Vs. 3, “Let us bring the ark of our God back to us, for we did not inquire of it during the reign of Saul.” In our chapter today, the chronicler reminds us of the ark’s return to Jerusalem (II Samuel 6:2-11). Many years prior (about 100 years), the ark had been stolen by the Philistines because of the pride of Israel in Samuel’s early years (I Samuel 4). It was returned and eventually found residence in Kiriath Jearim. The ark of the covenant contained the ten commandments and was the central symbol of the LORD’s presence. David’s intentions to bring the ark to the capital city was for a good reason, but he did not inquire of the Lord (I Chronicles 15:13). David and the people also had made another mistake; their celebration outweighed their reverence.
Regarding application…Incomplete Obedience. Vs. 10, “The LORD’s anger burned against Uzzah, and he struck him down because he had put his hand on the ark. So he died there before God.” Uzzah would pay a steep price for touching the ark. Question: Why did this happen? The LORD clearly instructed His people that only Levites were to transport the ark (Numbers 4:15). Uzzah was not a Levite. Remember the ark was the physical symbol of God’s presence. Had David and the people recognized this, Uzzah would not have been one of those allowed to transport the ark. David was angry (vs. 11) and then afraid (vs. 12). I think we still have that tendency today; to get angry towards God for the way things happen in our lives. To ask God, “Why did this happen?” So I took a few shortcuts in life, what’s the big deal? God does not want half-obedience or incomplete obedience, He is looking for us to trust and obey Him in all things.
Vs. 1, “These were the men who came to David at Ziklag, while he was banished from the presence of Saul son of Kish…” There is an old adage, “no one declares independence, only allegiance.” Throughout our chapter today, we will see that David did not need to seek out warriors. David was able to attract soldiers from all the tribes willingly ready to follow him. Soldiers came to him because of his reputation and godliness; a stark contrast from King Saul. David went from a fugitive king to the rightful anointed king.
Regarding application…Loyalty. Vs. 38, “All these were fighting men who volunteered to serve in the ranks. They came to Hebron fully determined to make David king over all Israel. All the rest of the Israelites were also of one mind to make David king.” It was David’s loyalty to God that would help bring unity to all of Israel. Question: How? David’s allegiance to the LORD was infectious in a positive way. The people of Israel saw his devotion and desired to have that same type of loyalty. We are still a people today who value loyalty whether we realize it or not. That is why clubs, sports teams, organizations, etc…are still fabrics of our life. We want to feel like we belong to something important. We must be careful though; because loyalty is a subjective thing. The decline in church membership and the divorce rate at nearly 50% show that loyalty is more to self than anything else. Let us be people who are loyal to the Lord and His church!
Vs. 3, “When all the elders of Israel had come to King David at Hebron, he made a compact with them at Hebron before the LORD, and they anointed David king over Israel, as the LORD had promised through Samuel.” Because of the details from Samuel’s account, the chronicler gives us a short synopsis of David taking the throne. The emphasis in this chapter lies in the unity that David was able to bring to the kingdom. They united together in conquering Jerusalem (vs. 4-9). The chronicler than spends time reviewing David’s mighty men (vs. 10-47), who would be the modern-day equivalent of our special forces/secret service. These exploits of David’s mighty men are amazing feats of courage and strength!
Regarding application…Importance of Unity. Vs. 10, “These were the chiefs of David’s mighty men—they, together with all Israel, gave his kingship strong support to extend it over the whole land, as the LORD had promised.” The chronicler makes sure to emphasize how David, the mighty men, and all of Israel supported each other. Question: Why? Because the original audience were the Jews who had been returning from the Babylonian exile. It was important for the people to rally behind the history of God’s faithfulness in the past to see the realization in the present. Likewise, we too are building God’s growing kingdom in the 21st Century. Unity is the heart of Jesus’ prayer for the church (John 17) on the night before His crucifixion. Take time today to consider ways you can help bring unity to your church family.
Vs. 7, “When all the Israelites in the valley saw that the army had fled and that Saul and his sons had died, they abandoned their towns and fled. And the Philistines came and occupied them.” We read of this account in I Samuel 31. Saul had squandered his opportunity to be a good king. He had a wonderful beginning, but had a tragic ending. He is a case of a man who did not seek the Lord. Saul’s suicide was a better route than being tortured and humiliated by the enemy (vs. 1-10). Fortunately, we are reminded the valiant men of Jabesh Gilead came to rescue Saul’s corpse from the hands of the Philistines (vs. 11-12). You may recall that it was Saul’s triumphant victory and rescue of Jabesh Gilead early on in his reign that would cause the devotion from them (I Samuel 11:1-11).
Regarding application…Saul’s Unfaithfulness. Vs. 13, “Saul died because he was unfaithful to the LORD; he did not keep the word of the LORD and even consulted a medium for guidance.” Question: Why did Saul die? From the casual observer, it was because the Philistines had defeated him. But the real reason was simply this: Saul was unfaithful. We are given a unique spiritual commentary from the chronicler. Saul’s consultation with a medium (not obeying God’s word) and not seeking the Lord would cause his demise. This was a grim reminder for the audience of that day (returning exiles from Babylon) that consequences transpire because of unfaithfulness. They were living proof that God does not mess around. Yet in the midst of these tragic events, God’s faithfulness is astounding!
Vs. 1, “All Israel was listed in the genealogies recorded in the book of the kings of Israel...” After an extensive portion devoted to the genealogies, the chronicler now spend this chapter connecting the current post-Babylonian exiles now resettled. This would ensure the legitimate claim of God’s covenant and His people. There is also a bit of a “shout out” to the lesser known Levites (gatekeepers, temple security, singers) who did not necessarily share in the limelight of the Levitical priests (vs. 14-34). The end of our chapter is a rehash from the previous chapter concerning the line of Saul (vs. 35-44).
Regarding application…Finding Hope. Vs. 2, “Now the first to resettle on their own property in their own towns were some Israelites, priests, Levites and temple servants.” The fact that God would give His people such grace to return home was evidence that He had not forsaken them. God is working to draw His people back to Him. There are times in our present lives where we may feel displaced. When I left Oregon to come to California, it was very difficult time in my life. Yet, God was helping me to restore my hope. Nearly six years have passed and I now see evidence of why God brought me to So. Cal. There is always a reason for despair, but finding hope is something we have so precious because of the Lord!
Vs. 1, “Benjamin was the father of Bela his firstborn, Ashbel the second son, Aharah the third.” Saul is mentioned, as we look more in-depth at the tribe of Benjamin. Though it was the smallest of the tribes, it would provide Israel’s first king in Saul. The Apostle Paul was also from the tribe of Benjamin. The tribe of Benjamin gets a bit more attention because of its loyalty to the tribe of Judah and they would make up the kingdom of Judah.
Regarding application…Brotherly Love. Vs. 34, “The son of Jonathan: Merib-Baal, who was the father of Micah.” Jonathan’s deep friendship towards David would compel David to honor Jonathan’s offspring. Merib-Baal is also the original name for Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s crippled son. Our genealogy today records Jonathan’s line for about ten generations. When we show brotherly love to another, we never know how that can affect our future. For Jonathan, his line would be honored because of his friendship to David. Think of your valued friendships today and consider how you can appreciate and honor them.
Vs. 1, “The sons of Issachar: Tola, Puah, Jashub and Shimron—four in all.” We are now finishing out the rest of the six tribes: Issachar, Benjamin, Naphtali, Manasseh, Ephraim, & Asher. It’s important that the rest of the tribes be recognized for their contribution. In any community, we remember that everyone plays a vital role.
Regarding application…Human Emotion. Vs. 23, “Then he lay with his wife again, and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. He named him Beriah, because there had been misfortune in his family.” Ephraim (vs. 22) had lost two of his adult sons. When he had a new son born to him, he gave him the name Beriah which means “misfortune.” Question: Can you imagine introducing yourself to others, “Hi, my name is Misfortune.” When people ask why, you would have to explain your parents grief in having lost your older brothers. I don’t know about you, but that’s pretty depressing. The lesson behind this is to remember not to allow human emotions to override us.
Vs. 1, “The sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath and Merari.” Levi was one of the more prominent tribes (along with Judah and Benjamin) in Israelite history. Not only is the tribe of Levi in the middle of the genealogy, but it was also placed within the safety of the other tribes. Within the tribe, there were the high priests, the Levitical orders, singers, and priestly duties. Each of these ministries had a specific plan and location for their purpose. The tribe of Levi would help administer the sacrificial system to atone for the people’s sins until the perfect sacrifice was made in Jesus.
Regarding application…Music Ministry. “They ministered with music before the tabernacle, the Tent of Meeting, until Solomon built the temple of the LORD in Jerusalem. They performed their duties according to the regulations laid down for them.” What a powerful reminder how important music ministry is! Those who were set aside for this ministry would hone their skills. Music was made to glorify God. It helps us to express our God-given human emotion (joy, sorrow, thankfulness, reverence, love, etc.) If you are part of a church worship team, take time to remember how important your skill is. If you benefit from your church worship team, pray for them and thank God that He raised up people to help in the power of music ministry.
Vs. 1, “The sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel (he was the firstborn, but when he defiled his father’s marriage bed, his rights as firstborn were given to the sons of Joseph son of Israel; so he could not be listed in the genealogical record in accordance with his birthright.” You will notice that the three tribes mentioned (Reuben, Gad, ½ tribe of Manasseh) are all from the eastern side of the Jordan. Though Reuben was the firstborn of Jacob, the sins towards his father’s concubines took away the firstborn blessing. We are reminded of their victories, but also their defeats. These three tribes were among the first to be deported by the Assyrians.
Regarding application…Taken Captive. Vs. 26, “So the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria (that is, Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria), who took the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh into exile. He took them to Halah, Habor, Hara and the river of Gozan, where they are to this day.” Question: What would cause this captivity? The leaders and the people did not seek after the LORD. While there was a faithful remnant of people, it was not enough to bring consequences. Let this be a sobering reminder for the church today that we must stay united. I’m reminded of that battle scene in the movie 300, where the enemies arrows come flying through the air. The small army of 300 band together and put up their shields as a united front. Let us fight the good fight of faith as the Apostle Paul encouraged Timothy!
Vs. 9, “Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, “I gave birth to him in pain.” As the chronicler finishes out the line of Judah (vs. 1-23), we come across the peculiar passage concerning Jabez. Some of you may recall the book written by Bruce Wilkinson back in 2000. The chapter then transits into the tribe of Simeon and the survivors (vs. 24-43). You may recall that the tribe of Simeon was in the territory of Judah during the original allocation and eventually was absorbed within Judah. We are reminded of God’s faithfulness to the tribe of Simeon.
Regarding application…Overcoming! Vs. 10, “Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.” It’s important to note that the name Jabez has the connotation of pain and sorrow. It is believed that his mother must have had severe pains when she gave birth to him. The name of a person was very significant. In the midst of this negative foundation, Jabez is model of prayer. For example, take the game of cards; it helps if we have a really good hand. Classical author Robert Lewis Stevenson stated, “Life does not consist of having a good hand at cards, but of learning how to play a poor hand well.” Likewise, this is what Jabez did as he took the bad hand dealt to him and faithfully turned to God.