Others Join David at Hebron – there follows a list of the numbers of men who joined David to overthrow Saul’s kingdom:
6,800 men of Judah
200 chiefs with their many relatives – men of Issachar
50,000 Zebulunites (‘experienced soldiers prepared for battle)
38,000 men of Naphtali
120,000 men from the east of the Jordan (Reubenites, Gadites etc)
their determination was to see David made king of Israel.
‘All the rest of the Israelites were also of one mind to make David king.’
As the people arrived, there were three days of eating and drinking, celebrating the provisions they brought with them:
(the donkeys were used to bring the provisions)
‘flour, fig cakes, raisins, wine, oil, cattle, sheep, for there was joy in Israel’.
What a feast!
Bringing Back the Ark – In consultation with his officers and commanders, David summons all Israel to join with them: ‘Let us bring the ark of our God back to us, for we did not enquire of it during the reign of Saul’.
All the Israelites assembled, from Egypt across to Lebo Hamath, to bring the ark back from Kiriath Jearim. ‘The ark that is called by the Name.’
The ark is removed from Abinadab’s home, ‘on a new cart, with Uzzah and Ahio guiding it.’
There was a massive celebration – ‘David and all the Israelites were celebrating with all their might before God, with songs and with harps, lyres, tambourines, cymbals and trumpets.’
In a mad moment, at Kidon, Uzzah touched the ark to steady it, and he died on the spot, because of the ‘Lord’s anger burned against’ him.
David was, in turn, angry about God’s wrath – and that is reflected in the name of the place, ‘Perez Uzzah’.
It put fear back into David, and he decided at this point not the keep the ark with him in the City of David, but to pass it to Obed-Edom the Gittite, who looked after it in his home for three months, during which the family there experienced great blessing.
David’s House and Family – Symbolically, David’s kingly rule is further established when king Hiram of Tyre sends messengers, wood, stonemasons, carpenters to help build a palace for him. ‘David’s kingdom had been highly exalted for the sake of his people Israel.’
David’s family grew, too, as he took more wives and had more sons and daughters in Jerusalem, thirteen of whom are named (including Solomon, Nathan, Nepheg).
David Defeats the Philistines – The Philistines head out to attach David when they hear that he has been anointed king. David goes out to meet them, asking God, ‘Shall I go and attack the Philistines? Will you hand them over to me?’. God promises David that he will be victorious.
At Baal Perazim (given this name reflecting the way God had broken out against the enemy) , David and his men defeated the Philistines. The abandoned gods of the Philistines were burned there.
When the Philistines raided that valley again, David asked God again, but this time God said, ‘Do not go straight up, but circle round them and attack them in front of the balsam trees.‘ They are to listen out for the sound of marching at the top of the trees, indicating that God had marched out in front of them. Again, David is victorious over the Philistines as he obeys God’s instructions.
‘David’s fame spread throughout every land, and the Lord made all the nations fear him.’
Paul the Minister to the Gentiles – Paul speaks of his conviction that the Romans are ‘full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another’. He outlines the purpose of this letter and his bold instructions to them, because ‘of the grace God gave me to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles…so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.‘
Paul gives all the glory to God for his ministry. He will remain committed to communicate ‘only what Christ has accomplished through me in leading Gentiles to obey God…by the power of signs and miracles, through the power of the Spirit.’
Paul’s particular ‘ambition’ has been to ‘preach the gospel where Christ was not known’, preferring not to be building on someone else’s foundation.
The real heart of the evangelist – to bring the good news to those who have not yet heard / responded.
It can always appear easier / more appealing to start from scratch with people rather than to build on something someone else has already established.
Paul’s Plan to Visit Rome – Paul senses that he has completed his tour of new places, and he is very keen to get back to seeing the Roman church. It’s in his travel plans when next in Spain, to go to Rome and spend some time there before they help him onwards with his travels. First, he says he is going to Jerusalem ‘in service of the saints there’, taking with him the generous offerings for the poor from the churches in Macedonia and Achaia.
‘If the Gentiles have shared in the Jews’ spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings’.
After this trip to Jerusalem will come Paul’s journey to Spain and then over to Rome – ‘I will come in the full measure of the blessing of Christ.’
Paul urges the Christians in Rome to pray (‘by the Lord Jesus Christ and in the love of the Spirit’) for him in his struggles; to pray for ‘rescue from the unbelievers in Judea’; to pray that the delivery of money to the Jerusalem church will be well received; to pray that Paul will be able to visit Rome ‘with joy and together with you to be refreshed.’
‘The God of peace be with you all. AMEN.’
It is heartwarming to hear Paul’s affection for the Christians in Rome, his keenness to see them again, ‘to be refreshed’ along with them, and to urge them to join with him in praying for his ministry (God’s ministry through him / them).
PSALM (a prayer attributed to Moses, the man of God)
‘My Lord, my God
You have been our place of rest, our safe abode
always and forever.
Before the birth of the mighty mountains,
before the creation of all that is,
before and beyond, always and forever
Compared to You, our lives are dust
‘Return to dust, you sons and daughters, human beings’.
In Your eyes, my Lord, my God
A thousand years a like a day –
A millennium like a momentary night shift.
Daily, thousands are swept away into a deathly sleep,
like blades of grass,
morning fresh, yet withered by evening.
My Lord, my God
Your anger could eat us up
Your disapproval could petrify us.
All our secret sins are laid bare before You –
brought into Your light, nowhere to hide.
You see everything – every day, every year
from life’s first breath, to its final sigh.
Seventy years is a good innings, eighty if we’re given extra strength –
life is tough, though – plenty of trouble and sorrow –
time flies, and we fly away too.
Lord, thank You for the reminder of Your greatness, our small-ness,
Your timelessness, our mortality
Your perspective, our limitation
Our need of You,
Our life in You,
and the greatness, the timelessness, the perspective Your life in us can bring.