If someone were to ask me one of my favorite books in the Bible, I doubt I would have mentioned 1 Chronicles as one of my top choices. But after reading this Old Testament book in my Bible readings these past few weeks, I realized that God has used this book to teach me some profound life lessons.
In the summer of 2001, Larry and I went a doctor’s appointment to find out the results of my blood work, spinal tap, and MRIs. We both somewhat suspected the results to conclude that I did in fact have MS. You sometimes hear of people reading a scripture that is so appropriate for the day. I was somewhat puzzled that the morning’s chapters in 1 Chronicles were lists of name after name. I remember praying and asking the significance of me reading all those names. It wasn’t even verses that talked about what the people did.
LESSON: My worth does not come from what I do, say, or whether I have a disease or not. I’m valuable because God created me, knows me, and calls me by name. It’s who I belong to that makes the difference.
Even as a young teenager I was troubled by the account in 1 Chronicles 13. The ark had been placed on a new cart and David and the Israelites were celebrating and rejoicing as the ark was being moved to its new resting place. “When they came to the threshing floor of Kidon, Uzzah reached out his hand to steady the ark, because the oxen stumbled. The LORD’s anger burned against Uzzah, and he struck him down because he had put his hand on the ark. So he died there before God.” (I Chronicles 13:9-10) God had instructed the Israelites on the proper way to move the ark. The Levites were to be in charge and it was to be moved by priests carrying the ark by the poles inserted in the rings on the side, not on a cart.
LESSON: God is serious about obedience and following His instructions. Obedience brings blessings and there are consequences and a price to pay when I choose to disobey.
As David and the Israelites brought the ark home, there was much celebration. “So all Israel brought up the ark and the covenant of the LORD with shouts, with the sounding of rams’ horns and trumpets, and of cymbals, and the playing of lyres and harps. As the ark of the covenant of the LORD was entering the city of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David dancing and celebrating, she despised him in her heart.” (I Chronicles 15:28-29)
LESSON: Worship is a matter of the heart. Man looks on the outside, but God looks at our heart. Worship takes place when our mind’s attention and heart’s affection are on God. Therefore, He is the audience and not me. I need to make sure my worship is appropriate and acceptable and allow others to worship in the way they choose.
Against God’s wishes, David ordered a census of Israel. Because of his disobedience, the LORD spoke through Gad to give David one of three choices: “three years of famine, three months of being swept away before your enemies, with their swords overtaking you, or three days of the sword of the LORD – days of plague in the land, with the angel of the LORD ravaging every part of Israel.” (I Chronicles 21:12) David chose and the LORD sent the plague and 70,000 men died. Then David pleaded with the LORD not to destroy any more men since it was his fault that he ordered the census. The LORD instructed Gad to have David build an altar on the threshing floor. King David approached Araunah to buy the threshing floor. Araunah insisted that he give the King the threshing floor, oxen for the burnt oxen, sledges for the wood, and grain for the grain offering. “But King David replied to Araunah, ‘No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the LORD what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.’” (1 Chronicles 21:24) This was the threshing floor where the Temple was later built.
LESSON: God can bring beauty, blessing, and restoration out of repentance, obedience, and the right heart attitude. This scripture is one that I held close when Scott told us about his decision to move to Turkey as well as other matters. My family is what I hold dearest. I wanted my heart to be a willing offering to God in choosing to support Scott in his decision to go as well as a blessing to Scott in the process.
King David desired to build a permanent Temple for God. Because he lived in a time of war and had shed so much blood, God said that it was to be David’s son Solomon that would build the Temple. Even though David would not be the one to build the Temple, he still encouraged the people to give the materials, gathered their offerings, and gave an abundance of his own wealth. Then David charged Solomon to build a house for the name of the LORD. He also ordered the leaders to work with Solomon. “Now devote your heart and soul to seeking the LORD your God, so that you may bring the ark of the covenant of the LORD and the sacred articles belonging to God into the temple that will be built for the Name of the LORD.” (1 Chronicles 22:19)
LESSON: Even if I do not live to see the fruits or results, it’s what I invest in others and God’s Kingdom work that will last after I am gone.