pray we get the name of the church out there.
There are always souls to save (Matt. 9:37).
“The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few.”
Commemoration in the Old Testament.
This Hebrew word (זָכַר – zakar) can also mean “to remember” – KJV says “to record.”
When we look at the psalm that David gave to Asaph, twice this word is used (16:12, 15).
“Remember His marvelous works …, His wonders, and … judgments” (16:12).
It is so important to remember what the Lord has done.
This is why we study biblical history.
So we can know that He is God through His mighty works.
So that we can be aware of His judgments and to avoid them.
“Remember His covenant forever, The word which He commanded” (16:15-22).
Not only do we remember history, but we remember His law.
We learn how it came to us.
We learn how we ought to conduct ourselves.
We learn about the history of God’s people.
This builds community and culture to have this shared past.
What are we to commemorate/remember as Christian priests?
All the things we have talked about.
We should learn of our history, the history of God’s people (2 Tim. 2:2).
And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
This helps us to learn from it.
But when we think of a commemoration, what do we often think of?
The Lord’s Supper.
“This do in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:19).
This reminds us every week of what Christ did for us (1 Cor. 11:26).
This is the responsibility of every Christian to keep this in mind every week.
It helps us to focus on Him and to never forget.
We are creatures that so easily forget.
The Israelites so exemplify that forgetfulness in the wilderness.
The Israelites had a lot to be thankful for.
That Hebrew word (יָדָה – yadah) also means to profess, to celebrate!
They owed everything to God.
He rescued them from famine in Jacob’s time.
He brought them out of slavery in Egypt.
He gave them the Law so that they might live in His statutes.
He fought for them to conquer the land of Canaan.
He raised up judges to deliver them from oppression.
He gave them the godly king David to lead them.
Not to mention the same things we have today.
The creation: birds, trees, cattle, flowers, rain, sun, moon, air.
Our friends and families—people that we love.
The food that we eat.
In that psalm David gave them, the purpose was to thank the Lord (16:7).
The opening line cries out thanksgiving to God (16:8).
And it ends with thanksgiving because He is good and His mercy endures forever (16:34).
They were to be delivered for the purpose of giving thanks to God (16:35).
All the people said “Amen!” (16:36).
We have a lot to be thankful for, too.
We have discussed some of them already: creation, people, food.
But we have one thing they didn’t have.
Full forgiveness of sins (Heb. 9:26).
He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.
This was given to us through Christ and His crucifixion (Matt. 26:28).
“For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”
There is a reason why many denominations call the Lord’s Supper the Eucharist.
Eucharist is transliterated from the Greek word meaning “to give thanks.”
Jesus gave thanks for it when He offered it to His disciples (Matt. 26:27).
Whenever we partake of the Lord’s Supper, let us always be thankful of what He has done for us.
Yes, His mercy endures forever, and for us, so does His grace.
Grace and truth came through Christ (John 1:17).
For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Christ.
This is not only a show of gratitude, but also a celebration!
This is the duty of the Christian priest! – to minister, to commemorate, to thank …
This Hebrew word (הָלַל – halal) is found twice in this psalm and once right after.
The first time, it is translated in NKJV as “glory” (16:10).
This is not long after the exhortation to give thanks to the Lord.
Songs are to be spoken to Him (thanksgiving/praise) and of His works (commemoration) (16:9).
Not long after, we are told to “remember” (16:12).
Praise is to accompany all of this.
The second time, He is called “great and greatly to be praised” (16:25).
Earlier, we are told to sing to the Lord (16:23-24).
Then the Lord is compared to idols and is shown to be far superior (16:26-27).
He made the heavens—idols cannot do that.
The word for idol (אֱלִיל) is also translated as “of nothing, of naught, empty, vain” – “el” means God, rooted in the word for “mighty.”
David is saying their gods are worthless, but the Lord is great.
The last time is right after the psalm, “And all the people said, ‘Amen!’ and praised the Lord” (16:36b).
Praising wasn’t just a duty of the priests, but of all the people.
They were all in agreement with what was sung in this psalm.
Praising the Lord is still an expectation for Christian priests today.
We all sing together today, not simply saying “Amen” (Eph. 5:19).
Another definition of the word halal is “to boast.”
Paul said that he should only boast “in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Gal. 6:14).
We praise in song, but let us also praise when we take the Lord’s Supper.
In the act that we commemorate, He has made it possible for our sins to be forgiven.
This we should be thankful for and praise Him for.
He has shown great love and wisdom in His sacrifice.
Let us always praise Him for His great love.
Our responsibilities as a Christian priest mean that we are to serve, remember, give thanks, and praise God—let us never shirk from these responsibilities!
If we can grasp the responsibilities of the Levitical priests, we should have a better idea of what our role is as a Christian priest.
Such people were assigned in places like 1 Chron. 16, but such is the responsibility of every Christian to do these four things.
We may serve in various capacities, but we all are to serve.
The Levitical priests had to wash with water before they could minister (Exo. 30:20).
They also had to wear their holy garments (Exo. 39).
We, too, must wash with water before we are eligible to serve.
We must also put on our holy garments.
If you want to truly serve the Lord, truly commemorate His might works, truly thank Him, and truly praise Him—you have to become a Christian first.
So what water and what garments are we to put on?
Baptism—we are to be washed in the waters of baptism where we can contact the blood of Christ.
And when we do this, we put on Christ (Gal. 3:27) – this is our priestly garb.
Only then can we truly serve Him.
Become a Christian today to serve and praise Him!