1 Chronicles 27-29

1 Chronicles 27-29…Do not be afraid.

In today’s reading, imagine on a national scale a church ceremony in which a child is dedicated to the Lord. In this case, the child, Solomon, was old enough to hear something like a sermon and stood on the verge of inheriting a kingship from his father and a covenant from the Lord. David had passed on to his son a solemn charge and building materials he had collected, but that wasn’t all. He also gave him specific plans, including architectural blueprints, temple furnishing designs, and a personnel structure and list of ministry duties for the priests and Levites. Since we see that the Holy Spirit guided David in these plans and actions (vv. 12, 19), we understand that God had extended grace. Though David couldn’t build it, he was allowed to participate significantly in the preparations for the temple. In addition, this passage is reminiscent of Moses receiving the tabernacle plans on Mount Sinai, further evoking themes of authority, identity, and heritage and emphasizing God’s control over Israel’s history.

If David parallels Moses, then Solomon parallels Joshua: “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the Lord is finished” (Josh. 1:6-9). The strength and courage here are not those of the battlefield, but relate to persistence, determination, obstinate faith (Ps. 27:14), and purposefulness.

1 Chronicles 24-26

1 Chronicles 24-26…The gatekeepers.

Men of great character and bravery were needed for this, just as sweet singers were for the service of song. Entrance to the House of God was restricted to a privileged few. Gentiles were excluded from certain courts, and women from another. It was incumbent also to look out for those who, like the publican in the Lord’s parable, might shrink from intruding, and encourage them to enter. Gatekeepers had to combine many qualities, which would be of the greatest service if they could be repeated in each church and chapel of our great cities, for welcoming old and young.

As we consider how to apply this text to our lives, we need to be mainly concerned with the temple of the heart. We surely need a gatekeeper there, for in the inner life there is so much conflict. Godless thoughts pour into the shrine of the soul, and pour out. And often, in the crowd, disloyal and evil thoughts introduce a sense of distance and alienation from God. Whenever our inward sky is overcast, we should question whether some traitor has entered. This is why we need to not only to live in the Spirit, but to walk in the Spirit.

It is necessary also that careful supervision should be exercised over those who unite with the visible Church, or her holiness will become diluted, and her fences broken down. Nothing is more important than the function of gatekeeping for the Church’s purity, which is why church membership and discipline is so important.

1 Chronicles 21-23

1 Chronicles 21-23…God is sovereign over all.

Dualism, that philosophical idea that says good and evil are two equal and eternal forces, is shown to be false in the Word of God in its very first verse. When the Bible says, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1), the words the heavens and the earth are a synonym for “all things.” In the beginning, God created all things; this includes the Devil. Although he is very powerful, Satan is ultimately a finite creature who is by no means a match for our Lord.

Though He created the Devil, God is not in any way culpable for evil. Like everything else, Satan was originally “very good” (v. 31), and how Satan could fall when there was no evil present in creation is a great mystery. Still, we know our Creator cannot be tempted with evil, nor can He ever tempt anyone (James 1:13).

This truth can be seen in this section of 1 Chronicles. Applying material from the books of Samuel to the Israelites after the Babylonian exile, the Chronicler tells us Satan incited David to take a census of Israel (1 Chron. 21:1) even though 2 Samuel 24:1 says God moved David on that occasion. This is no contradiction; it illustrates the doctrine of providence. Since God is sovereign over all, everything that happens is grounded in His plan. David commanded a census because the Lord ultimately planned that he do so, but Satan was used as the secondary cause to incite David. God ordained David’s sin, but He is not to blame for the temptation, for Satan did the tempting. In this case we might say the Lord “allowed” Satan to tempt David in order to clarify the point that God does not stand behind evil deeds in the same way that He does behind goodness.

God is much greater than we are, so He is able to do things that we could never do, such as being sovereign over the Devil without ever being guilty of the Devil’s evil. Knowledge of this truth should not only move us to glorify the Lord but also to be confident that every tragedy we meet will serve a good purpose when all is said and done. If you are going through a difficult time, know that God is using it for your good even if you cannot yet see how. We often respond immediately to good things that happen to us by saying “that was totally God.” However, everything is “totally God,” and when we only see Him at work when we experience good outcomes we misunderstand His attributes and character.

1 Chronicles 18-20

1 Chronicles 18-20…100% God’s sovereignty and 100% human responsibility.

These chapters outline a time in which soldiers, like Joab, did not hesitate to speak freely of God to their companions in arms. As we move increasingly toward a culture in the US where absolute truth is considered divisive and intolerant, casual followers of Jesus will be exposed. Even in the bible belt, there will likely be a cost to following Christ in the coming years, and those who would typically make a hasty profession of faith will have to carefully consider what they are doing.

We are reminded in this section of 1 Chronicles of Joab’s memorable advice to both trust in God and fight tirelessly. David’s General felt that the ultimate issue of the battle must be left to God, but that nothing could absolve him and his soldiers from doing their best. They believed that God was in complete control of the situation, but that they also were completely responsible for acting, and seeking to obey and love Him by excelling in their fighting.

This balance of God’s work and ours is an evidence of understanding scripture clearly. We must believe that God is the ultimate arbiter, but we must seek to speak and act as though the responsibility were entirely on ourselves. To believe that God will do all, and therefore ourselves to do nothing, is as bad as to believe that God leaves us to our unaided endeavors. We believe in the strength and sufficiency of God’s purpose. But, we know that there is a link in the chain of causation which we must supply. This is difficult for us to grasp in our finite human minds, which is why we need to trust the truth of scripture more than our own understanding.

1 Chronicles 15-17

1 Chronicles 15-17…King of the cosmos.

When contemplating His kingly rule, God’s sovereignty is one of His foremost characteristics that we find accentuated in Scripture, and is emphasized here in this section of 1 Chronicles. According to 1 Chronicles 16:31, “The Lord reigns.” That God is sovereign remains unbelievable to those without the eyes of faith. Made in His image, we were created to exercise beneficent rule over the earth and its creatures, tasked to exercise God’s dominion for His glory (Gen. 1:27–28). Had we not fallen, Adam and all his posterity would have continued reflecting the glory that God intended for His creation to this very day. But being in Adam, we all choose to exercise dominion selfishly, chasing after our own ends, grabbing for an autonomous life that values power, wealth, and prestige as ends in themselves (Rom. 5:12–21).

When the Lord sets His grace upon us, however, the righteous dominion we exercise in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit in our families, at work, and in other places embodies the fact that the creator God is sovereign and has made us to reflect His glory. This was particularly true of the righteous old covenant kings. While there was a great temptation for them to take the nation away from the law of God so that they could chase after their own selfish desires, good kings like David did not succumb to this temptation — for the most part — during their reigns. Instead of keeping the eyes of the people on the king’s sovereignty, they acknowledged and directed their people toward the reign of the Lord. We need to do the same, trusting the Lord, and submitting to Him with joy.

1 Chronicles 12-14

1 Chronicles 12-14…Church unity.

The crowning of David secured the unity of Israel. Because all these men of war converged on the chosen king, they met each other, and became one great nation. The enthroning of David was the uniting of the kingdom. This is also the secret of the unity of the Church. We will never be united with the brothers and sisters in our local church unless we believe and live out the gospel. It is as each individual heart esteems the Savior that each will become one with those with whom we’re in covenant community.

Is your heart perfect to make Christ king? We read in 1 Chronicles 12:33 of Zebulon, whose warriors were not of a double heart; the margin says they were “without a heart and a heart.” The double-minded man is unstable in all his ways; he is not to be relied upon in his loyalty or service to his king. The life dedicated to Christ is that of the man whose eye is single. It is only this man who receives anything from the Lord. Let us ask that the thoughts of our hearts would be cleansed by the inspiration of God’s Holy Spirit, that our hearts may be perfect toward Him, and so perfect to all who hold Jesus as King and Head, though they differ from us in minor points, especially within our local body. Different regiments, but one army, one movement, one king.

Let us learn to keep rank, shoulder to shoulder, and in step, with our brethren. Too many like to break the ranks, and do God’s work independently. Fifty men who act together will do greater execution than five hundred acting apart. There is too much of this guerilla fighting. Unity is strength; and in their efforts to overthrow the kingdom of Satan it is most essential that the soldiers of Christ move in rank and keep step. The corporate witness of Christ’s church, particularly the love, unity, and holiness of each local church, is a very powerful witness.

1 Chronicles 9-11

1 Chronicles 9-11…The coming of a King.

On the Sunday opening His Passion Week, Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem riding the colt of a donkey. A large crowd gathered. Excitement was in the air. Was this the Messiah for whom they’d been waiting? To show respect, some spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from nearby trees and placed them in front of Jesus.

Shouts rang out. ‘Hosanna to the Son of David!’ ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ‘Hosanna in the highest!’ (Matt. 21:9). ‘Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!’ (Mark 11:10). ‘Blessed is the King of Israel!’ (John 12:13). In more ways than those present realized, the King had indeed arrived, and He was indeed descended directly from David, the greatest king Israel had ever known.

Have you ever connected Palm Sunday with these chapters of 1 Chronicles? In many ways, the journey to Passion Week started here, as David began his rule over all Israel. Once again, the Word of God delivered by Samuel was fulfilled, though he didn’t live to see it. The anointing of David was realized as he assumed the kingship, first of the south and then of the entire nation.

After Saul’s death, the southern region of Judah confirmed David as king, but the north continued to try to follow the old dynasty. When Abner, the northern military commander, switched sides and joined David, a turning point was reached that resulted in David’s conquest of Jerusalem and rule over all Israel.

David was only 30 years old at the time, but he had already lived an eventful life and waited a long time for God’s promise to be fulfilled. His kingship marked a ‘golden age’ in the history of Israel. More importantly, as we’ve already seen, his family tree will bring to the world God’s gift of His Son, Jesus.

1 Chronicles 5-8

1 Chronicles 5-8…Household unity.

Baal was the idol-god of Zidon and of many surrounding nations. This idol, representing the sun in his productive force, was worshiped with impure and scandalous rites. The introduction of this name into the appellation of one of Saul’s sons indicates the secret root of the declension and consequent misfortunes of that ill-fated monarch. In the earlier part of his reign he was perfect in his allegiance to Jehovah— Jonathan means “Gift of Jehovah”— but as the years went on, he became proud and self-sufficient and turned to Baal.

The name which Jonathan gave his son had another significance. Merib-baal is one who opposes Baal. It is as though he would indelibly, stamp upon his child an undying hatred and opposition to that idolatry which was undoing his father’s character and kingdom. In this choice of his child’s name we also gather the deep-seated piety and devotion of that noble soul, whose heart was true to God amid the darkening shadows of his father’s reign. It was this that probably drew David and him so closely in affinity.

How absolutely necessary it is for the peace of a household that there should be a oneness of devotion to God! Where that is the first consideration, there is peace and blessedness; and that it may be so, it is of the greatest importance that the parents should be constant in their godly allegiance. The ruin of Saul’s home, family, and realm, began in his personal disloyalty to God.

1 Chronicles 1-4

1 Chronicles 1-4…God wants our obedience.

Two basic principles enumerated in the list of names in these first four chapters prevail throughout the OT. Namely, obedience brings blessing, disobedience brings judgment. In the Chronicles, when the king obeyed and trusted the Lord, God blessed and protected. But when the king disobeyed and/or put his trust in something or someone other than the Lord, God withdrew His blessing and protection.

Three basic failures by the kings of Judah brought God’s wrath:

1) personal sin

2) false worship/idolatry

3) trust in man rather than God

Before we quickly move past these failures and assume this was something only experienced in the OT, we need to look at our own hearts. We are guilty of these things daily. So, we need to repent and put our hope in Christ daily. Also, we need to conform our thoughts and hearts to God’s word. Only then can we mature in these areas.