1 Chronicles 27:1-15 – Sharing the Burden

Posted: June 8, 2020 in 13-1 Chronicles

1 Chronicles 27:1-15

Military Commanders & Divisions

Sharing the burden was the idea that came to mind when I read this rather mundane passage in 1 Chronicles. It’s another one of those Old Testament lists where you cry out to God as to what we are to learn from just a list of names. However, as with these lists and/or genealogies and such in the Old Testament, you have to take a higher-level view. It’s like of needing a drone to get a good picture of your neighborhood instead of taking 100’s of individual pictures. If you focus on the names here, you might just get lost in the minutia. But when you step up a step to a view of the whole passage, sharing the burden is the thing that I see. Here, you see rotations of citizen soldiers by tribe from throughout Israel who served as the king’s standing army throughout the year. No one tribe, no one group of people, was solely responsible for providing immediate protection of the king and of the capital city. Further, if there was a need all twelve tribes could send 24,000 men at any given time to serve if a military conflict arose or there was a need for the full scale military for another reason.

Sharing the burden was what came to mind this morning as it relates to my church, your church or anybody’s church. For a church to thrive and grow rather than being stagnant or, worse yet, dying, everyone must be at the ready to serve the kingdom of God through their local church. It can’t be all on the pastor. He is only one person. He only has 168 hours in a week. Sadly, he must sleep to get the rest that all human bodies need. So, if you say your pastor averages just 6 hours of sleep each night, that takes 42 hours off the pastor’s total time each week. We are now down to 126 hours of available time. If then you say you want quality sermons on Sunday morning, a pastor needs to put in at least 25 hours per week on his sermons. That now leaves 101 hours in a week that’s available. A pastor typically spends another 13 hours per week on administrative matters and in meetings. Now you are down to 88 hours per week. Knock off another 15 hours per week on visiting church members in their homes and/or in hospitals. Now you are down to 73 hours per week. Say then, he needs 5 hours per day for meals, down time, and family time. That’s another 35 hours a week knocked off. You are down to 38 hours per week. Building in at least one day off preferably two days, you are talking 16 hours there. Down to 22 hours now. Say planning for the future of the church (a pastor needs to be planning 3-6 months ahead of his people) takes another 10 hours per week, and then there’s about 12 hours per week for other things in a pastor’s max limit (like all human beings) of 168 hours per week. Some weeks this unclaimed time gets gobbled up by extra time on one or more of the above. As you can see, in order for a pastor to be an effective leader of your church, the demands on his week are pretty strong. He needs you and others like you.

Every church needs for its people to really claim the kingdom cause. Every church needs for every member to take as much pride in their church and what it’s doing for the kingdom as you are of your favorite sports team. Do you have passion for your church in the same way that you have passion for the Clemson Tigers, the USC Gamecocks, the Atlanta Falcons, the Carolina Panthers, or so on. Every church member should see their volunteer positions at church as serving unto the Lord not just being a warm body in a position with a title. As church members, we need to be out in the community talking to our neighbors, to our co-workers, to everyone we know in the community about our love of the Lord and our love of our local church. We all need to be so passionate about our church that we arrange our lives around our responsibilities for our church instead of arranging church around other priorities. We need to share the burden of responsibility for the health of and the future of each of our churches. With that idea of sharing the burden in mind, now, let’s read 1 Chronicles 27:1-15:

Chapter 27

1 This is the list of Israelite generals and captains,[a] and their officers, who served the king by supervising the army divisions that were on duty each month of the year. Each division served for one month and had 24,000 troops.

2 Jashobeam son of Zabdiel was commander of the first division of 24,000 troops, which was on duty during the first month. 3 He was a descendant of Perez and was in charge of all the army officers for the first month.

4 Dodai, a descendant of Ahoah, was commander of the second division of 24,000 troops, which was on duty during the second month. Mikloth was his chief officer.

5 Benaiah son of Jehoiada the priest was commander of the third division of 24,000 troops, which was on duty during the third month. 6 This was the Benaiah who commanded David’s elite military group known as the Thirty. His son Ammizabad was his chief officer.

7 Asahel, the brother of Joab, was commander of the fourth division of 24,000 troops, which was on duty during the fourth month. Asahel was succeeded by his son Zebadiah.

8 Shammah[b] the Izrahite was commander of the fifth division of 24,000 troops, which was on duty during the fifth month.

9 Ira son of Ikkesh from Tekoa was commander of the sixth division of 24,000 troops, which was on duty during the sixth month.

10 Helez, a descendant of Ephraim from Pelon, was commander of the seventh division of 24,000 troops, which was on duty during the seventh month.

11 Sibbecai, a descendant of Zerah from Hushah, was commander of the eighth division of 24,000 troops, which was on duty during the eighth month.

12 Abiezer from Anathoth in the territory of Benjamin was commander of the ninth division of 24,000 troops, which was on duty during the ninth month.

13 Maharai, a descendant of Zerah from Netophah, was commander of the tenth division of 24,000 troops, which was on duty during the tenth month.

14 Benaiah from Pirathon in Ephraim was commander of the eleventh division of 24,000 troops, which was on duty during the eleventh month.

15 Heled,[c] a descendant of Othniel from Netophah, was commander of the twelfth division of 24,000 troops, which was on duty during the twelfth month.

In this passage, we see an account of the standing military force of Israel. A militia formed, it would seem, at the beginning of David’s reign was raised in the following order: Twelve legions, corresponding to the number of tribes, were enlisted in the king’s service. Each legion comprised a body of twenty-four thousand men, whose term of service was a month in rotation, and who were stationed either at Jerusalem or in any other place where they might be required. There was thus always a force sufficient for the ordinary purposes of state, as well as for resisting sudden attacks or popular tumults; and when extraordinary emergencies demanded a larger force, the whole standing army could easily be called to arms, amounting to two hundred eighty-eight thousand. The brief period of actual service produce any derangement of the usual course of affairs; for, on the expiry of the term, every soldier returned to the pursuits and duties of private life during the other eleven months of the year. The rotation system being established, each division knew its own month, as well as the name of the commander under whom it was to serve.

That’s the takeaway this morning. Share the burden. Let’s help our pastors ensure the health of our church not just on Sunday morning but every day of the week. We can do our individual parts to draw more people unto the Lord. We can do our individual parts by serving in some capacity in our church and doing it to the best of our ability so that (1) people see excellence in our church in everything that it does and (2) makes the church seem like a place where people are crazy about the Lord (and as a result are welcoming to all). Share the burden. Let us all be the church not just attend the church.

Amen and Amen.

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