1 Chronicles 27:16-24 – The Game We Will Never Talk About

Posted: June 9, 2020 in 13-1 Chronicles

1 Chronicles 27:16-24

Leaders of the Tribes

Back in 2008, prior to the beginning of the college football season, hopes were high in Clemson for the coming football season. The 2007 season had shown real promise. The team finished the regular season 9-3 and just barely lost to Auburn in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl in Atlanta on a last second field goal by the “other Tigers”. In 2007, the offense really clicked and they had beaten Florida State in the first game of the season, as well as beating the Gamecocks in the final game of the regular season. In between, when the team didn’t get hit by the turnover bug, they typically laid 40 points or more on their opponents. The losses during the regular season were because in each of those games they had way too many turnovers to win those games. In the Auburn game, we stood toe to toe with an SEC upper tier team and it took a last second field goal for them to claim a 2-point victory. Had the kicker missed, Clemson would have won and finished 10-3. That were that close to a 10-win season – something not seen in Clemson as of 2008 not since the Danny Ford era. So, with virtually all of the 2007 offensive starters coming back for the 2008 season and now with a young defense that was now a year older, hopes were sky high in Clemson. They were predicted to win the conference. They were ranked in the preseason top 10, coming in at #9, as the season approached.

Clemson was set to meet the Alabama Crimson Tide in the Kick-off Classic in Atlanta to open the season – on the very same field as their last game of the 2007 season 8 or so months earlier.  Alabama was now set to begin Year 2 of the Nick Saban era. The previous year, Alabama had gone 7-6 and it was considered a successful year at the time because Alabama was in rebuilding mode. Little did everyone know, Alabama would regain their championship pedigree in 2008 and begin a run of unprecedented success that has not stopped yet as of the end of 2019 season. It began with that Clemson game to begin the 2008 season. Clemson the heavy favorite against the blue blood program, Alabama, that was digging itself out of mediocrity. It was supposed to be an easy win for Clemson. We fumbled on the first play of the game and things went south fast. It was a humbling defeat at the hands of a rising Tide football program. We lost 34-10 (with a very late touchdown by us to give us our only touchdown of the game). It was ugly. So ugly it was that my daughters and I (all rabid Clemson fans) still refer to that 2008 Alabama game as “the game we will never speak of!” It was that embarrassing. So unraveling was that defeat for the program, by game 6 of the season, Clemson (a preseason dark horse contender for the national title) was 3-3, out of the rankings and had just lost to Wake Forest. Wake Forest, yes, that’s right! After that game, things had gotten so sour, Tommy Bowden had resigned as head coach and some young buck named Dabo Swinney was tabbed as the interim coach to finish out the year. The Alabama loss that year caused a spiral downward that hit rock bottom when they lost to Wake Forest.

That was kind of the idea that struck me as I read is that idea of something we will never speak of. Like the 2008 Clemson game for me and my girls. There are things in our lives that we want to never speak of again because they are too painful. There are periods of our lives that are often too painful to speak of. Usually, these times or time periods of our lives are often the consequence of our own sins. When we reflect back on those times, we cringe at the decision that we made that cannot change. We wish we could but it’s in the past and we cannot do a doggone thing about it. So, sometimes, we take the approach of never speaking of it again. It’s just too painful to talk about. That’s what I thought about when I read, particularly, the final verse of this passage. Outside of that, it is a list of the leaders of the tribes of Israel at the time David was nearing death and Solomon was about to take over as king. Let’s read the passage, 1 Chronicles 27:16-24, now:

16 The following were the tribes of Israel and their leaders:

ReubenEliezer son of Zicri
SimeonShephatiah son of Maacah
17 LeviHashabiah son of Kemuel
Aaron (the priests)Zadok
18 JudahElihu (a brother of David)
IssacharOmri son of Michael
19 ZebulunIshmaiah son of Obadiah
NaphtaliJeremoth son of Azriel
20 EphraimHoshea son of Azaziah
Manasseh (west)Joel son of Pedaiah
21 Manasseh in Gilead (east)Iddo son of Zechariah
BenjaminJaasiel son of Abner
22 DanAzarel son of Jeroham

These were the leaders of the tribes of Israel.

23 When David took his census, he did not count those who were younger than twenty years of age, because the Lord had promised to make the Israelites as numerous as the stars in heaven. 24 Joab son of Zeruiah began the census but never finished it because[a] the anger of God fell on Israel. The total number was never recorded in King David’s official records.

In this passage, we see that this record is a list of the hereditary chiefs or rulers of tribes at the time of David‘s numbering the people. Gad and Asher are not included; for what reason is unknown. The tribe of Levi had a prince (1 Chronicles 27:17), as well as the other tribes; and although it was ecclesiastically subject to the high priest, yet in all civil matters it had a chief or head, possessed of the same authority and power as in the other tribes, only his jurisdiction did not extend to the priests. But the thing that sticks out for our devotion this morning is the final couple of verses of the passage. It reminds us of the ill-fated census that David took for no other reason that to bolster his own pride. It served no other purpose. It was against the will of God and God then allowed Israel to fall into punishment for David’s sin. So painful was this period of Israel’s history, it was not recorded fully in the king’s official historical records.

It’s like the game we will never speak of for me and my daughters. It was too painful to talk about. Too embarrassing to bring up. We were so convinced that we were title contenders coming into the 2008 season and then ending up 3-3 after Game 6, out of the rankings, and even out of contention for our division title in our own conference. It was an embarrassing and humbling experience for all Tiger fans. It is the same for us with our sins of the past. We often don’t want to talk about them and so we don’t. We are embarrassed by the person we used to be. We are revolted by the whole “what was I thinking back then” discussions in our own minds. That’s a good thing. To be revolted by the sins of our past means that we are growing and maturing and that the memories will help keep us from ever going down those roads again. Experiences with sin and its consequences are often our best teacher!

However, as we mature in Christ, and we have become that person who is revolted by the sins of our past, the best thing we can do is TALK ABOUT IT. By sharing with others the sins and consequences of our past, we can teach those younger in the faith and even those are thinking about giving their life to Jesus about what we used to be like before we met Jesus. There’s an old saying, let your mess become your message, for us as Christians. The best thing we can do with our ugly past is to be honest about it and transparent about it. It should never be like the 2008 Alabama game where it was a game we will never talk about again. We should share. It lets people know that Christians are real people who have real problems and it shows how Jesus can redeem the worst sinners.

Amen and Amen.

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