A Truly United Kingdom – (1 Chronicles 16)

The Sacrifice of the Old Covenant

The Sacrifice of the Old Covenant (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now that the Levites had successfully transported the Ark to Jerusalem, David begins celebrating in the most proper manner – with tribute to God. God’s people were in the middle of the greatest times that the united kingdom would know. And for the most part, it would last through Solomon’s reign. Second only to the dedication of the Temple by Solomon, this would be the greatest celebration of that time.

David had the ark of the covenant brought in to the tent that he had erected for it. They then had burnt offerings and peace offerings. The peace offering is sometimes called a fellowship, or more properly, a thanksgiving offering, and is introduced in Leviticus 3:1-17 and Leviticus 7:11-34. Afterwards, the celebration continued with every man and woman of the vast number of Israelites present being given “loaf of bread, a portion of meat, and a cake of raisins.”

English: Statue of King David by Nicolas Cordi...

English: Statue of King David by Nicolas Cordier in the Borghese Chapel of the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. Français : Statue du roi David par Nicolas Cordier, dans la chapelle Borghèse de la basilique Sainte-Marie Majeure. Italiano: Statua del re Davide di Nicolas Cordier, nella Capella Borghese della Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore in Roma. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

David then appointed certain Levites to “minister before the ark” invoking thanks, praising the Lord, and playing harps, lyres, cymbals, and blowing trumpets. Chief among this group of Levites was Asaph who authored Psalms 50 and 73-83. Also among them was Benaiah, one of the most powerful of David’s “mighty men,” whose exploits (some of which are described in 2 Samuel 23:20-22) included the single-handed defeat of Moab’s two mightiest warriors. Verse 7 tells us that it was the first time that David appointed Asaph and his brothers to sing thanksgiving to the Lord.

Verses 8-36 contain David’s song of thanksgiving. It is a long and wonderful song of praise to the Lord; and parts of it are contained in Psalm 105:1–15, Psalm 96:1–13, and Psalm 106:1, 47–48. Verses 37-42 describe how David made ministering to the ark a long-term responsibility for Asaph and his brothers. He also left Obed-edom (and his 68 brothers!), along with Zadok the priest and his brothers to offer burnt offerings and perform other duties.

Finally, the ark was to get the care that it had once had when Moses was around; and the Levites would do what they were intended to do before the Lord in such a grand scale as Israel had not seen since long before Israel had its first king.

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Luke here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 1 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  

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Ark Movement 101 – 1 Chronicles 15

After the fiasco in chapter 13 of 1 Chronicles when the transportation of the ark was so badly mishandled that Uzzah was killed, it remained at the home of Obed-edom while David figured out what to do. And figure it out, he did. The material of chapter 15 focuses much less on David himself than was the case when this event was described in 2 Samuel 6:12-23. It is clear that David sought guidance from the Levites, and the instructions contained in Mosaic Law concerning proper handling of the ark were followed in exacting detail.

English: Jerusalem Model, The city of David, t...

English: Jerusalem Model, The city of David, the Pool of Siloam and the southern wall of Mount Moriah Deutsch: Jerusalem Modell, Davidstadt, im Vordergrund der Teich von Siloah und die Südmauer des Tempelberges Français : Maquette de Jérusalem, la Ville de David. Au premier plan, la piscine de Siloé et la muraille sud du Mont du Temple (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

David summoned “all of Israel” to participate in this event, which we can suppose to mean that he brought many from each tribe. And the Levites were at center stage because this could only be executed by them. Descendants of each of Levi’s sons (Kohath, Gershon, and Merari – verses 4-10) brought many with them, led by their chiefs; and the priests, Zadok and Abiathar were charged with consecrating themselves and their brethren for the task. This time, the Levites carried the ark with the poles, as set forth in Mosaic Law (Numbers 4:6-9; Numbers 4:15).

Singers and those who would play musical instruments (including Asaph, author of several Psalms – verse 19) were appointed and given detailed tasks. David wore an ephod over fine linen for the occasion, and he, his commanders and the Levites set out with the ark in grand procession and jubilant song, as they brought the ark to Jerusalem and the temporary tent that would hold it there.

But David’s wife, Michal (referred to in verse 29 simply as the daughter of Saul) watched through the window as David danced and celebrated the event and “despised him in her heart.” Her contempt for him here would define their estrangement from that point forward.

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Luke here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 1 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  

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1 Chronicles – The Annals of the Times

David bringing the Ark to Jerusalem

David bringing the Ark to Jerusalem

Like the Book of Samuel, 1 & 2 Chronicles were originally one book. The Hebrew title is “Dibre Hayyamim” (meaning “Events of the Times” or “Annals”), which can be assumed to have been abbreviated from “Sepher Dibre Hayyamim,” for “The Book of the Events of the Times.”  In the Septuagint, it is known as “Paraleipomena,” or “The Things Omitted,” suggesting information supplemental to The Books of Samuel and Kings. In fact, so much of the Scripture in the Books of Chronicles can be found in Kings that many people wonder why God would have wanted two such similar records.

There are a couple of very good answers to that question. As always, it is good to remember that any time we see something repeated in Scripture, it is a pretty good indication that it is important. Secondly, unlike Kings, the Books of Chronicles have little at all to say about the northern kingdom, but instead they are centered almost totally around Judah, or the southern kingdom. It is also argued that the perspective in the Chronicles is less from a historical viewpoint than it is for edification.

As an act of pride, King David forced Joab to take a census of men of military age. The Lord was displeased with David for this and sent a great plague.

As an act of pride, King David forced Joab to take a census of men of military age. The Lord was displeased with David for this and sent a great plague.

Jewish tradition holds that Ezra was the author, although there is nothing in the books to verify this. It was once believed that the Chronicles along with Ezra and Nehemiah were once one book, but most scholars now recognize them as separate works of approximately the same period. A post-exilic date of 450-400 BC for the Book seems to be validated by the mention of several descendants of David from the period in places such as 1 Chronicles 3:17-24.

The first nine chapters of 1 Chronicles are a lengthy list of genealogies that begin with Adam and conclude with that of the returning exiles. Such a long and tedious (to us) list provokes questions about the reason for them to be there at all.  In fact, they are important for more than one reason. First, it would be important to identify the Levites after returning from captivity in order to properly preserve the priesthood. Secondly, the proper heirs for the land could be identified for distribution to those returning to Jerusalem from captivity. Finally, it preserves the record of the lineage of David – important to validate the lineage of the Messiah.

Outline of 1 Chronicles

 /Bob’s boy

___________________
image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  

Psalms 96 – The Splendor of Holiness

ark_of_covenant_002Psalm 96 is part of David’s “Song of Thanks” to the Lord, which he had Asaph and his brothers sing after the arrival of the Ark in Jerusalem.  The psalm is found virtually word for word in 1 Chronicles 16:23-33.  The rest of that song, in verses 8-22 is taken from Psalms 105 and 106.

Like the previous psalm, this one urges praise to the Lord in song, and does so three times in the first two verses.  The notable theme throughout the psalm is its inclusion of all nations – all people – in praising and making offerings to the one true God.  The entirety of the nations, all the people of the world, are included 9 times in these 13 verses as belonging to, and ruled by, the Creator of the world.  The Gentiles and all people are called on to worship “in the splendor of holiness” the God, who unlike their “worthless idols,” will judge the world in righteousness and according to His faithfulness.

It is a testimony to the fact that is illustrated throughout the Bible that God’s people were given custodial responsibility for God’s word, but all nations were always intended to receive it, and His name would be great in all the world (Malachi 1:11).

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Psalms 68 – The Procession of My God

This psalm is extolled by commentators as one of the most magnificent hymnal psalms of praise that David wrote – and in some ways, one of the most difficult to outline and interpret.  It is widely accepted as having been written at the time of the removal of “the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom to the city of David with rejoicing” ( 2 Samuel 6:12).  And that certainly seems to be the case, as it starts out in verse one (“God shall arise, his enemies shall be scattered; and those who hate him shall flee before him!”) – the same way the ark was always put on its journey (see Numbers 10:35).

Hill of Ophel, south of Jerusalem, where the city of David was located.

Hill of Ophel, south of Jerusalem, where the city of David was located.

Throughout the chapter, it echoes the praise for God when on a similar journey among His people, He led them from bondage in Egypt (i.e. verses 4, 6, 7-8).  Verse 20 (“Our God is a God of salvation, and to God, the Lord, belong deliverances from death”) is one of few verses in the Old Testament that clearly demonstrates an understanding of God’s saving grace for the righteous in eternity, as we understand now comes to us from the sacrifice of His Son.

But praise for God and His power is the sole intent of this song.  Part of Spurgeon’s description of the singing which follows here conjures quite an image:

“With the words of the first two verses the ark is uplifted, and the procession begins to move. In Psalm 68:3-6, the godly in the assembly are exhorted to commence their joyous songs, and arguments are adduced to help their joy. Then the glorious march of Jehovah in the wilderness is sung: Psalm 68:7-10, and his victories in war are celebrated in verses Psalm 68:11-14. The joyous shouts are louder as Zion comes in sight, and the ark is borne up the hill…”

The psalm concludes majestically:

Awesome is God from his sanctuary;
the God of Israel—he is the one who gives power and strength to his people.
Blessed be God!

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Psalms 46-47 – A Mighty Fortress

An early printing of Luther's hymn A Mighty Fo...

An early printing of Luther’s hymn A Mighty Fortress Is Our God (Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Psalm 46 is famous for its first verse, which inspired Martin Luther’s hymn “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.”  Spurgeon said of this: “There were times when Martin Luther was threatened with discouragement; but he would say, ‘Come, Philip, let us sing the 46th Psalm’; and they would sing it in Luther’s own version…This psalm is both historical and prophetic. It refers to things that happened in Israel; and it is a prophecy concerning the New Testament Church.”

In “The Tyndale Old Testament Commentary,” Old Testament scholar Frank Derek Kidner (Kidner, Derek “Psalms 1-72” Volume 1 ) outlined the psalm as being divided into three sections: 1) The Most High’s ascendancy over nature (verses 1-3); 2) His ascendancy over the attackers of His city (verses 4-7); and 3) His ascendancy over the whole warring world (verses 8-11).

From verse 10, we have another hymn, “Be Still and Know That I Am God,” which commands all to give glory and reverence to the almighty, who “will be exalted in the earth.”

Psalm 47 is another song of the “Sons of Korah,” celebrating God’s rule over all the earth.  It is supposed by some that this psalm has its roots in the transport of the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem, citing 2 Samuel 6:15.  Otheres see it as celebrating the deliverance of the people from Sennacherib in 701 B.C. (2 Kings 19:20-36).

Coffman says of verse 8: “This verse enables us to know the identity of God who went up (verse 5). He is the God who rules over the Gentiles (the `nations’) in his kingdom, and who during that time is `sitting upon his holy throne.’ The special application of this terminology to Jesus Christ is well known to every Christian, the same being a strong indication that Ps. 47:5 is indeed a prophecy of Christ’s ascension.”  Verse 9 (“The princes of the peoples gather as the people of the God of Abraham”) aligns with Paul’s reminder that we are all Abraham’s offspring (Galatians 3:28-29).

5 God has gone up with a shout,
the Lord with the sound of a trumpet.
8 God reigns over the nations;
God sits on his holy throne.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

1 Kings 8:1 – 9:9 – Ark Brought Into Temple

Sometime after the completion of construction of the temple, Solomon has the ark of the covenant, the tent of meeting (tabernacle), and all the holy vessels within brought from the old city of David so that the ark could be brought into the temple.  Like in the tabernacle (see Exodus 40), the inner sanctuary – or most holy place – is where the ark would be kept.  Only the priests could enter there (verse 6), and only they could “take up” the ark (verse 3).  Missing from the description of the contents of the ark are Aaron’s rod (Numbers 17:10-11) and the jar of manna (Exodus 16:32-34) that we are told were kept there at one time (Hebrews 9:1-5).  We are not told what had become of them.  After the priest’s came out, a cloud filled the temple as the glory of the Lord described in Exodus 40:34-38 – so that the priests were not able to even stand (verses 10-11).

English: image of Solomon and the covenant of ...

English: image of Solomon and the covenant of the ark, painted in 1747 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Solomon’s speech and his prayer to the Lord make up the rest of the chapter.  The prayer is beautiful and significant in that the people would eventually need all of the petitions of this prayer to be granted.  Solomon acknowledges in verses 27 and 29-30 that  God cannot be contained in an earthly dwelling, but that as the Lord had said, His name shall dwell there – the word “name” in biblical terms meaning all that constitutes the character and essence of all that He is.  And in place toward which His eyes are open.

The prayer consists of several petitions concerning granting mercy to the people when they repent of their sins during and after times including war, famine, drought, exile, and captivity – that the Lord would once again regard them as His people after repentance and “maintain their cause” (verse 49).  The Lord answers Solomon in 9:1-9 with a promise and a warning of what would happen if they turn aside, with a particular emphasis on warning against idolatry in verse 9.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

2 Samuel 6 – The Ark Brought to Jerusalem

The story of the ark being brought to Jerusalem is told here, and the first attempt does not go well.  The ark was one of the “holy things,” with which they communed with the Lord – but though the Levite priests.  The detail given by the Lord for its construction was exquisite (Exodus 25:10-22, and Exodus 37:1-9).  The Koathites were to carry it – by poles through the rings.  Even they could not touch it, or they would die (Numbers 4:4-15).  None but the priests themselves could touch the holy things, as God had set the Levites apart (consecrated) for himself.

The Chastisement of Uzzah

The Chastisement of Uzzah (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But they set out to bring it to Jerusalem on a cart, much as the manner in which the Philistines returned it in 1 Samuel 6:7.  The oxen stumbled, and Uzzah reached out to take hold of it (the right thing to do, one might think). But as we have learned, when God says He will do something, He always does it.  God keeps ALL of His promises!  David and those transporting the Ark showed no respect for the Lord, and Uzzah was now dead because of his sin.

Three months pass after this incident (verse 11) before David again transports it.  This second attempt is mentioned briefly here, but in more detail in 1 Chronicles 15, as this story is told there again. As our reading has shown before, when God says something more than once, we should pay attention!  This time, the Levites carry it to Jerusalem properly.

Michal’s disdain and David’s rejection of her afterward is important to us because she will not bear him a child – Saul’s line will not be extended through the house of David.  Contrary to the picture some have painted, David was not dancing naked, but wearing a linen ephod – a simple garment as the priests wore (verse 14, and 1 Chronicles 15:27).  He had taken off his kingly robes to honor the Lord (verse 21).

When Jesus laid down His life for us and the temple curtain was torn (Matthew 27:51), Jesus became like our “ark”, just as He is our Priest, through which we can approach the Father (Hebrews 5:1-10).  Do we honor and respect this most holy and precious son of our Lord, whose very name is even used today by many to casually swear?

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

1 Samuel 4 – Philistines Capture the Ark

So far in the book of Samuel, we have read of little mention of real worship – other than some sacrificial offerings.  Indeed chapter 3:1 says “the word of the Lord was rare in those days.” And Eli’s consultation with the Lord is especially and conspicuously absent in this chapter, as the Israelites go to do battle with the Philistines.  They are soundly defeated in verse 2, and the elders seem to decide on their own that the Ark should be brought to the battle to put the Lord with them, treating it – and God – like little more than a talisman.  Hophni and Phinehas, Eli’s sons are right there with it when the Israelites were defeated even worse this time.  And now, the Ark has been captured!  Containing the tablets of the Ten Commandments, this loss of the sign of the Lord’s covenant with Israel is devastating!

One of the men of the tribe of Benjamin from the field of battle runs and gives the news to Eli, who is more distressed at the loss of the Ark than the death of his sons – and he dies on the spot (verse 18)!  The verse states that he had judged Israel for 40 years.  Samuel the prophet would be the final judge.  Eli’s daughter-in-law, too, is more distressed at the loss of the Ark; and she goes into labor.  She dies giving birth and names her son Ichabod – which means “Where is the glory?” Because the glory has left Israel.  It would seem to the people that the Lord himself has left them!

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Robert
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Joshua 3 – Israel Crosses the Jordan

The historical crossing of the Jordan is the place where God intends to show the people not only that He is with them in this long-awaited event, but that He is with Joshua, as He was with Moses (verse 7).  This is important because giving them a firm confidence in Joshua as a capable leader matters a great deal now that they no longer have Moses to turn to.  The waters of the Jordan at this time of the year are over-flowing the banks, we are told in verse 16, making it both deeper and wider than at other times during the year.  So rather than having the people build boats or try to find some safe place and manner to cross, God’s plan is to have them cross as they did the Red Sea in Exodus 14, having the water held back by the Lord while they cross on dry ground.

The Children of Israel Crossing the Jordan (il...

The Children of Israel Crossing the Jordan (illustration by Gustave Doré) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This symbolic gesture of God will further be aided in boosting their spirits by the sight of the Levitical priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant (verse 3).  The Lord is leading His people into the Promised Land.  With the significance of this event highlighted by both of these spectacles, it is easy to see how the people would be given confidence, and how they would be filled with both hope and awe.

Easy also for us to miss the significance of the wording of the last verse of the chapter:

Now the priests bearing the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firmly on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan, sand all Israel was passing over on dry ground until all the nation finished passing over the Jordan.

Although God had promised to make a great nation of Abraham, and had said in Exodus 19:6 that they will be “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation”, this is the first time the Bible has actually referred to them as a nation – and it occurs as they cross into the Promised Land.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Robert
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.