Saturday, 24 May 2014

(145) May 25: 1 Chronicles 11-13 & John 9:1-23

Ask God to open your mind, heart and will to understand, delight in and obey what you read.

To discover:­­
As you read consider the different ways allegiance to David is shown.

To ponder:
The theme throughout is that of allegiance to David. This may be to stress that post-exilic leaders in Judah should be from his line. The term “all Israel” reflects the universality of this allegiance. So “all Israel” gather at Hebron to crown him, affirming, against any tendency to favour one from their own tribe, that David is their “own flesh and blood,” the one who led their campaigns under Saul and the one God had declared to be their shepherd-ruler. In every sense he was therefore qualified to be king. So they “anointed” him – the mark of his being set-apart for God’s service. And it is made clear this is as “the LORD promised” through Samuel (see also 12v23). David was the rightful king and God was with him.
            This is proved by David then capturing, residing in and building up Jerusalem as his capital. This testified to an increase in power that could only be explained because “the LORD Almighty” was with him (11v9). Here we read of the specific allegiance of Israel’s greatest warriors – David’s “mighty men.” They enabled him to extend his kingship over “the whole land,” again, as God had “promised.” So they too were God’s provision and affirmation of his kingship. As in 2 Samuel, the record of their absolute loyalty and valiant exploits would have proved God was with them (11v14) and inspired readers with respect to Judah’s future leadership. It also showed David had his men’s allegiance in part because of his care for them (11v18). It inspires us to consider what exploits we might do for Christ, who gave his life for us.
            Chapter 12 refers to events before David’s coronation, showing those from all Israel defected to David from the beginning, when he was persecuted by Saul. The “stronghold” might be one of a number (see 2 Samuel 23-24). Again, the language is surely intended to inspire (12v8, 14-15), portraying David’s men as fiece, swift, skilled and brave. It is particularly noted that those from Benjamin and Judah (the remaining tribes at the time of writing) joined David. As Benjamin was Saul’s tribe, and Judah his own, meaning its members might not have confidence in him, David’s words were necessary: He will unite with them if they come in peace, but prays God would judge them if they intend betrayal. The Spirit-inspired declaration of 12v18 is key to the whole section. How much more can we be confident that God is for us if we are for Christ (Rom 8v32-39). In his strength we can achieve much.
            David received the men from Benjamin and Judah, and some from Manasseh. It is clarified that at this time David didn’t actually join the Philistines in fighting against Saul, but these men helped him fight raiders. We read his army became like “the army of God,” again suggesting God’s support.
            The text now returns to David’s coronation. Men from every tribe come over to him. Noteable are those who had remained loyal to Saul until then, and those who “understood the times and knew what Israel should do.” The picture is of the kingdom united around David: Those from every tribe are “one of mind” in making him king and so feast with him. And there is joy in Israel. To understand our times is to transfer our allegiance to Christ. Through faith in him, Israel is again united. Indeed, every nation are invited to feast with him at his heavenly banquet in the joy of his kingdom.
            Now king, David shows his uprightness by determining to bring the ark to Jerusalem because under Saul the people had “not enquired of it” – ie. of God by it (see 10v14). Now united, all agree. The story is as in 2 Samuel 6. Despite all God had done for David, it warned him against presuming on God’s commands or holiness. The awesomeness of the LORD with respect to the ark is stressed (13v6). And so because Uzziah didn’t ensure it was transported as God required (Ex 25v14, 1 Chr 15v15, Num 4v15), he was struck down. David’s joy therefore turned to fear, and so he had the ark taken to the house of Obed-Edom. The fact that the LORD then blessed everything Obed-Edom had, proved that as long as his commands and holiness were respected, his presence would still bring blessing. As before, Ananias and Sapphira make the same point (Acts 5).

Praying it home:
Thank God for the coming joy of Christ’s kingdom. Pray for courage to serve him wholeheartedly.

Thinking further:
None today.
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