Counted Faithful: Are You a Grain of Sand or a Star in the Sky?

 

(I Chronicles 27-29)

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Wednesday, November 23

“And so a whole nation came from this one man who was as good as dead–a nation with so many people that, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore, there is no way to count them.” Hebrews 11:12

When I was around 8 years old I heard a pastor give a message titled “Are you a man or a mouse?” That title stuck with me because of the imaging that went on in my mind. Reading through I Chronicles 27-29 I kept wondering if I would be considered a star in the night sky or a grain of sand along the seashore.

King David had ordered a census of Israel, but in Chapter 27:23 we learn, “but David didn’t take the number of them from twenty years old and under, because Yahweh had said He would increase Israel like the stars of the sky.” They could have been counted to arrive at a number, but the faith of Abraham was still at work and was not to be discounted in the mind of David. He was looking expectantly toward the future and all who were to be added to that number.

We are a part of that number. And since I am beyond 20 years, I am wondering if my place is among the sands of the sea. I hope you all realize this is a bit tongue and cheek; but it does leave an image in my mind worth exploring. The idea of movement and brightness and dancing across the sky is a lot like children full of laughter chasing fireflies in the night.f

Lying on the ground as a grain of sand among the masses; with life washing over us and moving us along to different moments, circumstances and even settling among different groups of individuals does seem to fit my post 20 years a bit easier. Even the idea of being trampled upon by those unable to realize we are foundational to their days of relaxation seems to fit many of my days.

But the promise of God was not in counting the value of days, or the counting of the value in people. It was a counting of the faithfulness of God and what He is able to produce in the lives of those who trust in Him. It was a recounting of His giving life from what was impending death.

King David was not allowed to build the Temple for Yahweh, but that didn’t prevent him from gathering necessary provisions and having them ready for the project his son Solomon would oversee as King. Throughout Chapter 29 David acknowledges that all we have to offer back to God was given to us by God in the first place and still belongs to God. David’s reign was coming to an end, but he had faith in what God had promised and the life that was yet to come.

 

            “I know also, my God, that you try the heart, and have pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of my heart I have willingly offered all these things.”  King David                1 Chronicles 29:17

 

As we offer up ourselves and seek to build the Temple of God in our lives, keep in mind all we have to give is God’s already. We can count all our moments shining like a star in the heavens or count the days pressed along the edge of powerful events that truly are out of our control. We can even count our resources down to the penny. Or, we can live in faith, trusting God to supply our needs and fulfill His plans for our life as we give ourselves back to Him.

Keep shining the glory of God in purposeful ways throughout your day. And if you feel walked upon, know that God is looking at your heart and He wants to count you faithful.

Glennis Walters

Onward, Christian Soldiers (2 Samuel 23-24)

Wednesday, October 26

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By Sherry Alcumbrack

Some of you may have noticed we have been in the middle of a contentious election race for POTUS. Here are some words of wisdom from Chapter 23:3b. “He who rules over men must be just, Ruling in the fear of God.” We need to get back to electing leaders that are Godly men and women like the leaders we have been reading about.

As we read about the mighty men of David, a couple of things struck me. Each of them had to do something. They didn’t just stay in their tent and wait for the Lord to go out and win the battle for them. Adino killed eight hundred men at one time. Eleazar, when the Israelites had retreated, “arose and attacked the Philistines until his hand was weary and his hand stuck to the sword.” Shammah stationed himself in the middle of the field, defended it, and killed the Philistines. And on and on the stories go, but at the end of the stories, they would say, “So the Lord brought about a great victory.” They took no credit for it. So, we, just like these mighty men, may have to get out there in harm’s way to be able to have a great victory. And then we need to glorify God, who is the one that brought it about. God uses His people to win His battles, but we have to be willing to go out on the battlefield with Him.

After all these victorious battles, David decides to take a census of the Israelites, which in and of itself is no sin. But the sin lies in the fact that David was feeling pretty prideful about what his armies were able to do and forgot to give God the glory. He started trusting in men and not God.

2 Samuel 24:10 b says,  “So David said to the Lord, ‘I have sinned greatly in what I have done; but now, I pray, O Lord, take away iniquity of Your servant, for I have done very foolishly.’” A prophet came to David and told him he had a choice for his punishment: seven years of famine, three months with his enemies pursuing him, or three days’ plague in the land. In verse 14 he says, “I am in great distress. Please let us fall into the hand of the Lord, for his mercies are great: but do not let me fall into the hand of man.” We know that there are consequences for our actions, especially when they go against the laws of God. But we also know that God is a merciful father and will forgive us of our sins.

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At the end of chapter 24, it shows David as the shepherd of the people of Israel and he pleads with God, “Surely I have sinned, and I have done wickedly; but these sheep, what have they done? Let Your hand, I pray, be against me and  against my father’s house.”  Jesus is our good  shepherd and he pleads for us to his father. It is comforting to know that we have an advocate that is speaking.

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