(Today’s post by Adam Cooper)
1 Chronicles 13-14
My wife Angie has been actively involved in doing genealogical research on her family and mine. She has had tremendous success with her family finding links that go way back, even to England. With my family however we hit a dead end with my great-great-grandmother. We have a first name only. No maiden name. No information. It has always been a family myth that she was full-blooded Cherokee and that is why we cannot find any information. I am curious. I must say that probably everyone is curious about where they come from: who their ancestors were, what they did, what inspired them to do whatever they did, or whatever held them back from doing what they wanted to do. There is an innate curiosity in all of mankind to seek this information. As Angie would say, “to know what you are made of.”
It almost becomes a constant drive for completion as you hunt for the next connection to complete the giant puzzle of ME. When I began reading 1 Chronicles I was drawn back to this genealogical research and mankind’s drive to know where he (or she) came from. God understands this drive or He would not have put 9 chapters of genealogical information at the beginning of the book of 1 Chronicles. As a matter of fact genealogies are included in Scripture for 23 people (that number is from another blog so its accuracy may be in question; that said, it provides a point of reference.) 66 books, 1500 years, 39 authors, and only 23 people have genealogies referenced. What I wonder is whether the drive to know where we come from is a way for us to justify sin in our lives? We find that family member in the past that was messed up more than us and then we feel better because we think that we are not as messed up as they are. Well, I think we all need to remember one thing….we are all descended from the same people: the original messed up ones, the original sinners, Adam and Eve. So we needn’t try to find that messed up one in our genealogical past to base or worth on because we are all messed up in one way or another. But our creator is the one we owe everything to.
In 1 Chronicles David understands where he comes from. We are not told this fact but I feel like His actions in chapters 13 and 14 show his respect for God and his understanding of being God’s creation.
Chapter 13 lets us see the pure power of God and God’s presence and connection with the Ark of the Covenant at this point in Israel’s history. Uzza makes a mistake. Many, including myself, would see what Uzza did as an honest “ooops”. Your first instinct if you are moving something highly prized and it starts to fall is to reach out and grab it. That is why you see parents reach their arms out to protect their kids when they slam on the brakes. So Uzza sees the oxen stumble, and the Ark rock, and he sticks out his arm to stop it from falling…..and God strikes Uzza down. Touching the Ark is a non-negotiable for God. No grace here. You touch, you die. This event makes David scared of God. The word used actually means “to fear, to be afraid, or revere”. David revered God for His power that day.
In Chapter 14 we see this reverence for God’s power reflected in David’s actions. David sees that God has made him king and establishes his home. He then must turn his energy to face the Philistines who have attacked a settlement in the kingdom. However, instead of simply running forward to attack the enemy for what they had done, David consults the Lord for guidance. God hands the enemy over to David and the Israelites. Again, the Philistines attack the kingdom and again David consults the Lord before he attacks. This time the Lord tells him to wait and to follow a different course of action. David’s reverence for God is displayed in the way he listens and obeys. For his faith, God delivers the enemy into the hands of the Israelites once again.
To the Israelites of the day these two chapters establish unequivocally the power of God. The power of God through the Ark and the power of God as the ultimate guide of the direction of the nation of Israel. Having the Bible as our guide today, it is easy for us to see the power of God in the stories these two chapters present. But….how can we apply these to our lives?
Remember back at the first of this post I was talking about genealogy and the drive to know where we come from? We come from the ultimate creator. We come from the all-powerful God. The God whose power is displayed in these two chapters. Knowing that we come from that power, knowing that His Spirit indwells us, we need to approach every day with the confidence in Him that David had. Pray to Him, consult Him in your concerns, in your hopes, in your dreams, in your troubles, and follow Him like David did and God will hand over to you your victories just like He did with David.