Friday, June 30, 2017

Friday – 1st Chronicles 29 - Gifts from Shadows

David called for a special collection; an offering; a passing of the plate. First, he described to the assembly what he had collected and what he had given (1st Chronicles 29:2-3). Then, with a reminder that the palace (temple) was " ...not for man, but for God," David invited his people to give toward the completion of the project.

Notice the manner in which the people gave. Most importantly, the people didn't give grudgingly or vainly. They didn't have to be coerced to give... 1st Chronicles 29:6 says that what they gave, they offered willingly. And, they didn't give out-of-style clothing, canned pumpkin or worn out vacuum cleaners. They gave gold, silver, brass, iron and precious stones. And 1st Chronicles 29:9 says that " ...the people rejoiced ... because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the LORD..."

Now, check out the vitally poignant thought that is tucked away in verse 15. Concerning returning God's own things to Him, David prayed, "We are strangers before thee, and sojourners... our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding." Gifts from a shadow... meditate on that!  When you and I are dead and gone we will have had little more effect on this world than a shadow has when it passes over the ground. Now, what tangible contribution can a shadow make? Well, momentary refreshment perhaps, that about it.

So anyway, David called for an offering and commanded his people to worship (1st Chronicles 29:20)... as 3000 animals were killed, bled and burned before God on that day. Then, David begged God to bless Solomon with a good heart.  At the end of this chapter, Solomon was king, David was in Paradise and God was honored.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Thursday – 1st Chronicles 28 - God Liked David

1st Chronicles 28:4 gives us a little peek into the recesses of David's heart. Clearly, he felt God's favor; God's smile; God's pleasure. And, he was discernibly touched by the fact that God in mercy and grace had particularly chosen to bless him. "Of all my older brothers," he told the aristocrats, bureaucrats, captains and oligarchs whom he had assembled, "...of all of the men in Israel, in Judah and in the house of Jesse... God picked me! God liked me!" It was a statement indicative of David's continual worship, humility and sincere amazement that his life had been SO blessed by God.

Now, as much as God liked David, He still wasn't willing to just give him anything he wanted. Again, all Dave wanted to build a temple, yet God refused to allow that. So, David did the next best thing. And, in doing that, he prepared his heir apparent (and all of Israel, really) for the wonderful task of temple construction. David even handed him the blueprint showing exactly what had to be done and how to do it (the blueprint, which, incidentally, GOD had given to David - see I Chronicles 28:12 & 19). All Solomon had to do was trust God... and carry out the plan.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Wednesday – 1st Chronicles 27 - Leaders in Israel

This appears to be a fairly exhaustive list of the leaders in Israel who served under King David.  There were 12 captains who served David on duty 1 month out of each year on a monthly rotation.  Each of those men had 24,000 men who were directly connected to them.

There were 12 "tribal leaders" who were also listed here, well, 13 if you include Zadok of the Aaronites... and strangely, Asher & Gad were not mentioned. Instead, Manasseh was given 2 slots due to their divided land possession on both the eastern and western sides of the Jordan River and, Levi is included too... again, twice if you include Aaron's family as an equal unit.

Additionally, David had men who were his delegates who were in charge of each category of his possessions. So there was a boss for each major area of responsibility in Israel: the treasury, the storehouses, the fields and farms, the vineyards and wine cellars, the olive trees, the sycamore trees, the oil cellars, the herds, the camels, the donkeys and the flocks of sheep.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Tuesday – 1st Chronicles 26 - 2 Dozen Guards and More...

According to this chapter, a few of the Levites were porters; gatekeepers; guards. Perhaps these men were responsible for keeping intruders out of the temple. I Chronicles 26:17 & 18 describes the posts for these temple guards, indicating for us that there were 24 of them altogether who stood guard at one time.

Additionally there were some Levites who were in charge of protecting the treasury. Certainly the vault for offerings and valuables rightfully was to be guarded. And, there were certain Levites who didn't work at the temple at all... they had responsibilities out among the people throughout the nation (I Chronicles 26:29).

We all have our place of responsibility (I Corinthians 12:12 - 31). Not all assignments carry the same apparent weight, but all are important. Let us all take our opportunities seriously and do our absolute best to fulfill our function faithfully.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Monday - 1st Chronicles 25 - Romamtiezer's Dozen

In conjunction with the 24 families of priests who were scheduled to serve in the temple for 2 week periods annually (see I Chronicles 24), there were also 24 groups of choir leaders who came for 2 weeks per year as well. These men evidently were responsible for working with the 4,000 musicians who were mentioned in I Chronicles 23:5. So, if those thousands were also divided into 24 groups then the temple orchestra would have had something over 150 active members in it at any given time.  This means that all these men apparently had other duties throughout the remainder of each calendar year which would have kept them occupied between their allotted stints of ministry.

Each group had their particular specialty in music.  Asaph prophesied musically... presumably with psalteries and cymbals... or as we might call them, guitars and drums. Jeduthun and his crew prophesied in thanks and praise to God too, with harps. Heman and his group of experts used horns in their musical preaching. Altogether, with Romamtiezer's dozen and all the rest of the musical leaders, there were 288 choir leaders... with a different 12 assigned to each 2 week period in every year.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Vacation Bible School (VBS)

Dear Friends,

There will be no "3 & 5 to Thrive" devotional installments this week.  Please take your devotional time to pray for our VBS program.

God willing, today we will be studying the creation of Adam & Eve under the title: "God Made You"
Tuesday, we are scheduled to study the story of Rehab the harlot under the title: "God is for You"
Wednesday, we plan to look at the life of Gideon the judge under the title: "God is Always with You"
Thursday, we should examine the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ: "God will Always Love You"
Friday, the role of Abigail in the life of King David is supposed to be our focus: "God Made You for a Reason"

Pray for safety for everyone.
As the truth of God's word is presented, pray that the children will get it.
Ask God to bless the workers with a proper burden, sufficient energy and the wisdom to do our jobs well.
Pray that God will be please, honored and glorified by all that we do this week at GBC.

Dave Talley

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Saturday - 1st Chronicles 24 - Scheduled Worship

Love and worship are normally considered to be particularly beautiful when they are spontaneous. However, that doesn't necessarily mean that there is something wrong with scheduled worship. In this chapter, we find that David scheduled who would lead in worship and when they would do it during each year. And, his plan lasted all the way to the days of Jesus (compare Luke 1:5, 8 & 9 to 1st Chronicles 24:10).

There were 24 families who were assigned to govern the sacrifices in the temple, each for 2 weeks annually... 16 of them were descendants from Aaron's son Eleazar, and 8 of them were from Eleazar's brother, lthamar. Eleazar had been the oldest of Aaron's surviving sons, but lthamar was selected originally to be the high priest after Aaron.  And, Eleazar's family got that honor back because of the failure of lthamar's descendant, Eli (see 1st Samuel 2:31 & 35).

There was distinct organization to the priestly ministry, even though it was an intensely spiritual undertaking. The easiest way to explain this concept is to consider married life. While spontaneity is a prized ingredient in the marriage relationship, planning is just as vital... if not more so. Being intentional; scheduling in time for one another is meaningful and productive. Arranging time "just for you" says a whole lot about how important one's spouse really is. In the same way, there is certainly nothing wrong with planning and organization in our religious devotion (1st Corinthians 14:40). While if we aren't careful we can schedule the Holy Spirit right out of our churches... He can just as easily help us to schedule Him right into our midst as well... if we will just let Him.   

Friday, June 16, 2017

Friday - 1st Chronicles 23 - A Job Change

Since the days of Moses the descendants of Levi had been responsible for the service, maintenance and transportation of the Tabernacle. All of that was about to change. The time of the Tabernacle was drawing to an end and the age of the Temple was dawning.  So, David assigned new tasks to the families of Levi.

Of the 38,000 eligible Levites, 24,000 were assigned to work in the Temple, 6,000 were officers and judges, 4,000 were gatekeepers and 4,000 were worship leaders.  Or, maybe we would call them band members or orchestra members. That last number really stands out to me: David actually assigned 4,000 men to play musical instruments in praise to God!  That's some serious devotion.

God's plan for a family of Jews had remained the same for almost 500 years. Yet, the day did eventually come when God's program for that family changed. The same is true for you and me in several ways. We go through phases in our life where we are primarily assigned to certain spiritual tasks, but God can change that. And, He does sometimes change our assignments. Pastors become missionaries. Teachers become evangelists. Preachers become politicians. Wives become widows. Students become parents. Deacons become Pastors. And, God can move us from place to place; from one kind of ministry to another. But, greatest of all is the move from this life to the next.  What an improvement that will be!  Have you ever wondered what your job will be in the eternal kingdom of God?

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Thursday - 1st Chronicles 22 - Preparing for an Exceeding Magnifical House

After David had purchased the land upon which to build a temple, he began collecting supplies for the construction of it. He wasn't going to be allowed to build it himself, but God accepted his desire to help prepare for the project... a project which his son Solomon would undertake.

According to this chapter, David gathered stones, iron, brass, cedar, gold and silver to make the house of God "exceeding magnifical" - really, especially and superbly wonderful.  David wanted God's house to be extravagant. He was planning for it. He stocked warehouses with materials and even enlisted teams of talented specialists to prepare for the project (1st Chronicles 22:15). And, he charged his royal court to help his son when the work commenced (1st Chronicles 22:17). But, above all else he instructed his son to live by faith; to seek God's face; to study His Word. David knew that no amount of planning or diligent effort would suffice without God's blessings.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Tuesday - 1st Chronicles 21 - From Evil to Good

God can take something that is crimson red and make pure white from it. This is what He did with David's sinful pride.  David awakened one morning to find in the mirror a king who was very impressive to him.  In fact, he was so impressed with himself that he ordered General Joab to count his soldiers, so that he could know just how big and important he really was. And, against his better judgment, and despite his wise complaints to David, Joab did discover that David was backed by close to 2 million soldiers.

Isn't it interesting how both David and God were displeased when the total number came in? David's conscience cut him deeply, and God poured salt into the wound.  David had anticipated that he would feel greatly satisfied in discovering his own strength, but instead he was ashamed. Through Pastor Gad, David accepted his medicine from God's hand; that is, the consequences for his pride. And, he watched helplessly as God's angel killed literally thousands of his subjects. But, it was in that moment that David's blunder was suddenly sanctified and David was elevated to a typological role in messianic prophecy.

Notice the attitude that David had in this sanctified moment (1st Chronicles 21:17). Of course, no OT prophetic harbinger was a perfect picture of the Messiah... so, unlike Christ, in this case David was actually the culprit.  However, the attitude that he had was most definitely a foreshadowing of the attitude that Jesus Himself would demonstrate in his incarnation (Psalm 69:9 & Romans 15:3).  Jesus' concern and interest was us (John 10:10).  Even as David bought the floor of Ornan and sacrificed in fear there, he typified what Jesus would someday do to in order to hold back the wrath of His Holy Father against sin and sinners. (1st Chronicles 21:26 & 27 to Hebrews 5:7).

Monday, June 12, 2017

Monday - 1st Chronicles 20 - God's Grace and Dead Giants

As we continue running alongside II Samuel, it is certainly noteworthy that the part from 2nd Samuel 11:2 - 12:25 and much of chapters 13 - 21 is missing from the narrative here. That section of II Samuel deals mostly with the blackest days in David's life... particularly the problems which he had in relation to Bathsheba and with Absalom.

It was certainly generous of the Holy Spirit to sum up David's great sin with just a little black dot in our English Bibles... a single dot in 1st Chronicles 20:1: the punctuation mark sitting inconspicuously after the word Jerusalem.

Now, not only was David's biggest crime left out, but the lengthy account of the painful consequences is omitted as well (specifically, Absalom's shenanigans).  This is the part of God's grace that is hardest for us to comprehend. The restoration of our relationship and fellowship with Him is one thing... but His cheerful willingness to help us abscond: amazing.   The breadth of His great grace is far beyond my feeble cognitive ability to comprehend.

So, what do we read instead? We read the account of how David and his God-fearing cohorts put an end to the rest of Goliath's wicked family. In other words, we are reminded of David-the-giant-slayer instead of David-the-wife-stealer. His victorious faith is on display, instead of his despicable failure.  Ain't God good!  And, aren't you and I SO glad that He is!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Saturday – 1st Chronicles 19 - Men in Miniskirts

We are still continuing to study a storyline that runs parallel with the one in II Samuel.  This chapter matches with II Samuel 10:1 - 19. The account concerns a conflict that arose between David and the Ammonites; one that escalated into a battle that included the Syrians too.  Actually, the Ammonites hired the Syrians to help them in their efforts against David. On David's side, Joab led the troops against the Syrians while his brother Abishai fought against the Ammonites.  And, in the end David joined the fray and put his enemies in their place.

The most significant part about all of this is the fact that the whole mess was completely unnecessary. David had sincerely sent messengers to console Hanun, the king of Ammon, after the death of Nahash his father. Hanun received some very poor advice concerning David's intentions and treated David's messengers like imposters. Specifically, he shamed them by shaving half their beards off and by cutting off their robes half way up. No doubt he laughed loudly when David's men went out with their behinds showing, but it wasn't so funny when David came back to bring retribution. Hanun's defeat on the battlefield was complete and painful.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Friday – 1st Chronicles 18 - Of Money & Men

This chapter is a reflection of II Samuel 8:1-18.  There are two outstanding traits about David's life and reign that arise several times in this chapter: 1. the tens of thousands of men who David and his army killed, and 2. the abundance of wealth that David collected. These 2 issues are particularly interesting because of how they seem to run against the grain of our modern Christian sensibilities. In our sterile environment of affluence and self-proclaimed civility, and in light of the New Testament principles of tolerance, world-wide missions, evangelism and compassion, one might find it hard to envision how King David could be so godly and at the same time be collecting tons of gold, silver and brass from the pockets of the massive numbers of gentiles whom he killed in war.

There are a couple of things that we need to remember though. First, David was fighting against ungodly heathen under the auspices and authority of God. God had decreed their judgment and David was simply the executor of it. And, as the head of a sovereign nation David was doing something that even governments today have a God-given right and responsibility to do. He was waging wars against evil threats that existed in the nations around his own. Even today we have no reason to wonder if God is in favor of, or opposed to, war, when the cause is just and right. War is not wicked if it is carried out by [relatively] good nations against evil ones, against legitimate threats, for just causes and to protect innocent people.

Secondly, the collection of wealth for one's own sake and pleasure has been evil in all generations. David wasn't necessarily collecting material wealth to provide safety for himself nor to satiate his own greed, but perhaps to supply adequate materials for the construction of God's house (much like the plundering of Egypt in Moses’ day). 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Thursday - 1st Chronicles 17 - When David Sat Before the Lord

This passage is a repetition of the story told in 2nd Samuel 7:1 - 29.

It was David's idea to build something for God, but in the end, God built something for David instead. God has a habit of doing stuff like that.

Notice David's posture before the Lord. When Nathan the prophet had shared with David God's gracious and prohibitive message, 1st Chronicles 17:16 says that David "came and sat before the Lord" - presumably in the Tabernacle. Imagine him on his knees in the court of the Tabernacle, sitting on his feet with his hands folded in his lap and his chin bowed to his chest. That is a silhouette of humility and reverence.  It was a scene of pure and perfect worship; David communing in sweet and grateful fellowship with his Redeemer and friend... a king recognizing the extreme superiority and generosity of The King.

It is edifying to meditate upon the various positions of worship that are to be found in Scripture. The fear and reverence of several of God's children can be seen in that they lay flat on their face and stomach before Him. At the dedication of the temple, Solomon kneeled with his head bowed and is hands raised. Enoch WALKED with God. Moses STOOD before the Lord. We sing "fall on your knees" in the song O Holy Night, but instead of falling on our knees we generally just sit on our rumps. Sometimes we might do well to curl up in the fetal position in prayer as a demonstration of just how helpless we are naturally in our journey here on earth.

Whatever the position of our bodies though, we must certainly humble our hearts before our Maker if we hope to receive abundant grace from His mighty hand. He is high and holy; we should be meek and lowly (1st Chronicles 17:18 -20).