August 29, 2017
Scripture Reading – 1 Chronicles 15-19
I discussed in an earlier commentary the well-meaning desire of David to move the Ark of God to Jerusalem. The employment of an ox drawn cart for that purpose; however, was a violation of God’s command and ended in tragedy when Uzza touched the Ark to steady it (Numbers 13:9-10). David’s first response to God striking down Uzza is insightful– “David was displeased [angry; grieved], because the LORD had made a breach upon Uzza” (13:11). David’s anger was soon followed by a righteous response, “David was afraid [reverential fear; in awe] of God that day” (13:12).
Our scripture reading begins with David’s second attempt to move the Ark of God to Jerusalem; however, this time he was wiser and made sure the Ark would be transported as God directed (1 Chronicles 15).
1 Chronicles 15:2 – Then David said, None ought to carry the ark of God but the Levites: for them hath the LORD chosen to carry the ark of God, and to minister unto him for ever.
Knowing the Ark represented the presence of the LORD in Israel, David commanded the elders of the tribe of Levi to “sanctify yourselves…that ye may bring up the Ark of the LORD God of Israel” (15:12). Skilled singers and musicians led the celebration as the Ark was carried to Jerusalem (15:16-24).
With the Ark of God in the place David had prepared, the shepherd king and poet delivered to “Asaph and his brethren” a psalm of praise and thanksgiving (1 Chronicles 16:7-36). When the celebration ended, David entrusted the daily ministry of worship and sacrifices to “Asaph and his brethren” (16:37-42). With his heart filled with joy, “David returned to bless his house” (16:43).
1 Chronicles 17 introduces us to the prophet Nathan who will have a major role in David’s life and reign in the years ahead. No doubt in a reflective mood in the comfort of his palace, David’s thoughts turned to building a temple for Israel to come to Jerusalem and worship the LORD (1 Chronicles 17:1-9). Nathan gave his blessing to David’s desire (17:2); however, that same night the LORD revealed to the prophet that the king would not be permitted to build a temple; however, his son and successor would build a temple (17:3-12).
We find two covenant promises expressed to David in 1 Chronicles 17. The first, that God would bless David, subduing his enemies and establishing his lineage on Israel’s throne forever (17:7-11). The second promise, that David’s son and successor would not only build a house of worship to the LORD, but his throne “shall be established for evermore” (17:14); a promise fulfilled in the Messiah Jesus Christ. The balance of 1 Chronicles 17 is a record of David’s praise and thanksgiving for God’s covenant promises (17:16-27).
1 Chronicles 18 memorializes David’s battles and the spoils of victory.
Acting as a statesman on behalf of Israel, David sent ambassadors from Israel to the Ammonites to express his sympathy to Hanun who succeeded to the throne of Ammon after his father’s death (19:1-2). Younger counselors (“princes of the children of Ammon”) convinced the new king David’s ambassadors had come as spies (19:3). In an act of provacation, Hanun shamed David’s servants shaving their beards and cutting off their robes to humiliate them, David and Israel (19:4).
Realizing their ill-treatment of David’s delegation was an offense, Hanun hired Syrian mercenaries to wage war with Ammon against Israel (19:6-7). David sent Joab, his veteran general, to battle against the Ammonites and the Syrian mercenaries fled from Israel’s army (19:8-14). When the Ammonites realized the Syrians had abandoned the battle they also fled from Israel’s army (19:15-17). Receiving news from the battlefront, David personally led the armies against Syria (19:18-19).
In closing, permit me to draw your attention to 1 Chronicles 15 and an incident recorded at the close of the day of rejoicing when the Ark of the God arrived in Jerusalem. While David and all Israel celebrated the arrival of the Ark, there was one contrary spirit…David’s wife (1 Chronicles 15:19; 2 Samuel 6:15-16, 20-23). We read:
1 Chronicles 15:29 – “And it came to pass, as the ark of the covenant of the LORD came to the city of David, that Michal the daughter of Saul looking out at a window saw king David dancing [leaping for joy] and playing [rejoicing]: and she despised [had contempt; distain] him in her heart [mind and thoughts].”
David returned to the palace rejoicing, desiring to bless his home; however, he was greeted by a bitter wife who mocked and reproved him (2 Samuel 6:20). The catalyst for Michal’s resentment in the hour of David’s joy is not stated; however, she may have resented David criticizing her father’s neglect of the Ark (1 Chronicles 13:3).
Friend, after 38 years of ministry I have learned some in the midst of the saints will not share my times of joy, rejoicing or vision irrespective of the evidences of God’s providences, blessings and leading. Some will harbor a root of bitterness and poison others with their venom (Hebrews 12:15). Some are proud and hold on to offenses, refusing to allow love to cover the sins of others (1 Peter 4:8).
Be forewarned friend, carnal saints and sinners are joy thieves who, at the height of your joy, will strike a blow to your soul!
Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith