"God be merciful to us & bless us, & cause His face to shine upon us.
That Your way may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations.
Let the peoples praise You, O God; Let all the peoples praise You.
Oh, let the nations be glad & sing for joy!"
O Christ our King and God, we want to be
able to say with Paul (in Philippians 120b-21): “that with full courage now as
always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to
me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” So help us, Lord Jesus, that your
word summarized and read this evening and now about to be preached, will unrelentingly
flood us with just such courage. Amen.
There is a rousing, stirring, blood-pumping scene in
Shakespeare’s “Henry V,” where King Henry is spurring his rag-tag army to a
victory far grander than was mechanically or numerically possible:
“This story shall the good man teach his son; And
Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by, From this day to the ending of the world, But
we in it shall be remember'd; We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he
to-day that sheds his blood with me Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile, This
day shall gentle his condition: And gentlemen in England now a-bed Shall think
themselves accursed they were not here, And hold their manhoods cheap whiles
any speaks That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.”
And though Henry’s motives and ambitions were for things far
more profane and pitiful than what we see here in 1 Chronicles, nevertheless
the pattern is similar. Rallying around the King and Kingdom, great feats of
courage become the man. This passage itself is about loyalty to King and
Kingdom. And it – along with the rest of 1 Chronicles - is aimed at rekindling
the returning, beggarly band of Jews’ hopes and anticipations that “a shoot
from the stump of Jesse” will “come forth” (Isaiah 11.1), so that they might
yearningly look for one who is like David.
The segment we’re looking into, unfolds into two halves: 
Those who came to David while he was on the run – 11.11b – 12.22;  Those who
attached themselves to David after Saul’s demise to make David king (12.23-40).
But both sections are tied together by one theme: Loyalty to King and Kingdom.
Purpose-Up (11.10-11a)! This statement covers
all that has been penned in this whole, giant section (thus 11.11a). Everything
you read here is read through this lens of loyalty to King and Kingdom. (1) To
give him strong support in his kingdom [which is God’s kingdom: “And of all my
sons (for the LORD has given me many sons) he has chosen Solomon my son to sit on the throne of the kingdom of the LORD
over Israel” (1 Chronicles 28.5). And “Then Solomon sat on the throne of the LORD as king in place of David his father”
(1 Chronicles 29.23). “And Jesus cried
out and said, "Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who
sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. I have come into the world
as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness (John
12.44-46). Loyal to King and Kingdom (11.10-2 times, 12.1, Amasai’s
statement-12.18 [helpers and help],
12.21, 22, 33, 38-2 times). (2) Unified Loyalty (12.33, 38-2 times).
Piled-On (11.11b-12.22)! The whole point of
these examples – piled high and piled deep – Is to show us the kind of loyalty
the King and Kingdom received. These men are paraded before our minds-eye as
sweaty, gritty, gutsy specimens of the kind of bravery, the daring and the valor
required to follow and serve God’s Anointed One. Though we could benefit immensely
by examining each case thoroughly, allow me to do something of my own editorial
economizing and call your attention to one salient feature. // Never Far
Beneath the Surface: 11.14d and 12.18. The promising thought is that God will
rise up and fight for those who support his king and serve his kingdom. Matthew
Points, Principles and
1st – These men are being marched in formation
before our imaginations and minds as ideal believers and model loyalists. Why,
you may ask? For the ambitious goal of arousing and encouraging renewed
faithfulness in God’s people; whether slinking their way back from exile in
mid-300 BC, or God’s people brow-beaten, bleak, and at the breaking-point because of
disappointing circumstances – in 2014 AD! I guess you could call it the “How
much more” principle. If these men were this kind of loyal to David (who
sinned, faltered, and even betrayed them a time or two) then “how much more”
loyalty should we have for the greater Son of David who is sinless, faultless,
and will never betray us!??!
2nd – Ralph Davis, commenting on the parallel
passage in 2 Samuel 23, observes: “…their fighting really constituted fighting
for the kingdom of God in this world. Through their arms Yahweh ‘gave rest’ to
David and to Israel (2 Sam. 7:1, 10-11). They were, in that sense, kingdom
servants (“2 Samuel: Out of Adversity,” 255). These loyalists of King and
Kingdom are rehearsed for us to remind us that when we ourselves are surrounded
by God-resisters and kingdom-rejectors, we may expect that there will be plenty
of opportunity to show valiant courage; a lionhearted loyalty for our King and
the progress of his Kingdom. When our Lord Jesus preached, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of
God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1.15) he was in
essence saying two things: (1) The time of the restoration of the Kingdom of
David has come, therefore (2) the time for mighty men, men of valorous loyalty
has arrived! And Paul clearly has this
kind of thing in mind: “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of
Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that
you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for
the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This
is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that
from God. For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should
not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, engaged in the same
conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have” (Philippians
3rd – My friends, this whole section is not meant
to beat you down, to suffocate hope or strangle courage. It is meant to encourage,
heartening you. At the minimum – it should drive you, not to despair or defeat,
but to your knees to pray for backbones of steel and livers of iron (so to
speak). And then to rise up, and perform feats of pluck, daring and gallantries
for the King and his Kingdom. And rejoice as the LORD saves us by a great
victory! 1 Corinthians 15.57-58!
When I was 20 years old, I was stationed in a Muslim country for two years. During that time I read the Quran (in an English translation from Oxford), interacted with Muslim acquaintances, and saw Islam lived out in it's communal context. Therefore I was excited when my mother gave me a copy of "Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus". With bazillions of reviews already plastered on the various sites and venues, mine will be short and succinct.
Nabeel Qureshi has woven together a very personal and personable volume written to give "an insider's perspective into a Muslim heart," as well as equip readers "with facts and knowledge, showing the strength of the case for the gospel contrasted with the case for Islam," while chronicling his own inner struggles, sacrifices and doubts when grappling with the Christian faith. The style of writing is autobi…
"When evil looms and darkness falls And tragedy is breaking When all that's good seems overturned By God I'm not forsaken For though I fall or wander far I'm not too far for saving And when my Shepherd seeks and finds How can I keep from singing" (229)?
So cantillates Jennifer Michelle Greenberg, mother, wife, writer, musician and abuse survivor, in her new 240 page hardback "Not Forsaken: A Story of Life After Abuse". This volume is the tale of her terrors and troubles at the hands of an abusive father, and it is far, far more. It is truly a story of life after abuse, abundant life found only in the One who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. An easy to read book, it is ideally suited for those who have been traumatized and those who long to help the trampled! "I am not my abuser. I have a choice. I aspire to heal and grow by God's grace" (82).
Just like taking an abnormal psych class in college, a reader will likely see their reflection on many pages in the 200-page hardback "When Narcissism Comes to Church: Healing Your Community from Emotional and Spiritual Abuse". This newly released dossier, written by Chuck DeGroat, professor of pastoral care and Christian spirituality at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan, and senior fellow at Newbigin House of Studies in San Francisco, is a velvet covered brick. It is easily readable, and reasonably attainable. DeGroat exposes the varied ways narcissism shows up in a parish, whether in the leadership, families, or congregational culture; and how it can show up in the corporate culture of an ecclesiastical denomination, association or network. It arises from the "lack of capacity for self-awareness and self-evaluation, shunning humility for defensive self-protection" (15). Further, according to the author, a deep, underlying shame is the driving forc…