Bible Geek: Does the Book of Chronicles Whitewash David’s Life?

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The book of Chronicles was known as “Events of Past Times” or “Acts of the Days” and was written around 520 or 530 BC, post exile by a Chronicler (perhaps Ezra or Nehemiah,) to remind the Israelites of the period of God’s favour and to encourage them to return to Jerusalem to rebuild a godly life. That is why the book can appear politically white washed, focussing less on sin, (except to warn of the deadly danger of idols and turning away from God again,) and focussing more on the good old days of David’ reign when everything was grand. It doesn’t dodge the issues of David’s sin, as these stories were already well known. Instead, the writer *gathers up “the threads of the old national life broken by the Captivity,” and shows the people that they can have their God and their nation back.

Major themes the book are centred around is Godly dominion over the people, righteous worship and obedience to the Covenant set out in the legal book of Deuteronomy. For that reason you will read a lot of detail about how the temple functioned and was set up. The books act as an instruction manual. Faith and hope and how the people of Isra’el belong to God (shown through the genealogies) are also main themes. The books were written using multiple historical documents and are considered accurate, solid historical Biblical canon without challenge, unlike the Song of Solomon, whose usefulness as Scripture has been hotly debated by both Judaism and Christianity throughout Church history.

Chronicles only talks about the the Kings of Judah as it is the Judean remnant that is being addressed. At this stage in history, the northern Kingdoms of Isra’el had long since been taken captive by the now overthrown Assyria, and there was a strong temptation for the people to retain their familiar lives in Babylon rather than step into the scary unknown. The land of milk and honey still waited for Israel to return, the people simply needed to be motivated to take it. [Ref: read the books of Ezra and Nehemiah for more on that period of Jewish history. It’s an amazing era which profoundly illustrates God’s undying mercy and love for His people, against the odds.]

A great deal of the book reiterates the content of 1 and 2 Kings, however there are chapters and verses which add to the picture we already see. It has a specific historical role and is loved by Bible scholars who like to focus on Godly leadership as it applies to our time. It has a lot to give, even without the books of Kings in the background to fill out the complete history.

I thoroughly recommend reading “Parallel Passages of the Historical Books” from the Companion Bible http://www.therain.org/appendixes/app56.html to help piece all the verses together. It takes in more than just Kings and Chronicles.

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From: *Easton Illustrated Dictionary:
The writer gathers up “the threads of the old national life broken by the Captivity.” The sources whence the chronicler compiled his work were public records, registers, and genealogical tables belonging to the Jews. These are referred to in the course of the book (1 Chr. 27:24; 29:29; 2 Chr. 9:29; 12:15; 13:22; 20:34; 24:27; 26:22; 32:32; 33:18, 19; 27:7; 35:25).

As compared with Samuel and Kings, the Book of Chronicles omits many particulars there recorded (2 Sam. 6:20-23; 9; 11; 14-19, etc.), and includes many things peculiar to itself (1 Chr. 12; 22; 23-26; 27; 28; 29, etc.). Twenty whole chapters, and twenty-four parts of chapters, are occupied with matter not found elsewhere. It also records many things in fuller detail, as (e.g.) the list of David’s heroes (1 Chr. 12:1-37), the removal of the ark from Kirjath-jearim to Mount Zion (1 Chr. 13; 15:2-24; 16:4-43; comp. 2 Sam. 6), Uzziah’s leprosy and its cause (2 Chr. 26:16-21; comp. 2 Kings 15:5), etc.

It has also been observed that another peculiarity of the book is that it substitutes modern and more common expressions for those that had then become unusual or obsolete. This is seen particularly in the substitution of modern names of places, such as were in use in the writer’s day, for the old names; thus Gezer (1 Chr. 20:4) is used instead of Gob (2 Sam. 21:18), etc. The Books of Chronicles are ranked among the khethubim or hagiographa. They are alluded to, though not directly quoted, in the New Testament (Heb. 5:4; Matt. 12:42; 23:35; Luke 1:5; 11:31, 51).

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Further Helpful Reading


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The King David Project by Cate Russell-Cole is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License (CC BY-SA 4.0).
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://cateartios.wixsite.com/kingdavidproject.

Please note that this does NOT apply to any of the images on this site except for the free Psalm images which are marked as free. Most photos are purchased stock photos. It is ILLEGAL for you to take and use them, whether for yourself, commercially or for a non-profit venture such as a church or Bible Study. If you have not bought these photos from the source, the stock photography company has every right to sue you.

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Why King David Taught Through Psalms / Songs

roniMusic is an essential part of the life of nearly every culture on earth. The first thing a baby hears in the womb is the rhythm of their mother’s heartbeat, then as children grow they respond to lullabies and rhymes. In every form of celebration and life event we have music; from Christmas carols, to the birthday song, to funerals. Melody is part of the way we learn about and relate to our culture and it helps us to feel part of our community, as it reinforces our values and identity. Is it any wonder then, that many spiritual principles in the Bible were communicated through the Psalms, which were sung?

The first Psalm song was written not by David, but by Moses as a song of joy, when God had delivered Israel from Egypt.

Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the LORD:
“I will sing to the LORD,
for He has triumphed gloriously;
He has hurled both horse and rider
into the sea.
The LORD is my strength and my song;
He has given me victory.
This is my God, and I will praise Him—
my Father’s God, and I will exalt Him!
The LORD is a warrior;
Yahweh is His Name!
Pharaoh’s chariots and army
He has hurled into the sea.
The finest of Pharaoh’s officers
are drowned in the Red Sea.
The deep waters gushed over them;
they sank to the bottom like a stone…” Exodus 15

That song is still sung as a testimony of God’s love, power and deliverance, today. I first learned a version of it in church twenty years ago.

The second Psalm Moses wrote was on God’s instruction. It’s purpose was sad.

“The LORD said to Moses, “You are about to die and join your ancestors. After you are gone, these people will begin to worship foreign gods, the gods of the land where they are going. They will abandon Me and break My covenant that I have made with them. Then My anger will blaze forth against them. I will abandon them, hiding My Face from them, and they will be devoured. Terrible trouble will come down on them, and on that day they will say, ‘These disasters have come down on us because God is no longer among us!’ At that time I will hide My Face from them on account of all the evil they commit by worshiping other gods.

So write down the words of this song, and teach it to the people of Israel. Help them learn it, so it may serve as a witness for Me against them…” So that very day Moses wrote down the words of the song and taught it to the Israelites.” (Deuteronomy chapters 31-32 contain the song.)

These Psalms built on a wider cultural tradition which started centuries before Abraham lived in Mesopotamia, and which probably reaches back to the dawn of mankind. There are a number of pagan hymns to gods such as Ishtar, which have been found in the Mesopotamian area (modern Iraq.) Some use similar literary devices and strength imagery that David used in the Psalms, which further shows that the Israelites were connected to and influenced by a larger cultural community which thrived on music, as we do today.

Regardless of which time period you live in, it is normal for spiritual activities to be accompanied by music, which build a unified spiritual community and teach devotees their core ideas and values. David followed Moses in using this powerful medium, not just because it was the way things were done and because he liked music, but also as King David knew the impact it had upon people.  The introduction to Psalm 60 says, “… A psalm of David useful for teaching, regarding the time David fought Aram-naharaim and Aram-zobah…” Psalms enabled David to *teach the people his testimony of God’s deliverance, reiterate the history of Israel and remind them of the principles of God’s Laws which were handed down through Moses.  [Ref. Psalms 114 and 132]

Consider these factors which make music an effective teaching method:

  • A catchy tune will be remembered and enables messages from a leader to be passed on across any distance.
  • Every age is open to hearing and learning musically. Small children will remember and repeat lyrics whether they understand the message or not. There is no age where enjoying music stops.
  • Popular tunes survive time, no matter what circumstances change.
  • Agrarian lives make study impractical as labourers work from dawn to dusk to survive; include literacy issues and singing becomes more effective than reading.
  • If you learn a song, if your house burns down, war comes, or some other calamity arises, you haven’t lost a book.

David has not only taught me how to worship through his Psalms, he has been a strong foundational teacher of who and how wonderful God is. The Psalms pick me up in hard times, as they remind me of God’s faithfulness and delivering power; and in times of joy, they accompany how good I feel. Take the time to learn them and you’ll never be short of the power of God’s Word in your life.
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Notes:

* In ages past, the Psalms themselves were sung in church and officials, such as Bishops, were not allowed to take office unless they knew the Psalms by heart. If you know the Psalms, you know all about God, His nature, His plan for His people and have a solid moral compass in life. It saddened me to learn that this was replaced in the church by the Book of Common Prayer, forcing the Psalms into a backseat which reduced their powerful role.

Psalms where David is clearly teaching include 36,37,53 and 119.

I have heard it stated that the first music was only used for spiritual purposes, and I have tried to research that claim and found it inconclusive. It seems illogical to me, that something which brings us so much enjoyment would only be used in such a limited manner; though I am open to being corrected. The precious can be sacred.


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The King David Project by Cate Russell-Cole is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License (CC BY-SA 4.0).
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://cateartios.wixsite.com/kingdavidproject.

Please note that this does NOT apply to any of the images on this site except for the free Psalm images which are marked as free. Most photos are purchased stock photos. It is ILLEGAL for you to take and use them, whether for yourself, commercially or for a non-profit venture such as a church or Bible Study. If you have not bought these photos from the source, the stock photography company has every right to sue you.

How We React to God in the Hard Times

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Matt Jacoby, from the group the Sons of Korah, has recorded this great sermon on Lament in Psalms. It challenges how we react to the Lord when life becomes rugged. Do we lower our expectations of what God can do for us so we don’t become disappointed? Or do we turn up the heat, as David did; knowing God can fix any problem and not backing down until He does.

I loved the message of this video and hope you do too.

What David Would Say to You on a Bad Day

David was no stranger to having a bad day:

“Save me, O God,
for the floodwaters are up to my neck.
Deeper and deeper I sink into the mire;
I can’t find a foothold.
I am in deep water,
and the floods overwhelm me.
I am exhausted from crying for help;
my throat is parched.
My eyes are swollen with weeping,
waiting for my God to help me.” Psalm 69:1-3
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If you’re having a really bad time, try these words of encouragement:
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blessed“Let all that I am wait quietly before God,
for my hope is in Him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress where I will not be shaken.
My victory and honour come from God alone.
He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me.
O my people, trust in Him at all times.
Pour out your heart to Him,
for God is our refuge.” Psalm 62:5-8
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“The wicked has many sorrows, but mercy embraces him who trusts in Jehovah.
Be glad in Jehovah, and rejoice, you righteous; and shout for joy, all you upright in heart.” Psalm 32:10-11
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“The righteous cry, and Yahweh hears,
and delivers them out of all their troubles.
Yahweh is near to those who have a broken heart,
and saves those who have a crushed spirit.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
but Yahweh delivers him out of them all.
He protects all of his bones.
Not one of them is broken.
Evil shall kill the wicked.
Those who hate the righteous shall be condemned.
Yahweh redeems the soul of his servants.
None of those who take refuge in him shall be condemned.” Psalm 34:17-22


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Creative Commons License
The King David Project by Cate Russell-Cole is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License (CC BY-SA 4.0).
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://cateartios.wixsite.com/kingdavidproject.

Please note that this does NOT apply to any of the images on this site except for the free Psalm images which are marked as free. Most photos are purchased stock photos. It is ILLEGAL for you to take and use them, whether for yourself, commercially or for a non-profit venture such as a church or Bible Study. If you have not bought these photos from the source, the stock photography company has every right to sue you.

When the Prayer of Jabez Hasn’t Worked for You

2016-01-14_13-59-30_01When I get to Heaven, I want to meet Jabez and see what he is like, because he sounds like an exceptionally special man, with a beautiful character.

“There was a man named Jabez who was more honourable than any of his brothers. His mother named him Jabez because his birth had been so painful. He was the one who prayed to the God of Israel, “Oh, that You would bless me and expand my territory! Please be with me in all that I do, and keep me from all trouble and pain!” And God granted him his request.” 1 Chronicles 4:9-10

Years ago, friends came to me and said, “you HAVE to read this book! This prayer of Jabez will change your life.” I had stopped reading Christian books earlier, as I found I was depending on them more than on the Word of God, but I did look up the prayer and thought, “wow. I can see why this book is popular.” To be kept from all trouble and pain, know God and be blessed materially, who wouldn’t want that? Then I noticed that a lot of posters and gift items with the prayer of Jabez were appearing in our local Christian book shop. I had to decide, was this prayer a fad, or a really good idea?

For Jabez, this prayer is the best idea he ever had and his prayer inspires me. However, I never prayed the prayer, as it’s not my prayer. It demonstrates a way of praying that could be beneficial… however, and this is where it all falls apart in our lives, as I don’t have the character of Jabez, God could not produce the same results in my life without me becoming a spoiled brat. I know I would lose touch much of my motivation to seek the Lord, because I was so blessed, I didn’t need Him as much. Plus how many critical lessons do we learn from pain, like it or not? An easy life didn’t sound wise to me.

God is a pro-level Father. He would never, ever, give a gift to any of His children that would harm them, or pull them away from Him to any degree. Neither will He do anything that stops us from making our own decisions and often, subsequent mistakes. I am a master of the art of getting myself into trouble and because of free will, there is a limit to what God can halt in my life. Even if God was answering my prayer in the same way He blessed Jabez, my own life choice bloopers could effectively erode away what God was trying to give me.

So what can we learn from Jabez? To be honourable. What does that mean? According to several dictionaries, it means to have high standards, be deserving, be consistently righteous so that you are worthy of praise and it won’t go to your head. It means being a person who is fair, courteous, respectful, lawful, unselfish, actively resisting corruption and sin, and to have integrity. Honour is built on submission to God, obeying the Word of God and showing the fruit of the Spirit to everyone, regardless of whether they are deserving or not. It’s a hard thing to achieve.

So be comforted. The Lord has heard your prayers and done what is best for you. He will be working in the background to bring about His perfect, loving will for your life and if you submit to Him, you’ll thrive. What comes may not look like what Jabez had, but it doesn’t have to. It will be specially, carefully, tailor made FOR YOU by the Father who knows you so well. That is a greater act of love than simply making your life easy.

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For more encouragement, have a look at these articles on the life of King David:

“How Long?” When Answers to Prayer Don’t Seem to Arrive
http://articles.faithwriters.com/reprint-article-details.php?article=33409

When You Can’t Be An Overcomer: Coping With Spiritual Failures
http://articles.faithwriters.com/reprint-article-details.php?article=33052

The Habits That Built King David’s Faith
http://articles.faithwriters.com/reprint-article-details.php?article=33033

The Power of Praying the Psalms
http://articles.faithwriters.com/reprint-article-details.php?article=32076

“But I Will Trust in You…” King David and the Art of Bouncing Back
http://articles.faithwriters.com/reprint-article-details.php?article=32732

Yesterday’s Hero: Ancient Politics or, How to Keep a King Humble (on suffering)
http://articles.faithwriters.com/reprint-article-details.php?article=33449

For all articles, please visit From Despair to Deliverance, the King David Project: http://cateartios.wix.com/kingdavidproject


Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Please note that this does NOT apply to any of the images on this site except for the free Psalm images which are marked as free. Most photos are purchased stock photos. It is ILLEGAL for you to take and use them, whether for yourself, commercially or for a non-profit venture such as a church or Bible Study. If you have not bought these photos from the source, the stock photography company has every right to sue you.

When You Don’t Know What To Say: How to Help the Hurting

iStock_000004961653XSmallI have been a social worker for thirty years and often, I don’t know how to comfort people. How silly does that sound? Because I have hurt deeply, when I see others in unbearable pain, I am reminded how inadequate words are. I understand how platitudes and cheerleading attempts fall flat. It’s because trying to make things better, or cheer someone up, does not acknowledge the depth of their pain.

It’s easy for all of us to retreat behind walls and rely on tired old phrases. “I wish I had the answers, but I don’t.” “Just keep trusting God.” That approach only leaves both parties feeling sadder and nothing gets better. So what is the cure for when you don’t know what to say? Here are the three most effective answers I know.

1. Just be there, listen and allow crying, hysteria and all manner of scary and awful reactions to come out, as that promotes healing.

2. Let them know they are not alone... Not just then. Ring them a day later, then a week later and then in another week and stick with them until they know they are NOT alone, even when everyone else expects them to be over it. Hurting people need to know that at least one person understands that healing is rarely fast, and that someone is still there for them.

3. Absorb the Psalms / Word of God, on the deepest level you can. Since I started studying David, that the black times are easier to cope with, as now I spend my comfort-seeking time in the Psalms. I go to David: the regular guy, who found himself in an extraordinary set of situations and who suffered the most appalling persecution, health problems, family issues and threats against him, for years and years and years… and came out happy, blessed and the right way up.

The Psalms are where we can hear someone who hurts like we hurt and does not minimise suffering, or use trite phrases. You’ll find comfort in relating to David’s pain and honesty, and then he’ll always send you straight back into the safety and healing that can only be found in the arms of God.

David has become my role model, not because he had a bag of magical answers, as he didn’t. What he did do, was constantly go back to the Lord in prayer, praise, study, submission and fasting, no matter what, and he made himself focus on the positive when it seemed impossible to. He is infectious. He will teach you how to float peacefully in the shark pool, by pulling you out of yourself, showing you a better way to manage your hurts, and he’ll teach you to fully engage with the loving heart of God.

I recommend that you read the Psalms so often, they get into your DNA. They will change how you think, react and cope with adversity. Read them until you dream them, wake up thinking about them and they inch their way into your mind at other times, during the day. Also try listening to Christian music which is heavily based on, or quotes the Psalms. That has helped me a lot. The Psalms were originally sung and it makes them much easier to remember.

The Psalms are the living, active Word of God with the power to comfort, heal and deliver and they WILL. Just give it time. The Word of God will never fail you.

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Further Help:
“How Long?” When Answers to Prayer Don’t Seem to Arrive
http://articles.faithwriters.com/reprint-article-details.php?article=33409

When You Can’t Be An Overcomer: Coping With Spiritual Failures
http://articles.faithwriters.com/reprint-article-details.php?article=33052

Turning Back the Darkness: Coping With Insomnia and Night Stress
http://articles.faithwriters.com/reprint-article-details.php?article=33051

The Habits That Built King David’s Faith
http://articles.faithwriters.com/reprint-article-details.php?article=33033

The Power of Praying the Psalms
http://articles.faithwriters.com/reprint-article-details.php?article=32076

“But I Will Trust in You…” King David and the Art of Bouncing Back
http://articles.faithwriters.com/reprint-article-details.php?article=32732


Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Please note that this does NOT apply to any of the images on this site except for the free Psalm images which are marked as free. Most photos are purchased stock photos. It is ILLEGAL for you to take and use them, whether for yourself, commercially or for a non-profit venture such as a church or Bible Study. If you have not bought these photos from the source, the stock photography company has every right to sue you.

Job and the Winter Period

You know you’re having a bad day when you start relating to Job. When you start sticking up for him, then you’re really stuck in the barren fruitlessness of a winter phase! I have often understood his feelings when he said:

“Oh that I knew where I might find Him, that I might come to His seat!
I would present my case before Him, and fill my mouth with arguments.
I would know the words which He would answer me,
And understand what He would say to me.
Would He contend with me in His great power?
No! But He would take note of me.
There the upright could reason with Him,
And I would be delivered forever from my Judge.”            Job 23:3-7 NKJV

That Scripture sounds very much like me arguing with God. I desperately want to understand what He is saying, but I can’t find the meaning. M. Scott Peck summed it all up for me when he said, “life is difficult.” Christianity can be like marriage, it is for better or for worse, and at times, the worse is a rugged test of our faith. Making sense of life at these times can seem all but completely impossible.

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Wikimedia Commons
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It has never sounded to me like Job deserved what he got. The death of one member of the family rocks our world for months. The death of all of his children, financial ruin, sickness and disaster from all sides, seems to be overdoing it somewhat. Why did God go that far? Job wasn’t just caught in a chilly winter period; his life had fallen down around him in an avalanche of disaster. It seems God allowed his situation to become extreme to prove a point. That is to Satan of all people; and I won’t even start to speculate on the views of those who actually died in the process. Yet, somehow Job still managed to say:

“Naked I came from my mothers’ womb and naked I shall return,
The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away;
BLESSED BE THE NAME OF THE LORD.”        Job 1:21 NKJV

I would love to be able to admit that I have never charged God with wrong, never put Him on trial. I can’t claim I have never told Him that He didn’t care enough, accused Him of using me as a pawn in a game out of my control, or told Him that He had made a mistake. Many times, I have. I have screamed at God, and in those times, I have received the clearest answers. Sometimes God is silent, He steps back and lets me work it all out in the light of what He has taught me before. The test is whether I act in faith in the end, or remain an accuser. Am I able to say, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.” (Job 13:15 NKJV) It seems to me that the stronger the pain, the greater the Grace God makes available. When I go over the edge, I always feel guilty that Jesus had to die to cover my ignorant tantrum, but isn’t that love? He has the understanding of acute pain, and how blinding it can be.

I am often not justified in what I say to God. I have often told Him that I would understand and it is His perfect right to strike a bolt of lightning through me for being so bold. However, if the “earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available – dynamic in it’s working,” (James 5:16 Amplified) then perhaps my roar is a prayer for help, and a prayer of faith? To blame God takes a belief in God, and to view Him as being the one withholding the blessing or the answer, takes a firm belief that He is truly a sovereign God that is in the driver’s seat, controlling your life. Now that is a faith that pleases God, and saves outspoken children like me.

Somehow, the faithfulness of God always comes through, and the greater the problem, the greater is God’s comfort. I have often received immediate answers that put me firmly back in my place. Through these answers, I have learnt lessons of how much God cares. Despite what I think of Him at the time, He is working hard in my best interests. For that reason, I will trust Him.


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