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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Revival and Reformation Pt 7: 1 Chronicles 14


{You can listen to the sermon here}
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Revival and Reformation Pt 7
Repentant Restoration on the Way to Reformation

Lord God, bring your searching Spirit to examine the deep, dank, dark places of our hearts and lives, and then move our hearts with the hopefulness of this chapter, for the sake of your well-beloved Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord!

In my experience over the years I have noticed that when things blow up, when life becomes filled with hurt or trauma, many people look for help – but the help they seem to want is an emotional or spiritual Tylenol – pain-reliever, not problem-fixing. “Pastor/Dr./Counselor, Help! I need you to relieve my pain. What? How dare you tell me to change! How dare you point out that my lifestyle/habits/actions are the problem! Who made you my judge?!” Chapter 14, coupled with 13 is about - not pain-relief, but problem-fixing.

We ended chapter 13 trembling with David before the holiness of God. But also we were left with some subtle doubt: What will David do? Will he respond like Saul and remain angry, snubbing God, hardening his heart? That’s where chapter 14 comes in. Chapter 14 initially looks unnecessary, like a break in the flow of the story. Chapter 13 will be finished and filled out in chapters 15-16. So what is 14 doing here? Let’s see.

Assuring Historical Interlude: There are couple of connections between chapter 13 and 14 (which I will highlight in a moment), but there is also a contrast with Saul. In 10.13-14 Yahweh took away the kingdom from Saul because he did not “seek guidance” from the LORD. In chapter 13, David did not seek guidance either! What does that mean for David???

A.      Kingdom Prosperity 1-2. Surprisingly, instead of taking the kingdom from him, God continues to establish it. Why? Hold that thought for a few minutes.

B.       Fruitful and bountiful household 3-7.

            C.  Success in War 8-17.
[1] More Play on Paratz and Peretz, (13.11 and here: As Paul notes in Romans 2.9, “For God shows no partiality.” As Ralph Davis once noted: “God’s lethal holiness levels both pagans and churchmen”). Both Uzzah, God’s clergyman, and the Philistines, the kingdom-resisters, are in essence doing the same thing. One is doing it inside the kingdom, the other from outside. They are challenging God’s rulership, his kingship. And so God, who shows no partiality, levels both pagans and priests.

[2] Observe the importance of David’s change of modus operandi – 10 and 14. He is now doing what he didn’t do in chapter 13! This is crucial. This is the hinge that connects the doorpost of Chapter 13 to the Revival-Reformation-door of Chapters 15-16.

[3] But this chapter is also essential for us to see how God’s chastisements are FOR us – not against us! Revelation 3.19: “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.” Therefore there is hopefulness for David and the Kingdom. Proverbs 10.17: “Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life, but he who rejects reproof leads others astray.” And 13.18: “Poverty and disgrace come to him who ignores instruction, but whoever heeds reproof is honored.

[4] What we see going on is Paul’s point in 2 Corinthians 7.10: “For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.” David’s fear (and grief) in chapter 13 is showing itself to be a godly grief (chapter 14) that is producing repentance without regret; unlike Saul’s grief which led him to his demise! Or think of Judas and Peter….

[5] The Flow of the Chapter – 10a, 14a, 16a = 15b & 17! David’s changed heart prospers the Kingdom. The Way of Revival and Reformation often begins with repentant restoration, and so the repentant restoration of chapter 14 will lead to the Revival and Reformation of 15-16. We’re being given a huge illustration of 2 Chronicles 7.14 in the person of King David!

Those returning from exile in the mid-300s BC needed to embrace this: (1) God loved them so deeply and intensely that, for their good, he disciplined them through defeat and exile. (2) Their grief needed to produce repentance, like David’s. And (3) the way forward, the way to Revival and Reformation is through repentant restoration.

I don’t know, but does some of this speak to any of you?
(1) Maybe what you’re going through now is God’s discipline (defeat, decline, disorder…whatever) – his dripping-with-love discipline. He doesn’t want to kill the pain, but to heal the gash in our hearts and souls.
(2)  Sorrow and sadness are not repentance. They can be part of it, but only what you do with it shows if it is godly grief which produces repentance; or if it’s worldly grief producing death. The First Catechism that we recited this morning asks, “How do you repent of your sin? I must be sorry for my sin, and hate and forsake it.”

(3) Whether for the larger church, say, in North America – or a denomination, or a congregation, or family or individual – the way to Revival and Reformation is through repentant restoration: 2 Chronicles 7.14. 1 John 1.7, 9.

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