Behind The Scenes

1 Chronicles 27:1
“And the children of Israel, according to their number, the heads of fathers’ houses, the captains of thousands and hundreds and their officers, served the king in every matter of the military divisions. These divisions came in and went out month by month throughout all the months of the year, each division having twenty-four thousand.”

David was the greatest king Israel ever had. Under his leadership the nation reached its apex socially, economical, militarily and spiritually. Within the nation God was being highly exalted and without the enemies of Israel were subdued and peace treaties were established. Every king that would step onto Israel’s throne would be compared to David and their reign would be seen in contrast to his. I think it is important to keep in mind that while David was responsible to surrender his heart and life to the Lord he was not capable of these great victories on his own. David purposed in his heart to follow God and countless others joined him in the task. Israel’s greatness, while attributed to David was really the work of a massive host of men and women who devoted themselves to God.

The same is true today. Churches across our country are often known because of the man who stands in the pulpit and proclaims the Word. He becomes the face of what God is accomplishing in that particular area but is not doing it alone. Behind the scenes there are countless unnamed supporters who are standing with him. Many of these men and women will never become household names but the ministry could not be accomplished without them. They are the ones who hold up their pastors arms in prayer and faithfully serve beside him to assist in any way they can, to be sure the Word of God is faithfully declared in their community. They set up tables, clean up the churches, fold bulletins, teach children, attend prayer meetings, etc. Just as Israel,would not have become what it was without David’s support staff so the church cannot be what God intends without the faithfulness of those who serve alongside their pastor.

Jim

 

God Speaks

1 Chronicles 25:1
“Moreover David and the captains of the army separated for the service some of the sons of Asaph, of Heman, and of Jeduthun, who should prophesy with harps, stringed instruments, and cymbals…”

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Worship is an important part of the life of the believer and the health of the local church. It is a time when we are able to take our eyes off ourselves and our circumstances and put them on the Lord. It is a time when we are able to declare the truths about the character and behavior of God in a way that brings Him glory and magnifies His name. It is often in these times of worship that we are able to see our lives from the proper perspective. Instead of seeing our circumstances as hopeless and ourselves as helpless we are able to see the God who can part seas, provide water in the desert or counsel the confused Christian. Worship is certainly a very important exercise for every follower of Christ.

That being said we find yet another value of worship tucked away in the narrative of the Chronicles. We are told that worship leaders were trained and appointed so they could prophecy with stringed instruments and percussions. Prophecy is when God speaks to His people and worship is one of the key mediums that God chooses to use to speak to us. Often when a believer will fix his attention upon the Lord and begin to pour out praise he will find that God speaks to him in an unexpected way.

There have been numerous times in my life, when in the midst of worship I, have sensed the voice of God speaking to my heart and directing my life. On one such occasion I was considering returning for a second trip to west Africa. My children were very young and the church was quite small and needed my attention, so I was struggling with the decision to go. As I sat in worship I recall singing a song about the faithfulness of God. I was almost overcome with the sense that God was calling me back to Africa. My fears, worries and concerns were somewhat alleviated when I realized that God was giving me the green light to go. As the years have passed and we have seen God accomplish so many wonderful things through the ministry in west Africa I am so thankful for that time of worship when God spoke prophetic word.

Jim

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The Word Of God Is Greater

1 Chronicles 22:13
“Then you will prosper, if you take care to fulfill the statutes and judgments with which the Lord charged Moses concerning Israel. Be strong and of good courage; do not fear nor be dismayed.”

As the time of David’s departure drew near he took the time to commission his son to follow and serve the Lord. Solomon would be surrounded by things that would make his task easier but it would ultimately be his own responsibility to choose to live according to the precepts laid down in the word of God. Solomon had the gifts he received from God, the pattern and the resources his father had left behind and he was surrounded by the men who had assisted David in his walk with the Lord. Sadly, the one thing that was missing was a personal desire in Solomon to live a life that pleased the Lord. Instead his life was marked by constant and continual compromise.

There are many pitfalls that make it difficult to follow Christ. We are all constantly bombarded with temptations designed to lead us down roads that take us farther and farther from the paths of God. What we often forget is that we have also been given a roadmap in the scriptures that is designed to guide us through these difficult seasons. When we choose to take the counsel laid forth by David and give care to keep the statutes found in the pages of our Bibles we will find great success.

At the end of the day Solomon had no excuse for his constant compromise. For while the temptations may be great the word of God is greater.

Jim

 

Let’s Battle 

1 Chronicles 20:1
“It happened in the spring of the year, at the time kings go out to battle… But David stayed at Jerusalem…”

Although the writer of Chronicles does not include it here, this is the time when David compromised, broke his own standards, violated the ways of God and sinned with Bathsheba. This is the lowest point in the life of the sweet psalmist of Israel. While there are many factors that led to his failure the text makes it clear that one of the contributing factors was being idle when he should have been busy in the battle.

The word idle simply means not to be working, busy or active. There are times in life when being idle is the exact thing we need; it was God who established the sabbath for Israel and desired them to take times of rest. Taking a break from activity to rest the body, wait on the Lord or simply enjoy the blessings of following Christ is an important part of life and our walk with the Lord. That being said, we must also realize that there are times when being idle can be dangerous. David’s problem was not that he was resting, but that he was resting when he should have been battling. He was in a season in life when the situation called for clinging to the Lord and stepping out in service, instead he chose to stay home, let his guard down and compromise his standards.

The seasons of life often determine our focus for us. If bombs are falling on the city it is not time for a family picnic. If you are in the midst of difficulty at home or work, or if you are struggling with something in your private and personal life it is not the time to sit back, but to clothe yourself in the armor of God and to battle the fiery darts of the wicked one that so often evidence themselves in thoughts that oppose the word of God.

Jim

 

Investment 

1 Chronicles 29:3
“Moreover, because I have set my affection on the house of my God, I have given to the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house, my own special treasure of gold and silver.”

David, and others, invested in the temple at great personal cost. They devoted their time, talents, and treasures to ensure that the house of the Lord was built. Their devotion to this project stemmed from realizing that the work of God would outlast them. David would not live to see the temple, but knew that his investment would impact the nation long after his departure. For years to come, this building would be a place where the Word of God was proclaimed, and commitments to the Lord were made, as each of Israel’s revivals centered around the events that took place at this building.

It seems we have lost the concept of thinking generationally. We live in a time that we want immediate return on any sort of investment we make. If a stock does not act the way we want, we sell, if a relationship does not give back what we think it should, we move on, and if the church does not meet our needs, we look for another one. Those who are willing to break this trend and look at their live as it relates, not just to time, but to eternity, are the ones who will make investments that will impact generations to come. I recently stood in a large chapel built in the late 1800’s. Over the past 125 years, thousands of souls have entered eternity by entering its doors. Those who invested in its construction have treasures being stored up in eternity long after they have passed.

Take some time to consider what eternal investments you have been making; they may impact eternity long after you have gone to be with the Lord.

Pastor Jim

 

Looking Ahead

1 Chronicles 28:8
“Now therefore, in the sight of all Israel, the assembly of the Lord, and in the hearing of our God, be careful to seek out all the commandments of the Lord your God, that you may possess this good land, and leave it as an inheritance for your children after you forever.”

David lists two very important reasons, even motivators, for keeping the commands of God. First, he states by doing so, they would posses the land. Second, they would have something to leave behind for the next generation. These same principles should motivate each of us to live according to the Word of God.

The land of Israel was an integral part of the promise of God. Declaring they would possess the good land, was a way of saying they would experience the life God intended for them. Jesus referred to abundant life as the possession of every one of His followers (John 10:10b). This life is found when a person receives Christ, and walks according to the Word of God. Instead of making decisions that will bring immediate gratification, we should be seeking the ways of God, and making decisions based on His promises.

Realizing the effect on the generations that follow us, is another great motivator for walking with the Lord. Too many decisions are made in life without considering the long term consequences. Marriages end because things have become difficult; not realizing others are watching and our decisions effect everyone around us, especially our children. Laws are passed that give a generation freedom to behave in immoral ways. These decisions will have a long term, devastating effect upon the generations to come. They not only weaken the nation and put us under divine judgment, but they also confuse young people, causing them to grow up with baggage that will make the rest of life difficult to navigate.

We would all do well to take the advice of David and seek the commandments of God.

Pastor Jim

 

Small Things 

1 Chronicles 26:13
“And they cast lots for each gate, the small as well as the great, according to their father’s house.”

As David recounts those who would serve in the various capacities within the house of the Lord, he reminds us that all service, small or great, is determined by the Lord. Those who would attend to the gates of the city were chosen by lot. A person given charge over a lesser gate, needed to serve with the same faithfulness as one who served at a larger gate. This is a key principle in ministry. Jesus put it like this,

“He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own?” Luke 16:10-12

The principle is simple. If we are faithful in little, we will be given more, if we are unfaithful with little, we will not be entrusted with more. It is interesting how we often want to do great things for God, yet we are not involved in doing little things for the Lord. It is also interesting what Jesus considers to be the “little things.”

He says we must first be faithful with money before we will be trusted with true riches. One of the key ways to prepare for Christian service is to be faithful with your giving. Paul wrote, each man should give as he purposes in his own heart (2Corinthians 9:7). Each of us bears the responsibility of sitting before the Lord, determining what portion of our income we will give back to Him. That money should then be given weekly at your local church. As we prove responsible with finance we will be entrusted with greater riches.

He also says we must be faithful with what belongs to another. The picture here is that of placing ourselves under another in service. Before we will be trusted with a ministry of our own, we must faithfully serve alongside others, learning how to be under authority. One of the most important character traits of an elder is that he not be self-willed. We learn how to set our will aside when we serve under others.

In what capacity are you currently serving the Lord? Are you being faithful with the opportunities that are in front of you, or are you waiting for your big break to come? Let’s follow the example of those who served alongside David; be faithful in the little things.

Pastor Jim