1 – “Jabez was more honorable than his brothers; and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, “Because I bore him in pain.” Jabez called upon the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain!” And God granted what he asked.” (1 Chronicles 4:9-10, ESV)
RAF: Tucked away in the midst of these chapters with their long lists of people we do not and cannot know – about whom we know no more than their being listed here – is this simple reminder: When men call upon the Lord, He hears. And He answers. He is ever willing to meet us if we will but seek Him. Father, grant that I might seek you always and never stop.
2 – “And Phinehas the son of Eleazar was the chief officer over them in time past; the Lord was with him.” (1 Chronicles 9:20, ESV)
RAF: What a simple but profound legacy. May this be said of me – though men never know another thing. May my child know this about her father, and her children and her children’s children – as many generations as the Lord shall tarry. If we leave nothing else behind us, let it be this.
3 – “So Saul died for his breach of faith. He broke faith with the Lord in that he did not keep the command of the Lord, and also consulted a medium, seeking guidance. He did not seek guidance from the Lord. Therefore the Lord put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David the son of Jesse.” (1 Chronicles 10:13-14, ESV)
RAF: What a tragic but powerful lesson here. First, to fail to trust God in keeping with what He has commanded. God has not spoken to hear Himself talk. He has spoken that we might have life and joy and peace. That we might walk in assurance and power and the fullness of His grace. When we ignore what He has said, when we modify it, cherry pick it, mold it to suit our desires, we break faith with Him. We trust ourselves above Him. This is our first great failing. Second, to fail to seek our guidance from Him. Who else can lead us to Heaven? Who else has the words of eternal life? Who else knows truly what we need, rather than trying to satisfy a curiosity which may or may not be worthy of satisfaction? But we do not want His counsel, especially when we have already broken faith. It is over these two stumbling blocks we fall the most.
4 – “David said, “Whoever strikes the Jebusites first shall be chief and commander.” And Joab the son of Zeruiah went up first, so he became chief.” (1 Chronicles 11:6, ESV)
RAF: Here is a key to finding good leadership. Look for those who are willing to do the work before they get the title. Then those who do – set in place. Do not grant the title until they prove themselves. See: 1 Timothy 3:10.
5 – “Then the Spirit clothed Amasai, chief of the thirty, and he said, “We are yours, O David, and with you, O son of Jesse! Peace, peace to you, and peace to your helpers! For your God helps you.” Then David received them and made them officers of his troops.” (1 Chronicles 12:18, ESV)
RAF: It takes spiritual men to be serve spiritual leaders. There is no superiority or inferiority in these matters. All must be those who are “clothed” with the spirit. Leaders, followers, servers, co-laborers. All. Cooks need to be as spiritual as Generals. Medics as Tank Commanders.
6 – ” David built houses for himself in the city of David. And he prepared a place for the ark of God and pitched a tent for it. Then David said that no one but the Levites may carry the ark of God, for the Lord had chosen them to carry the ark of the Lord and to minister to him forever.” (1 Chronicles 15:1-2, ESV)
RAF: Since the incident with Uzzah, David has been doing his homework. He now knows how God wants the Ark to be handled – and it may indeed be handled safely and with blessing. Many a man wants the blessing of God, but imagines they can obtain it on their own terms, by their self-proscribed means. But God will be sought on His terms. And He holds us responsible to take the time and effort to find that out as He has revealed it in His Word. It is not hidden – but it must be sought. See: vs. 13.
7 – “Chenaniah, leader of the Levites in music, should direct the music, for he understood it.” (1 Chronicles 15:22, ESV)
RAF: Those are to lead in the areas where they have skill and knowledge. Not every one can do every job in the Church. And it is not wrong to seek out those with the skills appropriate to the task – it is fitting in God’s eyes. That’s why He skilled them that way.
8 – “And as the ark of the covenant of the Lord came to the city of David, Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David dancing and rejoicing, and she despised him in her heart.” (1 Chronicles 15:29, ESV)
RAF: In short, she thought he looked silly. And that, in public. May we never fail to abandon all to our God no matter who may think us silly, nor how silly they may judge us to be.
9 – “For your servant’s sake, O Lord, and according to your own heart, you have done all this greatness, in making known all these great things.” (1 Chronicles 17:19, ESV)
RAF: Note how David avoids the false dichotomy so prevalent among us today. He sees no competition between God doing things for our sake, and for His own sake. Some would say God only acts for His own glory, and we are but collaterally blessed. Others would say God truly acts for our sake, and almost recoil to hear others emphasize God acting for His own glory. But these are not contrary to one another. Scripture does not choose one or the other, but states both with clarity. Part of God’s glory IS His selflessness. I think we have confused two things. God’s goal, and His motive for seeing that goal achieved among men. God’s goal in all He does, is His glory – the revelation of Himself. But His motive for that goal is love. Revealing Himself, is the most loving thing he can do. He wants His glory to be known, by His selfless love.
10 – “For you, my God, have revealed to your servant that you will build a house for him. Therefore your servant has found courage to pray before you.” (1 Chronicles 17:25, ESV)
RAF: Because in our Father’s house are many rooms. Because Christ has gone there to prepare a place for us – PRAY! With courage and boldness. Pray.
11 – ” So David reigned over all Israel, and he administered justice and equity to all his people.” (1 Chronicles 18:14, ESV)
RAF: The administration of justice and equity is to be a chief goal of leadership.
12 – “But the princes of the Ammonites said to Hanun, “Do you think, because David has sent comforters to you, that he is honoring your father? Have not his servants come to you to search and to overthrow and to spy out the land?”” “So Hanun took David’s servants and shaved them and cut off their garments in the middle, at their hips, and sent them away; and they departed. When David was told concerning the men, he sent messengers to meet them, for the men were greatly ashamed. And the king said, “Remain at Jericho until your beards have grown and then return.”” (1 Chronicles 19:3-5, ESV)
RAF: Deal with things at face value – without judging the motives of others until they are clearly revealed. Lest we be found refusing genuine blessings, and making ourselves a stench in the nostrils of those who would otherwise be our friends. Watch how quickly the animosity escalates into needless war over this very thing in the following verses. 47,000 men die.
13 – ” Then Satan stood against Israel and incited David to number Israel.” (1 Chronicles 21:1, ESV)
RAF: 2 Samuel 24:1 reads: ” Again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, “Go, number Israel and Judah.”” We might ask, “which one is it? Is this Satan at work, or God?” Yes. Our feeble attempts at imagining a world where Satan works ungoverned, or where God is absent in the midst of tragedy are futile and incomplete. We must reckon with a very real and wicked enemy who is set against us, and with a sovereign God ruling over all and bringing about His purposes at the very same time and in the very same events. To assign all to God, is to fail to recognize evil. To assign all to Satan, is to fail to see God as God. We must see both in their right relationship.
14 – “For David said, “Solomon my son is young and inexperienced, and the house that is to be built for the Lord must be exceedingly magnificent, of fame and glory throughout all lands. I will therefore make preparation for it.” So David provided materials in great quantity before his death.” (1 Chronicles 22:5, ESV)
RAF: The Church that is to be built for the Lord (not its buildings, the Church itself) must be exceedingly magnificent, of fame and glory throughout the lands. What am I doing to contribute to that?