Love Came Down with Goodness

IMG_0802The first few times I read Chronicles, I groaned and skimmed my way through those long lists of names.  Then, one day, I recognized the power of those names, that each name is a life, and each life was spared that Christ could come from that list of names.  Now, when I read the histories, of family upon family protected by the hand of God, I worship.

After nine chapters chronicling the amazing genealogy of Israel, through hundreds of years of God’s hand upon Israel, suddenly the scribe introduces Ch 10:1. “And the Philistines fought with Israel.”

Bluntly, the scribe sums up most of 1 Kings history and then brings the record of Israel to this one point at 10:13-14: “And Saul died for his sin which he committed against Jehovah, against the Word of Jehovah, which he did not keep, and also for seeking of a medium, to inquire, and inquired not of Jehovah. And He killed him and turned the kingdom to David the son of Jesse.”

I expect as he lay dying on the battlefield, Saul understood the grim consequences of sin.  He had sought out a  medium the night earlier, desperate to hear God, and requested an audience with long dead Samuel.  Within a day, Saul watched his son slain, and then he too was hit by enemy fire.  The Hand of protection Saul had long enjoyed through countless battles was withdrawn.  Sadly, he asked his armor bearer to kill him before the Philistines could make sport and when the soldier refused, Saul fell on his own sword, a pathetic ending to a most deceived king.

IMG_0798David, during those same days, faced the leadership battle of his life.  His own men wanted to stone him when they returned from enemy lines and discovered that raiders had burnt David’s town of Ziglag to the ground and stolen all their families. The Chronicler makes no mention of this drama.  Instead, the narration continues from Saul’s death to seven years later, when all of Israel petitioned David to rule as king:

Then all Israel came together to David at Hebron, saying, “Indeed we are your bone and your flesh. Also, in time past, even when Saul was king, you were the one who led Israel out and brought them in; and the Lord your God said to you, ‘You shall shepherd My people Israel, and be ruler over My people Israel.’ ” Therefore all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord. And they anointed David king over Israel, according to the word of the Lord by Samuel.[1]

Currently, there is tremendous shaking and groaning in the nations. As I sought the Lord in prayer, I expected God to say  “Prepare” or “Duck!”.  Instead God whispered to my heart the word, “Surprise”.

When David ascended the throne, the world was in for a glorious surprise.  David carried within him a mandate for worship that would change faith expression before Almighty God forever.

King David certainly knew all about God’s surprises.The man who faced down bears and lions and giants and jealous kings knew much about God’s faithfulness and mercy. God’s ability to surprise David with His goodness was well proven.

IMG_0957David contended for years for Israel and was unrewarded by his king.  Instead he was hunted like a rabid dog by Saul’s army, while still protecting the villages of Israel from raiding bands of enemies, and even fought the enemy Philistines within their own lines.  After almost two decades of contention, David was crowned king by all of Israel, as they affirmed to him ““You’re family”.

What emotions must have flooded David as he welcomed the leaders of Israel, including Saul’s tribe of Benjamin, faithfully lining up to crown him king? Over 300,000 men gathered for the three day coronation party as the nation was united by the hand of God and through the favor of God. Incredibly, that weekend, all civil skirmishes between Israel and Judah ceased and the food just poured in as Israel entered an unparalleled season of growth and rest  as righteous king  David established God’s Kingdom with humility and great expectation in His God.

If David had disconnected from God’s love as the injustice of Saul’s manhunt continued, would he have ascended the throne with the same authority? When tested,  David chose righteousness and expected God’s goodness. David lived, whether fugitive or favorite, in worship before God because  David loved and trusted God.

“For You are my lamp, O Lord;The Lord shall enlighten my darkness. For by You I can run against a troop; By my God I can leap over a wall.As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is proven;He is a shield to all who trust in Him.[3]

IMG_0968 Like David, do we expect good gifts from our Father and enjoy His love? Or have we stopped rushing to the door when He steps into our lives, because the delay has been longer than expected? Have the times in our caves, hiding from the enemy so seared our hearts that we are unprepared for the goodness of God when He grins and says, “Surprise!”?

If we are created to love and be loved by God, if we believe He exists and He rewards those who diligently seek Him, are we expecting good surprises or more trouble? Can we look to our history and see the gracious hand of God and worship?  Do we see God’s great goodness in our lives this day?  Are we expecting more?

Let’s pray: Almighty Father, we are thankful and expectant for the  good surprises You have in store for us. Holy Spirit, lead us in worship of our God of grace,  generosity and kindness. Lord Jesus, help us to be One with You as You are One with the Father, that we may stay in pace with Your grace, and hear and see what our Father is doing across this globe. May mercy and grace overwhelm all the days of our journey with you, for Your Kingdom’s sake and the Father’s Glory and may we trust in God’s goodness forever. Amen.sunset

This Week’s Reading: 1 Chronicles 1-10

Next Week’s Reading: 1 Chronicles 11-20

Study Questions:

  1. How do you process disappointment?  Do you run to God or run away from God?
  2. David stayed faithful to God despite tough circumstance.  Saul didn’t. Do you see the outcomes as harsh?  How does that affect your faith?
  3. David worshiped God through thick and thin. Read a few of his heartfelt poems, the Psalms.  Do they resonate with your life?
  4. Often we hear in church this litany:  “God is good.  All the time.  All the time.  God is good.”  Why is that truth essential to worship?  Do you believe this to be true in your own life?
  5. How do you keep on keeping on when life is really difficult?  What helps you?  Where does the grace of God come into this struggle?

[1]The New King James Version. 1982 (1 Ch 11:1-3). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[2]The New King James Version. 1982 (Is 43:15-21). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3]The New King James Version. 1982 (2 Sa 22:29-31). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.