Day 141

1 CHRONICLES 13:1 – 15:29 and JOHN 20:1–31

1 Chr 13
David desires to bring the Ark of the Lord to Zion and have it established in Jerusalem. The Ark has not had a proper resting place since it was removed from Moses Tabernacles at Shiloh (1 Sam 4). The priests (Hophni and Phineas) presumed upon the presence of the Lord while under pressure of war with the Philistines. They took God for granted as did Israel throughout the reign of the Judges. There were a few good leaders (Judges) that ruled during this period however the hearts of the people for the most part was not changed. This resulted in God laying upon the heart of a barren woman a burden and cry for a man-child; a son whom would be dedicated to the Lord all the days of his life. This was no ordinary prayer and the resultant child was no ordinary man. Samuel was the kind of man God was looking for to bring in a new order of priest (1 Sam 2:35). Samuel was also the kind of man whom God would use to prepare the manner of king that God was after. During this time of preparation for a true king/priest the Ark embarked on a journey. This journey saw the Ark unaccompanied by any priest. In this journey the Ark brought great destruction to the gods of the Philistines (1 Sam 5). God would not let any priest share in these victories due to the corruption seen in their representation of His presence. Do we take the things of God for granted today?

Is there a similar presumption that God will always come through whenever we get into some sort of difficulty? God does have the quality of long-suffering and He has great patience in His dealings with man. We all can be thankful for this. Where would any of us be if it were not for His long-suffering, His mercies and forgiveness? There is a limit with God and there can come a time when a line can be crossed. I personally fear for my home country of America. The terrorism that struck on 9/11/2001 brought a humbling to the nation. People began to reassess priorities; churches were filling up and God became one who was sought after. How long did that last? There has been over 15 years that has passed by and America today is in a far worse state of sin than ever before. I believe in restoration for America but I also sense that there is inevitable judgement for the deliberate transgressions of God’s laws. Do we really love the presence of God like David did? His desire was to see the Ark of God placed upon the holy hill of Zion. We see in verse 3 that the Ark was never sought after during the days of Saul. It is sobering to think that things are not much different today.

David had the sentiment of the people behind him (vs 4). David, in his zeal to bring the Ark out of Kirjath-Jearim placed the Ark on a cart. This account is covered extensively in 2 Sam 6. This was a mistake since the Ark should have been borne upon the shoulders of the Levites (Num 7:9). David, as a priest and king was about to introduce a pre-configuring of a new order of worship however the priestly instruction regarding the carrying of the Ark needed to be observed. David led Israel in dancing and rejoicing as they began their trip towards Jerusalem. We then have the sad incident involving Uzzah. This did not have to happen but it signified the awesome holiness of God. He is a holy God; His presence must be appropriated on His terms with reverence.

David was stunned at this display of God’s anger upon the handling of His presence. The Ark settled in the house of Obededom for a period of three months. What is noteworthy is how blessed his house was during the time of the Ark’s residing there. This is one of the qualities that truly stands out regarding the life of David. He had a heart that sought after God while having a tremendous love for his presence.

1 Chr 14
David is still in preparation mode before the bringing of the Ark to Jerusalem. There are several events that take place in this chapter. First, we see that Hiram, King of Tyre, is willing to give timber, cedars, masons and carpenters to build David a house. Secondly, David took more wives at Jerusalem. This was a significant flaw in his life because it contributed too much suffering and pain in later years. Once again we need to resort to the law of kings that Moses spoke on behalf of the Lord from Deuteronomy 17. The more we advance in the study of the Books of the Bible the more we end up going back to the Laws and commandments that God spoke repeatedly through Moses. If only we could pay heed and give the needed attention to this subject. The church today finds many ways to excuse, diminish, and malign God’s Laws. All one has to do is to see the fruit of a nation or a people who violate God’s directives. In fact all one has to do is to go back to the very beginning and note the first words uttered out of the mouth of the serpent to Eve. It was a direct challenge to the one Law God had given to man. Look at the fruit in the partaking of the forbidden fruit. What we see today in many churches is the sugar-coating of sin; making it more palatable and accommodating oftentimes by way of subtle compromise. Make no mistake; compromise whether it be blatant or subtle opens a door. The judgements of Israel, of nations and people are simply due to the defiance of a loving God and His laws and ways. It is not complicated.

The next event is the movement of the Philistines against David. He met them in battle on two occasions and both times David defeated them. On both occasions he sought the mind of the Lord. This serves as a key seeing that the Lord worked differently both times. The term Baal-Perazim (The Lord of the break-through) was established in this battle. These accounts are covered in 2 Sam 5.

The victories that David experienced brought a fear upon the other nations. This is what helped David to enter into a place of Rest after he takes Zion in Jerusalem. When a man’s ways please the Lord even his enemies will be at peace with Him (Pro 16:7). It helps to give a glimpse of what the millennial reign of Christ with His bride will be like. May we have the cry that the Apostle Paul had in being a partaker of the first resurrection. We are getting closer to that day.

1 Chr 15
David now makes the final preparations for the bringing up of the Ark out of the house of Obededom to Jerusalem. This time he is very particular concerning the managing of the Ark. He appoints the Levites to carry the Ark upon their shoulders according to the Law of Moses. The event surrounding Uzzah was a sobering one and David quickly learned its lesson. The chief priests at this time are Zadok and Abiathar (vs 11). Zadok can be traced to the lineage of Eleazar who was one of the sons of Aaron. Abiathar can be traced to Ithamar. Abiathar is a few generations removed from Eli who was given the Word of the Lord that the priesthood would be cut off from his lineage (1 Sam 2:32). Zadok comes from the same lineage as Phineas who was given the promise of an everlasting priesthood for his intervention in the matter of Balaam (Num 25). These two priests will flow together up until the time of David’s death. Zadok will align with Solomon while Abiathar gives allegiance to Adonijah the usurper.

The priests also had a unique anointing in the area of worship. They had songwriters and singers like Heman whom we see featured in Psalm 88. We see them represented at the dedication of Solomon’s temple (2 Chr 5:12). There is another singer who is featured prominently in this as well. His name is Chenaniah, one of the chief Levites at the time of David. In the study of the Psalms you find that many of these singers and musicians were instrumental (no pun intended) in their formation and construction. In an earlier commentary I mentioned my early years as a believer singing “Scripture in Song” music in church. I also song led extensively from these music books due to their being taken from the Bible. It was also a wonderful way to learn scripture seeing that we were singing many of the psalms and other assorted Bible verses. These memories come to mind as I read the account of David and Israel singing, dancing and rejoicing in bringing the Ark back to Jerusalem. May that sound be heard again.

There is a very strong linkage between worship/praise and righteousness. What kind of offering is being presented to the Lord in our worship services? Is it performance driven? Is our offering of praise and worship in the form of a sacrifice? What was the strange fire that Nadab and Abihu presented to the Lord that resulted in their death (Lev 10:1-2)? This movement of the Ark from Obededom to Jerusalem was no ordinary event. We saw earlier how God moved against Uzzah as they presumed to steady God’s presence on the cart. This was a man-made method that God would not accept. The Philistines used carts to transport items, including their gods but the Living God required priests who carried the Ark upon their shoulders (vs 15). The musicians and singers were priests, appointed by David who accompanied the Ark as it journeyed towards the city. There were offerings that preceded the Ark (vs 26). We also see David, as well as the Levites who carried the Ark clothed with robes of fine linen which speaks to the subject of righteousness (Rev 19:8). David also had on an ephod of linen. The Ark was about to find a resting place upon Zion. In Psalm 15 and 24 we see the 15 requirements that enable us to be a part of this resting place at Zion. The ascent to Zion was one filled with great rejoicing and praise but we must note the qualities and approach that David and the priests took in their journey to the holy city. A good gauge is to assess the praise and worship offering that we bring to the Lord. Do we have those spiritual robes of fine linen and the ephod of linen (vs 27)?

John 20
It is Mary Magdalene who is mentioned first in this account as the woman who comes to the tomb and sees the stone rolled away. It is not one of the disciples who walked closely with Him throughout His ministry; it was a forgiven woman who found grace that is given this great privilege. Mary Magdalene was one who was forgiven much and she is the one demonstrating the greatest homage and courtesy to the Lord. She quickly finds Simon Peter and John and informs what she saw. They discovered that Mary’s report was true. They returned to their homes but Mary tarried at the tomb now fearing that someone had taken away the body to some unknown place. She then saw a man whom she thought was a gardener but who was actually the Lord. She did not recognize Him even when He asked the question “Why weepest thou? It was when he mentioned her name MARY that she then knew it to be the Lord (vs 15-16). The Lord is speaking to Mary in His glorified body. It is no longer constrained by the physical makeup that comprises ones natural body. There will be times when Jesus is not recognizable and then times when He is (see John 21:4). I assume that this will be a picture of what it will be like in the millennium for those who are partakers of the first resurrection.

Later that same day the Lord appeared to the disciples who were hiding in fear of the Jews. I think we need to try and read between the lines a bit here so as to understand their fear. This would have taken place after the Lord appeared to the men on the Emmaus Road (Luke 24). The report of the tomb being empty was surely public knowledge so there would be much speculating as to what was going on. It was in the Jews interest to do all they could to suppress any indication that Jesus was alive. They knew and were aware of what Jesus said of Himself. One can only imagine the feeling in the room when they came to know that it was Jesus who was in their midst. His Words of “Peace be unto you” must have resonated with such impact. They had heard those words before and have experienced its benefits. He then speaks Words to them which is almost like a follow on of their conversation after the last supper. “As my Father hast sent me, so send I you.”  He then breathes on them and speaks these words “Receive ye the Holy Ghost” This was not the baptism of the Holy Ghost because Jesus had not yet ascended but we can say it can be likened to a pledge, a token of that which was to come.

It is clear that Jesus did not reveal Himself publicly as He did during his pre-cross ministry. In fact, Thomas was one who still was not convinced, even after 8 days. He was not with the disciples when Jesus first appeared. Jesus again appeared to them after 8 days and opened with these same words, “Peace be unto you”. It was at this time when Thomas was convinced and believed. John makes the statement that there are many other signs that Jesus performed in the presence of His disciples. His focus however is on the fact that we believe that Christ is the Son of God and that by believing on His name we might have eternal life. John’s many years of observance probably convinced him that this is where the emphasis needs to be placed. The last chapter of John is rich in truth and promise. It also gives a greater understanding of the ministry of the Holy Spirit.