1 Chronicles 20-21 B

David taking the census. What a great reminder that sometimes it’s not specifically your action that is sinful, but the intention behind it. Taking a census is not a completely forbidden act; God himself asked Moses to take a head count in Numbers. But David’s motives here were selfish and prideful. Like a greedy millionaire fanning through a stack of his money with his thumb; counting and taking inventory of his gains.

Like David, when we catch ourselves behaving poorly, we should respond and repent immediately. I liked Bethany’s feedback on God’s love for us that we see in these chapters.

Is there something you’re participating in that seems fine on the outside, but you know is sinful for your to partake in?

What’s stopping you from repenting and changing?

-Carly

1 Chronicles 18-19 B

Assuming each chariot only had one guy in it (which is most likely not the case), in these chapters alone, David is credited with the deaths of 115,000 people. That’s a lot of bloodshed.

As a generally pacifist woman, I do not understand war at all. As much as I understand the general motivation for it, I cannot imagine carrying it out. I hope to God I never am responsible for taking another person’s life. This seems like a nightmare, like my soul would be split (Voldemort style).

So how do I feel about this man of God killing so many people in such a short amount of time? I have no idea. I have no concept. I decided to add up the numbers just because I found myself glossing over them. “But wait!” I said to myself, “These are souls! These are real people. As real as me and as real as David.” Just not on the right side, apparently.

The LORD’s right to selecting which people group He was going to use is totally up to Him. I just can’t wrap my mind around it. Around war.

Life is messy and complicated. We indulge a fantasy world if we think we can neatly sort right and wrong into little black and white boxes.

We must always choose humility.

I’m not Jewish. Maybe my distant ancestor lost a father or brother in these wars. I can never know, but I must surrender these stories to the LORD.

Chronicles is a collection of stories. This is what happened. We are here to study and wonder at the Bible, wrestling and adoring along the way. No one cares what our lofty judgements about it are. Let’s not abandon the struggle. Yet, let’s always choose humility.

-Bethany

1 Chronicles 16-17 B

We’re always trying to make God be like us, aren’t we?

David’s motive to build God a house is pure; he wants to respect and honor his presence. But the last thing the Lord needs is to be boxed in and contained by manmade comforts. He’s not like that. He’s with us, always moving, able to meet us wherever we are, travel with us wherever we go and doesn’t need to kick his feet up on the couch afterwards.

But we can’t help it. We try to make him small. We want to make sense of him. We think he needs us.

 “And now I’m telling you this: God himself will build you a house! When your life is complete and you’re buried with your ancestors, then I’ll raise up your child to succeed you, a child from your own body, and I’ll firmly establish his rule. He will build a house to honor me, and I will guarantee his kingdom’s rule forever. I’ll be a father to him, and he’ll be a son to me. I will never remove my gracious love from him as I did from the one who preceded you. I will set him over my house and my kingdom forever; his throne will always be there, rock solid.” 17:10-14

I love this glimpse of Jesus we get in the Lord’s response to David!

How do you try to make God human?

What does it look like to step back and deconstruct your understanding (or misunderstanding) of him?

 

-Carly

1 Chronicles 14-15 B

“Because you did not carry it at the first, the LORD our God made an outburst on us, for we did not seek Him according to the ordinance.” ‬ ‭(15:13‬)

Who hasn’t been here? After failing painfully, we do a little Biblical research to find out how to actually approach something. David was upset about Uzza, but in the end he knew why it happened.

The ark came with elaborate instructions and the LORD took it very seriously. While not every nuance of life has the same extensive Biblical instructions, most major things can fall under a guiding principle:

  • Humility before our Creator
  • Generosity with what we’ve got
  • Kindness toward everyone great and small
  • Trust in the LORD
  • Humility with others
  • Care for the vulnerable
  • Prioritizing the interests of others
  • Being the kind of gracious we would love
  • Humility always
  • Listening before talking
  • Good stewardship of land
  • Taking a sabbath
  • Practicing good hygiene
  • Humane treatment of animals
  • Loving unconditionally

The list goes on and on. Scripture is useful for all facets of life. Do we approach it for guidance? Thinking back to James 1, we shouldn’t read the Bible to feel good about ourselves, it should inform our decision making.

David had access to the Torah, as the king of Israel, yet he hadn’t consulted it the first time he tried moving the ark. We can see from these chapters that he’s an excitable guy (dancing til his clothes fall off?) so it makes sense that he would excitedly move the ark without first thinking it all the way through.

What sets David apart from other kings who made mistakes, is his humility to admit when he’s wrong and set things right. This is why I listed humility three times. It cannot be underestimated. Perhaps the single most important thing we can learn from Scripture is how to walk humbly before our God.

Have you recently hit some hard times in life? Are you ready to humble yourself and consult the Word of God about what He has to say about the way to do something? I increasingly believe it’s not what we do in life that matters as much as how we do it.

-Bethany

1 Chronicles 12-13 B

“Day after day more men joined David until he had a great army, like the army of God.” 12:22

Powerful, talented and strong men come out of the woodwork to fight alongside David. Expert archers, hundreds of troops, men that were as fierce as lions and as swift as deer. God has a purpose for David’s kingship, and so he unfolds what he needs as he needs it. This is really the anthem of David’s life! Recently, a friend of mine pointed out how fun and interesting it is that David was unexpectedly gifted Goliath’s sword when he needed a confidence boost the most (1 Samuel 21).

The Lord knows what we need, you guys! Don’t forget this. It’s east to panic and look at your situation, finding it impossible to imagine getting what you need.

The Lord paves wide, smooth roads for us to walk down when he’s leading us somewhere. That doesn’t mean it won’t be hard (it’s still battle that David is preparing for, after all), but you won’t be alone. God is with us. You will have what you need.

 

-Carly

 

1 Chronicles 10-11 B

Saul’s life summary is very brief and only covers his gruesome death along with this passage:

“So Saul died for his trespass which he committed against the Lord, because of the word of the Lord which he did not keep; and also because he asked counsel of a medium, making an inquiry of it, and did not inquire of the Lord.” (10:13-14)

Saul is a fascinating character. This is why Samuel is my favorite book and Chronicles isn’t, but I still love reading adjacent to the characters I find most interesting.

Saul was always panic-improvising and it became his demise. Panic improvisation is my default. I have to watch myself very closely on this.

In my moments of panic, I can forget to stop to inquire of the LORD. Do you experience that too? What can we do to remember to slow down and not act impulsively? Today we can remember the untimely death of Israel’s first king, because he never could kicks this destructive habit. What do you do?

-Bethany

1 Chronicles 3-9 B

“The people of Judah were exiled to Babylon because they were unfaithful to the Lord.” 3:1b

Pretty big understatement, right? As Bethany mentioned yesterday and in her response to these chapters last time around, Chronicles really glazes over the gritty history of Israel.

If nothing else, the author is being efficient. It takes several books of the Bible to convey the point that we read in one sentence. The people of Judah were exiled to Babylon because they were unfaithful to the Lord. That’s really all we need to know.

But I’m thankful for the details. I’m thankful for page after page, and story after story, that details just how often Israel rejected God and how relentlessly God pursued his people. We need both accounts.

The Bible has something for everyone. It’s a book anyone and everyone can read. Feel intimidated and overwhelmed by the Old Testament? Read through Paul’s letters and get the basics on a life with Christ. Like a lot of reflection and having your own space to think about God? Dive in to the theology wilderness that Romans provides. Every book of the Bible is different, but it all points back to the same thing, and we need every book. (Eh, debatable, but I’m thankful for them all nonetheless.)

Hang in there while we’re in Chronicles!

 

-Carly