Posts Tagged ‘1 Chronicles’

1 Chronicles 29

1 Chronicles 29 has David continuing to set up the transfer of the Kingdom but more importantly the building of the Temple to Solomon.  He doesn’t mince words here, but tells it like it is.  “Solomon my son, whom alone God has chosen, is young and inexperienced, and the work is great, for the palace will not be for man but for the Lord God”. 2 So I have provided for the house of my God”.  David doesn’t paint the picture here that Solomon is a seasoned veteran and can handle this alone.  He is rallying the troops to support his work and make it a reality.  One reason David did so much to prepare for the building of the temple was because he knew that the work was great and required great resources – more than a young and inexperienced king like Solomon could be expected to gather on his own.

But David was also ‘all in’ on this project.  He not only committed resources from the Kingdom, but also his own personal resources.  “In addition to all that I have provided for the holy house, I have a treasure of my own of gold and silver, and because of my devotion to the house of my God I give it to the house of my God”.  It was a long list of his personal treasure, dedicated and given to the work of building the Temple that Solomon will oversee.  David gave all he gave because he loved the house of God. We naturally give to and support that which we love. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  David’s heart was deeply vested in getting God’s Temple built.  He gave a significant amount, and then based on his open handed example, challenged the rest of the leaders to do the same.

Who then will offer willingly, consecrating himself today to the Lord?  Then the leaders of fathers’ houses made their freewill offerings, as did also the leaders of the tribes, the commanders of thousands and of hundreds, and the officers over the king’s work”.    As is usually the case with good leadership, the rest followed and offered their gifts to the work as well.  David brought up his giving – especially the over and above giving – he used it as an occasion to challenge his fellow leaders to also give to the Lord.   And what happens when you give freely?  “Then the people rejoiced because they had given willingly, for with a whole heart they had offered freely to the Lord. David the king also rejoiced greatly”.  There is joy, much joy in giving.  David set the example and others followed, and together they experienced the joy of sacrificial giving.

David bursts into praise to God.  “Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all….now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name”.  They give and then praise the Giver of all things.  There is much to be grateful for, and many blessings to be thankful for.  David recalls the promise of God to his forefathers – Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the faithfulness of God Almighty.  And as they celebrate, “Solomon sat on the throne of the Lord as king in place of David his father. And he prospered, and all Israel obeyed him”.  How could it go any better?  David passes the torch and the people respond with obedience.

1 Chronicles 28

1 Chronicles 28 has David passing the torch to Solomon in a rather big way.  “David assembled at Jerusalem all the officials of Israel, the officials of the tribes, the officers of the divisions that served the king, the commanders of thousands, the commanders of hundreds, the stewards of all the property and livestock of the king and his sons, together with the palace officials, the mighty men and all the seasoned warriors”.  He had a lot of sons from his many wives, and there was going to be no misunderstanding of who would succeed him on the throne.  This was David’s public ceremony handing leadership to Solomon, with an emphasis on the responsibility to build the temple. Despite this, another son of David (Adonijah, in 1 Kings 1-2) tried to take the throne when David died.

David stood up and addressed the entire crowd of leaders.  He made it clear that Solomon’s selection was not just his idea.  This was directed by God with a  specific purpose of building the temple.  “Of all my sons (for the Lord has given me many sons) he has chosen Solomon my son to sit on the throne of the kingdom of the Lord over Israel”.  And then David lets the entire audience know of God’s promise to Solomon.  “I will establish his kingdom forever if he continues strong in keeping my commandments and my rules, as he is today”.  There is a big “if” there, but the opportunity for a kingdom that lasts forever is lying before Solomon.  All he has to do is execute!

David’s charge to Solomon is direct and to the point.  “And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever. 10 Be careful now, for the Lord has chosen you to build a house for the sanctuary; be strong and do it.”    The direction is clear:

  • Know God
  • Serve Him with a whole heart
  • Serve Him with a willing mind

Nothing complicated here.  And the same direction is ours as well.  If we seek Him, we will find Him.  Scripture is clear about that and tells us that over and over.  If we don’t seek Him, we’ll be cast off.

But David didn’t stop with just a ceremonial passing of the torch.  He provided Solomon with the detailed plans on how to build the Temple – detailed drawings and designs to be followed.  It wasn’t going to be for lack of preparation by David if things don’t get done.  David did almost everything for the building of the temple except actually build it. He gave Solomon security, a location, the land, money, materials, supervisory staff, workers, and an organized team to run the temple.  And now he hands over the plans themselves.  The plans weren’t David’s though.  “All this he made clear to me in writing from the hand of the Lord, all the work to be done according to the plan”.  Even as with the organization of the temple servants these practical details were inspired by the Holy Spirit, not by David’s own mind.

1 Chronicles 27

1 Chronicles 27 has David getting detailed about leadership of his army and kingdom.  David has collected “the number of the people of Israel, the heads of fathers’ houses, the commanders of thousands and hundreds, and their officers who served the king in all matters concerning the divisions that came and went, month after month throughout the year, each division numbering 24,000”.  He divided his army into divisions of 24K men, each with a leader.  All these men were prepared, disciplined, and ready at a call.  He did not use mercenaries in his army as was common practice in many kingdoms of the day.  These were all his own people.

There were 12 divisions of 24K each, and “Zabdiel….was chief of all the commanders”.  In addition to the army, “these were the leaders of the tribes of Israel”.  Each tribe had a leader who was appointed by David to oversee things.  This list describes tribal leaders who were not priests or military leaders, but administrators in the civil service of the Kingdom of Israel.  They were to take care of the administration within each tribe.  Political appointees if you will, to oversee things.

David had ordered a count of all the people, but wisely stopped that midstream to obey God’s earlier instruction.  “David did not count those below twenty years of age, for the Lord had promised to make Israel as many as the stars of heaven. Joab the son of Zeruiah began to count, but did not finish. Yet wrath came upon Israel for this, and the number was not entered in the chronicles of King David”.  He didn’t stop in time, as we read earlier about God’s punishment by killing 70,000 people for this act of disobedience.

The rest of the chapter lists out key administrators over a number of areas in the kingdom.  “Treasuries . . . storehouses . . . work of the field for tilling the ground . . . vineyards . . . olive trees . . . herds . . . camels . . . donkeys . . . flocks”:  David had trusted men to oversee these areas, and they were just as important to the kingdom as the more obviously spiritual leaders.  The last leaders mentioned were special roles, very close to the king:

  • Jonathan, David’s uncle, was a counselor
  • He and Jehiel the son of Hachmoni attended the king’s sons
  • Ahithophel was the king’s counselor
  • Hushai the Archite was the king’s friend
  • Joab was commander of the king’s army

1 Chronicles 26

1 Chronicles 26 continues the preparation of handing over the throne to Solomon.  David is placing people in positions to serve people and enable worship. He begins with assigning the gatekeepers.  This may seem like a rather menial task, but it is far from it.  These men had the responsibility for security, both in a practical and spiritual sense. They made sure that only those who were ready to serve and worship God could come to the temple and its associated building. Their work had to be organized and arranged just as much as the work of the priests who officiated at the sacrifices.

Essentially their duty was to make ordinary people aware of the practical limits of holiness, for anyone entering the sanctuary unlawfully did so on penalty of death.  They had a very important responsibility.  And the writer calls out the family of “Shemaiah….with their sons and brothers, able men qualified for the service”.  You might not think that a gatekeeper would need to be able and qualified.  Able men might be better translated, ‘strong men’. The job might entail removal of unwelcome people or objects that were not prepared or right to enter.

These divisions of the gatekeepers, corresponding to their chief men, had duties, just as their brothers did, ministering in the house of the Lord”.  Shemaiah’s was the family of gatekeepers, yet his sons rose to positions of high responsibility because they were men of great ability.  Some would make a distinction between the spiritual work of the temple and the practical work of the temple and regard the spiritual work as more important. The writer here is careful to remind us that the work of these gatekeepers, whose service was more practical in nature, was esteemed by God as just as valuable.  God has created and ordained each of us for important work in His kingdom.  One task is not more important than another.

To determine who would take which gate, “they cast lots by fathers’ houses, small and great alike, for their gates”.  They determined the order and arrangement of the service for the gatekeepers the same way that they determined the order and arrangement for the priests in their service.  David let the LORD decide when it came to organizing and ordering the gatekeepers, and he did not let prestige or position determine their appointments.  The other thing that happened was David set in order the financial organization necessary to oversee the building of the temple, including oversight of the all the riches brought in by David’s conquest of neighboring peoples.  He certainly didn’t miss many details!

1 Chronicles 25

1 Chronicles 25 has David continuing to set up the structure for worship.  Chapter 25 concerns David’s organization of the four thousand Levitical musicians into courses of service that correspond to those of the priests and temple Levites.  “David and the chiefs of the service also set apart for the service….who prophesied with lyres, with harps, and with cymbals”.  Interestingly, the captains of the army took part in the selection and organization of the musicians or “worship leaders” for Israel. David sensed a connection between the security of the kingdom and the worship and honoring of God.

Did you catch the word “prophesied” along with the instruments?  They weren’t just good musicians.  Their service was connected with the dynamic of prophesy in the sense that it was inspired by God. Their ministry in music was not merely the product of good musicianship; it was a gift of the Holy Spirit being exercised through them.  Their music proclaimed God’s word with God’s authority.  It was an important part of the kingdom then, and we need to view music as a sacred part of our worship today too.

The writer calls out “Heman, the kings seer” as someone special.  He is called the king’s seer, either because the king took special delight in him, or because he frequently attended the king in his palace, executing his sacred office there, while the rest were constantly employed in the tabernacle.  Scripture also calls out some anointed men.  “Asaph, Jeduthun, and Heman were under the order of the king”.  These enormously talented and Spirit-anointed men knew how to submit themselves under the leadership of David, under the authority of the king.

We learn that the musicians cast lots for the role of musician.  David didn’t give the choice worship assignments only to the most talented and greatest. He let God do the choosing and it was both a prevention of pride for the great and the teacher, and a learning opportunity for the small and the student.  David wanted it to be God’s choice, not his based merely on human knowledge.  “The number of them along with their brothers, who were trained in singing to the Lord, all who were skillful, was 288”.  The Lord was in charge and David just followed His direction.

1 Chronicles 24

1 Chronicles 24 gets into the details of how Aaron’s sons would serve.  He had four sons, but “Nadab and Abihu died before their father and had no children, so Eleazar and Ithamar became the priests”.  Remember that back in Numbers 10, God judged Nadab and Abihu because they dared to bring strange fire before the LORD, blaspheming God’s commandments for sacrifice.  So that left two sons – Eleazar and Ahimelech – as the families that would be charged with being the sacred officers and officers of God.

David organized them according to the appointed duties in their service”.  David took the descendants of Aaron – the priestly family of Israel – and together with Zadok he divided them into 24 sections, to serve according to the schedule of their service.  The priesthood is divided by lot into 24 sections.  “The scribe Shemaiah, the son of Nethanel, a Levite, recorded them in the presence of the king and the princes”.  David went to great lengths to make sure the plan was in place.

David knew that because there were so many descendants of Aaron by this time, the priests should be divided so they could fairly be assigned the privileged service of the temple.  He didn’t want there to be any confusion.  Clarity is a key leadership skill and David makes sure the assignments and responsibilities are clear.  The number 24 is not random.  The number of twenty-four courses was based on a lunar calendar of forty-eight weeks, with each course serving for a week at a time and thus twice in a year.

The end of the chapter lists the rest of the sons of Levi.  They too, were to provide service but it was not part of the 24 sections.  “The head of each father’s house and his younger brother alike, cast lots, just as their brothers the sons of Aaron”.  There was mingling in the arrangement of the older and the younger men, so that the experience of age and the enthusiasm of youth were mixed together.  David shows much leadership skill and wisdom as he continues to get the kingdom ready to hand over to Solomon.

1 Chronicles 23

1 Chronicles 23 begins with “When David was old and full of days, he made Solomon his son king over Israel”.  I’ve been told that I’m full of things, but this is a nice way to talk about old age – full of days.  David makes the move to put Solomon on the throne before he dies.  That wasn’t the typical transition, which usually happened when the sitting king died.  But David had other sons who might also claim the throne of Israel after his death (especially Adonijah).  He wanted to be sure Solomon was the next king.

David doesn’t just throw the leadership over the fence though.  “David assembled all the leaders of Israel and the priests and the Levites”.  He calls together those whose life was devoted to serving the people and makes sure they all knew the plan and their role.  Service by the Levites began at age 30, so he brings together 38,000 men as part of these assignments.  There were four main buckets of responsibility he dished out:

  1. “Charge of work of the Lord – 24,000
  2. Officers and Judges – 6000
  3. Gatekeepers – 4000
  4. Praises to the Lord with instruments – 4000

He “organized them in divisions corresponding to the sons of Levi”.  He takes it one step further in the process and assigns them leaders among the Levites.  There is little left for chance here.  David obviously wants Solomon not only to take the throne but to come into an organized and well defined machine.  He is working to set up success.  These family groupings were defined hundreds of years earlier, and David was reinforcing the assignments and making sure things were going to continue after he turned over the keys.

  • Gershon: The Gershonites were to take care of the skins that covered the tabernacle itself.
  • Kohath: The Kohathites were to take care of the furniture of the tabernacle including the Ark of the Covenant, the table of showbread, and so forth, under the direction of Eleazar the priest, son of Aaron.
  • Merari: The family of Merari was to take care of the structural aspects of the tabernacle including the pillars, the boards, and so forth

David reminds the people “The Lord, the God of Israel, has given rest to his people, and he dwells in Jerusalem forever”.  It is time for a permanent house of God to be built, which Solomon will do.  And the Levites won’t have to carry all the things around any longer, but rather just serve in the house of the Lord.  “They were to stand every morning, thanking and praising the Lord, and likewise at evening…. keep charge of the tent of meeting and the sanctuary….for the service of the house of the Lord”.  David has things in order for Solomon.

1 Chronicles 22

1 Chronicles 22 has David preparing to hand over the task of building God’s house to his son Solomon.  David is pulling together materials and manpower so his young son can take over the job.  “Solomon my son is young and inexperienced, and the house that is to be built for the Lord must be exceedingly magnificent, of fame and glory throughout all lands. I will therefore make preparation for it”.  David has been told by God that he is not to build the temple.  But he is going to do all he can to set Solomon up for success.

So why not David?  Why did God decide to have Solomon build the temple?  God says “You have shed much blood and have waged great wars. You shall not build a house to my name, because you have shed so much blood before me on the earth”.  David has quite a history of fighting and waging war.  He certainly has had little peace in his life, dating back to his days serving Saul.  So God puts a different plan in place.  Solomon is to be the builder.

He shall build a house for my name. He shall be my son, and I will be his father, and I will establish his royal throne in Israel forever”.  David blesses Solomon with these words: “Now, my son, the Lord be with you, so that you may succeed in building the house of the Lord your God, as he has spoken concerning you. Only, may the Lord grant you discretion and understanding, that when he gives you charge over Israel you may keep the law of the Lord your God. Then you will prosper if you are careful to observe the statutes and the rules that the Lord commanded Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Fear not; do not be dismayed…. Arise and work! The Lord be with you”.  The power of a blessing.  David passes on his blessing to Solomon.

David goes even further and instructs his leaders to get involved.  “David also commanded all the leaders of Israel to help Solomon his son, saying….set your mind and heart to seek the Lord your God. Arise and build the sanctuary of the Lord God, so that the ark of the covenant of the Lord and the holy vessels of God may be brought into a house built for the name of the Lord”.  David is taking every action to make sure Solomon succeeds with the one thing he did not accomplish in his life.  He isn’t leaving it up to change.  David sees this as part of his legacy and wants to be sure it gets done.

1 Chronicles 21

1 Chronicles 21 begins with these chilling words.  “Satan stood against Israel and incited David to number Israel”.  Here we have a man after God’s heart tempted by the enemy.  What Satan is tempting here sounds pretty innocuous – just count the people.  But the principle of Exodus 30:12 speaks to God’s ownership of His people. In the thinking of these ancient cultures, a man only had the right to count or number what belonged to him. Israel didn’t belong to David; Israel belonged to God. It was up to the LORD to command a counting, and if David counted he should only do it at God’s command.

But David goes ahead and tells Joab, his commander of the army to “go, number Israel, from Beersheba to Dan, and bring me a report, that I may know their number”.  Joab pushes back.  Joab tactfully asked David to reconsider this foolish desire to count the nation. He questions why David would order this.  “Why then should my lord require this? Why should it be a cause of guilt for Israel”?  But David presses on and Joab obediently goes and makes the count.  “In all Israel there were 1,100,000 men who drew the sword, and in Judah 470,000 who drew the sword. But he did not include Levi and Benjamin in the numbering”.

The outcome is horrific.  “God was displeased with this thing, and he struck Israel”.  David figures out that he has sinned and confesses before God.  “I have sinned greatly in that I have done this thing. But now, please take away the iniquity of your servant, for I have acted very foolishly”.  But the problem with sin is not removed with confession.  We can receive forgiveness, but often the fallout of that action results in an outcome that is not stopped.  In this case, David’s attempt to intercede merely stopped God’s total destruction.  There were still consequences to his sin.  And God gives him three options to choose from.

What a spot to be in.  God says pick one of these:

  • three years of famine
  • three months of devastation by your foes
  • three days of the sword of the Lord….with the angel of the Lord destroying throughout all the territory of Israel

Certainly no good choices here.  David has to pay a price for his sin, but he gets to pick his own punishment.  He chose the third option – three days of plague – “and 70,000 men of Israel fell”.  All because David chose to disobey God’s command not to count the people.  God was in the midst of destruction when David cries out and intercedes again.  “It is I who have sinned and done great evil. But these sheep, what have they done? Please let your hand, O Lord my God, be against me and against my father’s house. But do not let the plague be on your people”.  God has mercy and David builds an altar to give honor to His mercy at Ornan.  Obedience matters.  David learns a painful lesson here.

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.

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