Chronicles 1


1 Chronicles 5-9 (NLT link)

Discover His heart: He carefully planned for the security and care of His Temple

I have had the privilege of meeting some of the most outstanding pastors, missionaries and evangelists of our time.  Life has just afforded me that honor, and I’m grateful to have met them and to have sat under their ministries. If you would ask who I considered to be the most faithful man or woman in the work of the church in my lifetime, it would be difficult to choose.  It could be a missionary hero like Mark Buntain who changed the future of so many in Calcutta, the great evangelist David Wilkerson whose ministry rocked the drug culture of our nation, Reinhard Bonnke and his powerful evangelism of Africa or it could be a church custodian I knew by the name of Bob. 

@ 1 Chronicles 9
“In all, there were 212 gatekeepers in those days…David and Samuel the seer had appointed their ancestors because they were reliable men.” (22)  In the verses that follow we learn the role of the gatekeepers who opened the Temple doors in the morning, protected and cared for the Temple furnishings and utensils, oversaw the entrance and those who entered, took care of the money, made sure supplies were available for the priests, provided the showbread for the offerings and finally closed the doors of the Temple at night.  We may call them gatekeepers, custodians or even janitors, but all those who follow after them in this role serve the house of the Lord with faithfulness.

Bob was the custodian at my church when I was growing up.  He opened the church early Sunday mornings long before Sunday School began and stayed to lock up until the very last souls left the building late that evening, which usually included my mom, my sister and me.  Mom was a prayer warrior. Every time we came to church for any event on any given day we walked into a spotless building, every chair in place, paper goods always provided in the restrooms, communion set ready to go…Bob was reliable, Bob was amazing.  We always knew where he was by the jingle of his keys and the song he was humming.  Bob smiled through the messes his fellow parishioners made and smiled even when we stayed late at night.  Bob served his church for many, many years and is one of the most faithful men in the work of the church that I have ever known.

Our churches are filled with workers just like Bob who receive few accolades for their faithful service – janitors, ushers, nursery workers, Sunday school teachers, offering counters, sound men and pew fillers.  Oh, the list is endless.  Most are volunteers, some receive some small remuneration; but, trust me, it’s not enough.  However, Someone sees everything they do and is keeping record of it.  God was concerned enough about His Temple that He gave detailed instructions about its security, care and maintenance, and we can be sure that He sees every moment spent on something that is so close to His heart.

Some day when God divvies out all the eternal rewards, Bob is going to get a boatload, as well as all of God’s many other faithful gatekeepers.  In the meantime, we would bless the Lord by praying for these faithful servants and by sending notes of thanks and sharing kind words of gratitude to the many Bobs in our churches who serve us so very faithfully.  “Kind words are like honey—sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” (Proverbs 16:24) 

Moving Forward: My prayer today is special blessings for the gatekeeper and servants at my church, followed up by words of thanks. 

Tomorrow @ Psalm 96-98

I Chronicles 1-4 (NLT link) 

Discover His heart: Because of His great love, He adopted us

I’m going to write about your family today. Oh…you didn’t know that I knew them?  Well, yes, I know a little bit about them.  In fact, today we read all about your ancestors as well as mine, many of whom were dynamic leaders and people of great faith, and a few bad apples on the old family tree too.  I mean, really, don’t we all come from Adam?

I Chronicles 1-4 records the official family history of the nation of Israel, starting with none other than Adam.  When we accept Jesus as our Savior, we are adopted or grafted into the family tree of Israel, so all the inheritance that was promised to Abraham and his family is ours as well. (Romans 11:17)

Just like with our personal family genealogies, we are able to read about our ancestors in the Bible and discover how and why we have arrived to the point where we are today.  So, dear one, I won’t be stopping by for dinner unannounced as family sometimes does, but please keep in mind that we are family and we’re all going to live together someday in one great big glorious city.  Don’t worry – it will be good!

There are so many amazing family members listed in these chapters that it would be impossible to write about all of them today, but a few stand out to me as I read them:  Enoch, who walked with God and never died, now that’s a story all on its own; Noah, the shipbuilder who trusted God in the face of ridicule; Abraham who left home and all that he knew to settle in an unfamiliar land just because he trusted God; David, the King after God’s own heart; and Jabez, our example of the man who prayed and God granted his requests.  Most of these are listed in the Hall of Faith of Hebrews 11.  What a heritage!  Also listed were dozens of faithful kings, priests and prophets – such an impressive background we have.

The next time our enemy comes around to demean and to discourage us by reminding us of our more recent family members who may not be so illustrious or to remind us of our own dismal past, we have something to declare:  We come from a long line of Royalty, we are Kings, we are Priests, we are blood-bought, (Revelations 1:6) and these are things our enemy will never be.  We will someday rule and reign and these are things that he will never do.  Because of who we are in Jesus, we really don’t have to take any of his talk!

As I think about where we come from, who we are and where we’re going, I can’t help but remember the verse that puts it all in perspective for me.  In Revelations 4:10-11, represented by the 24 elders, we learn what we the redeemed, His royal family, will do with our crowns when we stand before Him, “And they lay their crowns before the throne and say, “You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power.  For you created all things, and they exist because you created what you pleased.”   We may have a great and impressive heritage; but when it’s all said and done, it’s really all about Him.

Moving Forward: Head held high, I move forward today remembering who He is and remembering who I am because of Him.  I’ve got great genes

Tomorrow @ Psalms 93-95

I Chronicles 25-29 (NLT link) 

Discover His heart: He created us to enjoy intimacy with Him 

@ I Chronicles 28
“And Solomon, my son, learn to know the God of your ancestors intimately. Worship and serve him with your whole heart and a willing mind.” (9)  David was rounding the final bend of his life when he gave these wonderful principles to help guide his son.  Even though his life had some rough moments, David was qualified to give this exhortation because we know from reading the Psalms of his intimacy with God.

When I read them, I think of my mom expressing these words to me, “And Phyllis, my daughter, learn to know the God of your ancestors intimately…” because she, like David, enjoyed an intimate relationship with God.  As a young girl it took me quite a while to grasp what David was expressing to his son.

Many years ago I listened to a group of women discuss the challenges of keeping a fresh daily relationship going with the Lord while raising children, working and traveling, and I understood the struggle all too well.  There are days when it’s difficult to even get a brush through our hair, much less spend some devotional time with the Lord.  The consensus in that meeting was that God understands if we put our relationship with Him on hold for a few years until we have more time.  I don’t think so.

The truth is that God loves us no matter what, literally to the point of death, but I don’t think He understands being put on hold until we can make some time for Him.  Somehow in our busyness we have lost our purpose if we think He isn’t going to miss us, and just as David was reminding his son of life’s priorities, we need reminders on our journey as well.

The message is clear from Genesis to Revelation—God created mankind with much more in mind than providing a caretaker for His garden.  We were created for Him to lavish His abundant love on us through an intimate relationship.  Made in His image, our desire for loving relationships in our lives reflects His desire for loving relationships, and He has chosen us!  Our purpose for being is not the roles we enjoy as husband or wife, father or mother, etc.  No, God has given us breath today for intimacy with Him, and everything else, while worthy and fulfilling, is secondary.

I wish I could say that I’m the poster child for intimacy with God, but unfortunately that would not be true.  In recent years, however, I’ve changed my priorities each day.  Sleep is less important to me if I need to get up earlier to spend time with Him. In fact, I desire to put everything else on hold instead of Him.  I’ve learned that the day goes better when I first fulfill my purpose for breathing.

 I’ve learned that He isn’t requiring marathon devotions every day.  He just wants to touch me and be touched, to love me and be loved.  Just like every other relationship, this requires time and care that sometimes may last for only a few minutes or sometimes for much longer. I’ve learned that the more intimate we become with Him, the more there is to learn about Him, and I’ve barely scratched the surface. 

Moving Forward: I’m thankful for the reminder from David to continue to know my God intimately.  God is my first priority today. 

Tomorrow @ Psalm 108-110

I Chronicles 20-24 (NLT) 

Discover His Heart:  He desires our complete trust in Him

“He’d fly through the air with the greatest of ease, that daring young man on the flying trapeze…” (G. Leybourne)  When I was a young child the Shrine Circus came to the Minneapolis auditorium every year, and it was a really big deal for me.  Clowns and jugglers, elephants and tigers filled our eyes with excitement and courageous acts, but none of these were as death-defying as those daring young men and women on the flying trapeze.  The flyers that impressed me the most were those few who worked without a net, soaring high above the crowd and trusting only in skill and precision.  I’m fairly certain that I held my breath throughout the performance.  What trust!  In our reading today, David learned a painful lesson about trusting God and flying without a net. 

@ 1 Chronicles 21
“Satan rose up against Israel and caused David to take a census of the people of Israel. So David said to Joab…‘Take a census of all the people of Israel…and bring me a report so I may know how many there are.’ But Joab replied…‘Why, my lord the king, do you want to do this? Are they not all your servants?  Why must you cause Israel to sin?’ But the king insisted that they take the census.” (1-4)

What was so evil about taking a census?  After all, Moses numbered the people.  The census in Numbers 1 was not offensive to God because its purpose was to inform Moses of the size of his army, but the purpose for the census that David requested was for him to take pride and put trust in the size of his army.  It seems to be human nature to trust God when He is all we have; but when His goodness produces armies, wealth and fame or just about anything meaningful to us, they often become the object of our trust.  Obviously, this doesn’t please the Lord.  “God was very displeased with the census, and He punished Israel for it.” (7)

One of the many problems with trusting in our nets is that when the net is taken away – the job is lost, the relationship ends or the home is gone – where, then, do we place our trust?  The army was not David’s assurance of victory, God was His victory.  For someone who took down a giant with a stone and a slingshot, this was definitely a detour.  David was a great warrior, but he was human just like us, always looking for that safety net.  Fortunately, David knew how to respond to God’s displeasure.

“Then David said to God, ‘I have sinned greatly by taking this census. Please forgive my guilt for doing this foolish thing…I am the one who called for the census! I am the one who has sinned and done wrong!’” (8,17)  It was a repentant heart that took David from his numerous failures and sins to soar as the leader that God loved most.  So sincere he was in his remorse that he would not offer his sacrifice of repentance on an altar that did not cost him something.

David replied to a generous offer from Araunah, “No, I insist on buying it for the full price. I will not take what is yours and give it to the Lord. I will not present burnt offerings that have cost me nothing!” (24)  When we give to God something that belongs to someone else, it’s really not a gift from us.  It’s a gift from someone else. There was a cost involved because of David’s disobedience, but God stopped the punishment from the angel’s sword when David repented. I don’t want anyone to suffer because of my lack of trust in God, but if I fail, I know how to respond.

When Satan comes around and tempts us to place our trust and security in a paycheck or a relationship or anything temporal, our best response is to put our trust in the Source rather than in the provision. In our trusting, like the daring young man with the greatest of ease, keep flying without a net. 

Moving Forward:  Trusting the One who keeps me soaring today. 

Tomorrow @ Psalms 105-107