1 Chronicles 12:23-40 (Part 2) – Celebrate Good Times, C'mon! Really? Right Now?

Posted: March 19, 2020 in 13-1 Chronicles

1 Chronicles 12:23-40 (Part 2 of 2)

Warriors Join David’s Army

This morning in my own personal devotional time as I walk through the book of 1 Chronicles (completely separate from my pastoral devotions that I will be posting from the book of Matthew while we are in shutdown mode due to the Coronavirus scare), I am today in 1 Chronicles 12:23-40. In today’s personal devotion on that passage, the thing that struck me for today was the lavish way in which Israel celebrate David’s coronation as king. There was a Kool and The Gang song released in 1980 whose catchphrase was “Celebrate good times, c’mon!” That’s what the Israelites were doing when David became king. They were celebrating the dawn of a new era after a dark time in Israel’s history. The civil war was over. It was time to celebrate good times, c’mon! Right now, in our time, it may seem like the wrong song to have playing in your head, but let’s talk about that!

It reminds us that our time of hiatus from being able to have in-person fellowship with other believers during this Coronavirus pandemic is comparable to the time of Saul as king after he went nuts trying to get rid of David. It was a dark time for the Israelite people. Because Saul focused so much of his time and the nation’s resources on finding David’s rebel army and stamping it out, it is comparable to the moment in which we live. All resources and governmental attention are being focused away from the normal everyday operations of the government in our moment in time. It was a time in Israel in which Saul and his henchmen suspected everyone and I imagine Israel became like a police state. It won’t be out of the realm of possibility that we will find ourselves in a police state if this virus gets any worse. In Italy, it is already that way where people are not being allowed to move freely and there are checkpoints everywhere. So these are comparably bad times for the people of God in both times in the history of God’s people.

There is no telling at this point how bad this pandemic will become. It is growing exponentially every day. The economic impact of social distancing if it continues for any length of time will destroy every bit of the gains that the economy has made during the past 12 years of economic expansion, particularly the expansion of the last three years. This thing could get really bad economically on a global basis if the pandemic stretches into the summer. Not to mention the death toll from this virus.

There are some that say that this is God’s judgment on mankind that He sends regularly to mankind to demonstrate to us that we are straying from him just as Israel did in the post-Solomon era. Maybe, it is and maybe it is just. I cannot claim to know that such a claim is true or not. There was certainly evidence prior to the virus that our world was straying from God at an exponential rate equivalent to the spread of the virus. There are some who think that it is simply that we live in a fallen world where death and disease are part of life. Since the first sin occurred, the Bible tells us that the earth itself groans under the weight of man’s sins and its ripple effects. We have certainly genetically engineered a world that bites us back every so often and the rate at which it does grows exponentially with each passing decade. We have altered foods and animals to make the earth more productive. We have medicated ourselves into living longer individually on average than man has ever lived in the history of mankind. All these alterations of God’s original earth system certainly in some ways plays a role in unleashing unwanted mutations of diseases that we are not built to handle as humans. So, there is evidence of varying kinds that we ourselves have played a role in what is happening in our world right now – through straying from God, through altering the world that God gave us at creation.

However, it has always been true throughout the history of God’s people in the Bible and through the prophecies of the future in the Bible that there is always hope for His people. First, he promises us provision and protection while here on earth for those who have full faith in Him. Second, even if in His providence He sees fit to allow us to be taken from this world through death, our reward is heaven – which according to what I believe from the Bible is a far, far better place than here on this side of eternity.

That’s the thing that struck me this morning was the outpouring of joy of the Israelite people at David’s coronation. The tough time was over and they were overjoyed. They gave praise and did so lavishly. Let’s read this passage now with that in mind:

23 These are the numbers of armed warriors who joined David at Hebron. They were all eager to see David become king instead of Saul, just as the Lord had promised.

24 From the tribe of Judah, there were 6,800 warriors armed with shields and spears.

25 From the tribe of Simeon, there were 7,100 brave warriors.

26 From the tribe of Levi, there were 4,600 warriors. 27 This included Jehoiada, leader of the family of Aaron, who had 3,700 under his command. 28 This also included Zadok, a brave young warrior, with 22 members of his family who were all officers.

29 From the tribe of Benjamin, Saul’s relatives, there were 3,000 warriors. Most of the men from Benjamin had remained loyal to Saul until this time.

30 From the tribe of Ephraim, there were 20,800 brave warriors, each highly respected in his own clan.

31 From the half-tribe of Manasseh west of the Jordan, 18,000 men were designated by name to help David become king.

32 From the tribe of Issachar, there were 200 leaders of the tribe with their relatives. All these men understood the signs of the times and knew the best course for Israel to take.

33 From the tribe of Zebulun, there were 50,000 skilled warriors. They were fully armed and prepared for battle and completely loyal to David.

34 From the tribe of Naphtali, there were 1,000 officers and 37,000 warriors armed with shields and spears.

35 From the tribe of Dan, there were 28,600 warriors, all prepared for battle.

36 From the tribe of Asher, there were 40,000 trained warriors, all prepared for battle.

37 From the east side of the Jordan River—where the tribes of Reuben and Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh lived—there were 120,000 troops armed with every kind of weapon.

38 All these men came in battle array to Hebron with the single purpose of making David the king over all Israel. In fact, everyone in Israel agreed that David should be their king. 39 They feasted and drank with David for three days, for preparations had been made by their relatives for their arrival. 40 And people from as far away as Issachar, Zebulun, and Naphtali brought food on donkeys, camels, mules, and oxen. Vast supplies of flour, fig cakes, clusters of raisins, wine, olive oil, cattle, sheep, and goats were brought to the celebration. There was great joy throughout the land of Israel

In this passage, we see that the people were ready for change. They had suffered under Saul’s leadership because of his disobedience to God (See 1 Chronicles 10:13). They were so overjoyed with David’s coronation that they contributed lavishly to the celebration. It is right and proper to celebrate when God has seen us through a tough time. It is right and proper to hold on to that joy even in the midst of hard times. Knowing that there will be celebration one way or another through our belief in God is what we have to hold onto in dark days. Celebrate good times, c’mon!

So, as we trudge through these dark days of the Coronavirus outbreak, let us remember that we can have joy. We know that there is a celebration coming. God will provide for us even in the darkest days. We can have joy in our child-like trust in Him even in the darkest days. That sliver of hope is what gets us through the toughest times. When we see the tough times as a way to deepen our trust in God. When we see that Psalm 46:1-7 is so true:

1 God is our refuge and strength,

    always ready to help in times of trouble.

2 So we will not fear when earthquakes come

    and the mountains crumble into the sea.

3 Let the oceans roar and foam.

    Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge! Interlude

4 A river brings joy to the city of our God,

    the sacred home of the Most High.

5 God dwells in that city; it cannot be destroyed.

    From the very break of day, God will protect it.

6 The nations are in chaos,

    and their kingdoms crumble!

God’s voice thunders,

    and the earth melts!

7 The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us;

    the God of Israel[b] is our fortress.

we can find hope even in the darkest of times. How can we have hope in times such as these? Because we believe in a mighty God! There is even cause to celebrate in the midst of the trouble. Even in the darkest times of my life and I have had my share, there is always that sliver of hope that God gives us to enable us to carry on. There is a basic joy that allows us to have joy at times like these. It allows us to see the joys of the moments of life – the laugh of your grandchild over something silly, the beauty of a sunset, the calm that comes from a good conversation about life with your spouse, the watching your cat freak out playing with and chase a leaf around the yard. There is room for joy in times like these. It’s just that you have to look a little harder right now, but it’s there and it’s from God. Celebrate good times, c’mon!

Then, when this is all over and done with and we have survived the dark days, we should celebrate God’s seeing us through it with unbridled passion. Those days of rolling over on Sunday morning should be gone. Let’s celebrate lavishly what God will have done for his people. Let’s fill our churches with joyous celebration of God’s provision and protection. Let’s be among the fellowship of believers every chance we get. No more spiritual apathy! No more wondering what the worth of church is! No more standing on the sidelines. Let’s celebrate what God has done. No more just going through the motions of going to church because that’s what we’ve always done. God will have provided real evidence that belief in Him is tangible and real and meaningful! Let us really, lavishly celebrate that when we do get through this crisis with God’s provision and protection! Celebrate good times, c’mon!

And, too, if God decides that you and I will not make it through this crisis, what joy will be awaiting us on the other side of eternity in heaven! There is a reason for joy no matter what the circumstance! Death has no victory over us! In death, we become citizens of the eternal city! That is a cause for hope! That is a cause for a lavish celebration in your heart and soul! Celebrate good times, c’mon!

So, there is joy now and there will be joy after this crisis is over no matter how it is resolved for you and for me. Celebrate good times, c’mon! Celebrate like the Israelites when David became king! Celebrate good times, c’mon!

Amen and Amen.

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