Archive for the ‘1 Chronicles’ Category

1 Chronicles 20

1 Chronicles 20 gives us a list of victories that David’s army experienced.  In the spring “Joab led out the army and ravaged the country of the Ammonites and came and besieged Rabbah”. Joab was the leader of David’s army, but typically David was still around and part of the action.  Not this time.  “David remained at Jerusalem”.  Do you know why?  A lot happened between David stayed at Jerusalem and Joab defeated Rabbah.  Those words come closely together in scripture, but the drama that occurred was one of the biggest mistakes David made.

What happened when David remained at Jerusalem was so well known that the author did not need to record it. In his leisure David saw a woman bathing, took action on his feelings of lust, committed adultery and made her pregnant, and conspired with Joab to murder her husband Uriah to cover up his crime.  All the while Joab was doing battle on David’s behalf while he’s back at the palace living a life of sin.  Joab won the battle over Ammon and brought home the king’s crown for David.  He also managed to get Uriah killed as per David’s orders.

It’s important to note that David’s sin didn’t take away his crown. Had David refused the voice of Nathan the Prophet it might have. Because David responded with confession and repentance, there was still a crown for his head.  That doesn’t mean he wasn’t accountable for his actions.  It does mean that God is a God of grace and mercy and forgiveness when we come to him with a contrite heart.  We can learn much about how we need to respond when sin impacts our lives.

The rest of the chapter captures the victory over Philistine giants shows that Israel could slay giants without David. “Sibbechai . . . Elhanan . . . Jonathan” were all men that dereated these men of great stature.  These men accomplished heroic deeds after David was finished fighting giants. David had done the first slaying and opened the door to the truth that with God, all things are possible.  God continues to raise up leaders when the leaders of the previous generation move on with life.  These men stepped up and continued the path David had blazed.

1 Chronicles 19

1 Chronicles 19 has Nahash king of Ammon dying and David reaching out to his son to offer condolences.  But the princes in Ammon advise the king “Do you think, because David has sent comforters to you, that he is honoring your father? Have not his servants come to you to search and to overthrow and to spy out the land”?  It’s unclear what caused them to make this accusation, but it was a mistake.  The reality is that David wasnt content to feel kindness towards Hanun. He did something to bring the grieving man comfort.

So Hanun took David’s servants and “shaved them and cut off their garments in the middle, at their hips, and sent them away”.  Humiliating and very disgraceful actions to say the least.  In that time, many men would rather die than to have their beard shaved off, because to be clean shaven was the mark of a slave but free men wore beards.  And cutting their clothing at the waist would have left them naked and more ashamed.  Insulting these ambassadors of consolation was the same as insulting King David.

Hanun realized he had “become a stench to David” so he hires the king from Maacah and 32,000 chariots to join his army for battle with Israel.  David sees the intent, and has Joab put together his army.  There were two fronts that had to be dealt with, so Joab takes some of the men and assigns the rest to Abishai his brother to deal with the Ammonites while he dealt with the Syrians.  Joab tells his army to “Be strong, and let us use our strength for our people and for the cities of our God, and may the Lord do what seems good to him”.

 The Syrians fled – this wasn’t really their battle – so Joab pursued.  When the Ammonites saw them flee, they did the same.  The two leaders let David know that their enemies had fled and David put together his army and killed 7000 chariot soldiers and 40,000 foot soldiers as well as killing the commander of the Syrian army.  The chapter ends with unfinished business at Rabbah. The offending Ammonites are still in their city and Joab has returned to Jerusalem.    

1 Chronicles 18

1 Chronicles 18 has David defeating and subduing the Philistines.  The Philistines had troubled Israel for centuries, and often dominated Israel.  Under David’s leadership, God’s people began to take territory from the enemy.  But it went further as he defeated the Moabites who became servants and brought treasure to them.  God did not want Israel to destroy every neighbor nation. Generally, God wanted Israel to be so blessed and strong that other nations were “taxed” by Israel, in recognition of their strength and dominance.

He also defeats King Hadadezer and then the Syrians.  Scripture tells us the real story of the chapter: “The Lord gave victory to David wherever he went”.  Let’s be clear about these victories.  David was a great leader and warrior, but it is God who gets the glory for what happens.  David was his anointed and blessed leader, but God is the victor.  Then David took what was the glory of the enemy and transformed it into trophies of the power and goodness of God.

He took much gold and bronze and silver as spoils and gave it to Solomon to use for God’s glory.  “These also King David dedicated to the Lord”.  David knew where this victory came from and dedicated the spoils to God and His temple.  David created a great kingdom but doesn’t let the power and wealth go to his head.  “David reigned over all Israel, and he administered justice and equity to all his people”.  He led well and took care of his people.  But he didn’t do it alone.

We see his leadership extend to those key men around him:

  • Joab the son of Zeruiah was over the army
  • Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud was recorder
  • Zadok the son of Ahitub and Ahimelech the son of Abiathar were priests
  • Shavsha was secretary
  • Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and the Pelethites
  • David’s sons were the chief officials in the service of the king

He had a close group of trusted leaders that did the work of the day as David provided the leadership at the top.  And it was a family affair as his sons were part of the leadership team and served in his service as well.

1 Chronicles 17

1 Chronicles 18 has David pondering the need for a house for God to dwell.  “Behold, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of the covenant of the Lord is under a tent”.  David goes to Nathan the prophet with that desire – to build God a house.  But the word of the Lord came to Nathan directing him to tell David that God has a different plan.  “It is not you who will build me a house to dwell in…. I will raise up your offspring after you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for me, and I will establish his throne forever”.

God has a different plan for David’s life.  The task of building God’s temple will fall on Solomon but David is to focus on praising and walking with God.  God promises David an everlasting relationship with him and his son.  David wonders why God has been so generous to him and he goes in and asks the question “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house that you have brought me thus far”?  God’s goodness is always more than we can understand.

David then launches into describing the God we serve. “There is none like you, O Lord, and there is no God besides you.”  We serve the one and only true God.  He alone is worthy of our praise.  David focuses his attention on that reality and tells us that God is “making for yourself a name for great and awesome things”.  Our job is to make sure the world knows the God we serve.  It is to glorify Him and tell the world of His goodness and grace.  We are to make sure his “name will be established and magnified forever”.

That’s what we’re called to do as Christ Followers – to point the world to the God of the universe.  Do you live life pointing to God’s glory?  Do people see God at work in you and through you and know that all that happens in your life is from Him?  We can live one of two ways.  We can take credit and make the focus be on ourselves – claiming the glory as our own for anything good that we experience.  Or we can choose to point all the glory to God, who rightfully deserves it, and be sure the world know that He alone is the source of every good and perfect gift!

1 Chronicles 16

1 Chronicles 16 has David placing the Ark of the Covenant into the Tent of Meeting.  But he didn’t just drop it off and go on with life.  It was a very big deal.  “When David had finished offering the burnt offerings and the peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord and distributed to all Israel, both men and women, to each a loaf of bread, a portion of meat, and a cake of raisins”.  Everyone received something as part of the ceremony to take home – bread, meat and cake.

David also wanted to be sure the Ark would be cared for appropriately so “he appointed some of the Levites as ministers before the ark of the Lord, to invoke, to thank, and to praise the Lord”.  Did you catch that?  Three very specific things that the priests were to do:

  1. To invoke – commemorate or write down in a journal
  2. To thank – call out His goodness and blessings
  3. To praise – remind the people of all that He has done

David is establishing enduring worship and a way to be sure this isn’t a one day event, but an ongoing focus on God.  He puts people in positions where it is their day job to be sure the people were rightly focused on and relating to God.

That worship gets defined more clearly as David delivers this psalm unto the Lord.  It was his song of thanksgiving to God.  “Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! Sing to him; sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works! Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice! Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually! Remember the wondrous works that he has done, his miracles and the judgments he uttered”.  David begins with praise and continues calling how the goodness of God.  He remembers what God has done!

He calls on the priests to do their part of the worship – some doing sacrifices, some music, some singing, some as gatekeepers – but he assigned them to specific tasks to be sure the worship would continue.  He reminds the people that “The Lord reigns” and that they should always “give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever”.  David sets the expectations for how the people should relate to God.  This was the beginning of a way of life. “Then all the people departed each to his house, and David went home to bless his household”.  At the conclusion everyone was sent home to live a new lifestyle with God and His worship an ongoing focus.

1 Chronicles 15

I Chronicles 15 has David ready to bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem.  You’ll recall that he stopped on the last attempt after one of his men touched it to keep it from falling and died.  But now “David assembled all Israel at Jerusalem to bring up the ark of the Lord to its place, which he had prepared for it”.  It was time to get the Ark to its rightful place and David was prepared to do it God’s way this time.  He tried a bit of a shortcut last time and that didn’t end well.

So “David summoned the priests Zadok and Abiathar, and the Levites Uriel, Asaiah, Joel, Shemaiah, Eliel, and Amminadab”.  He calls together all the leaders of the Levite families and says “You are the heads of the fathers’ houses of the Levites. Consecrate yourselves, you and your brothers, so that you may bring up the ark of the Lord, the God of Israel, to the place that I have prepared for it”.  They didn’t just head off to get the ark and bring it up.  They were to prepare and do it God’s way this time.

The plan was much more elaborate than just the men who were to carry the Ark.  There was to be music and dancing and David instructs the Levites to get all those plans in place too.  “Chenaniah, leader of the Levites in music, should direct the music, for he understood it”.  They had men who were ty play the lyre and some on trumpets.  Others were assigned as gatekeepers – it was quite a process.  Once they had the plan fully developed “David and the elders of Israel and the commanders of thousands went to bring up the Ark of the Covenant”.

You’d think this would be a grand celebration, and for most it was.  But there was one strange occurrence.  “As the ark of the covenant of the Lord came to the city of David, Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David dancing and rejoicing, and she despised him in her heart”.  Michal is David’s wife as you may recall, daughter of Saul.  She was unhappy with his actions as a king, dancing and carrying on.  And her dislike of those actions soured her heart toward David.  She missed the blessing of bringing the Ark to God’s place once again!

1 Chronicles 14

1 Chronicles 14 has more about King David and his leadership.  He knew that God was with him.  “David knew that the Lord had established him as king over Israel, and that his kingdom was highly exalted for the sake of his people Israel”.  That is one of the things we need to seek in our leadership – clarity around God’s direction and desire for our life.  David was the man God had selected and anointed.  He was the man God was planning to use to restore his people and lead them well.

But that didn’t mean there wouldn’t be challenges.  “All the Philistines went up to search for David”.  He was the selected king but there was resistance and enemies to be dealt with.  David found out the Philistines were coming, but he didn’t just assemble his army and take them on.  He wisely “inquired of God, Shall I go up against the Philistines”?  Here’s a leadership lesson for all of us.  When faced with a challenge we need to go to God and get direction, not just try and deal with it ourselves.

God hears David’s prayer and strikes down the Philistines.  But they weren’t done being a problem.  They reassemble and decide to come again.  Now it is a real testimony to David’s understanding of his role as leader when we see him again go to God for direction.  Many leaders would just head out to battle to take on the enemy.  After all, they defeated them the first time so it should not be different this time.  But David wisely seeks God’s direction and it was different.  This time he was to wait upon God to act before taking his troops to battle.

When you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, then go out to battle, for God has gone out before you to strike down the army of the Philistines”.  This time God wanted to be sure everyone knew He was doing the work.  So David did as God commanded and waited for the sound of troops before he began to march his own to strike down the enemy.  Another victory, but definitely from God.  As a result “the fame of David went out into all lands, and the Lord brought the fear of him upon all nations”.

1 Chronicles 13

1 Chronicles 13 has David showing us how leaders work.  “David consulted with the commanders of thousands and of hundreds, with every leader”.  We learn a couple important lessons from David.  He recognized he couldn’t lead alone.  He did not even try, but created an organization with structure and authority.  He had his soldiers divided into groups of 100’s and then 1000’s to give command and control functionality.  So the chain of command was very orderly and well defined.

But David doesn’t just communicate with those at the top of the chain.  Notice that he consulted “with every leader”.   David had made his bets on who his key leaders were, but he didn’t lose track of those deeper in the ranks that were leading groups of men as well.  And he knew that ultimately it was the decisions of those leaders in the heat of the battle that would make or break his troops.  The real battle time decisions have to be made in the middle of the chaos so he wanted to be sure they were part of the discussion and knew his strategy.

David’s desire was to return the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem.  So he tells his people “let us bring again the ark of our God to us, for we did not seek it in the days of Saul”.  He wants to go get it, and convinces the people to join that journey.  So they went up to Kiriath-jearim and picked up the ark from the house of Abinadab and placed it on a cart to carry back to the City of David.  Along the way as they came to the threshing floor of Chidon, the oxen stumbled and Uzzah who was one of the drivers of the cart reached out to catch it and was immediately killed by God.

David was angry at God for what He had done to Uzzah.  But it wasn’t David’s call.  “And David was afraid of God that day”.  David decides not to take the ark any further but rather to lead it at the house of Obed-edom the Gittite for three months.  David wasn’t going to take any more chances in transporting it at the moment.  God blessed Obed-edom and his household as a result.  David got a reminder that day that God was still God and in control no matter what structure or design he had for his people.

1 Chronicles 12

1 Chronicles 12 continues the story of David’s rise to king.  We learn more about the men who surrounded him as warriors.  “They were bowmen and could shoot arrows and sling stones with either the right or the left hand….mighty and experienced warriors, expert with shield and spear, whose faces were like the faces of lions and who were swift as gazelles upon the mountains….the least was a match for a hundred men and the greatest for a thousand”.  These guys were the real deal.  They could handle any enemy.

But it goes far beyond that.  After the basic group of his mighty men were formed, “from day to day men came to David to help him, until there was a great army, like an army of God”.  David shows the telltale signs of a good leader.  He was like a talent magnet.  Everyone wanted to be part of his team.  There were tens of thousands that came, actually over 200K before it was all done.  And they weren’t the lowly warriors, but chiefs and commanders and leaders from the different tribes.  It was quite an army.

The list of men who were committed to David is impressive.  They were “seasoned troops, equipped for battle with all the weapons of war”.  These men were ready for action.  Are you in the ranks of God’s army?  Are you prepared for battle, ready for a fight, seasoned and equipped?  Scripture tells us in Ephesians 6 about being prepared for spiritual warfare – a battle we are all right in the middle of as believers whether we recognize it or not.  And as the days go by there is little doubt we are moving quickly into a cultural battle too.  Are you ready?

Scripture also tells us these warriors had “singleness of purpose”.  They had one thing on their mind – to serve their leader and kind.  “All these, men of war, arrayed in battle order, came to Hebron with full intent to make David king over all Israel”.  They were ready to fight but wanted a single leader they could all follow.  So they went to Hebron to make David king.  And as they did, the rest of the people followed.  “Likewise, all the rest of Israel were of a single mind to make David king”.  Leadership matters.  It was important to these men, as self-sufficient and talented as they were as warriors, to have a leader at the top.  They know that together they are much stronger and more powerful when united behind one.  And when David accepts the throne, “there was joy in Israel”.  People understood the power of having a great king!

1 Chronicles 11

1 Chronicles 11 has the story of David becoming King of Israel again.  They bring him to Hebron and say “You shall be shepherd of my people Israel, and you shall be prince over my people Israel”.  Saul is dead and the people want a new king.  They admit that David actually has already done some amazing things for the kingdom, so it was a pretty simple decision.  David accepts the position and moved to Jerusalem where “David lived in the stronghold; therefore it was called the city of David”.

Samuel had told the people God’s plan for David to become king.  He was chosen by God, and “David became greater and greater, for the Lord of hosts was with him”.  But he didn’t become king solely because of his skill.  These three characteristics should mark anyone who leads God’s people:

  • A leader must belong to God’s people in heritage and heart.
  • A leader must demonstrate capability to lead.
  • A leader must have an evident call from God.

David fit the bill in all three cases.  He had the call, the heart and the ability to lead.

The balance of the chapter talks of David’s mighty men.  There were thirty in all, and they were the faithful that enabled him to lead.  David was nothing without his mighty men, and they were nothing without him. He was their leader, but a leader is nothing without followers – and David had the mighty men that chose to follow him. These men didn’t necessarily start as mighty men; many were some of the distressed, indebted, and discontent people who followed David from his early days.  But they were the secret to his success.

The thrity were broken into two parts.  There were three that were closest to him.  These three remained his inner circle.  The list of accomplishments and victories they had is impressive, killing hundreds of enemy soldiers themselves and other remarkable wins.  But there were other key leaders among his mighty men, and they had different responsibilities in leading.  We see the entire list here and some of the accomplishments they made.  David was a great leader in his own right, but he surrounded himself with mighty men that stood with him and helped him achieve his mission and plans.  It’s how things get done – a leader surrounded by able folks that are willing to be part of the mission and drive toward the goal!

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