“So they buried [Jehoiada] in the City of David along with the kings, because he had done good in Israel with respect to the true God […]”
~ 2 Chronicles 24:16
Jehoiada was the high priest of Judah who had hidden his nephew from being murdered for six years.
After officially proclaiming his young nephew, Jehoash, king, Jehoiada went on to rid the land of the apostate worship of Baal (2 Chron. chapter 23).
For his zealous service toward Jehovah’s worship, he was given the honor of a king’s burial.
This is in stark contrast to the end of King Jehoash’s life.
Influenced by his comrades, Jehoash ended up promoting pagan worship, to the point that he murdered a prophet.
This prophet was Zechariah, the late Jehoiada’s son (2 Chron. 24:17-22).
For his sins, Jehoash was denied a king’s burial by his own people (2 Chron. 24:25).
These two men were ultimately defined by their actions and not by their titles.
Therefor, what we do is more important than who we are.
One cannot justify inaction or poor decision making by blaming family or one’s position in society.
The chief of the third group assigned to serve during the third month was Benaiah the son of Jehoiada the chief priest, and 24,000 were in his division.
~1 Chronicles 27:5
The reader may recall from previous passages the story of Benaiah and his loyalty toward King David’s reign (2Sa 23:20-23; 1Ki 1:8, 2:29).
He was one of David’s few confidants who did not betray him even after his death.
What I had not personally reflected upon was his family’s namesake.
His father was “the leader of the sons of Aaron,” that is to say, the Levite priests (1Ch 12:27).
Benaiah did not live off of his father’s spiritual reputation.
He made his own name before God and followed his own career in sacred service, unrelated to priestly duties.
What this teaches me is that even if my mother or father or grandparents are well known in the community for their ministry work, I still need to make my own name before God as an individual.
It is not enough to inherit values; they must also be put to good use.
“Do you think that David is honoring your father by sending comforters to you? Is it not to make a thorough search and to overthrow you and to spy out the land that his servants have come to you?”
~1 Chronicles 19:3
When Hanash, the king of the Ammonites died, King David sought to comfort Hanash’s son.
However, Hanash’s son, King Hanun, received bad advice from his companions and questioned David’s motives.
This suspicion led him to disgrace David’s messengers (1 Chron. 19:4).
Fed by fear of retaliation, the Ammonites eventually waged war on Israel with the help of Syrian soldiers, 47,000 of whom died at the hands of David’s forces (1 Chron. 19:6-10, 18).
All this damage could have easily been avoided if King Hanun had been less skeptical and more grateful toward David.
This passage highlights the importance of not being hyper-critical.
It is not wise to jump to conclusions and assume that anyone reaching out a hand to me really means to harm me.
If I am always defensive and doubting others, I could bring great harm to myself and the congregation.
“Of the tribe of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do, there were 200 of their headmen, and all their brothers were under their command.”
~1 Chronicles 12:32
In the time of David, the tribe of Issachar consisted of 87,000 men registered to fight in his army (1 Chron. 7:5).
200 of them, who were particularly wise, headed the tribe.
If we divide 87,000 by 200, it means there was one commander per every 435 men.
Yet, “all their brothers were under their command.”
The men of the tribe of Issachar acted in unity because they humbly respected their elders’ knowledge and intentions (Prov. 14:8; Eccl. 7:19).
Jesus said of the people he tried to teach: “[…] Why do you not know how to examine this particular time?” (Luke 12:56).
Today’s congregation elders try to make us aware of the times we are living in so we do not fall asleep in a spiritual sense and risk losing our spiritual battle (Ro. 13:11,12; Eph. 6:12).
Most congregations worldwide have much fewer than 435 members each, and they benefit from a body of elders who are wise in years of service toward God and Biblical insight.
If the tribe of Issachar was able to carry out their work in unison, we should be able and willing to do the same in our own congregations.
So Hiram went out from Tyre to see the cities that Solomon had given him, but he was not satisfied with them. He said: “What sort of cities are these that you have given me, my brother?” So they came to be called the Land of Cabul* down to this day. In the meantime, Hiram sent to the king 120 talents of gold.
~1 Kings 9:12-14
*possibly meaning “the land as good as nothing.”
The attitude that King Hiram of Tyre demonstrated toward supporting true worship is worthy of noting.
Before Solomon’s reign, Hiram was a friend to King David, sending him cedar and craftsmen to work on his palace (2 Sam. 5:11).
Once the building of the temple and Solomon’s palace was underway, King Hiram contributed significantly by sending his own best workers to support the 20-year project (1 Ki. 5:6-18).
“He rejoiced greatly and said: ‘May Jehovah be praised today, for he has given David a wise son over this great people!’” (1 Ki. 5:7).
Although this was a business transaction, King Hiram saw Solomon as more than a friend, calling him “my brother” even upon being let down by him.
After receiving the cities that were “good for nothing,” we continue to read about King Hiram’s monetary contributions to King Solomon’s reign (1 Ki. 10:11,12,22).
May we follow his example and continue to view our brothers and sisters in the faith with respect and admiration, ever-willing to support one another, even when we do not feel that they have fulfilled their end of an important agreement.
David was very distressed, because the men were talking of stoning him, for all the men had become very bitter over the loss of their sons and daughters. But David strengthened himself by Jehovah his God.
~1 Samuel 30:6
When David and his 600 men came home from pretending to ally with the Philistines, they found their village had been raided by Amalekites (1 Sam. 27:2; 29:9,10; 30:1-5).
Thus David faced a revolt from the men who had been very loyal up to that point.
Instead of fleeing, panicking, giving up, or attempting to eliminate the instigators, David “strengthened himself by Jehovah his God.”
After inquiring of Jehovah, he led his men to seek out their kidnapped families and they liberated them (1 Sam. 30:8,18,19).
This is an example of how hard it can be at times for our elders to carry out their roles in the congregation, since sooner or later they all have to make unpopular decisions and face the scrutiny of others.
Instead of becoming embittered or depressed, elders can take refuge in their strong relationship with Jehovah and continue to find joy in carrying out their ministry (Ps. 31:1).
So David got up early in the morning and left someone in charge of the sheep; then he packed up and went just as Jesse had commanded him. When he came to the camp enclosure, the army was going out to the battle line, shouting a battle cry. Israel and the Philistines drew up so that one battle line faced the other battle line. David immediately left his baggage in the care of the baggage keeper and ran to the battle line. When he arrived, he began asking about the welfare of his brothers.
1 Samuel 17:20-22
David was undoubtedly a unique boy.
It is without wonder that God chose him as the new future king of Israel (1 Sam. 16:11-13).
In just this short passage, we are able to see his distinct qualities in action and appreciate what really set him apart from the rest.
First, young David was responsible in leaving his flock of sheep attended by someone else.
He obeyed his father Jesse ‘just as he commanded him.’
When he gets to the battleground, he shows to be cautious when he leaves his baggage “in the care of the baggage keeper.”
Then we see him compelled to run to the battle line, worried about his brothers’ welfare.
David was an orderly, detail-oriented, brave, faith-driven boy of action whom Jehovah trusted would become a great king.
Though hardly any of us aspire to royalty, these noble qualities are worthy of imitating to gain God’s favor.
Chapter 17 of the first book of Samuel is one of the most exciting renown Bible stories.
The implications of this series of events coupled with the prophet Samuel’s intense emotional writing style makes for one of the must-read stories of any person’s lifetime.
“[…] Jonathan climbed up on his hands and feet, and his armor-bearer was behind him; and the Philistines began to fall before Jonathan, and his armor-bearer was putting them to death behind him.”
~1 Samuel 14:13
By standing up to their people’s oppressors, Jonathan and his armor-bearer were demonstrating great faith in Jehovah, crediting him with the victory before it begun (1 Sam. 14:6).
There is another lesson in their actions: teamwork goes a long way.
They were obviously very coordinated, being able to carry out this extraordinary deed of striking and putting 20 men to death, despite being outnumbered 10 to 1 (1 Sam. 14:14).
Although as Christians we do not participate in deadly combat, we do need to collaborate extensively with other members in the Congregation on a weekly or sometimes daily basis.
The success we experience spiritually is directly related to our ability to subject to theocratic arrangements, which in turn is directly related to being humble (1 Cor. 14:40).
Like Jonathan’s armor-bearer, we need to be willing to sacrifice personal interests in order to demonstrate our unyielding loyalty toward God and our spiritual family (1 Sam. 14:7).
Then we will clearly see Jehovah’s blessings and his loyalty toward us (1 Chron. 16:34).
“Here I am. Testify against me before Jehovah and before his anointed one: Whose bull or whose donkey have I taken? Or whom have I defrauded or crushed? From whose hand have I accepted a bribe to make me look the other way? If I have, I will restore it to you.”
~1 Samuel 12:3
Samuel had a clean conscience because he maintained sincere, wholehearted worship of Jehovah throughout his life.
The people he served were able to testify: “You have not defrauded us or crushed us or accepted anything at all from anyone’s hand,” (1 Sam. 12:4).
While leaders of false religion use their religious institution as a sort of business and as a means to sustain themselves materially, true believers do not take advantage of their spiritual brothers to gain material benefits (Matt. 10:8; 1 Pet. 5:2).
We must be careful to always keep our form of worship free of commercial or potentially corrupt personal interests in order to not imitate the oppressive attitude of hypocritical church leaders (John 2:15,16).
Then we should ask ourselves: can I swear before Jehovah, like Samuel, that I have defrauded no one?
Gideon made it into an ephod and exhibited it in his city Ophrah; and all Israel committed spiritual prostitution with it there, and it served as a snare to Gideon and to his household.
When Gideon liberated the Israelites from the oppression of Midian, they tried to make him king (Jg. 8:22).
However, Gideon was not about to usurp on God’s sole right to rule, so he instead asked for material donations (Jg. 8:23,24).
He proceeded to use these donations to create an Ephod, which was an apron-like garment made of gold and precious stones, worn by the high priest on special occasions (Ex. 28:6-14).
Gideon, being a man of Faith, was apparently motivated by the desire to commemorate the unlikely victory Jehovah had granted Israel over its enemies (Jg. 7:20-22; Heb. 11:32,33).
How did this piece of commemorative art become a snare?
It detracted attention from the center of pure worship which was God’s tabernacle.
The Israelites commited “spiritual prostitution” in the sense that they bowed down to the ephod as if it were God, much to Gideon’s dismay.
What can we learn from this?
Good intentions do no always justify the means or the project.
We should be careful with our actions so that we never become a “stumbling block” to members of our community and our spiritual endeavors end up having an opposite effect (Rom. 14:13; 1 Cor. 10:23,24).