1:1-54 – What are we to make of this long list of names? – A waste of space? Are we wasting our time looking for God’s Word here? No! God has a very important message for us! Do you ever feel insignificant – just one among so many? Here`s God’s Word for you – You are important. A lot of people are named here – God considered every single one of them important enough to be included in this list! Do you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ? To every believer, Jesus says, ‘Rejoice’ – ‘Your name is written in heaven’ (Luke 10:20). ‘Rejoice’ – Your name is included in ‘the Lamb`s book of life’ (Revelation 21:27). Jesus calls us ‘by name’, He gives us His Name – ‘the Name above every name’, the Name of our salvation. ‘Believing in His Name’, we become ‘sons of the living God’ (John 10:3; 20:31; Philippians 2:9; Acts 4:12; Romans 9:26).
2:1-55 – More names – lots of them! It’s great to have a name! You have a name. You’re not just a nameless person of unknown identity. It’s even greater to have the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, given to us for our salvation. In His Name, we have God`s promise of salvation – ‘every one who calls upon the Name of the Lord will be saved’ (Romans 10:13). God calls us to have faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. God does not speak to us of salvation without calling us to have faith in Christ. He does not say, ‘Everyone will be saved’. That’s what we might like to hear, but it’s not what God has said. This is what His Word says to us, ‘every one who calls upon the Name of the Lord will be saved’. Call upon the Name of the Lord. Let Him fulfil His promise: ‘The Name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe’ (Proverbs 18:10).
3:1-4:23 – God answers prayer – ‘Jabez called upon the God of Israel, “Oh that You would bless me…”. And God granted his request’ (4:10). Behind the name, ‘Israel’, there are many other names, many faces, many people, many prayers rising up to the God of Israel, many believers calling upon the Name of the Lord, looking to Him for His blessing. The story of ‘Israel’ is a story of ‘disobedience’ and ‘mercy’ (Romans 11:25-32). This is the story of our life. We have been disobedient to God. He has been merciful to us. How are we to receive the blessing of God? Pray to God for His mercy: ‘Have mercy on me, O God, a sinner’ (Luke 18:13). Come to Him with this earnest prayer: ‘Oh that You would bless me…’. How much does the blessing of God matter to you? How much do you really want to be blessed by the Lord? Make it the most important thing: ‘Oh that You would bless me…’.
4:24-5:26 – God wants to lead us in the way of victory (5:22). We dare not take His victory for granted if we are not willing to walk in the pathway of discipleship. As well as the promise of victory, there is also the warning against disobedience. If we are disobedient, we will be defeated (5:25-26). God doesn’t want us to be disobedient and defeated. He wants us to be obedient and victorious. With the promise of victory – ‘From victory to victory His army He shall lead’ – comes the call to discipleship – ‘Stand up! Stand up for Jesus, ye soldiers of the Cross!’ (Church Hymnary, 481). God is calling us to be faithful. He is warning us – ‘Do not love the world…If any one loves the world, love for the Father is not in him’. The Lord`s way is better than the world’s way – ‘Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind’ (1 John 2:15; Romans 12:2).
6:1-60 – The names tell a story – the story of what God is doing among His people. They speak of the faithfulness of God. He loves every one of these people. He loves every one of us. We forget the names. God doesn’t. Everyone is important to Him. We rejoice in ‘the great love of God’. We rejoice in Christ ‘who came to this earth to redeem every one’. In the many names, forgotten by us yet remembered by God, we hear the message, ‘God is love’. Among the many names, we read of those who ‘ministered with song’. We read of ‘the service of song in the house of the Lord’. God is calling us to worship Him: ‘Sing aloud, loud, loud! Sing aloud, loud, loud! God is good! God is truth! God is beauty! Praise Him!’ (31-32; Church Hymnary, 415-416).
6:61-7:40 – Is there no end of names? – The more names we read, the more we wonder at the amazing scope of God’s love: ‘God so loved the world…’ (John 3:16). We read of ‘the cities of refuge’ (67-70). We take refuge in the Lord. He is ‘our Refuge and Strength, a very present help in trouble’ (Psalm 46:1). We have Christ as our Saviour: ‘Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need’ (Hebrews 4:16). When ‘evil’ threatens to overwhelm us (23), we must come to God with this confidence: ‘the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin’. We must ask God to strengthen our faith in Christ: ‘This is the victory that overcomes the world. Who is it that overcomes the world but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?’ (1 John 1:7; 4:4-5).
8:1-40 – How sad it is to find the name of Baal, the god worshipped by the Canaanites, appearing in this list of those who professed to be the people of God! The name ‘Esh-Baal’ (33) means ‘man of Baal’ or ‘man of shame’. It is a ‘shameful thing’ that those who are called to be the people of God should lose sight of their high calling and become servants of Baal. The name ‘Merib-Baal’ (34) highlights the sadness of those who lose their way in life. Originally meaning ‘opponent of Baal’, this name came to mean ‘loved by Baal’ or ‘my lord is Baal’. God’s Word warns us against the danger of becoming a ‘double-minded man’ (James 1:8). Trying to live with one eye on the Lord and the other eye on the world is a sure recipe for disaster. Satan will be be quick to welcome us if we take our eyes off Jesus. ‘Let us fix our eyes on Jesus’ (Hebrews 12:2).
9:1-44 – In verse 13, we read of ‘very able men for the work of the service of the house of God’. Some have been called by God to preach His Gospel and teach His Word. All of us have been called to serve the Lord. It may not be preaching and teaching. It will be something you can do for Him. In this chapter, we read of some who were ‘chosen to be gatekeepers’, some who were ‘assigned to take care of the furnishings and all the other articles of the sanctuary…’, some who were ‘entrusted with the responsibility for baking…’ and others who were ‘singers’ or ‘musicians’ (22,29,31,33). There’s something for everybody: ‘There`s a work for Jesus ready at your hand, `Tis a task the Master just for you has planned. Haste to do His bidding, yield Him service true; There`s a work for Jesus none but you can do’ (Redemption Hymnal, 570)
10:1-11:19 – Saul’s life can be summed up in one word – ‘unfaithfulness’: ‘he was unfaithful to the Lord’. This is a warning: Don`t become like Saul who ‘did not keep the command of the Lord… and did not seek guidance from the Lord’ (10:13-14). David was quite different from Saul. He became king ‘according to the Word of the Lord’. He grew in strength because ‘the Lord of hosts was with him’ (11:3,9). David was helped greatly by his ‘mighty men, who gave him strong support in his kingdom, together with all Israel’ (11:10). These things were ‘written for our instruction’ (Romans 15:4). Praise God for what He has done in the past – ‘Blessed be the Lord for ever!’ (Psalm 89:52). Pray for more of His blessing in the future – ‘O that some one would give me to drink from the well of Bethlehem’ (11:17; Revelation 22:17; John 7:37-39).
11:20-12:7 – Here, we read of ‘the mighty men of the armies’ (26), ‘the mighty men who helped him in war’ (1). What are we to learn from this list of names? We must look on from here to 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 where we learn some vitally important lessons regarding spiritual warfare. We learn what our war is not and what our weapons are not: ‘we are not carrying on a worldly war, for the weapons of our warfare are not worldly’. We learn where our strength comes from and what it is to be used for: ‘the weapons of our warfare… have divine power to destroy strongholds’. We learn about the goal of our warfare: ‘We… take every thought captive to obey Christ’, pressing on toward an ‘obedience’ which ‘is complete’. Make this your prayer, “Lord, help me to be ‘valiant…, a doer of good deeds’ (22).
12:8-13:14 – ‘The kingdom of Saul was turned over to David according to the Word of the Lord’ (23). What was God’s purpose in giving the kingdom to David? ‘In the days of Saul’, there had been spiritual neglect. Now, God was calling His people to return to Him – ‘let us bring again the ark of our God to us’ (3). The people returned to the Lord (4). They rejoiced in Him (13:8). Sadly, their joy was short-lived. Failure to do God’s will lead to the withdrawal of God’s blessing (13:9-10). Where the Word of God remains among God’s people – honoured and given its rightful place – , there will be blessing (13:14). How are we to honour God’s Word? – ‘Be doers of the Word, and not hearers only’. Pray that you will not be a ‘hearer who forgets’. Pray that you will be ‘a doer of God’s Word’ – obedient to God and blessed by God (James 1:22,25).
14:1-15:15 – David recognized that it was ‘the Lord’ who ‘had established him king over Israel’ (14:1). David sought to honour the Lord in everything. We see this in his battles with the Philistines – (a) He ‘inquired of God’ (10,14); (b) He ‘did as God commanded him’ (16,10-11); (c) He gave all the glory to God – ‘God has broken through… the Lord brought the fear of him upon all nations’ (11,17). We must learn from David – Seek the will of God; Do the will of God; Give all the glory to God. David was not only a political leader – a king. He was also a spiritual leader, a leader of worship. He calls us to be sanctified, set apart for the Lord. We will not be blessed by the Lord unless we honour Him in our hearts. Let’s be sure to hear and heed this call to live our lives ‘according to the Word of the Lord’ (15:11-15).
15:16-16:6 – David called God’s people to worship. They were ‘to raise sounds of joy’, praising the Lord with ‘loud music’. David did not leave it to others. He gave the lead. Along with all the others, he was there, ‘dancing and making merry’. He was a true spiritual leader. He ‘blessed the people in the Name of the Lord’. He called upon the people to ‘praise the Lord’ (16,28-29,2,4). God calls us to worship Him continually’ (6). May God help us to be the kind of people who take ‘delight in the Word of the Lord, meditating on His Word day and night’ (Psalm 1:2). Our meditation on God’s Word is to be accompanied by obedience to His Word – ‘be careful to do according to all that is written in it’ (Joshua 1:8). This is the true ‘spiritual worship’ God is looking for – the dedication of our lives to Him (Romans 12:1).
16:7-36 – Here, we are called to worship – ‘O give thanks to the Lord… Sing praises to Him… Glory in His holy Name… Seek His presence continually’ (8-11). We are to ‘remember the wonderful works that He has done’. We are to call on others to worship Him – ‘Sing to the Lord , all the earth!’. We ‘worship the Lord’ and, filled with heavenly joy, we say to those around us – ‘Let the earth rejoice… “The Lord reigns!”’ (12,23,29,31). In a book of so many names, this marvellous song of praise stands out. It is a high point. Everything else seems so commonplace. Treasure God’s special high points of praise and worship. Don’t despise the ordinariness of everyday life. Why does God give us His high points? – He wants us to return to our everyday life with renewed strength. ‘Wait on the Lord and renew your strength’ (Isaiah 40:31).
16:37-17:27 – Sometimes, God’s “No” means “Not now. Later”. David wanted to build a Temple for the Lord. God said, “No” – ‘You shall not build Me a House to dwell in’ (1-4). This was not God’s last Word on the matter – ‘one of your own sons… shall build a House for Me’ (11-12). One ministry comes to an end. Another ministry begins. We wonder, ‘Has God said, “No”?’. Has He said, “There will be no blessing”?’. God’s “No” may mean “Not yet”. The blessing will come – but not yet. The “No” was spoken to David, yet still, there was the promise of God: ‘the Lord will build you a House’ (10). The true servant of the Lord does not say, “The blessing must come in my time”! God’s servant rejoices in the “not yet” blessing of God – ‘still the vision awaits its time… If it seem slow, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay’ (25-27; Habakkuk 2:3).
18:1-20:8 – Victory belongs to God. Victory is given by God. This is the great lesson of David’s victories – ‘the Lord gave victory to David wherever he went’ (18:6,13). There are no ‘giants’ able to stand in the presence of God (20:8). Every ‘giant’ must be brought to the ground. There are ‘giants’ standing in the way of our spiritual growth. The ‘giants’ of unbelief, disobedience, spiritual pride and self-righteousness must not be allowed to hinder our growth in grace. We must fight our spiritual battles in the strength of the Lord, confident that , through His ‘divine power’, ‘every proud obstacle to the knowledge of God’ will be brought to nothing (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). Let the ‘giants’ come tumbling down. ‘Grow in the grace and knowledge our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ’. Give all the ‘glory’ to Him (2 Peter 3:18).
21:1-22:1 – ‘Satan stood up against Israel…’ (21:1). ‘Satan’ is ‘the devil’ (Revelation 12:7). He is a powerful enemy. We must not underestimate him. In the service of the Lord, we face strong opposition. It is is not merely human – ‘our struggle is not against flesh and blood’. It is much more powerful – ‘the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms’ (Ephesians 6:12). Satan is very powerful. When he wins a victory over you, confess your sin to God and seek His forgiveness, believing that ‘His mercy is very great’ (8,13). Be careful not to overestimate Satan. Christ is more powerful (Colossians 2: 13-15; Hebrews 2:14-15; 1 John 3:8). Christ has won the victory. In Him, we have the victory – ‘they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb’ (Revelation 12:10-11). Keep reminding Satan of Christ’s victory. Don’t let him forget it!
22:2-23:32 – We need visionaries. We need managers. We need workers. David was a visionary. He had the original idea of building the Temple. Solomon was a manager. Under his leadership, the vision became a reality. David was important – but he was only involved in the ‘preparation’ for the building of the Temple (22:5). Solomon was important – ‘He shall build a House for My Name’ (22:9-10) – but he couldn’t do everything. The people were important. They were the workers. Without the workers, the work remains undone. Each of us must play our part. We must ‘do the work for the service of the House of the Lord’ (23:24). In this work, there is something we must never forget – ‘thanking and praising the Lord’ (23:30). David, Solomon, the people – they were all important. More important is the Lord. We need Him.
24:1-25:31 – The work of God was to be done ‘as the Lord God of Israel had commanded’ (24:19). The Lord is our Commander-in-Chief. No-one else can take His place. Never imagine you’re ‘the king of the castle’. We’re only sinners who’ve been saved by the grace of God. We’re ‘the dirty wee rascals’ -’all our righteous acts are like filthy rags’ (Isaiah 64:6). That’s what we are in ourselves – nothing more than ‘dirty wee rascals’. The Lord has done something wonderful for us. He has given us new clothes – ‘the clothes of salvation’ (Isaiah 61:10). Let’s never ‘get too big for our boots’. There’s only one ‘King of the Castle’. Let us ‘exalt Him’ – ‘You, O Lord are exalted for ever’ (25:5; Psalm 92:8). ‘The Lord reigns…’. Let’s be content to be ‘Castle Kids’ – ‘children of the living God’ (Psalm 93:1; Romans 9:26).
26:1-27:34 – We are called to serve God. At the heart of our service, there is this – ‘ministering in the House of the Lord’ (26:12). Part of our worship involves the dedication of ‘gifts for the maintenance of the House of the Lord’ (26:27). There is more to serving God than worshipping Him in His House. There is more to serving God than supporting the work which takes place within His House. We are to serve Him in the world. When our service of worship ends, our service in the world begins. We must offer our whole life to God – not only the ‘religious’ part. For God’s people, there were responsibilities outside of the House of the Lord – ‘the service of the king’ and ‘the affairs of the king’. We are to serve God in our everyday life. This is part of our obedience to God. Be faithful in ‘all the work of the Lord’, ‘in everything pertaining to God’ (26:30,32).
28:1-29:5 – Some servants of the Lord complete their ministry without seeing their vision becoming a reality. This is what happened to David. He had the initial idea – ‘I had my heart set on building the Temple…’. He had begun thinking about how the Temple could be built – ‘I made preparations for building’. It was not to be – ‘God said to me, “You may not build a House for My Name”’. This was not, however, God’s last Word to David. There was also a Word of hope – ‘It is Solomon your son who shall build My House’ (28:2-3,6). Solomon was ‘young and inexperienced’. He was taking on a huge task. He needed God’s Word of encouragement – ‘…the Lord God is with you…’. He needed the support of the people – ‘all the people will be wholly at your command’. Let us ‘dedicate ourselves to the Lord today’ (28:20-29:1,5).
29:6-30 – The Temple of the Lord did not come easily. It had to be built. This involved God’s people in much sacrificial giving. This was a great challenge. The Lord’s people rose to the challenge. They gave to the Lord – joyfully, generously and wholeheartedly (9). This giving was an expression of their worship. They were saying to the Lord, ‘Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty’ (10). Worshipping the Lord like this transforms our giving. It is no longer a legalistic burden – “Why do I have to give so much?”. It becomes our joyful privilege. Our giving becomes thanksgiving. We thank the Lord for all that He has done for us. Let us give ‘with great gladness’ – ‘Our God, we thank You… Everything comes from You. We give only what has come from Your hands’ (22, 13-14).