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Monday, June 2, 2014

Revival and Reformation Pt 9: 1 Chronicles 17 (and 18-20) - "Sitting on the Promises"


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(You can listen to the audio file - click here - while wading through the manuscript. Mike)
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Revival and Reformation Pt 9
1 Chronicles 17-20
Sitting on the Promises

Reliable God, come now, and may our hearts be filled with your Kingdom righteousness, peace and Holy Spirit-infused-joy as we lodge a while in this Scripture passage; we ask this in communion with your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Too many times we gauge our personal piety by hyperactivity: specifically the hyperactivity of others. We find ourselves ashamed that we’re not as “engaged” as Sister Janie Jump-About or as engrossed as Brother Frank Frenzy. Of course, as you know, that causes loads of problems – like unnecessary guilt and shame, a guilt or shame that is inappropriate before God. David was a man of action – Mr. Hyper-achievement man! That’s what makes 1 Chronicles 17 a breath of fresh air.

David’s Desire (17.1-2). David’s desire is tempered by (2 Chronicles 20.20c!), and triggered by, chapters 13-16.

Yahweh’s Decree (17.3-15): v.4 and 12 “It is not you who will build me a house to dwell in…Moreover, I declare to you that YHVH will build you a house.”

What he has done (7-8b).

What he is doing (8c-10) – Chapters 18-20 lay out some examples of Yahweh’s promise, “I will subdue all your enemies” (v.10). Philistines 18.1; Moab 18.2; Hadadezer 18.3-8; Tou, king of Hamath, makes an treaty 18.9-11; Edomites 18.12-13; 3 phases of defeating Ammonites 19.1-20.3; and finally, one last revolt by the Philistines 20.4-8. The point – What the reliable God says, the reliable God does!

What he will do (11-14): The promise of a Son who will be declared as God’s Son (v.13). 1 Chronicles 22.9-10!

David’s Delight (17.16-27).

David sat before the LORD (16a) – David is throwing his body into his begging, his posture into his praying! I know we often sit through many of our prayers, which is the complete, polar opposite of the Bible. This is the *only* time anyone is ever recorded as sitting in prayer. The overwhelming posture is kneeling or flat-down prostration, and often with the lifting up of hands: And so, for David to be sitting is a huge physical-prayer-pronouncement! His body and his appeal are saying the same thing! Mr. Man-of-action is doing nothing, resting, trusting! Body and begging, prayer and posture are deeply connected, and fittingly fleshed out.

David rehearses God’s persistent goodness (16b-22) – the goodness of the one who delights in showing mercy!

David “sits” on the promises of God (23-27)! “Do as you have declared; proceed with what you promised; produce what you have pledged!” Isn’t this a great way to pray? Could it be that we have a little something to learn from David?

Relevance:
Those coming out of exile in the middle-300s BC would have likely grimaced when first hearing this. They had nothing, no king and no successes to build on. What good would this episode have been to them? It would have reminded them of the undying, unfailing promise of God – contrary to all appearances – that David will have a Son to sit on his throne. This is the high-octane petrol to fuel any Revival and Reformation they might be longing for. And this episode would have been a challenge to them to put their faith in the Faithful God – for what the reliable God promises, the reliable God does – and decades, defeat, disenfranchisement, dejection nor distance cannot get in the way of his promises. “And I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. And one king shall be king over them all, and they shall be no longer two nations, and no longer divided into two kingdoms….My servant David shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd. They shall walk in my rules and be careful to obey my statutes” (Ezekiel 37.22, 24); “In that day I will raise up the booth of David that is fallen and repair its breaches, and raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days of old” (Amos 9.11); “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit” (Isaiah 11.1). And sure enough – “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 1.1-4). And “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel” (2 Timothy 2.8).

And for us, 3100 years after this episode, and some 2400 years after it was written down? Remember Paul clearly tells us, “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15.4). What in this true, historical event instructs us? What here builds our endurance, fills us with encouragement that we might have hope?

1st-What the reliable God says, the reliable God does – and no amount of distance, disease, decades or defeat will stop him! Maybe, just maybe, we should sit in the crockpot of this truth and stew a bit, let it marinate our souls until they take on a whole new flavor – cooking out all of that sour and dour disbelief, and deeply flavoring us with the savory spice and aroma of Christ! What the reliable God says, the reliable God does!

2nd-Pray the promises.


3rd-Sit on the promises! Let me back up, and get a head of steam here first. Throw your body into your begging, your posture into your praying! Maybe to sooth and comfort your bashful brains, you should begin in private. Don’t worry if the Catholics do it, the Eastern Orthodox, the Charismatics. If it’s Biblical, then it’s a-ok. Allow me to encourage you to start practicing putting your body into the type of praying you’re doing. Are you heartbroken and battered, weeping and wounded? Fall down on your face – it’s okay, it’s Biblical, and it’s what Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemene. Are you seeking God’s aid for yourself, your spouse, kids – grown and at home, neighbors? Get on your knees, knowing your own neediness and submission to the Sovereign God – it’s okay, it’s Biblical, and it’s what Paul says he did in Ephesians 3.14, bowing his knees before the Father praying for the Ephesian Church. Are you offering praise, are you lifting up your heart to seek the Lord, are you praying that God would fill you up with faith, hope and love? Lift your hands in a receptive way – it’s okay, it’s Biblical – as we will see later, Solomon did it when dedicating the Temple, and Paul directs pastor Timothy to encourage it in his congregation; “I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling” (1 Timothy 2.8). And are you praying the promises of God, tired and exhausted with all of your activism and aerobic achieving? Are you finding the fretting and fuming in your heart getting the best of you? Are you trying to trust what he has said and that he keeps his promises? Then sit – sit on the promises. Point it out, “Lord, you know how achievement oriented I am, how I go and blow all day and into the night. But all I’ve accomplished is spinning wheels slinging mud, and now I’m stuck. You have promised, and like David, I’m sitting on your promises, throwing myself into your hands!” – it’s okay, it’s Biblical!

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