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BIBLE BOOK: Treasures in Unlikely Places

Gems found in 1 Chronicles 12…..

Wb. 323

 

The first book of Chronicles is often neglected because of the long lists of names found in the opening chapters. In addition to this, from the tenth chapter onwards the narrative appears to be simply repeating what has already been covered in 2 Samuel and the beginning of 1 Kings. However, there are many valuable lessons in this section of Scripture for the Christian who is prepared to read and meditate upon God’s Word. The twelfth chapter of 1 Chronicles contains some delightful gems that are well worth considering.

 

 

Reading through the chapter, one cannot help being impressed by the calibre of David’s mighty men. It was while David was a fugitive from the jealous Saul (v.1) that a number of valiant men stepped forward to commit themselves to his cause. Among them were some Gadites who came to the stronghold in the wilderness to give allegiance to David who was yet to ascend the throne. Can we not see ourselves in these verses? Our “Captain” (Heb.2:10) is the Lord Jesus Christ. One day He will occupy the throne and will reign on this earth, but at the moment we find ourselves in a hostile environment. This world is something of a wilderness for the Christian, yet we have our “stronghold” to which we can repair. Surely the company of like-minded believers is the only place where we can find others who are loyal to our Master.

The brief account of these men is worth studying.

And of the Gadites there separated themselves unto David into the hold to the wilderness men of might, and men of war fit for the battle, that could handle shield and buckler, whose faces were like the faces of lions, and were as swift as the roes upon the mountains. (1 Chron.12:8)

 

What mighty men these were! They were able to engage the enemy and could handle effectively the weapons of the day. They possessed lion-like courage and were as fleet-footed as deer upon the mountains. Valour characterized many of them (v.21), and one young man, Zadok, is singled out as “mighty of valour” (v.28). Surely this quality is desperately needed now. How encouraging it is today to come across a young Christian who is a valiant warrior for the Lord.

 

According to Ephesians 6:12 we are in spiritual combat against the forces of evil, yet often the church seems, like Sardis, to be asleep (Rev.3:1)! God needs men and women today who are “fit for the battle” and able to handle effectively the shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God (Eph.6:16,17).

 

 

 

LOYAL TO THE LEADER

Others who came to seek David and to identify themselves with him included members of Judah (his own tribe) and the related tribe of Benjamin (v.16). In times of war a leader can never be too careful, so David at once warned them of the serious consequences to be faced if they had come simply to betray him to his enemies (v.17). Amasai’s answer is truly inspiring.

 

Then the Spirit came upon Amasai, who was chief of the captains, and he said, “Thine are we, David, and on thy side, thou son of Jesse; peace, peace be unto thee, and peace be to thine helpers; for thy God helpeth thee”  (v.18).

 

First of all, we notice that Amasai had come out recognizing that David was a man of God. His God had helped him on countless occasions. Great David’s greater Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, was also “a man approved of God” (Acts 2:22) in His life upon earth. As we come to Christ and identify ourselves with Him, it is vital that we have a right understanding of who He is.

 

Secondly, the Holy Spirit prompted Amasai to utter that powerful confession: “Thine we are David, and on thy side …” The New Testament reveals that it is God’s Spirit who witnesses with our spirit that we are children of God (Rom.8:16). When He filled the early believers, they were able to witness boldly and tell of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus (Acts 4:31,33). How we need that divine anointing now so that we can declare with assurance that we are on the Lord’s side!

 

Thirdly, Amasai assured David that he had come in peace to David and that he brought the blessing of peace to David’s helpers. There is a practical lesson here. Many believers today know that they have peace with God but know little of that peace with His “helpers” — the people of God. Just as their testimony meant that David could receive and use these dedicated men of Israel, we need a similar response so that our Lord can use us too.

 

 

 

UNDERSTANDING OF THE TIMES

Another interesting feature emerges as we continue to look at this chapter.

And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do. (v. 32)

 

This one thing seemed to characterize the people of Issachar and made them stand apart from all the other tribes. The writer singles them out in order to draw our attention to this important quality.

 

This kind of wisdom is desperately needed now. We are living in perplexing days. Sin and lawlessness abound in the world, and moral standards in the church have declined over the years. Worldly pleasures that once were regarded as unhelpful to the Christian — if not positively wrong — have become accepted. Many churches in recent times have been obsessed with the sensational, and “signs and wonders” have been claimed universally.

 

That brief statement about the children of Issachar has a message for us now. An “understanding of the times” is as vital today as it was in David’s reign. We need a right grasp of the teaching of Scripture so that we are not led astray. Society is changing, but God is not. In failing to understand the times, many preachers today are forced to change God’s Word. God can still work miracles, but we need reminding of our Lord’s own warning of a proliferation of signs and wonders in the last days. (See Matthew 24:24.) When faced with dilemmas — whether moral or doctrinal — we need to know what we “ought to do”. God has given us in His Word all the instructions that we need. Let us be people who study it so that we really understand the days in which we live and then please the Lord by doing what we ought to do.     

 

With different gifts and qualities blended together, David’s men certainly constituted a formidable force against the enemy. Whether it was the valiant Gadites with their battle skills, or the children of Issachar with their wise discernment in understanding the times, each played a part in the service of their king. They were totally committed to David.

 

 

 

KEEPING RANK

As the list is concluded, the writer of Chronicles points out another significant feature that must not be ignored.

All these men of war, that could keep rank, came with a perfect heart to Hebron, to make David king over all Israel; and all the rest also of Israel were of one heart to make David king. (v.38)

 

All of these men of war were of one mind with the rest of Israel. Each one possessed a “perfect heart” which prompted him to come to Hebron in order to make David king. How lovely this is! They were not a divided army but shared the same concerns and demonstrated loyalty to their leader. Under his authority they were men who could keep rank.

 

Today this same spirit is often lacking. Many church congregations are divided — some over personalities, others over practices. Although individual commitment is tremendously important, in David’s army it would never have been enough. There had to be the ability to work together as they faced the common foe. Do we ever wonder why we are not being as effective for the Lord as we might be? Perhaps the ranks are broken. We are disagreeing with one another, not working together because things are not being done “my way”, and the Lord’s work is suffering as a result.

 

Think of those warriors again. As Christians, we need to keep rank in our local churches. The only way this can be achieved is by having “a loyal heart” and being “of one mind” — and that means having the mind of Christ. (See Philippians 2:2.) With the Lord’s help, let us stand shoulder to shoulder with our brothers and sisters, under His authority, “striving together for the faith of the gospel” (Phil.1:27).