Shall we turn in our Bibles to I Chronicles, chapter one. One might well question the value of God having recorded all of these names that we have in I Chronicles. Let me give you just a brief little explanation of the purposes.
When man sinned, God had said, “In the day that you eat of that tree”, that was in the midst of the garden, God said, “You will surely die”. God was talking about spiritual death, as usually the term, “death”, in the bible, is referring to spiritual death, which is separation from God. The moment you eat of that tree, you’re gonna lose fellowship with God, you’re gonna be separated from God. When Adam and Eve ate of that tree, their fellowship with God was broken. Thus the purpose of man’s existence was lost. For God created man, that man might know the joy and the blessing of fellowshipping with God.
When that fellowship was broken, man’s life is without purpose, it’s without meaning, it’s empty, and man tries to fill that emptiness with so many things. He tries to fill the emptiness by being religious, and so many other things that man seeks pleasures, pursuits, possessions, tries to fill that void, that emptiness. But, as Solomon discovered after he had tasted, and tried it all, he was still empty, but now he was also frustrated, because he couldn’t find anything that would answer that need in his spirit, for God.
God promised that He would send a Savior. One that would bring life to man, one that would restore fellowship between man and God. There is such a vast gulf between finite, and infinity, that it is impossible that man could ever bridge that gulf. Yet, every religion is man’s endeavor to bridge the gulf between the finite and the infinite God. But, that is why every religion has failed, and is doomed to failure. Because you cannot start with an earth base, a finite base, and reach out to the infinite, reach out to infinity. Impossible. In order that man come back into fellowship with God, it was necessary that the infinite God reach down to finite man.
Job, one of the early men of history, was keenly aware of this vast gulf between man and God. He was going through all kinds of troubles that he did not understand. He had friends that came to comfort him over the loss of his family, the loss of his possessions, and his being stripped, the loss of his health. His friends theorized that there had to be something drastically wrong with his life, some deep hidden sin. Because no man would suffer as Job suffered, unless there was some sinful thing lurking in his life. One of his friends said to him, “Job just get right with God, and everything will be okay”, and Job protesting his innocence said, “How can I plead my case with God? I look at the heavens and they are so vast! I realize that He created them, and here am I, I’m so small! How can I hope to reach this infinite God? And besides,”, he said, “There is no mediator between us, who can put his hand on us both.”
So Job saw the impossibility of the finite man, reaching the infinite God, to plead his case. Job saw the necessity that there needed to be someone that could stand between God and man, who could lay his hand on both. But, Job didn’t see that mediator, that man.
God had promised to Abraham, that of his seed, the Messiah would come. So, in order that we might be able to prove that Jesus was indeed the promised Messiah, it is necessary that we have the genealogy, from Adam to Abraham. To Jacob, the Lord gave the prophecy that, there would not depart from Judah, a lawgiver, or the scepter, until Shiloh came, the Messiah came. Thus the indication that the Messiah would come from the tribe of Judah.
Later, it was promised to David, that there would never cease one sitting upon the throne from David’s seed. David rightly interpreted that to mean, that the Messiah would come through David’s family. So the Messiah has to be a descendant of Abraham, He has to be of the tribe of Judah, He has to be of the family of David. “There shall arise a branch out of the stem of Jesse, and unto him will the rule be given.”
So, as you follow the genealogies in Chronicles, you’ll see that it begins with Adam, it comes on down to Abraham. The first little series takes you to Noah, and every once in awhile it’ll digress on some of the other families for just a short little distance, but then it always comes back to the family, though which the Messiah would be able to ultimately trace His lineage, all the way back to Adam. He would be the Son of Man, has to trace His lineage back to Adam, ultimately.
So you have Adam, to Noah. Then the three sons of Noah, then you have Ham and Japheth, with their descendants, just followed a short ways, it drops them, but then it picks up on Shem. And, from Shem, you come down to Abraham. From Abraham, you take off a little bit on Ishmael, but you drop it. Then from Isaac, you take off a little bit, on Ishmael, but then you drop him. Then you have the other twelve sons of Jacob, but then it zeroes in on Judah. Then we follow along on Judah, because out of Judah, the Messiah is to come. The seed of David, and thus we follow it on down. The book of Chronicles takes this as far as the book of Nehemiah, in a historic sense, after the Babylonian captivity.
Now, when the children of Israel came back from Babylonian captivity, there had been seventy years transpire, while they were in Babylon. There were a lot of intermarriages. When they came back into the land, it was inhabited by the Samaritans, who were some of them from the tribes of Israel, some of them from different nationalities, and when the Jews came back under the decree of the Persian king to reestablish the city of Jerusalem, rebuild the temple, there were those from the territory around, who came and said, “Hey we will join with you. We will participate with you in this project”, and they said, “Show us your pedigree. Show us your genealogy. Prove to us that you’re descendants of Abraham, pure!”. Those who could not, they would not allow to participate with them. They wanted to keep the line pure.
Now, this again explains why God commanded the Jews not to intermarry. Because He was wanting to keep the line pure, unto the Messiah. It was also necessary that the Jew remain a Jew, even after the Messiah came. Because many of the prophesies of the second coming of the Messiah, declare that Israel shall exist as a nation again, and to do so, they have to remain as a national, ethnic group. So God has preserved these people through the millenniums, as a race of people, who for over two thousand years, did not, or for at least two thousand years, did not have a homeland of their own, and yet maintained their national identity. Because, through them, the prophesies are to be fulfilled.
So the listing of the names, in order that God might be able to show to man, the accuracy of His word, we follow the lines that ultimately bring us down, to Jesus, the Messiah. In Luke’s gospel, chapter three, we find the lineage of Mary, traced back through the line, and many of the course of the same genealogies that you have here, repeated in Luke.
So chapter one begins with Adam’s line, it goes direct. It doesn’t take any digressions, just those who have to do with the uh, Noah. It comes right down to Noah, and then to his three sons. Then we take off on the sons of Japheth, and then we take off on the sons of Ham, and then we come to the sons of Shem. In verse twenty four, to twenty eight, you come directly from Shem to Abraham. Then we digress for a moment with Ishmael. Then we are told of the other children. The sons that Abraham had after Sarah’s death, through Keturah, the wife that he took, or a concubine in the later years. Then we follow for a little bit, the sons of Esau. Then we drop them at the end of the chapter, and we pick up on Jacob. Again, the important one. Concerning Jacob, we come to Judah, because that’s the line we are very interested in. The one that we’re gonna find the Messiah ultimately coming from.
It is interesting that Jesus didn’t have a very pure, well pure pedigree, I guess. But they weren’t, you know, they weren’t the, the, the elite of the people, they were pretty rugged, and um, well, like you take in verse three, the latter portion…
And Ur the first born of Judah was evil in the sight of the Lord (2:3),
So God killed him. Then coming down a little bit further, in verse seven, you have…
Achar, [Who is better known to you as, “Achan”], who was the troubler of Israel, who transgressed in the thing accursed (2:7).
Now isn’t that something! You sin, you blow it, and your name becomes infamous in history. All of the rest of your relatives are just names, till they get to your name, and then they say, “Hey this guy, he’s the guy that did it”. And, what he did, doesn’t really, you know, if you look at things, you’ve done things a lot worse.
When they conquered Jericho, coming into the land, under Joshua’s leadership, the Lord said, “Look I’m gonna give you Jericho, so Jericho is mine. As you take the rest of the cities, you can take the spoil of those cities, but the spoil of Jericho belongs to me”. God wants the first fruit of our lives. We make a mistake, and we think, “Well we’ll give God the leftovers”. My dog gets the leftovers. God doesn’t want the leftovers, God wants the first fruit of your life. So as they were coming into the land, God said, “I want the first fruit, I want Jericho, that, that belongs to me. The spoils of Jericho are mine”. Well, as they were spoiling Jericho, this fellow Achan saw a beautiful Babylonian garment. Man was it pretty! And he thought, “Well, God won’t miss that, and that would be so nice, you know I can always have this treasure”. So, he hid it in his tent, and as they came to the next city, the men of Ahi came out against the men of Israel, and defeated them. Joshua cried unto the Lord, the Lord said, “Joshua why are you crying to me? There’s sin in the camp. You’ve got to take care of that before I’ll give you victory”. So, God fingered Achan, and Joshua said, “What have you done?”, he said, “Well I saw this beautiful Babylonian garment, and I took it and I hid it in my tent”.
So Achan was stoned to death by the people, because of this sin. Now, that really doesn’t seem like that big a deal, just taking a little bit of what belongs to God. But you might consider that. He became infamous in their history because he took, he took that which belonged to God. So he was the troubler of Israel, because he transgressed in that thing that was accursed.
So we come right on down to verse twelve, to Jesse, who is the father of David. Then we come right on to David himself.
The seventh son of Jesse (2:12):
In verse fifteen. So very quickly, we’re coming right on down to the family. Now we turn and we follow some of the other houses of Judah. The house of Caleb, and then we come back to David.
And the family of David that was born in Hebron (3:1);
Then the children that were born in Jerusalem. Then we follow David’s line on down to Zedekiah, the king that was carried captive to Babylon.
Then in chapter four, again we take another line of Judah, by Caleb through Hur. In this line we come to this interesting fellow, Jabez in verse nine. Whereas Achan was outstanding because of his sin, this man is outstanding because of his prayer.
He was more honourable than his brothers: his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bore him with sorrow (4:9).
Evidently, tough kind of a delivery, painful experience. So, he was called born of sorrow, or born of pain.
But Jabez called upon the God of Israel, asking, That God would bless him indeed, asking that God would enlarge his coast, asking that God’s hand would be upon him, and that God would keep him from evil (4:10).
Marvelous petitions. If you want to pray for me sometime, and you say, “Well what should I pray for Chuck?”. Just turn to the prayer of Jabez, and pray these things for me. I would appreciate it. “Oh God bless Chuck!” You bet! I’m for it! “Lord, enlarge his borders. Enlarge Lord, the areas of ministry, the areas of service, the areas of opportunity.” Don’t let me get narrowed. Tendency for us to sort of close ranks you know. May God keep us open minded.
May God ever keep us aware of others needs, who are outside of our sphere of fellowship. It’s so easy for us to build walls around our community. I find myself desiring to build walls around the community. Put up fences. Don’t let the riffraff in! Some real estate company has approached us with some ten thousand acres up on the California-Oregon border. Two lakes on the property the size of lake Arrowhead. Five miles of shoreline on a twenty six mile long lake. A valley that they call, “The Miniature Yosemite Valley”.
In my mind, I could see a fantastic Christian community. You know, where our kids wouldn’t have to be exposed to the godlessness of the public schools, and the neighborhoods. Where we wouldn’t have pedophiles, homosexuals, and the whole junk of the world. Where we would have just a, just a Christian community, where we could just all be neighbors together in a community. Just loving the Lord, and developing a community on this property. You know, just go skiing, and worship the Lord, and, ha, ha! Build up high walls!
That’s sort of the tendency of man, putting up walls to keep others out. Defining our borders. God, keep us from that. May there ever be the open door, where people can come in and feel at home, feel warm, and feel accepted. If they be Baptist’s, Nazarenes, Presbyterians, or whatever that we, we don’t say, “Well we are…”, you know. Just because they say that they are. Denominations are always throwing up walls. You know when you’re in, you know when you’re out. May God keep us so loose, you never know when you’re in or out! Because you’re always in, you know. Let’s draw a bigger circle.
There’s a poem, and I surely can’t remember it. Because I never memorized it, but the gist of the poem is, they, they drew a circle you know, and it was prejudice, and all to close themselves in. They wanted to hold others out, “But I in my desire to win, and to conquer, I drew a circle that included them in”. God help us to do that. Not to draw small circles to exclude people out, let’s draw, and even those that have that tendency, let’s draw a circle that’s big enough to include them in. God enlarge our borders. Lord keep your hand upon us, and Lord, keep us from sin, that it will not be a breech to us. Oh how much grief evil can bring into the life of a person!
Now we begin to go to the descendants of some of the other tribes. Zebulun and Dan are excluded, their lineage is not given for whatever reasons, tribe of Simeon.
Chapter five, the tribe of Reuben. We are told that…
Reuben though he is the firstborn of Israel, [Or Jacob] he did not receive the inheritance of the firstborn, because he defiled his father’s bed. [He took one of his father’s concubines to bed.] His birthright was given to the sons of Joseph: [To Ephraim, and Manasseh.] However the genealogy is not to be reckoned after the birthright, so to Judah is the promise given. So Judah prevailed above the brethren, [Through his line, the king was to come.] though the birthright belonged to Joseph (5:1-2):
We read of the tribes of Gad, and Reuben, and half the tribe of Manasseh. How they conquered the territory on the east banks of the Jordan River, and how they lived over there. Now in verse nineteen, in chapter five, interesting little side note here.
These tribes over on the other side made was with the Hagarites, and Jetur, and Nephish, and Nodab. And they were helped against them, and the Hagarites were delivered into their hand, and all that were with them: for they cried to God in battle, and he was entreated of them; because they put their trust in him (5:19-20).
They cried out to God for help, God helped them, because they put their trust in God. Oh how important that we just put our trust in the Lord. When in trouble, cry unto the Lord. So uh, yet we read in verse twenty five…
And they transgressed against the God of their fathers, they went whoring after the gods of the people of the land, whom God destroyed before them. And the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul the king of Assyria, and the spirit of Tigathpilneser the king of Assyria, and he carried them away, even the Reubenites, the Gadites, half of the tribe of Manasseh, and he brought them to Halah, to Habor, to Hara, and to the river Gozan, unto this day (5:25-26).
The point I’d like to make is this. When Joshua and the children of Israel came to the land that God had promised to give to Abraham, and to his descendants, you remember the story how that they had been settled for awhile on the eastern banks of the Jordan river. The men of the tribes of Reuben, and Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh said to Joshua, “Look, we’re quite content to remain here. We don’t want an inheritance in the land, we’ll take our inheritance over here. This suits us fine. We’re cattlemen, great cattle country, good grazing land. We’ll just take our inheritance here”. And, Joshua said, “Oh don’t you remember what happened when we didn’t move in from Kadeshbarnea, people here…”, “Oh”, they said, “No, no we’ll go in and we’ll fight with you, and we’ll go in and help you take the land, but when it’s all over, we want to come back here”. So they made the league, or Moses made the league, and the covenant with them, that they were to come in and help capture the land, but then they could go back and have it.
There is a whole spiritual analogy here, which is important. In the spiritual analogy, Egypt represents the life of the flesh, the old life in the world, a life of bondage to sin. Coming through the Red sea, represents baptism, a new life, delivered from the bondage of Egypt, you now come into a new relationship with God. As Paul points out, “Baptized in the Red Sea”. As they come into the wilderness, it is spiritually representative of those first early years of our walk with the Lord. Or the first few days, as we’re learning to walk by faith, learning to trust in God, learning the faithfulness of God of providing for our needs. But God has for the Christian, a beautiful life in the Spirit. A life of victory, a life of joy.
The wilderness is that up and down Christian experience. Still sort of drawn by the world. They still had the appetites for Egypt. They were saying, “Oh don’t you remember those onions, and garlics, and those leeks? Ooh I’m so hungry. This manna is so bland, and just tasteless”. And, and they still had the desires, the, the taste for the world. They hadn’t really come out completely in their hearts. They were physically out, but not spiritually. Thus their relationship was up and down.
There are Christians who are living in a wilderness kind of an experience. It isn’t a complete commitment. They’re, they’re still drawn by the world. It’s rather barren. They don’t have that full, rich life in the Spirit, the promised land. “Unto us are given exceeding rich, and precious promises, that by these we become the partakers of the divine nature.” God has promised a glorious life of victory, blessing, peace, power.
The Jordan river, represents the death of the self-life, which stands at the border of the promised land. I cannot really come into the full promises of God, the full promises of God’s blessings for me, as His child, until I come to the Jordan river, in a spiritual sense. Until I come to that place of reckoning my old self to be dead. Crucified with Christ. When I come to that place, of the old nature being reckoned dead. “Lord I don’t want to live after the flesh anymore. I reckon that to be dead. I don’t want to be in bondage to that any longer Lord. That’s dead. The self-life Lord, I reckon that to be dead, because I want to live and walk in the Spirit.” So, I come over Jordan. That reckoning the old man to be dead, crucified with Christ, and I enter into this glorious walk with the Spirit. This life of joy and victory in Jesus Christ.
Oh yes! I still have battles, there’s still territory to conquer, but I am victorious. I’m more than a conqueror already, through the power of the Spirit, because I’m not trusting in myself anymore, that I left on the other side of the river. I’m trusting in the Spirit of God, and in the power of God’s Spirit within my life, to bring me into total victory. As God said to Joshua, “Every place you put your foot, I have given that to you for your inheritance”. I just am going around, claiming all kinds of victories! Putting my foot down, and saying, “Thank you Lord! I’ll take victory over that one too!” Aspects of the flesh-life, nature of the flesh. God has given me victory, as I walk in the Spirit. So it is so important for us to come over.
Now, Reuben, Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh said, “Hey that’s great for you guys, you can have that. We’ll stay over here. Nice land. We don’t need that. We’re satisfied, we’re content.” There are just a lot of people who are content with the mediocre Christian walk. They don’t really want to bring “Self” to the cross. They’re content with their spiritual level of achievement, or attainment. “We’ll stay on this side of the river. We don’t really need the Spirit, or the walk in the Spirit. We’re satisfied, quite satisfied right here.” The interesting thing to note, is that those who did not go over Jordan, were the first ones to go into captivity. These were the tribes that were first taken into captivity, by Assyria. Those that failed to enter all the way in.
“Let us beware”, the scripture warns, “lest God having promised to us an experience of entering into his rest, we should fail to do so”. Let us beware that we do not provoke God, as the children of Israel did in the wilderness, and thus had that extended wilderness experience. Their provoking of God was through their unbelief. We enter into the promises of God through faith! “By faith we lay hold on the promises of God.” By faith we enter into this life of the Spirit. There is a glorious, rich life of victory waiting each of you, who are willing to cross the Jordan, and come into the promised land.
We next deal with the, chapter six, the sons of Levi. The priestly tribes. You have basically three families, priestly families.
Gershon, Merari, and Kohath (6:1).
From the Kohath, you have the Kohans today. The Kohans seek to trace their lineage back to Levi, and the tribe of Levi, and the priestly tribe. Thus, many of them are Rabbis, the Koathites, or the Kohans.
Now it is interesting in verse thirty one of chapter six.
There were certain of these priests that David set in the service of song in the house of the Lord, after that the ark had rest (6:31).
When they finally brought the ark back from the Philistines, and they set it in the tabernacle, then David hired certain priests, that they were just, just to be there singing before the Lord. Worshiping the Lord in song.
And they ministered before the dwelling place of the tabernacle of the congregation with singing, until Solomon had built the house of the Lord in Jerusalem: and then they waited on their office according to their order (6:32).
So when the temple was built, then there were always those in the temple, singing praises unto God. I think that’s beautiful. I’ve, I’ve told the sound fellows, “Put music tapes on, worship tapes. Let there be praise music going on in here, whenever people want to just come in, driving by”. Maybe you’re being hassled, maybe you’re under pressure. You just come in and sit, and listen to the worship of the Lord, the, the tapes. We can’t afford to hire a choir to sing here twenty four hours a day, but, at least we can have tapes, and you can just sit, and, and enjoy, and relax as you are brought into a sense of God’s presence, through the worship music.
The actual offerings were to be carried on through Aaron, and his descendants, verse forty-nine. Then the various cities that were given to the Levites are listed for us. You go through quite a long list of the cities, and on out. Boy that’s a long chapter! Eighty-one verses, and all of those cities that were given to the Levites.
Then you come to the tribe of Issachar, then to the tribe of Benjamin, then to Naphtali, and then to Manasseh, then to Ephraim. Just one note after seven, verse twenty seven.
Non his son, Jehoshua his son (7:27).
Non of course was the father of Jehoshua, who later was called, Joshua by Moses, and the man that took over after Moses. Jehoshua means, “Jehovah is salvation”, and this is the Hebrew name, for the Greek name, “Jesus”. “Shewa”, in the Hebrew. “Yashewa” in the Greek, “Jesus”. Then the sons of Asher.
Coming into chapter eight, you get the sons of Benjamin, and the chief men of Benjamin, bringing you to Saul, and to Jonathan, which brings us up to chapter nine.
Here we find…
All of Israel were reckoned by their genealogies: behold, they were written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah, who were carried away to Babylon for their transgression (9:1).
So they bring you up to Babylon now, and their being carried away. Then again, going back to the Levites, and to the tasks of the Levites. Again in verse thirty three.
And these are the singers, chief of the fathers of the Levites, who remaining in the chambers were free: for they were employed in that work day and night (9:33).
Constantly. That was their employment. Remember the one Psalm, “Come bless the Lord, all ye servants of the Lord, who stand by night in the house of the Lord. Lift up your hands in the holy place, and bless the Lord”? It must have been something wonderful, to be able to go to the temple at any hour, day or night, and find those that were there singing praises to God, blessing the Lord, the priests walking around worshiping the Lord, hands lifted. David speaks of them, he had employed them, and hired them for this purpose.
Really that Psalm was the inspiration behind our men gathering all night long, every night of the week, for prayer. So that there is prayer going up continually from the house of the Lord, during the nighttime hours. We’ve connected the phones into the prayer room. You can call any hour of the night. From ten at night, to eight in the morning, and you’ll find men in there that will pray for you, pray for your needs, respond to your needs, and there to minister. That Psalm, was the inspiration for this particular ministry here at the church. “Who stand by night in the house of the Lord”, and those men who are here, three or four men, all hours of the night, each night of the week, there ministering to the Lord, and ready to minister to the needs of those who may call.
As we get into chapter ten, we now come to the reign of Saul over Israel. It’s a short chapter, and it just deals mainly with the death of Saul. Now, one other thing I’d like to point out, and that is, the book of Chronicles, for the most part, deals with the nation of Judah, the southern kingdom, and with the temple, and with David, and Solomon. In the book of Kings, we were constantly reading of the various kings, and it said, “And not, and are not the other things recorded in the Chronicles of the kings of Judah?” Then we read, “Are they not recorded in the Chronicles of the kings of Israel?” These are the chronicles really of the kings of Judah, we don’t really pay too much attention in these, to the kings of Israel. There are, no doubt other books, the Chronicles of the kings of Israel, which we do not have the real records. But these are those of Judah, and they concentrate upon the kings of Judah. Of course Saul was king over all of Israel, as was David, and Solomon. So it’s combined in these three men.
So the Philistines fought against Israel; the men of Israel fled, and they fell slain in mount Gilboa (10:1). [Up in the area of the valley of Megiddo.] And the Philistines followed hard after Saul, and after his sons; and they slew Jonathan, and Abinadab, and Malchishua. And the battle went against Saul, and he was hit by the archers, and he was wounded by them. So Saul said to his armour-bearer, Draw your sword, and thrust me through; lest these uncircumcised come and abuse me. [He was afraid of the torture that they would inflict upon him, if they caught him alive.] And his armour-bearer was hesitant to do so; so Saul fell on his own sword. And when his armour-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell on his sword, and died (10:1-5).
Saul committed suicide. Now, there is a question that is raised quite often, when a person commits suicide, is that an unpardonable sin? Is there any hope of salvation for a person who commits suicide? It must be noted that suicide is not God’s way out of a situation. It is a demonstration of a lack of faith, and trust in God. It’s a desperation move, so often. But a couple of things should be noted. Number one, as the scripture mentions the suicide of Saul, there is nothing said against it in a negative way. It just matter of fact, reports it, and it doesn’t intimate in the reporting of it, that he blew it, he was lost because he committed suicide. No indication of that whatsoever.
Long as we’re dealing with Saul, we’re dealing with the second issue, of cremation. Is it wrong to be cremated? Because, later Saul’s body was cremated by the men of Jabeshgilead. Again, nothing negative was said of the cremation. So that if these things were heinous kind of sins, surely the scripture would not have passed it over without mention. The fact that it does pass it over without mention, would indicate that it is not looked upon in the scripture as some horrible sin. Or some unforgivable kind of sin.
In regards to suicide, I believe that when through circumstances, and pressure, a person is brought to a point of taking their own life, that in the very act of taking their life, is an irrational kind of an action. I do not believe that, that person is in full control of their faculties. Their distress, the pressure, has driven them beyond their coping ability, and thus I do not believe that God would judge, and condemn a person solely, for taking their own life. I do not believe that it is an unpardonable sin. I believe in the mercy, and the grace of God. I do not believe that it is God’s way out, but on the other hand, I do not believe that it is unpardonable. I do not believe that it means that you’re lost forever, because you’ve done that. I cannot believe that.
As far as cremation. This body isn’t the real me anyhow. It’s only the old tent in which I live for awhile. I’m gonna move out of it one of these days. When I move out of this body, it’s, it’s nothing. Cremation will do in thirty seven minutes, what nature will do in thirty seven years. It’s just a speed up of the process. Thus, I really, personally see no problem with cremation. If a person desires their body to be cremated, I see absolutely no problem with that, from a scriptural standpoint. Put the body in the ground, it’s gonna disintegrate, and go back to dust. Put it in a crematorium, it’s gonna disintegrate, and go back to dust. Only quicker. So, I see, you know no, they put them in those days, in what they called “Sarcophagus”, which is the Greek for “flesheater”. It was their form of cremation in a way, because those sarcophaguses, the lime in the stone, causes the body to deteriorate very rapidly, unless you could use it for many people. You know, you just, the next one dies, you put him in the same sarcophagus, eats up the flesh, and they would usually take the bones and bury them. But, they eat the flesh very rapidly. A form of cremation, and I see no problem, from a scriptural standpoint, with cremation.
So Saul committed suicide, and his three sons, all of them died the same day in the battle against the Philistines. When the men of Israel saw it they fled, [Now the next day, when the Philistines came to strip the valuables off of those bodies that were lying there on the battlefield,] they found Saul and his sons. So they stripped Saul, and then they beheaded him, and they sent his head to the land of the Philistines to carry the tidings to their idols, and to their people. And they put his armour in the house of their gods, and they fastened his head in their temple of Dagon (10:7-10).
So the abusing of the head of Saul, using it as a trophy, to show to the people their victory over the king of Israel. The body of Saul was left in Bethshean. There in Bethshean, the men of Jabeshgilead came across and took the body of Saul, and his sons, back to, across the Jordan river, and there they cremated them. They had already of course been abused.
So Saul died [Last verse, or next to the last.] for his transgression which he committed against the Lord, even against the word of the Lord, which he did not keep, and also because he asked counsel of one that had a [demon spirit] familiar spirit, of that which; And he inquired not of the Lord: therefore the Lord slew him, and turned the kingdom unto David the son of Jesse (10:13-14).
So for his disobedience to the command of God, for his inquiring of a witch, and not inquiring of the Lord, Saul fell. David became the king over Israel.
He began to reign in Hebron, he reigned in Hebron for seven years, during which time Abner, the general, went with Mephibosheth, the son of Saul. But then he also came and delivered the northern kingdom unto David, and David came to Jerusalem to rule. Verse four…
And David and all of Israel went to Jerusalem, which is Jebus; that was the city of the Jebusites. And the inhabitants of Jebus said to David, You are not gonna come into our city. But nevertheless David took the castle of Zion, which is the city of David. And David said, Whosoever smites the Jebusites first shall be the chief and captain. So Joab the son of Zeruiah went up first, and was chief (11:4-6).
Now in Jerusalem today, you can walk down the recent excavations of the city of David. Ophel, the site of the mountain there. As you get down, just above the spring of Gihon, you go down these steps, and you come to a uh, round hole that has been dug through the solid rock. Probably five feet or so in diameter. This round hole that’s been dug through the rock, goes down to the spring of Gihon, so that the Jebusites had built their wall, the water, the spring of Gihon, was outside the wall, because it’s down in the valley. You can’t build the wall high enough in the valley, because those on the other side, it goes up the hill, and they could be shooting over at you. So you built your wall up higher, so you have the advantage of the natural hillside, and then your wall. But it leaves the spring of Gihon outside the city. So what they did was they, dug, or yes, they dug through the solid rock, this hole, down to the springs so it was like a well. They would come there, and they would lift their buckets down the hole, into the water of the spring down below, and that way, they had the water supply within the city. They could get to the water.
Joab surprised the Jebusites by climbing up this seventy foot tunnel. Now, he must have had his sword and his armor on, because when he got inside the city, he had to fight, and he had to open up the gates for the rest of the guys. Some of the fellows followed Joab up that.
When you see that you think, “Man! He must have been a tough hombre’!” Climbing up in the dark, that hole! It’s, it’s sort of awesome just to stand there and look at that thing, and, and look down towards the spring, down this dark hole, and realize that Joab climbed up that thing. The first one into the city. Thus he earned the right to be the chief and the general over David’s army.
He had already led David’s army, however when he killed Abner, he was sort of in disfavor, and David was trying to give his job over to someone else. But, it didn’t work. David said, “The first one into the city, he can be the chief and the captain!” So, Joab was the first in. One tough guy! You that will be going to Israel with us, we’ll take you down and we’ll show you that thing, and you’ll just stand there and you’ll be amazed. You look down that hole, and you realize Joab climbed up that thing, with his sword and all. Man it would be tough just to do it if you were a rock climber, and had all your gear, resin, and everything else. You know, that would be a tough climb! I really don’t know how he did it, but uh.
So David waxed greater and greater: [Why? Verse nine.] because the Lord of hosts was with him (11:9).
Secret of a man’s greatness, God is with him!
Now we have a listing here of the mighty men of David. There were two groups of three, who were the toughest. The second group of three weren’t quite as tough as the first group of three. Interestingly enough, though there were the three mighty’s, only the two of them are listed, in both categories. There were two categories of three mighty’s. The second three mighty’s did not come to the greatness of the first three. But, there are only two of their names listed for us, here in Chronicles. So of the first three mighty’s, in verse eleven…
Jashobeam, an Hachmonite, [Now it’s interesting that we don’t hear much about these guys in the books of Samuel, but these were the mighty men of David, and this uh fellow,] lifted up his spear against three hundred who he killed at one time. [He got in a battle, and wiped out three hundred guys with his spear. I can see why he’s one of David’s mighty men.] After him was Eleazar [Who was one of the three mighty’s.] He was with David at Pasdammim, when the Philistines where gathered there for battle, there was a parcel of ground that was full of barley; and the people fled from the Philistines. But these three [fellows] set themselves in the midst of the parcel, and they delivered it, and slew the Philistines; and the Lord saved them by a great deliverance (11:11-14).
So these three guys wiped out the Philistines. They stood their ground. So another incident…
David was in the hold [in the fortress] and the garrison of the Philistines’ had captured the city of Bethlehem. And David longed, and said, Oh if I could only have a drink of water from that well in Bethlehem, [Of course David had grew up in Bethlehem, as a kid he probably had drunk from the water a lot, and probably a good spring of water! We don’t know where the well is today. They do have in Bethlehem what they call the well of David, but it’s a mile away from the site where it should be, and it’s a cistern, it’s not a true well anyhow. So we don’t know where this well is. But David said, “Oh man, I’d like to have a drink of that well.] so these three [fellows] went over there and they broke through the ranks of the Philistines, and got a pitcher of water out of the well, and brought it back to David: [“There you are man, out of the well.” ] David said, [Hey] I can’t drink that, you guys hazarded your lives, and you shed blood to get this for me, and you put your lives in jeopardy? He said, This is too important, I’m gonna give it to the Lord, and he poured it out on the ground (11:16-19).
And he said, “Lord you can drink it. You know, these guys hazarded their lives to bring me this water.” So they were the three mightiest men of David. Then after them were three others.
Abishai the brother of Joab, he was the chief of the three: he lifted up his spear against three hundred, and killed them. And of the second three, he was more honorable than the other two; for he was their captain: howbeit he didn’t attain the same ranking of the first three (11:20-21).
The second one was Benaiah, and Benaiah became David’s chief body guard. Verse twenty-five…
And David set him over his guard (11:25).
That was his own personal body guard. Then, through the rest of the chapter, are listed the other thirty five names or so, of the other mighty men of David. You can read them if you want, but good luck, you’ll have a tough time.
So that brings us now on into more of the narrative. We’re through the heavies. We will get some other listings, but we’re really through the heavy part now, and we come out on the other side into the narrative, and it’s going to be more fun, from here on out. Let’s pray.
Father we thank You again for that life in Christ, that excels. Lord help us, that we might come to the Jordan, and not be content to remain in the wilderness, but may we press on, that we might inherit the promises of God, and live that life of victory in the Spirit, as we through the Spirit do overcome. Lord, strengthen us, as we trust in You. Father, bless us, enlarge our borders. Lord keep us from evil, and keep Your hand upon us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Edited & Highlighted from “The Word For Today” Transcription, Pastor Chuck Smith, Tape #7124