Praying Through God's Word: 1 Chronicles
Sometimes, Lord, we read, in your Word, things that make us wonder, "What's this all about?" What are You saying to us in the parts of the Bible that don't jump out at us? We ask, "Do we really need to read a long list of names?" You say to us, "All of these people were important to Me. I loved every one of them. You are important to me. I love you," Thank You, Lord, for Your love. You know each one of us by name. You never forget us. You always remember us. You remember us - because you love us.
Thank You, Lord, for giving us our own name. It makes us feel special - "I'm me. I'm not somebody else." We thank You, even more, giving us the Name of Jesus. His Name is the Name of our salvation. Among all the many names of people, from all over the world, there's one Name that stands out. It's the Name of Jesus. Why is Jesus so special? It's because He's Your Son - and He's our Saviour.
"Jabez called upon the God of Israel, 'Oh that You would bless me ...' And God granted his request" (1 Chronicles 4:10). Help us, Lord, when we ask for Your blessing, to pray for your mercy - "Have mercy on me, O God, a sinner" (Luke 18:13). Help us to make Your blessing the most important thing in our life. What's the point of having plenty of friends, if we fall out with You? "Oh that you would bless me" - May this be our heartfelt prayer.
Lord, You want to lead us in the way of victory (1 Chronicles 5:22). You don't want us to be disobedient and defeated. You want us to be obedient and victorious. Why do we draw back from the kind of commitment that will bring blessing into our lives? Do we think You're going to 'lead us up the garden path?' Do we think You're 'taking us on a wild goose chase?' Do we think that You're going to take us so far along Your way, and, then, leave us to go it alone? Teach us, Lord, that Your way is better than the world's way. Show us that you're always with us, supporting us and giving us the strength that we need to keep on walking in Your way.
Lord, we often forget names. You never forget our names. You forget our sins - but you never forget us. You forget our sins - how great Your forgiveness is! You never forget us - How great Your love is! What can we say about Your love and Your forgiveness? All we can say is this: "Thank You, Lord."
In Your Word, Lord, we read about "a city of refuge" (1 Chronicles 6:67). We take refuge in You, Lord. You are "our refuge and our strength, a very present help in trouble" (Psalm 46:1). Refuge, strength and help - What great blessings You give to us! Where do we find these blessings? - we find them all in Christ. When "evil" threatens to overwhelm us (1 Chronicles 7:23), we run to Jesus, we are strengthened by Him, and we receive help from Him. what are we to do when You bless us so much? - we are to give all the glory to You. Without You, lord, we "can do nothing" (John 15:5). With You, we can "do all things" - because you give us the strength that we need.
Lord, some of the names, in Your Word, make us think about ourselves: What kind of people are we? What kind of people are we becoming? "Esh-Baal" (1 Chronicles 8:33) means "man of Baal" or "man of shame." "Merib-Baal" started off as "opponent of Baal", then it became "loved by Baal" or "my Lord is Baal." We wonder, Lord, how does Baal, the god worshipped by the Canaanites, get among Your people? The answer is not hard to find. We let him in. We give him the chance to wreck our lives. Forgive us, Lord. We have taken our eyes off Jesus. Help us not to be "double-minded" )James 1:8) - trying to listen to both You and Satan at the same time. Help us to be single-minded in our devotion to Jesus (Matthew 6:22).
Lord, You speak to us about "very able men", who were called to do "the work of the service of the house of God" (1 Chronicles 9:13). Some have been called to preach Your Gospel and teach Your Word. All of us have been called to serve You. We may not preach or teach - but there will be something for us to do. Some were "chosen to be gatekeepers." Some were "assigned to take care of the furnishings ..." Some were "entrusted with the responsibility for baking." Some were "singers or musicians" (1 Chronicles 9:22,29,31,33). Lord, You have something for all of us. As we do Your work, help us to hear Your Spirit saying to us, "'Tis a task the Master just for you has planned ... There's a work for Jesus none but you can do."
Saul "was unfaithful to the Lord." Help us, Lord, not to become like Saul who "did not keep the command of the Lord ... and did not seek guidance from the Lord" (1 Chronicles 10:13-14). Saul had started well. At the beginning, everything had looked so promising. What went wrong? Lord, we think about Saul - and we think about ourselves. It happened to Saul. It can happen to us. Drifting away from You happens when we start to lose interest in worshipping You, reading Your Word and speaking to You. Everything falls apart. We become like Saul - a shadow of what we once were. we wonder, "Can things be turned around?" Yes! Your Word is alive. Your Spirit is alive. Renew in us the life that comes from Your Word and Your Spirit.
We read, Lord, of "the mighty men of the armies", "the mighty men who helped ... in war" (1 Chronicles 11:26; 1 Chronicles 12:1). Lord, You're teaching us about spiritual warfare - "We are not carrying on a worldly war ... the weapons of our warfare are not worldly ... the weapons of our warfare ... have divine power to destroy strongholds." You're calling us to "take every thought captive to obey Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:3-6). Lord, help us to become "mighty" for You - "mighty" in Your strength, "mighty" in Your victory.
"The kingdom of Saul was turned over to David according to the Word of the Lord" (1 Chronicles 12:23). Lord, You're calling us to be spiritual leaders - "let us bring again the ark of our God" (1 Chronicles 13:7). We're to call the people to return to You and rejoice in You (1 Chronicles 13:4,8). We're to warn the people that failure to do Your will leads to the withdrawal of Your blessing (1 Chronicles 13:9-10). Where Your Word is honoured and given its rightful place, there will be blessing among Your people (1 Chronicles 13:14). Help us, Lord, to be faithful in hearing Your Word and doing Your Word. This is the way of obedience and blessing (James 1:22,25).
It was You, Lord, who "established David king over Israel" (1 Chronicles 14:2). Help us to be like David. He "inquired of You" (1 Chronicles 14:10,14). He "did as You commanded him" (1 Chronicles 14:16). He gave all the glory to You (1 Chronicles 14:11,17). Help us, Lord, to seek Your will, to do Your will, and to give all the glory to You.
Lord, You're calling us to worship You - to "raise sounds of joy," to praise You with "loud music," to worship You "continually (1 Chronicles 15:16; 1 Chronicles 16:6). May we bring to You true "spiritual worship" - the dedication of our lives to You (Romans 12:1).
Our whole life is to be a song of praise to You, Lord - "O give thanks to the Lord ... Sing praises to Him ... Glory in His holy Name ... Seek His presence continually" (1 Chronicles 16:8-11). "Continually" - Lord, this is more than gathering together with others for worship. "Fill Thou our life, O Lord our God, in every part with praise ... "
Sometimes, Lord, Your "No" - "You shall not build Me a House to dwell in" (1 Chronicles 17:1-4) - means "Not now - later" - "one of your sons ... shall build a House for Me" (1 Chronicles 17:11-12). What are we to say about the 'delay'? We call it a delay. You, Lord, give us Your promise - "the Lord will build you a House" (1 Chronicles 17:10). You say to us, "Still the vision awaits its time ... If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay" (Habakkuk 2:3).
Lord, there are no "giants" able to stand in Your presence (1 Chronicles 20:8). We face the "giants" of unbelief, disobedience, spiritual pride and self-righteousness. By Your "divine power", these "giants" will be brought to nothing (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). Let the "giants" come tumbling down. Let us "grow in grace." Let us give all the "glory" to You, Lord (2 Peter 3:18).
"Satan stood up against Israel ... " (1 Chronicles 21:1). Satan is much more powerful than we are. He's not more powerful than You, Lord. Satan prevails against us. He does not prevail against You. Help us, Lord, to come to You - and receive Your prevailing power. In our own strength, we cannot stand against Satan. In Your strength, we shall stand against him - and we shall triumph over him.
In Your work, Lord, we need visionaries, managers and 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. The people were important. They built the Temple. Help us, Lord, to find our place. Help us to play our part. Help us to "do the work for the service of the House of the Lord" (1 Chronicles 23:24) - and help us never to forget this: "thanking and praising the Lord" (1 Chronicles 23:30). Help us to remember that You're more important than all of us - the visionaries, the managers and the workers.
Lord, You are our Commander-in-Chief. Your work is to be done in your way - "as the Lord God of Israel had commanded" (1 Chronicles 24:19). Help us never to 'get too big for our boots.' Help us never to imagine that we're more important than we really are. You're the One that's important. You're the One that's at the centre of everything. Help us, Lord, to exalt You - and not ourselves.
Lord, You're calling us to serve You. We're to serve You in the world. Before we can serve You in the world, there must be this: "ministering in the House of the Lord" (1 Chronicles 26:12). Part of our worship involves the dedication of "gifts for the maintenance of the House of the Lord" (1 Chronicles 26:12). When we're worshipping You in Your House, when we're supporting the work that is centred on Your House, help us to remember this: When our service of worship ends, our service in the world begins. Help us, Lord, to offer our whole life to You - not just the 'religious' part of it. Help us to serve You every day of the week.
"It is Solomon your son who shall build My House (1 Chronicles "8:6). Lord, this was the Word that You spoke to Your servant, David. what a Word of hope this was! David had heard the words, "You are not to build a House for My Name" (1 Chronicles 28:3). His heart sank - but You lifted him up again. It wasn't all about David - and it isn't all about us. It's all about You. You do things Your way - not our way. May we learn to say, "Not My will, Lord. Your will be done."
Joyful, generous and wholehearted giving (1 Chronicles 29:9) - Where, Lord, does this kind of giving come from? It comes from You, Lord. It comes to us when we're learning to worship You, when we're learning to say, from deep in our hearts, "Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty" (1 Chronicles 29:10). It's this kind of worship that inspires our giving. When we're learning to worship like this, our giving will become a joyful privilege rather than a legalistic burden. Our giving will become thanksgiving - "Our God, we thank You ... Everything comes from You. We give only what has come from Your hands" (1 Chronicles 29:13-14).