Thursday, 29 May 2014

(150) May 30: 1 Chronicles 26-27 & John 11:18-46

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

To discover:­­
As you read consider what individuals are commended for.

To ponder:
Having read of those doing the work of the temple and praising God with music, we now see the other two roles of 23v4-5 detailed. First, the gatekeepers are listed, which included those in charge of the treasuries (26v1-28, see 9v26-28). Here we see the great-grandsons of the esteemed Asaph serving, and clarification of the order of Hosah’s sons. As there were to be 4000 gatekeepers (23v5), the lists seem to be only of the “chief men” or supervisors (26v12). Their gates were assigned by lot. Those in charge of treasuries not only oversaw those of the temple, but the things dedicated after battle by David and his commanders (some of which was given to help repair the temple), and by Samuel, Saul and his commanders. There’s a sense in which gospel ministers are now gatekeepers, guarding access to the temple that is the church, and to the valuable truths of the kingdom (Matt 16v16-20, Matt 13v52). However, the New Jerusalem which is at the same time the temple of God’s presence has no gatekeepers, as the gates will always be open, and there will be no danger of treasures being stolen (Rev 21v22-27).
Second, we read of the officials and judges (26v29). We should probably understand the “work of the LORD” and matters pertaining to “the king’s service” and “affairs” (26v30-32) as the work of the officials and judges. In which case 26v29 refers to this role east of the Jordan with 26v30-32 referring to it on the west. These Levites would not only administer God’s law and so the king’s justice, but judge disputes, collect tithes etc. There is a sense in which the civil and religious spheres were therefore combined in these individuals.
What is striking throughout is that again and again we read of those who were leaders or were appointed because they were “capable” or “able” men, with one being designated a “wise counsellor.” Every Christian has their place in serving Jesus as their king just as these Levites did with David. But he particularly looks for capable, able and wise individuals “with strength to do the work,” and who are willing to take responsibility and lead.
Chapter 27 first records the twelve commanders of twelve divisions of 24,000 men. They were on a rota so that a division would serve one month each year, enabling David to have men ready in case of need. 27v1 seems to include commanders of hundreds and their officers that are not actually specified. However the note that “Perez was chief of all the army officers for the first month” (27v2) suggests the author assumes these within the monthly groups and is only naming the overall commanders. The list of “officers” or leaders of each tribe that follows may be akin to the “heads of families” in 27v1. They were effectively princes.
An intriguing note follows that in sinfully counting the men (ch. 21), David had limited the counting to those over twenty in order not to imply he didn’t trust God’s promise to make Israel innumerable. This suggests David was aware he was doing wrong when commanding the men be counted and so tried to somehow minimise his offence. However, the author is clear “wrath” came on Isael because of what David did. We should therefore guard against thinking we can somehow justify our sin by limiting it in degree or even doing something good to offset it.
The chapter ends showing the various spheres of responsibility David’s officials had, including counsellors, a guardian for his sons, a close friend and his chief commander. Like the church, his kingdom was a body of many parts in which each had its own place and honour (1 Cor 12).

Praying it home:
Praise God for the way he builds his kingdom through gifting everyday individuals. Pray that you would be capable, able, wise and ready to take responsibility.

Thinking further:
None today.
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