1 Chronicles 21

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repentancePer our discussion at the start of 2 Chronicles – although the accounts described in both 1-2 Kings and 1-2 Chronicles appear to be the same… in actuality they are presented from quite different perspectives. While 1-2 Kings gives the rise and fall of Israel from man’s point of view, 1-2 Chronicles gives God’s position on what happened. Nowhere is that more clear then 1 Chronicles 21.

In this chapter we are once again provided with a grave sin of King David – that of numbering the people of Israel. (This was first told to us in 2 Sam 24). In fact – this season of sin for David begins earlier in chapter 20… where David fails to go to war (as Kings should) – but instead remains behind in Jerusalem and gets caught up with the lust for Bathsheba Interestingly – while in 2 Samuel we are provided details regarding David’s sin with Bathsheba – here in Chronicles it isn’t even mentioned. Either the writer failed to see it as pertinent to the message of the book – or God saw this sin as wiped away (in His perspective) because David repented.

From that sin – we move right into David’s next error… numbering his men. But why was this a sin? What seems like a simple act of administration invites a major season of destruction and punishment for David. What was the cause? What was so wrong with this act?

Before we address that – notice what the text says:

Satan [an adversary] stood up against Israel and stirred up David to number Israel.”1 Chr 21:1 AMP

Again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and He moved David against them, saying, Go, number Israel and Judah.” – 2 Sam 24:1 AMP

Notice in 2 Sam we are told that God is the One who caused David to number the people (and sin in the process) – yet here in Chronicles we are told Satan did it. This again gives credence to the differing perspectives of the books. While man many times blames God for doing something (in His sovereignty) – in actuality is wasn’t God at all, (in this case it was Satan). Obviously God wouldn’t cause David to sin and then turn around and punish him for that sin. In fact – James 1:13 tells us that God does not tempt anyone to sin… so that scripture alone should help correct this bad theology so many carry around regarding the sovereignty of God.

So why was God angry with David for numbering the people – and why did He then send an angel to punish them? This is because of the real root of the matter – which isn’t simply the numbering of the Israelites. (Many before and after have numbered the people… from Moses to Jesus). Obviously there must be a weightier matter in this… and that matter is David’s heart. 1 Sam 16:7 tells us For the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart”. In this instance – it wasn’t the action of taking a census that was sin… but the motive behind that action. God saw that David was trusting in his own strength of his army instead of the Lord’s strength. This was the sin. Once David realized his error – he confessed his sin to the Lord (“I have acted like a silly fool”vs 8) – and the submitted to the Lord. Although this repentance did not remove the consequences of the sin – it did restore the relationship between David and the Lord – and did stir the Lord to mercy in the end.

The message for you and I in this is quite clear. We all make mistakes and have errors in judgment. But it is the true lover of God who quickly repents once their sin if revealed – and then places themselves under the hand of the Almighty God. He is just and full of compassion… He takes the sin of the repentant heart and places it upon the cross of His Son, Jesus. That is Good News!

Be Fruitful & Multiply,

PK

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1 Chronicles 15

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modern worshipAs we read through 1-2 Chronicles, it can seen that we are simply rehashing details and scenes which we just went over in 1-2 Samuel. But (as previously discussed) – that is not the case at all. While the former was the perspective of man – it is 1-2 Chronicles which accounts these circumstances from God’s perspective. We see basically the same events – yet given to us with broader plans and purposes in mind.

In 1 Chronicles 15 we see some precise details provided in the musicians/worshipers of Israel. While in 2 Samuel 6 we read about King David moving the Ark of the Covenant (which holds God’s Presence) into Jerusalem – yet the focus was more on the how it was moved and the other details. (Mainly the fact that David disobeyed the Lord’s instructions to Moses on how to properly transport the ark – and instead he used a new cart, which led the the untimely death of Uzziah). Yet, in 1 Chronicles 15, we see these details only casually mentioned – and instead are focused on the seemingly meaningless account of how many musicians there were and who those musicians were.

Why the difference?

Remembering that this is now the account from God’s point of view, perhaps we can address a bigger question about worship/music in church. Is it a small detail – just the “pre-service” to kill time until we get to the real preaching of the Word, or is it more than that?

Obviously – from God’s perspective in 1 Chronicles 15, we can see that great detail was provided in the worship of God’s people. Not only the exact number of musicians required, but who they were as well. These musicians were given exact job descriptions – from playing instruments such as the harp and cymbals, to singing in 3 different choirs. These 3 choirs were made up of the Levites (vs 16-19); the Alamoth or maiden’s choir (vs 20), and the men singers (vs 21). These 3 choirs would have been interspersed throughout the instrumentalists – provided a cacophony of music and voices in praise to the Lord. In great procession, these musicians would lead the Ark of the Covenant out of the home of Obed-edom and into the city of Jerusalem.

Notice, as well, how the Scripture describes the atmosphere;

Thus all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the Lord with shouting, sound of the cornet, trumpets, and cymbals, sounding aloud with harps and lyres. “ – 1 Chr 15:28 AMP

This seems such a far cry from what we see in most of our churches these days. Instead of descriptive words like “shouting”, “sounding aloud” and using “cymbals and trumpets” – we see organs and music that seems more like a funeral dirge then a celebration. Where the Israelites were dancing and twirling around, our churches are filled with “worshipers” who nod in agreement and sing in soft somber tones. An even bigger issue is that the account in 1 Chronicles 15 is describing the transporting of God’s Presence… yet today we have His Presence dwelling within us!

Perhaps it is US who need the adjust our ways? Perhaps David and the Israelites knew much more than we do about the Lord and His ways? Perhaps our feeble attempts at piety and our religious meetings have strayed so far away from what God originally intended that we all end up coming across more like Micah despising in the window then the king dancing in the streets?

Perhaps?

Be Fruitful & Multiply,

PK

Kings vs. Chronicles

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So, after traversing the historical rise and fall of Israel – from the weak King Saul, through the mighty establishment of the lineage of David/Solomon, and into the devastating cycles of sin/repentance that make up the past of the kingdoms of Israel/Judah – we end up with the sad state of a once promising group of people. Instead of becoming all that God had planned for them – their own sin and rebellion led them both into captivity – Israel to Assyria and Judah to Babylon. 1-2 Samuel and 1-2 Kings give us the historical account of these generations. They provide us many details into what happened… how things went so array. But now, as we enter into 1-2 Chronicles… we must pause and take a brief look at how these next two books differ from what we have already seen.

Many people get confused when reading through these portions of Scripture. Their confusion comes about due to seeming contradictions in the two versions we have before us. There are accounts that we read in Kings (for instance) that will be slightly different when we read them in Chronicles (and vice verse). Typically, the differences are based upon the purpose of the writings themselves. Names and dates appear out of order (or even missing) not because the other version is wrong… but because they do not pertain to what is being said in that particular section.

To make this point clear – we need to understand some details about the Chronicles. The word “Chronicle” comes through the Hebrew word for “words of the days”… which was translated into Greek for “things omitted” in the Septuagint. As we discussed regarding 1-2 Kings, 1-2 Chronicles also was originally one book, divided into 2 separate books in latter years. The original Hebrew title of that book was literally the daily acts or occurrences, and was applied to the accounts of the reigns of the kings of Israel and Judah. Just as in 1-2 Kings, the history accounted in Chronicles is not new, but covers many of the same situations we have already read about… with its purpose being very different.

While the books of Samuel and Kings followed a basic historically chronological order – the book of Chronicles largely ignores the sequential order of events. This is mainly because the first books are written of events from the perspective of man. What king did what… when did they do it… history from a human viewpoint. On the other hand, 1-2 Chronicles gives the same history from God’s point of view, pointing to the moral side and providing reasons behind why certain things transpired. The exact order of the events spoken about is not as important in Chronicles, instead opting to bring out causes or consequences for the purpose of comparison and contrast between records.

While 1-2 Kings provides an account of both the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, 1-2 Chronicles focuses entirely upon Judah and the line of King David. The reason for this is the same as has been previously stated; the focus of these books is what is happening behind the facts. Instead of the gross sin and war, we will deal with details that enforce the Covenant Promise between God and David (2 Sam 7 & 1 Chron 17). It is through David’s lineage (and the tribe of Judah) that the Messiah will eventually come – thus those groups will garner most of our attention in Chronicles.

With all of that said – perhaps we can understand why the first 9 chapters of 1 Chronicles focus on what appears to be a “rehashing” of genealogies. Knowing the purpose – and taking a closer look – will reveal that this list seems to largely detail some parts with just a casual mention – while focusing in on the lineage of the future Messiah (such as the ignoring of Cain/Able for Seth… the listing of Noah’s sons – Japeth & Ham vs. the lineage of Shem… as well as the comparison between the listings for Esau and Jacob). In this genealogy, we see it mainly broken down into 3 section of 10 generations each… Adam to Noah (vs 1-4) … Shem to Abraham (vs 24-27)… with the final group taking us to the Babylonian exile.

So – as we read through these next 2 books… try to place yourself in God’s position – knowing the end from the beginning (as we now have through hindsight). Unlike Samuel and Kings, this book (presumed to be written by Isaiah and Ezra during the captivity years in Babylon) shows us the divine reasoning behind God’s dealing with Israel, as well as why David’s Kingdom was not allowed to continue. It is here we can see what was happening while other things were happening… all pointing us to Jesus.

Be Fruitful & Multiply,

PK

 

2 Kings 22-23

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Revival & ReformationIn 1 Kings 13 a Prophet of God spoke out against Jeroboam regarding the evil that he was leading God’s people into. The Prophet spoke of a righteous king who would come and undo all the idolatrous worship that was being set up in the land of Israel… that king’s name would be Josiah. Now, here in 2 Kings 22-23 we see this king come to power as an eight year old boy – and grow up into a leader who loved the Lord unlike any of his forefathers before him. Josiah took over a kingdom that had become so perverted that it was hardly recognizable from what was originally established.

Under the reigns of Ahaz, Manasseh, and Amon – the most vile practices of idolatry that one could even imagine were set up and performed out in the open. Scattered throughout the land were “groves” set up to the goddess Asherah – these were idols carved out of tree trunks (sort of like totem poles of Native America) – and there were groups of them set up in the very Temple itself where vile, pornographic dances were performed around them by priestly male and female prostitutes. There were altars throughout the land where sacrifices were burned to the sun, moon, stars and planets (zodiac). There were fire-pits set up outside of Jerusalem, which were originally used to burn the city trash, but had been transformed into sacrificial pits where children were sacrificed (“sent through the fire”) to the demon Molech.

Israel was lost… what was needed was a revival.

For 18 years King Josiah ruled in this vile dump, until one day he made the decision to begin to renovate the Temple. It was at that time a copy of the “Book of the Covenant” was found. (This would have probably been a copy of the Pentetuch – the first five books of our Bible – as written by Moses. It was probably hidden somewhere in the Temple by godly priests during the reigns of the evil kings before them). Upon reading the words of this lost book – Josiah was gripped with repentance – and thus began a long-needed revival in the land.

Revival.

Josiah immediately gathered all of the people together and read the words of this book to them all. After that – he stood and remade a covenant with God… leading God’s people back to Him. With their hearts reconfirmed to the ways of the Lord, Josiah then began the arduous process of cleaning up the disgusting mess that his forefathers had made. He tore down the places of idol worship, destroyed the altars, put to death the many groups of dark priests who led the sacrifices to demons. (Josiah even went as far as to dig up the bones of former idol worshipers and grind them up into powder). He left no stone unturned in his reformation of the land.

Revival.

Next he re-instituted the commands which God had given to His people many generations before. Commands to keep the Passover and never forget that God had led them out of slavery to Egypt. These commands had been basically ignored since the days of the Judges – but now Josiah was reinstating them for the first time.

Revival.

I cannot help but notice that the reformation and cleansing was begun by a complete reading of the Word of God. It was the fact that the Law of God was ignored that things had been permitted to go as far as they did. Generations of people had come and gone without any knowledge or remembrance of what God had originally set up for them to do. Little concessions had led to huge departures from God’s way of life, until eventually a huge cleansing, such as this one, was needed. All it took was one man to stand up and turn the eyes of the people back to God’s Word.

Sort of reminds me of America.

 

Unfortunately – God knew that the change was not permanent. He knew that once Josiah was gone, the people would return back to their sin. That is why He does not relent from His plan to lift protection off of Judah and allow them to be overtaken and drug off into captivity. This wasn’t God’s doing… this was the result of many, many years of sinful rebellion – of such depraved depths that even this wonderful revival could not stem the tide that was building against it. HAD the people of Israel genuinely turned from their sin and repented, then no doubt God would have relented and saved them (as proven by His many warnings through the Prophets, along with His promise to save a remnant even after the destruction of Judah).

In the end, what God knew came to pass. Josiah dies and both of his sons, Jehoahaz and Jehoiakim, continued to do “evil in the sight of the Lord” as their forefathers had done… despite the reforms set in place by their father.

Revival.

Be Fruitful & Multiply,

PK