Day 140

1 CHRONICLES 10:1 – 12:40 and JOHN 19:1–42

1 Chr 10
The Book of Chronicles will now begin to cover the kings of Judah beginning with the united monarchy under Saul. The northern kingdom is not reckoned in the books of 1 and 2 Chronicles. We will find many parallel references from 1 and 2nd Samuel in looking at the lives of Saul and David who were the first two kings of Israel. The battle between the Philistines and Israel is covered as we begin in chapter 10. This battle represents the end of Saul’s life along with his sons which included Jonathan (vs 1-2). The moment that King Saul was slain all of Israel fled resulting in the Philistines moving into those cities. The next day as the Philistines came to strip the cities and those who were slain they came upon the bodies of Saul and his sons (vs 8). They then paraded through the land of the Philistines to celebrate and honour their gods. They eventually brought his armour and his head and placed it in the temple of their god Dagon. Here then is an interesting point to note.

The Ark came out of Moses Tabernacle at Shiloh due to a corrupted priesthood (1 Sam 4-5). This was at the time when Samuel was born and nearing the end of the period of the Judges. The Ark was captured by the Philistines and brought to Ashdod, into the tent of their chief god Dagon. The Ark, speaking of the presence of God brought judgement upon Dagon and the Philistines. It was a total victory that God accomplished on His own without an accommodating king or priest. It was due to a corrupted priesthood under Eli that brought about the Ark being removed from Shiloh. We fast forward several years and we see a king on the throne who was a man who was not of God’s choosing. He was the people’s choice. This king was given a chance to execute God’s judgements but he disobeyed (1 Sam 15:22-23). His sad end is at the hand of the very people he was called to destroy. Now, his head and armour are placed at the feet of Dagon signifying the failure of Saul as a king. God is after a king and priest that knows His heart and is able to execute His pleasure and judgement against the enemies of God.

The men of Jabesh-Gilead who experienced the kindness of Saul during the time of Nahash the Ammonite took action in taking back the body of Saul and his sons from the Philistines. This was a valiant group of fighters who could not stand the indignation being given a fallen king of Israel. This account is covered in 1 Sam 31:11-12. The account of Nahash the Ammonite and Saul’s kindness to the men of Jabesh-Gilead is covered in 1 Sam 11.

Saul died for the transgressions he committed against the Lord; His disobedience and eventual seeking out of a familiar spirit to enquire direction. We also discovered that Saul did not seek or enquire of the Ark during his reign as king (1 Chr 13:3). The attention will now turn to David who will prove to be a worthy king.

1 Chr 11
This chapter begins with the account of when David became king over all of Israel (vs 1-3). This would be the 3rd anointing which took place at Hebron. This account is recorded in 2 Sam 5. It was at this time when the Ark of the Covenant was brought up to Zion where David established his tabernacle. It was here where David was functioning as both a king and priest. Before David could take Zion he had to do battle with the Jebusites who were an enemy not easily disposed. Joshua could not defeat them and they defied David right up to the end (Josh 15:63). The Jebusite is a direct descendant of Canaan who was cursed as a result of the sin of his father Ham (Gen 9:25, 10:15-16). You find the Jebusites as the last enemy that the Lord will drive out when looking at the accounts in Exodus (Exo 33:2, 34:11). The primary danger of a Jebusite spirit is that it exists in the church. They have a reputation of sowing discord among the brethren. The Jebusite spirit is an absolute hindrance to unity, the kind of unity that the Holy Spirit looks to work through. Psa 133 speaks of the blessing of true unity. The anointing oil that was poured upon Aaron’s head and then beard is comprised of costly ingredients signifying the cost of true unity (Exo 30:23-24)’ Where does this unity flow forth from?

Psa 133:3  As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.

We saw how the Lord had great concern for his brethren at the time of the last supper. They were striving with one another as to who would be the greatest. The Lord took this matter to His Father in His intercessory prayer of John 17. He prayed intently that His brethren would have the same level of unity that existed in the godhead. This was essential if the Holy Spirit was to be able to empower the early church. The fruits of this prayer were realized about 50 days later when the 120 were gathered in “one accord” in the upper room (Acts 2:1).  It is a picture of the harmony and unity of the priests that sounded the 120 trumpets at the time of Solomon’s dedication (2 Chr 5:12-13).

The result was a tremendous manifestation of God’s glory. It is important to understand the link between the Jebusite spirit and true unity; understanding that this spirit works within the church which makes true unity difficult to achieve. Let’s look at one more example! The Apostle Peter writes on several attributes that we are to add to the foundation of our faith (2 Pet 1:5). There are a total of 8 steps. The last step and ultimate revelation of God is seen in “agape love” (2 Pet 5:7). This is the measure of love that the Father had in giving His Son to die for our sins (John 3:16). This is the measure of love that the Son had in laying down His life for His friends (John 15:13). The step or attribute of grace that precedes the revelation of Agape Love is “brotherly kindness” (2 Pet 5:7). This is the equivalent of the Unity of the Brethren qualities seen in Psalm 133. It is a unity amongst believers that runs deep and beyond the superficial. David as King and Priest was able to rally the people to align with him as he looked to establish a tabernacle and resting place for the presence of God. It was a true priest and king that was able to dislodge and destroy the Jebusite. What David accomplished in the natural is what is required in the spirit through the church today. The Lord is calling the church to Zion because it is the dwelling place that He has chosen (Psa 132:13-14). It is a vision that can be achieved but it is costly (Psa 15 and 24).

The balance of chapter 11 consists of many of David’s mighty men who were cited in 2 Sam 23 as David was reflecting over his life. There was an attraction towards David as he expressed a valiant and courageous spirit in many of his battles. There were numerous times when the odds were clearly stacked against David and yet mighty men aligned with him. We need to be people of courage in this day and hour. The next chapter expresses this sentiment in greater detail.

1 Chr 12
This chapter is rich in so many ways. It begins in what must have been one of the lowest periods in David’s life. He has been anointed to be a king but he has been fleeing from the jealous wrath of Saul. The little bit of leadership that David was able to exhibit was through a band of men who were in debt, discontented, and distressed who gathered with him at the cave of Adullam (1 Sam 22:1-2).This group stayed with David until the time he came to Ziklag where he seemingly lost everything (1 Sam 30:6). The city was burned; the wives and families were taken including those of David’s. To make matters worse the men who were fighting alongside David spoke of stoning him. This was the anointed king; running from the present king (Saul) who is not able to hold a band of distressed men who were serving under his leadership. In such a dire situation how did David respond? Did he capitulate and give up due to his situation? No, he made a decision, a very powerful and resolute decision to encourage himself in the Lord (1 Sam 30:6). What does this really mean? David took authority over his soul and by his spirit man commanded the soul to bless the Lord. What was the basis of David taking such action? He had a close relationship with God; he had experiences with the living God which allowed him to be anchored to the promises of God. The soul is easily moved by surrounding circumstances which results in decisions that are often emotionally based. This is how a distinction can be made between soul and spirit. It is well illustrated in this familiar verse:

Heb 4:12  For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

This is the power of the Word of God provided we allow it to penetrate our inner being. This is how Jesus was able to discern and be sustained during His earthly ministry (Isa 7:15). He was able to handle difficult challenges and questions by referencing the Word of God. It should be no different for us. This is how David was able to pick himself up in the midst of hopeless failure at Ziklag. This is when his leadership mantle began to arise. It does not contain the world’s methods of assessing leadership nonetheless people and mighty men began to be drawn to him. There are several warriors from various tribes who fight alongside David as he comes forth from Ziklag (vs 1-22). There was an attraction about David as a leader in his ability to summon up courage and heart in the midst of great pain and adversity. The tribes and their respective warriors continue to come alongside David as he now makes his move towards Hebron to take resistant elements of Saul’s kingdom as he prepares to become king over all of Israel. I want to zero in on two particular tribes to gain further insights as to how to prepare to be such warriors for the battles that will be waged in these last days.

There is the tribe of Issachar and the familiar attribute spoken of them; “men who had understanding of the times” (vs 32). There is considerable speculation in the body of Christ concerning end time events. It is an obsession for many. Jesus did speak along these lines and gave signs that could be observed to help give understanding of end time events. The closer we get to the end the more these truths seem to be opening up. Still, we need to be careful due to an over-emphasis at the expense of other important areas of doctrine. The Book of Daniel has many end time implications threaded through its contents which help to give perspective of what we see and can look for in the last days. In the closing chapter of Daniel it makes mention of the fact that “knowledge shall increase” and that those who are wise will turn many to righteousness (Dan 12:3-4). God does desire that we be wise, vigilant and discerning of the times.

The next tribe to consider is Zebulon found in verse 33. This tribe was an effective fighting force for David at the time of taking Hebron and Zion. They present to us several keys in helping to give insight in  being successful. There are three primary characteristics of Zebulon.

1. They were expert in war with all instruments of war. They epitomised the warrior soldier that the Apostle Paul gives to us in Eph 6:10-17. The primary weapon would be the sword of the spirit which is the Word of God (Eph 6:17).It is noteworthy to see how Jesus utilized the Word of God when confronted. He could establish doctrine, keep the enemy at bay, confuse his accusers and know and discern the hearts of people. The Word of God is a Living Word. It is not meant to be just a collection of Bible stories rather it is meant to make those stories come alive and find application in daily life. Now, more than ever we need the Living Word of God to take deep root in our lives.

2. They knew how to keep rank. One of the biggest problems in life today is that of identity theft. We live in a world where people allow themselves to be defined by the world’s system of values. It is no wonder people have no anchor or moral compass. When we are void of identity we tend to look at others and try and be like them. This strips away focus and effectiveness. This is one of the most potent weapons in the enemy’s arsenal. If he can get us distracted and taken away from our God given role it diminishes our ability to function as one. This unity and focus is an absolute for these last days; each one knowing their God given role and functioning accordingly.

3. They were not of a double heart. The writers of Proverbs make many references to the desire of the Lord to have our heart. (Pro_23:26 My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways. We are also told to keep our hearts with all diligence for out of it come forth the issues of life (Pro 4:23). A divided heart divides our attention and focus. As we draw nearer to the end days we will respond and make decisions according to what is in our hearts. What is even scarier is that God will answer people according to what is in their hearts for the purpose of having a purified bride and stream. We are reminded on several occasions that the Lord is looking for both kings and priests whose heart is after God’s (1 Sam 2:35, 1 Sam 13:14). If we know His heart and seek to express and be guided by it we will enjoy His favor and pleasure. We must guard our heart jealously and with all diligence. The tribes and their warriors of this chapter were exceptional men. May God help to inspire us from their example so that we too may one day have a similar testimony.

John 19
Though Pilate was unsuccessful in releasing Jesus in lieu of Barabbas he still has His blood on his hands. He had the power to release him. He had the warning from his wife to have nothing to do with Jesus yet in the end he acquiesced. His eternity and public record can never be expunged. He was a people pleaser and he feared the Jews ability to refer to Caesar if there were to be civil unrest over Jesus. He publicly scourges Jesus and yet once more tries to find a way to release Him. The chief priests are now being successful in stirring the masses against the Lord. It is a tactic that still plays out today. They find ways to trigger the passions of people to stir up unrest. The priests were not going to let this moment pass. They shout out “Crucify Him, Crucify Him (vs 6).

A few years ago a democratic operative (He was chief of staff at the time of the US president) made a telling statement. He said, “Never let a crisis opportunity go to waste”. He understood that in the midst of a crisis there were agendas and sentiments that could be steered in their direction. Pilate was becoming more fearful as the people kept pushing for his crucifixion. Pilate tried to get Jesus to speak but the Lord remained silent; not giving Pilate any help. Pilate tried putting himself in the position as to determining whether He would live or die but the Lord made clear that there is a greater sovereign power who in the end has the final say. The debate between the people and Pilate intensified over Jesus. Pilate declared Jesus to be their king to which the people responded that Caesar was their king. They made it clear that if you let this man go you are not a friend of Caesar. It is amazing how certain alliances or statements can be made in moments like this. This is what happens when a person knows right from wrong but does not have the conviction to stand. There is a powerful lesson that needs to be learned by Pilate’s example.

In these last days the church is going to be put to the test. Do we fear people more than God? In other words are we going to be more concerned about what people say and feel or that which God says? Pilate, though he certainly was not a man of any Christian character knew that Jesus was innocent and that it was because of envy that they delivered Him up to be crucified. Still, he did not have the conviction to do what would have been right. He then became clay or putty in the hands of the people.

Once a compromise on a position is made it opens the door for greater manipulation and twisting of Truth. One will go to greater lengths to justify that area of compromise. Here is the bottom line with Pilate and a bottom line lesson for leaders. He knew Jesus was innocent but he did not exercise his powers to release him from the judgement of the people. His symbolic hand washing of the matter does not let him off the hook. Similarly, if we are in a position of authority we have the responsibility to uphold to our convictions and to do what is right. We need to seek God’s grace because we will get tested in this area. Jesus was released to the people to be crucified (vs 16). In one final slight towards the people, Pilate wrote the following inscription which was placed upon the Cross JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. The people challenged Pilate on this but he would not change it.

We see an astounding fulfilment of scripture when the men who executed Jesus decided to cast lots for His garment instead of dividing it into 4 pieces (vs 23-24). The psalmist (David) wrote concerning this in Psalm 22. “They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture” (vs 18). David had an amazing insight into what the crucifixion experience of the Lord would be like. This is an indicator as to what we will see in the days to come for us. The scripture has much to say about the last days. Are we preparing and looking towards His return?

As Jesus was dying upon the Cross we see that those who were closest to Him were women. His mother, Mary the wife of Cleopas and Mary Magdalene were there. Most of the men forsook the Lord or were viewing from a distance. It is easy to understand as to how it was women whom Jesus first appeared to after His resurrection.  We do see that John was with them as well. John was distinguished from the other disciples due to the close relationship he had with the Lord. He was the one who received the revelation of the betrayer (John 13:26). Later, it would be John who would receive the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

The Lord makes the following statement to His mother; “woman behold thy son”. There was no loss of affection that Jesus had for His mother but it does seem that He was noting the natural relation between them was about to cease at his death. He addresses her as woman, not His mother. It was not disrespectful but rather a sign that the Son of man is about to fulfil His appointed role. It is also a sign to the church due to its reference in Revelation 12. In the next verse (vs 27) he speaks to John to “behold thy mother” making clear that she is to be looked after. She was probably a widow since Joseph is not mentioned. This act of the Lord serves as a future template for the care of widows that Paul would later elaborate upon (1 Tim 5:3).

The end has now come for the Son of man. He came to the place where he was able to say “It is finished”.  The plan that the Father authored before the foundations of the world has now been fulfilled through Christ, as the Son of man. All of this was done because of the great love the Father, Son and Holy Spirit had for sinful mankind. Jesus did not just die for our sins but He also provided a way whereby we can become more like Him. He provided a way whereby we can die to our nature, our ways, our sinful inclinations and take on divine attributes which are attributed by grace through faith. The person and ministry of the Holy Spirit will take on greater dimensions in the life of a believer as we come to understand more of His role. The Gospel of John gives much more insight into the person of the Holy Spirit from the other Gospel writers due to His years of observation of the early church. He will elaborate further in the closing chapters of His Gospel which will help us in our respective walk with God.