Posts Tagged ‘I Chronicles’

Art by Kelly Watts

Art by Kelly Watts

Apparently, there were several concentric circles of influence, courage, and power around King David. In I Chronicles 11, there are several references to both the three and the thirty. Unfortunately, they don’t exactly match up with sister references in II Samuel 23. (See Wikipedia article for details.) And yet, they are provocative in their specificity:

Jashobeam, a Hacmonite, was commander of the Thirty . . . Next in command came Eleazar, Dodo’s son the Ahohite, who was one of the three warriors. . . . Abishai, Joab’s brother, was chief of the Thirty. He raised his spear against the three hundred men he had slain, but he wasn’t considered one of the Three. He was the most famous of the Thirty. He became their commander, but he wasn’t among the Three. . . .  He [Benaiah] was famous among the Thirty, but didn’t become one of the Three. [I Chronicles 10b; 12; 20-21; 25]

These groups represent spheres of influence as well as strategies of leadership.They were predominately known to be mighty warriors.

Jesus also had spheres: the three closest disciples [Peter, James & John, so referenced in Mark 9:2] and of course, the twelve who became the core group, “first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John;Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him” [Matthew 10:2-4] and lastly, the seventy or seventy-two, “After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go [Luke 10:1].

In each case, these groups had particular assignments. In David’s case, they were warriors and commanders, built for strength, battle, and protection. They displayed courage and often risked their lives for their beloved King. They came to David gifted in these areas.

On the other hand, the disciples that Jesus selected seemed less than qualified. They came from different walks of life except for a sub-group of them who were identified as fisherman and one a tax collector. We don’t know much about the rest, but we do know they were not the normal supplicants who would follow a rabbi. Many stories, in fact, show some frustration on Jesus’s part at their ability to grasp his teachings and what his teachings meant. Essentially, the disciples did not really come into their own until Jesus commissioned them upon his resurrection.

In recent years, the phrase, “God doesn’t call the qualified, but qualifies the called” has become quite popular. And although that is true in some cases, like the New Testament disciples who learned by doing and following their Teacher, we also have the example of the Three and the Thirty who were already gifted and committed their gifts to the King. They gave what they had.

Both are needed: those who have talents can surrender them to God and those who don’t know what their talents might be can surrender their will to God and their use will evolve.

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When God searches my heart, I believe it’s a cooperative effort. In other words, I don’t think God is lurking around my heart and soul without my acquiescence (not that God couldn’t, but doesn’t). If I practiced more mindfulness and stayed in tune with the Holy Spirit, the process would be deeper.

I Chronicles 29:9a
And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought.

I don’t believe God searches my heart like an airport full-body x-ray scan, where I am humiliated and exposed by the discoveries God might make about me. God is not looking for weapons of mass destruction or examining my heart just to find the mistakes and evil lurking there. Instead, God is teaching me about myself and about my Spirit-self. God is lighting up my interior.

Depending on my willingness to learn, God will do a basic search or a more advanced one. If I am closed off to the idea of transparency and truth, if my fears about my past and future are more powerful than my desire to know, then God’s search is less invasive. Holy Spirit, as teacher and guide, operates at my pace. I can choose to remain at a cursory level or I can open the closet doors, the cellar doors, and the attic drop down ladder.

This is a trust issue. The more I can trust God, the more likely I will go deeper into the heart of God within.

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Ceramic tile by Katherina Short

Imagine being in that early flush of honeymoon love and waking in the morning. The first thing I do is turn to look at my beloved. A wonder. If he has risen beforehand, I might call out the name or simply rise to seek him out. I know he is there. So it can be with God.

I Chronicles 16:10-11
Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice. Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.

To seek God does not need to be a quest, it’s just turning my head to look, to really look. It’s like being at a party and for a moment, losing sight of my date. I look for that familiar head of hair or the clothes I know he wore. There he is. All is well. I don’t need to rush over and clutch at his sleeve. We are in the same room. We are together.

Sometimes seeking God is simply a reawakened awareness of God’s proximity to me.

As children grow into toddlers, the first thing they want to do is stretch the boundaries of their independence. One of two things happen, the child ventures away but keeps checking back to make sure Mom or Dad can be seen, can be reached in need. Often, the toddler will make a number of trip back and forth, out into the bigger space and back to Mom. Yep, he knows the way and he fees secure. The next foray may be further and maybe out the door. But, if the toddler goes too far, the parent senses his absence and will follow.

I want to capture this truth today. Not just now as I’m writing, I want to pull myself away from what I’m doing and intentionally look for God–in the eyes of a friend, the walk of a stranger, the wet nose of my dog, in a handshake, in a flight of birds, in the wind or warmth of the sun.

Look! Look!

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