Archive for October, 2007

1 Chronicles 25

 At first read I thought 1 Chronicles 25 was going to be a yawner.  Another list of names – this time associated with leading worship for the Levites.  But as I reflected on it, God gave me a couple insights that seem rather important.  First of all, David is involved here in the selection.  “David and the worship leaders selected some”.  He was king after all.  This seems like a rather trivial thing for a king to get involved in – the selection of the worship team.  But not really.  These folks set the tone for everyone.  I don’t know if your church has a worship team, but I know on Sunday mornings at our church this group makes all the difference on how people get ready to meet God.  It was true for David’s time too, and he understood that importance.  The second thing that jumped out at me was this: they were doing “divinely appointed work”.  Not only did David care, but God has something to say here too.  This worship stuff is important to Him and these people were appointed by Him to make a difference.  But the biggest thing that jumped off the page at me was when they selected the 288 well trained masters in music.  They assembled the best of the best – “well trained in sacred music, all of them masters”.  That is one big band.  But look at what scripture tells us: “They drew names at random to see who would do what”.  If you know any really good musicians, they normally are not the easiest folks to manage or work with.  They want things just right and their way because they have earned that ability and position.  But in God’s band – David assembles the best 288 musicians and draws names to see who does what.  Can you imagine the revolt today if someone tried that.   But even more important, I think it sets the tone for service that we all need to take guys.  When you sign up to serve God at church or anywhere for that matter – does your service come with “strings attached” (and I am not talking about the instrument strings here)?  Mine often does.  I’ll serve if…..not exactly the way God wants us to serve.  His plan is to do it just like these musicians.  As another bible verse says “Here I am send me”.  No strings……

1 Chronicles 24

1 Chronicles 24 is a list of names from the Levites.  Nothing really jumps out from the list other than the fact “They served in this appointed order…..following the procedures laid down”.  Sometimes following direction is the best thing to do.  I have to admit that my style is more to be outside those lines, but in some cases, probably many cases, obeying the rules and following the procedures is a good thing.  Aaron had taken the direction from God on how the Levites were to act.  So in reality, these folks were obeying God’s direct orders.  That is always a good thing for us to do.  We need to be tuned in and on track with what God has in store for us.  Are you a rule follower?  Do you walk in obedience to the rules set forth?  Do you know the rules so you can obey them?  Sometimes we want to plead ignorance to even what the rules are.  But God has given us a huge percentage of what we need to know in His word.  Are you in the Word so you know what and how to obey?  The Levites set the standard for us here – and we need to set the standard for those we lead.  We are not our own, we were bought with a price and we need to be focused on walking with Him in that relationship of obedience, following the procedures He laid down for us.  Let it be so in your life and mine…………

 

1 Chronicles 23

 1 Chronicles 23 is all about getting things in order to pass to Solomon.  I relate to how the chapter begins: “When David got to be an old man”….sounds familiar to me – how about you?  David is running out of steam here but as part of preparing things to pass on to Solomon, he is continuing to put things in order.  Now he is getting the leadership aligned and efficient.  He brings them all together and there are 38,000 of them.  So often when I read scripture I think that the world we live in is just so different than it was then.  But think about it – David is leading all of Israel and the leadership of that is 38,000.  He is leading a whole bunch of people here – this is no small task.  And he does not have email, phones, internet, TV, radio….really an amazing task.  David “sorted them into workgroups….divided them into groupings”.  He took his leaders and put them together in smaller groups that could get things done.  He had to identify and delegate.  Hard lesson to learn, harder to actually do.  But it was the only hope of setting Solomon up for success.  We have to invest in building leaders guys.  We only do that as we let go of some tasks and pass them to others.  It is scary at times, downright petrifying to me at others, but leadership is about building others to help carry the load.  David is doing that here as part of the transition plan.  He is putting the foundation in place to drive success.  It is a great lesson for us.  Are you preparing people to do the work, not only at work, but the work of the ministry as well?

1 Chronicles 22

David has prepared the way for Solomon to build the temple.  But before he turns him loose on that task, he has some direction for his leadership.  He tells asks that God will give him “discernment and understanding….so that you will rule in reverent obedience”.  What a great prayer and a clear direction.  Seek God for discernment and understanding and then use that to lead with reverent obedience.  David goes on to say: “that’s what will make you successful, following the directions and doing the things that God commanded”.  Guys – here is the formula for success as a leader.  Follow what God says – be obedient.  It is not magic, it is pretty darn straightforward.  David tells Solomon four specific things that make up obedience:

1. Courage

2. Take charge

3. Don’t be timid

4. Don’t hold back

What a great set of guidelines to follow.  If we just lead this way, if we learn to lead like Jesus did, we can be fantastic leaders that will make a mark on history.  But the great ones did it God’s way.  It wasn’t about Jeff, or Phil, or Zach, or Dave, or even Arlin.  It is about God and his way.  It is how David ends this chapter – telling Solomon the key is to do it “in honor of God”.  It is all about Him and serving Him guys.  We can’t lose sight of our task.  Along the way we have to make sure our heart lines up with that.  Now go do the right thing!

1 Chronicles 22

David is getting ready to pass the torch to Solomon as the next leader.  David has spent most of his life fighting the enemies of Israel.  But now he moves to more strategic planning.  Check this out: “I’ll get the construction materials together”.  Guys – David is moving from being on the battle front to making sure he passes leadership to Solomon and sets him up for success.  David has been prevented from constructing the temple he so desperately wanted to build.  God told him no.  It was to be built by his son.  So “David prepared a huge stockpile of building materials before he died”.  That is leadership.  This wasn’t his task.  It wasn’t his responsibility.  But he took it upon himself to make sure that Solomon would not only succeed but build an unbelievable temple to honor God.  He is investing in the future to make sure that his son will be successful in his future.  What an example guys.   Do you think about the next leader that will come behind you?  At home as your kids leave the nest, or at work as you either step down or empower others to step up?  How about at church or community responsibilities?  Are you focused on putting the building blocks in place for their success?  That is the mark of a real leader.  They are not focused only on the present and their responsibilities for the here and now, but also on the success of whatever they are leading for the future.  David sets the example and a pretty high bar for us to attain guys.  We have to really be thinking ahead to make sure that those who follow are set up to succeed.  What a legacy to leave behind – helping the future succeed…..

1 Chronicles 21

 Remember that in the first half of 1 Chronicles 21 – David was seduced by Satan and sins.  God gave him three choices as punishment for his sin.  David chooses now – he wants to be hit by an “epidemic” which kills “70,000 Israelites”.  As the angel of death approaches Jerusalem to continue the punishment, God intervenes and halts things.  Sort of seems like a time out to me – to see what David would do based on the pain so far.  Here is David’s response: “Punish me, not them, me and my family; don’t take it out on them”.  Guys – here is what intercession looks like along with taking responsibility for one’s actions.  David knew he screwed up and this killing was a result.  He also did not pass the buck – he steps up and says to punish him.  Intercession is when we are willing to step in the middle and become the responsible party.  We see it in scripture over and over.  Moses did it when he interceded for the people offering his life if God would spare them.  Jesus did it for us and paid the ultimate price.  David shows leadership here.  He owns up to his mistake and offers to pay the price rather than let it flow down any longer to his people.  That is real leadership.  No finger pointing, no excuses.  God stops the killing and tells David to build an altar – check out his response: “David did what Gad told him in obedience to GOD’s command”.  Immediate and complete obedience.  Here is the essence of it – and why David was one of the beloved in scripture – not because of his perfection – but because of his willingness to obey when he was clear on what to do.  Not only did he build it like instructed – he also was unwilling to compromise in the process.  Araunuh was trying to be a faithful man in the kingdom and offered to give David what he needed to be obedient.  But David didn’t make that mistake: “I’m not going to offer GOD sacrifices that are no sacrifice”.  David pays full price and makes sure that his obedience was complete – that he offered God true sacrifice and made things right.  The temptation would have been to cut corners and sort of obey.  David learned from his mistake and went all the way to obedience God’s way.  Leadership is a big deal guys.  70,000 people died because their leader made a mistake and was deceived by the enemy.  The decision to take a census seems pretty innocent except that underneath it all was a lack of faith and in effect, disobedience to God.  How we live matters!

1 Chronicles 21

In 1 Chronicles 21, things start off badly.  I could tell after the first few words it was gonna be a bad day for David.  It starts like this: “Now Satan entered the scene”.  Guys – this takes place over and over every day.  He is in our scenes.  He is out to do the same to you and me that he did to David – catch this: “Satan…seduced David”.  He didn’t come blaring in and pick a fight.  He came quietly and seductively and got David to fall.  What was the sin?  “David gave orders…I want to know the number”.  He wanted to have a census taken of how many were in the kingdom.  Why?  Pride.  No real need for it.  No value to be gained – David wanted to know just because – because it would make him feel powerful to know.  Poor decision but a key to Satan’s approach in our lives.  He wants to seduce us in these seemingly harmless ways.   But “God, offended by the whole thing, punished Israel”.  So David’s poor judgement really caused a big problem.  “The David prayed, I have sinned badly….substituting statistics for trust, forgive my sin, I’ve been really stupid”.  It didn’t take long for David to get it, but it was too late.  The sin was committed and the cost already in motion.  David screwed up and there was a price to pay, not by him, but by all of Israel.  That is the responsibility we carry as leaders guys.  We are accountable for what we do and it impacts those we lead.  Sin always is a bigger issue than it appears on the surface.  It always goes deeper than we want it to go and affects way more people than we want it to.  There is a cost to sin and it is huge.  David found out.  God told him to pick one of three punishments:

1. three years of famine

2. three months of running from enemies

3. three days of the sword of God

How would you like that decision on your plate?  David has to choose one.  Tomorrow we will find out which, but remember how it all started?  “Satan entered the scene”.  How do we prevent that?  By walking moment by moment with the Father.  Darkness can not enter where there is light.  If we will discipline ourselves to walk with our God moment by moment, day by day, we can keep the enemy at bay.  We also need to stay prayed up and be praying for each other.  Satan wants to enter your scene right now.  Will you resist him?  We have the victory and the power over him.  But we have to be plugged in to the source.  That is the key.  Stay connected – to God and each other!

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