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Passage: 1 Chronicles 15-17

On Tuesday, May 15, 2018, Yujin wrote,

Because you did not carry it [the ark] at the first, the Lord our God made an outburst on us, for we did not seek Him according to the ordinance (1 Chronicles 15:13).

This is strange. The first part is fine, where David says, "Because you did not carry it at the first, the Lord our God made an outburst on us." The Levites and the Priests should have known better. They should have known not to transport the ark on carts, for God had explicitly designed and commanded the ark to be carried with poles by the Levites. 

The strange part is what David adds: "For we did not seek Him according to the ordinance." He puts himself among the culpable. He does not simply blame and punish the Levites. David also takes responsibility for the serious error. More than this, when we read on, we learn that he initiates and leads the correction. 

Has not the Lord given us here a glimpse into what constitutes good leadership? Good leaders take responsibility. Good leaders take initiative. Good leaders make sure that what is necessary gets done. 

They do not simply cast blame. They do not simply wait for someone else to take action. They do not simply delegate.

Friends, I hope you do not read this and think, "I'm not a leader, so it doesn't apply to me." Is a leader only in title or position? Was Jesus' command to make disciples only for a chosen few? The command to lead others in the right way, whether by word or by example or by influence, is for all believers. Therefore, this lesson is for you. It is for me. It is for everyone. 

Remember these principles:

  1. Don't blame others. Take responsibility.
  2. Don't wait for others to initiate. You initiate.
  3. Don't simply delegate. Be involved to make sure it gets done, especially if it is important. 

May the Lord make us all good, even great, leaders for His glory, honor and praise!

Passage: 1 Chronicles 15-17

On Friday, May 13, 2016, Yujin wrote,

And so it was, when God helped the Levites who bore the ark of the covenant of the Lord, that they offered seven bulls and seven rams (1 Chronicles 15:26).

David recognized that the first time he tried to move the ark, he did not follow the procedure prescribed by God. In that instance he incurred God's judgment; however, in the present instance, David was careful to bring up the ark in the way God prescribed. In so doing God helped those that brought up the ark.

Could we then say that God helps those who honor Him? Yes! But someone may ask, "Then why didn't God help David the first time? Wasn't David trying to honor God?" Yes again. So let us qualify what it means to honor God. It is not simply the intention to honor God. We must honor God in keeping with His Word. God helps those who honor Him in keeping with His Word. 

Passage: 1 Chronicles 15-17

On Wednesday, May 15, 2013, Yujin wrote,

Because God was helping the Levites who were carrying the ark of the covenant of the Lord, they sacrificed seven bulls and seven rams (1 Chronicles 15:26).

The first time David tried to bring the ark of God into Jerusalem, he paid no attention to how it was to be done according to the Law of Moses. God mercilessly killed Uzzah because he touched the ark, which was strictly forbidden in the Law. 

The second time David was careful to follow the ordinances in the Law of Moses in transporting the ark of God. What is more, the text tells us that "God was helping the Levites who were carrying the ark." Was He helping them lift it? Not likely, for it was not that heavy. Was He speaking words of encouragement to them because they feared what happened to Uzzah might happen to them? Perhaps, but there is no mention of any of these words of encouragement. If I might conjecture a bit, perhaps the LORD was helping them to remember and obey what God had commanded in the Law of Moses, so that they would not fail to do what He proscribed. 

We have something similar to this in the New Testament. Jesus told the disciples that when He was gone, He would send the Holy Spirit to teach them and bring to their remembrance everything He taught them:

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you (John 14:26).

While in the first attempt at transporting the ark we saw the sting of the Law to bring death, even the death of Uzzah; in the latter attempt we witnessed the grace of God to bring life, even to spare the lives of the Levites who were carrying the ark. 

Don't we have in these two incidents a foreshadowing of the experience we have in Christ?

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit (Romans 8:1-4).

God accomplished for us what we could not accomplish ourselves. We could not keep the Law of Moses because of the weakness of our sinful natures, so that the Law was but a spectre of death for us; however, Christ accomplished what we could not do, so that rather than death we might have life in Him.

The "because God was helping the Levites" in 1 Chronicles 15 has become "because God was helping us" in the New Covenant in Christ. This is a picture of grace.

We get another glimpse of grace in our reading today:

I will be his father and he shall be My son; and I will not take My lovingkindness away from him, as I took it from him who was before you. But I will settle him in My house and in My kingdom forever, and his throne shall be established forever (1 Chronicles 17:13-14).

This time the contrast is between Saul and David. Saul was the king that the people demanded. He was a man of great stature, so that the people were impressed. God appointed him and evaluated him in keeping with the Law of Moses. His failure was simply a reflection of people's failure to keep the Law. 

On the other hand, David was God's choice. He had no stature, was rough, and was even overlooked by his own father when Samuel came to anoint one of Jesse's sons. David was not chosen and established according to Law but according to grace. 

When Saul sinned, God took his kingdom away. When David sinned, God forgave him. Saul's kingdom would be established according to his obedience to the Law, but his failure meant the end of his kingdom. But God promised never to take His Spirit away from David's descendants as He did from Saul even if these descendants disobeyed Him. God's promise to David was based not on their obedience to the Law but upon grace, which would be fully realized in Christ, the final, perfect, and eternal Davidic king.

Friends, praise God that today we live by God's grace and not according to the Law, for by the Law no one can justified before God (cf. Galatians 3:11). As the Scripture has said,

For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ (John 1:16).

Just as we have received such incomparable and immeasurable grace from God, let us extend grace to one another for the love of Christ.

Passage: 1 Chronicles 15-17

On Tuesday, May 15, 2012 (Last Updated on 5/15/2013), Yujin wrote,

Since the unfortunate event of Uzzah's death, when David failed to follow the prescriptions in the Law of Moses in carrying the ark of the LORD, we find him doing it right this second time around. He makes sure that only Levites transport the ark, and not on a cart but by way of poles on their shoulders (1 Chronicles 15:2, 12-15):

Because you Levites did not carry the Ark the first time, the anger of the LORD our God burst out against us. We failed to ask God how to move it properly.” (1 Chronicles 15:13 NLT)

Even if it was "innocent" igorance or negligent exhuberance which caused them not to carry the ark properly, David confessed their inexcusable failure to ask God about it first. They should have prayed to the LORD rather than doing as they saw fit. After all, throughout the Book of Judges, it was because the people did what was right in their own eyes, even in their messed-up manner of worshipping God alongside other gods, that God repeatedly judged them. The important thing was not how much they sacrificed or how enthusiastically they worshipped, it was that they first and foremost carefully obeyed the Law of God. 

But what David failed to do before, namely, obey everything written in the Law of the LORD, he was careful to do this time:

They sacrificed the regular burnt offerings to the LORD each morning and evening on the altar set aside for that purpose, obeying everything written in the Law of the LORD, as he had commanded Israel. (1 Chronicles 16:40 NLT)

Friends, this is instructive for us. From the Old Testament to the New Testament the priority of obedience remains the same. As carefully as Israel was expected to follow the Law of Moses, so Christians are commanded to diligently follow the Law of Christ. This is the heartbeat of the Great Commission:

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19, 20 TNIV)

The Great Commission has one overarching command (i.e. imperative mood), namely, "make disciples." Three participles define how this is to be done: "going," "baptizing," and "teaching." The mention of "all nations" and "end of the age" suggests that this command was not merely for the twelve apostles but for every believer until Jesus returns. Therefore, the going is not limited to missionaries, the baptizing is not limited to ordained pastors, and the teaching is not limited to seminary-trained teachers. Every believer should be actively making disciples by going to the lost, baptizing every convert, and teaching them to diligently obey the Law of Christ. 

What are we waiting for? Some of us have not even gone to our neighbors. And when is the last time you baptized anyone? And I confess that while I try to teach biblical truth, I have not emphasized the commands of Christ, especially living in obedience to them. With but few exceptions most of us have woefully neglected to do even this most fundamental of Christian responsibilities. We need to repent and obey.

Passage: 1 Chronicles 15-17

On Monday, May 16, 2011, Unmi wrote,
David and Michal: Loved turned to Hatred. 
The love story between David and Michal starts off beautifully.  Michal was Saul's younger daughter. While Saul was still king, she falls in love with the young David.  Now Saul’s daughter Michal was in love with David, and when they told Saul about it, he was pleased. (1 Samuel 18:20 David killed 200 Philistines and brought back their foreskins as a bride price in order to marry Micah for Saul's said to David "‘The king wants no other price for the bride than a hundred Philistine foreskins, to take revenge on his enemies.’” (1 Samuel 18:25)...David took his men with him and went out and killed two hundred Philistines and brought back their foreskins. They counted out the full number to the king so that David might become the king’s son-in-law. Then Saul gave him his daughter Michal in marriage. (1 Samuel 18:27)
Micah's love for David even surpassed her love for her own father.  When Saul was trying to kill David, she warns and rescues him out of Saul's hand.  Saul sent men to David’s house to watch it and to kill him in the morning. But Michal, David’s wife, warned him, “If you don’t run for your life tonight, tomorrow you’ll be killed.”  So Michal let David down through a window, and he fled and escaped. Then Michal took an idol and laid it on the bed, covering it with a garment and putting some goats’ hair at the head. (1 Samuel 19:11-13)
However in today's reading, it says  As the ark of the covenant of the LORD was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David dancing and celebrating, she despised him in her heart. (1 Chronicles 15:29)  The 1 Chronicles 15 account doesn't give anymore detail, but the story continues in 2 Samuel 6. When David returned home to bless his household, Michal daughter of Saul came out to meet him and said, “How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today, going around half-naked in full view of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!”   David said to Michal, “It was before the LORD, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the LORD’s people Israel —I will celebrate before the LORD.  I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor.”   And Michal daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death. (2 Samuel 6:20-23) 
Michal sees David dancing in the streets and despised him in her heart. What exactly was Michal upset about? Did she think his behavior was undignified for a man of his position? after all he was now the King of Israel. Was she jealous of other women? She mentions David being half naked in front of slave girls. (Also in the interval time between when she saved his life from her father and this event, David married two other woman, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, Nabal's widow). Perhaps she was jealous of David's love for God. David is willing to humiliate himself for the LORD, perhaps she was thinking "he wouldn't do that for me!" I have seem many wives jealous over their husband's attention to his job, to his parents/siblings and even for his love and work for the LORD. We don't know exactly why Michal was so upset, but this appears to be the beginnings of problems in David's household. 

For the unrighteousness in her heart, she is made barren. I don't see Michal's barrenness as a judgment from God for just thinking her husband's behavior wasn't dignified. I do believe legitimate concerns should and can be brought up by wives to discuss with their husbands.  A good wife should try to protect their husbands from making fools of themselves. However, the issue we have here is a problem with the "heart." If Michal was truly caring for her husband's reputation, she could have approached the matter is a gentle and loving manner.  Criticizing him as soon as he walks in the door and basically calling him "vulgar," was just asking for a fight, and so David's reaction is also harsh as well. David implies that even if his wife won't honor him, the slave girls will hold him in honor. Doesn't this sound like a woman who doesn't feel loved by her husband and a man who doesn't feel respected by his wife. David's intention was to go home "to bless his household," but the confrontation at the front door ended that blessing before it even began. 

 Let us remember that wives want to feel loved by their husbands and husbands want to feel respected by their wives. In all problematic areas of our marriage, a gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Proverbs 15:1)