Synopsis 1Chron 22:9-18 1/23/2020
King David’s chief priority was to build God a magnificent house. And, after the episode at Ornan’s threshing floor, David knew where God’s house should be located.
So, he went about the business of making provision for the construction of the house. He laid up cut stones, wood, precious metals and exotic jewels. Additionally, he gave Solomon instructions and encouragement to get the work done.
Finally, King David directed his highest advisors to support Solomon in his quest to build the temple.
King David & Solomon
King David told Solomon, “Be strong and steadfast. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Of course, he spoke this way because of the preparations that he had made and because of God’s promises that David’s son would build the temple.
Solomon couldn’t lose. He had nearly everything that he needed to build the temple before he even became king.
Be Stong and Steadfast
God has provided all I need for life and for godliness. In fact, He has forgotten nothing. What’s more, all my life He has never failed me.
And yet, like Solomon, I still feel the temptation to fear. Even inexhaustable resources are not enough to solve the problem of faith.
In the end, my only hope is Jesus. It is in knowing the person of God. It is in trusting the persons of God.
“But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, Jacob, and formed you, Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name: you are mine. When you pass through waters, I will be with you; through rivers, you shall not be swept away. When you walk through fire, you shall not be burned, nor will flames consume you.” Isaiah 43:1
Synopsis 1Chron 21:29-22:8 1/22/2020
After his episode with census-taking, King David realized came to realize that God had chosen Ornan’s threshing floor as the place of his permanent home in Israel. And so, with a clear vision for God’s plan, David began preparations.
Of course, the king knew that he wouldn’t be the one to actually construct God’s house – this had been given to him through the prophecy of Nathan. What’s more, he knew that his son Solomon would be the one.
So, he made preparations by collecting the necessary materials. And he also instructed Solomon on what to do. He cast a vision for a magnificent house that would bring God’s glory to the attention of the entire world.
Visions from God
David received a prophecy. And with this, he had a vision of what God’s house should be. So, even though he wasn’t the one to fulfill the vision, he went to work. Even though he knew he would never lay eyes on what he hoped for, he made the provision for the one who would.
Legacy of Vision
Jesus left to me a vision. My legacy is to love. And if I chose to enter into His vision, I enter in knowing that I will never see a complete unfolding of what He has in mind. Sometimes I find that disturbing. I want a completed house. I want to share in that kind of satisfaction.
Yet, stone on stone, we are all called to build. And this isn’t for nothing. The work isn’t meaningless. No, the lack of an “end in sight” just means that the whole project is much bigger than I could ever fathom.
“Find your delight in the LORD who will give you your heart’s desire. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will act. And make your righteousness shine like the dawn, your justice like noonday.” Psalms 37:4-6
Synopsis 1 Chron 21:18-28 1/21/2020
Ornan the Jebusite owned the threshing floor where God’s angel loitered. So, King David went out to the threshing floor. While there, the prophet Gad commanded David, in the name of the Lord, to build an altar.
Accordingly, David purchased the threshing floor, the oxen, and the grain from Ornan. And there he built an altar. Next, he prepared the sacrifice. And afterward, fire descended from heaven and consumed the sacrifice that David had offered.
After the sacrifice, David observed that God’s angel returned his sword to its sheath. And so, he perceived God’s blessing with that place. As a result, he continued to offer sacrifices at the threshing floor for the rest of his life.
Ornan’s Threshing Floor
The threshing floor where David offered sacrificed was located on Mount Moriah. So, the whole strange episode of David’s illicit census and the resulting plague had the net effect of bringing the tabernacle sacrifice to Mount Moriah.
God Works in Strange Ways
The expression roles off my tongue. But the reality of God’s strangeness isn’t something that I ever anticipate. No matter how much experience I may have, I continue to think that God ought to behave in a way that seems reasonable and rational to me.
So, perhaps that greatest dimension of God’s strangeness is that I keep thinking that He thinks as I do. I have to learn to be OK with His greatness.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways—oracle of the LORD.” Isaiah 55:8
Synopsis 1Chron 21:8-17 1/20/2020
The prophet Gad rebuked David for conducting the census. After which, King David acknowledged the wrong. As a result, God offered David one of three options for a punishment. Rather than famine or the pursuit of enemies, David chose a plague that would last for three days.
David put on sackcloth and ashes in lament for his sin. But the plague hit with ferocity. And very soon, seventy thousand people died.
As the plaguing angel approached Jerusalem, God stopped its advance. At about that time, King David spotted the angel hovering in the sky near the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. And so, he went out to meet the angel. Simultaneously, David prayed to God to stop the plague.
King David Accountable
As king, David was responsible not only for his own behavior, but for the behavior of the entire community. He was, as social-contractarians have recognized, the embodiment of the state. Accordingly, to the extent the state commits sin, the sin falls on the leader.
Leadership & Accountability
The great onus of leadership is accountability.
“If I preach the gospel, this is no reason for me to boast, for an obligation has been imposed on me, and woe to me if I do not preach it!” 1Cor 9:16
Synopsis 1Chron 20:5-21:7 1/16/2020
After David had brought Aram under subjugation, war broke out against the Philistines. Goliath’s brother had become a leader in Gath. And he led the Philistines against Israel. However, he was soundly defeated.
And so, Israel experienced peace on all its borders. But with peace, David became tempted. As a result, he was motivated to count the people in a census.
Even though Joab discouraged the command, David ordered the census. So, Joab conducted the census as ordered. Once the report came in, God’s wrath flared against Israel and David.
David was a king – a powerful man with an important job. So, he wanted to understand his resources. He wanted to know what he had to work with in the case of any eventuality.
But God is a God of simple obedience. After all, following God is essentially a faith walk. It’s not a “rolling of the dice” in a strategy game. Instead, it’s agreeing to obey the voice of another person.
In conducting a census, David chose to administer the nation like any king. As an administer of power, he began to look at the people like pieces on a chessboard, rather than brothers amongst the Chosen People. And this marked a further decline in the relationship between God and the ancient nation of Israel.
When I reflect on this passage, I sometimes find myself wondering, “What’s the big deal?”
But in reflecting in this way, I reveal to myself how far from God’s thinking I can be.
God’s promise to me is the same as it was to King David. If he directs me to do something, then He will provide everything necessary to accomplish His command. And if He hasn’t directed me to act, then I should probably refrain.
Of course, my tendency in taking matters into my own hand is to objectify my relationships with other people. When I feel the pressure to “make things happen”, I effortlessly switch from seeing other people in the light of God’s purpose for them. And instead I begin to see them from the perspective of my purpose for them.
Like David, whenever I look at my circumstances apart from God’s purpose for my life, I automatically objectify other people. I always think in terms of how I can use others to achieve my ends.
And experience suggests this attitude always ends badly.
So, my daily challenge remains to seek God’s will and trust Him entirely.
“My God will fully supply whatever you need, in accord with his glorious riches in Christ Jesus” Phil 4:19
Synopsis 1Chron 19:6-20:4 1/15/2020
Israel was at war with the Ammonites. So, the Ammonites offered money to the king of Aram in exchange for military help. As a result, the Arameans agreed to serve as mercenary forces against Israel.
But Israel’s forces, led by Joab, defeated the Aramean forces at the battle for Ammon. After which, a larger Aramean force gathered. With this, David himself came out to lead the army in battle. And the Arameans were soundly defeated.
David and the Arameans
The Arameans opened themselves up to great injury and loss because they entangled themselves in a fight not their own.
Peacemaker or Busybody?
Disputes happen. But, my experience is that there is a persistent temptation to involve myself in other people’s disputes. And, unfortunately, this often ends badly.
What I think I’ve learned is to check my motive. Is what I intend to do about peacemaking or something else?
“Whoever meddles in the quarrel of another is one who grabs a passing dog by the ears.” Prov 26:17
Synopsis 1Chron 19:6-15 1/14/2020
After his father’s death, the Ammonites made Nahum their new king. Unfortunately, one of his first acts was to offend King David of Israel. As a result, David sent his army to confront the Ammonites. Of course, Joab and his brother Abishai led the Israelite forces.
Nahum knew that he needed help in order to fight Israel. So, he hired mercenaries from amongst the Arameans who lived to the north of Ammon.
As the Israelite army prepared for battle, Joab and Abishai quickly realized that they were caught between the two armies. The Ammonites were located directly in front of the gates to their city. But the Aramean mercenaries were in the open field behind the Israelites.
So, Joab and Abishai made a plan. Joab would take many of the best fighters and attack the mercenaries while Abishai agreed to use the main force to attack the Ammonites in front of their city. They agreed that if either army should become overwhelmed, that the other would come to the rescue.
As it turned out, Joab’s attack on the mercenaries caused them to flee. So, in the end, the whole Israelite turned its attention on defeating the Ammonites. For their part, the Ammonites retreated to the city and shut the gates.
Joab & Abishai
Joab had Abishai’s back – and vice versa. They were brothers in life. And they were brothers on the battlefield. And brothers take care of brothers.
“Got Your Back”
For these brothers, defeat before a common enemy didn’t mean condemnation. Instead, they fought knowing that if one fell, the other would come to the rescue.
And this is the model for me. I’m not put on the earth to judge and condemn my brothers and sisters. I’m here to support and defend.
“Two are better than one: They get a good wage for their toil. If the one falls, the other will help the fallen one. But woe to the solitary person! if that one should fall, there is no other to help.” Eccl 4:9-10
Synopsis 1Chron 18:12-19:5 1/13/2020
King David’s chief general was Joab. And the second in command was Joab’s brother, Abishai. Both men were David’s cousins who had been raised in the same hometown of Bethlehem.
Under David’s kingship, Israel’s army defeated Edom. Afterward, Joab and Abishai subjugated the Edomites.
Sometime later, a nearby king named Nahash, died. He was the king of the Ammonites. And after his burial, Nahash’s son Hanum became king.
King David sent envoys to express condolences to Hanum. However, Hanum suspected that the Israelite envoys were spying out the land in preparation for an invasion. So, he humiliated the men before sending them back to King David.
Hanum’s disrespect incensed King David.
Difference & Two Kings
Hanum was suspicious. In his defense, he was a young man and a new king. So, his decision to accept bad advice isn’t surprising.
But, David was already established as a ruler. Renown as a warrior, he was confident enough in his rule to show grace to a nearby king. Still, Hanum misinterpreted and misunderstood David’s gracious act.
Because he followed God, David didn’t need a pretext to fight against Ammon. If God had directed, David would have simply done it.
Alert or Suspicious
There is a difference between my duty to remain vigilant and my predisposition to distrust.
I have an obligation to those people God has placed under my charge to remain vigilant against real threats.
But I also operate under a mandate to love. And suspicion is poison to love.
The apostle wrote: “Love…..believes all things”. He wasn’t naive – just committed.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1Cor 13:4-7
Synopsis 1Chron 18:1-11 1/10/2020
God promised to sustain David’s kingdom forever into the future. With this, David was emboldened and began to expand the kingdom. He defeated most of the nations that neighbored Israel. And as he did, he exacted booty.
As this continued, David’s power extended further away from the boundaries of Israel. During his reign, he radically increased the strength of his permanent military forces. As a result, he formed an empire out of the neighboring nations who began paying tribute to Israel.
But David always recognized the source of his power. And so, he consecrated the wealth he was accumulating to the service of the Lord.
David and Wealth
King David had a peculiar view on wealth. For, he believed that wealth came from God. And, he believed that the purpose of wealth was to expand the influence of God through the kingdom of Israel.
God is purposefully creative. If follows that He created me with purpose. Like everyone else, I have a role to live out.
In the same way, my circumstances form the context through which I will live out my role. And my financial wealth, like any other kind of wealth, are a part of my circumstances.
God called me to love as He loves.
So, the right use of wealth in my life is to advance the purpose for which I was created. My wealth is to be used to love.
“Consider this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” 1Cor 9:6
Synopsis 1Chron 17:16-27 1/9/2020
King David told Nathan the prophet about his desire to build a house for God in Jerusalem. But, God spoke to Nathan. And through the prophet, he told David not to build.
However, in the same communication, God made a promise to David. Specifically, God promised to David that someone from his family would rule as king over Israel forever. As a result, David felt overwhelmed and humbled.
Yet David gratefully accepted the promise. In fact, after Nathan delivered the promise, David went into the tent and sat in front of the ark of the Covenant. As he sat, David recounted God’s history of doing good to Israel. And there he prayed that God should actually follow through on everything he had said.
David Received God’s Promise
David didn’t ask himself if he was worthy of God’s goodness. He humbly but expectantly accepted God’s gift.
And this was faith.
I Receive God’s Promise
I must be willing to accept God’s promises to me. Of course, my awareness of God’s grace naturally produces humility. For I could never deserve God’s goodness.
But in my experience, expectancy is a rare response to God. And yet, expectancy is the mark of real relationship. When I am relating to another person, I expect them to behave in a certain way. And God is another person.
So, the expectation that God is going to keep His promises to me conveys belief. This is how one person treats another person.
And so, this is faithfulness.
“Indeed, if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, how much more, once reconciled, will we be saved by his life.” Rom 5:10