Genealogies and national archives are an important part of any nation’s history and it is possible that Ezra may have been the one who took the time to record name upon name for the official records of the nation of Israel. Tucked in a list of names of those from the tribe of Judah is a request of blessing made to God by an individual. Jabez called out to the God of Israel: “If only You would bless me, extend my border, let Your hand be with me, and keep me from harm, so that I will not cause any pain.” And God granted his request.
That’s about all we know about Jabez, a man who God’s Story says was more honorable than his brothers. Are we bold to call out to God in prayer like Jabez did? God, I pray that Your hand of protection would be on us and that we would not cause others pain as we go through our days. But because we live in a fallen world, we will not always be free from giving or receiving pain. We need to focus on You no matter what the situation holds. This life is a training ground for how we relate to You. Bless us Lord, yes, bless us and may we live faithfully in the realm of influence that You give to us. Amen.
1 Chronicles 4:10 HCSB
With all the leaders still gathered around King David in the great assembly, David made it clear that it is God Himself who chose Solomon to be the next king. He told his son Solomon the importance of serving God with a whole heart and a willing mind. Then David led by example and joyfully gave from his personal treasures for the building of the Temple, and then all the leaders present also gave willingly.
Therefore David blessed the LORD before all the assembly; and David said: “Blessed are You, LORD God of Israel, our Father, forever and ever”… Then David said to all the assembly, “Now bless the LORD your God.” So all the assembly blessed the LORD God of their fathers, and bowed their heads and prostrated themselves before the LORD and the king.
The Most High God united them; a common goal to bless the Lord kept them focused on the task and in due time the Temple was completed. King David was a model in both words and action for the new king, his son Solomon. From one generation to the next, may we lead by example to bless the Lord.
1 Chronicles 29:10, 20 NKJV
Duties were divvied up in preparation to build the Temple. Priests were needed as well as singers, musicians, gatekeepers, treasurers, judges, and the military, not to mention the manpower it took in skilled and manual labor to actually build the Temple. On one of the lists of names of gatekeepers, Obed-Edem and his eight capable sons were acknowledged. And then a little parenthesis: (For God had blessed Obed-Edom.) Do you remember this family? They were the ones entrusted with the ark of God before King David moved it to Jerusalem. They had a job to do, they faithfully followed through, and they were blessed. It took all kinds to live for God back then, and it takes all kinds now.
I’m grateful that Dr. Cutrer followed God and used his medical training to save my life, deliver Hannah with an emergency C-section and then fourteen months later, he brought Sophie from purple to healthy when she was born. The following year, Isaiah was born and Dr. Bill was recovering from heart surgery. Then about twenty years later, on a Saturday morning, Dr. Bill began the day on a bike ride and ended it in the presence of the God he loved.
Russell and I met Dr. Bill Cutrer and his wife Jane in the Sunday school class he taught for newly married couples. Back in those days many of these young husbands were students at Bible colleges in Dallas. The godly influence of the Cutrer family continues to point people to live for Jesus, to study diligently, to overcome by God’s grace and to joyfully serve through the job they’ve been given. This morning I awoke with a line from Dr. Bill’s favorite praise hymn on my mind. The song, And Can it Be that I Should Gain, is rich in theology and asks the question, “How can it be that thou, my God shouldst die for me?” Like the song goes on to point out, this kind of love is amazing. And it gives us plenty to ponder.
God blessed Obed-Edom. He blessed the eighteenth century songwriter Charles Wesley. He blessed Bill Curter. Each of these men, and many more throughout His Story, have lived and have now passed from this life. Let’s live doing good today, for today is what we have been given.
1 Chronicles 26:5b NIV
David was at the end of his life so he got his affairs in order and obtained many of the supplies needed so his now grown son Solomon could build the Temple. The Temple was a symbol of the nation’s commitment to God. At a large assembly, David enlisted the help of Israel’s leaders to work in unity on the upcoming Temple project; responsibilities were assigned and genealogies were chronicled.
It was a time to ponder their heritage. David read the names of Levi’s sons, and then said this about Aaron, Levi’s grandson and the firstborn to Amram, “Aaron, along with his descendants, was set apart forever to consecrate the most holy things, to burn incense in the presence of Yahweh, to minister to Him, and to pronounce blessings in His name forever.” Although blessings in the name of the Lord would go on forever, it was the beginning of the end for King David. Reflection is a good thing, especially when looking back upon a godly heritage. I hope that as he thought about his life, David’s mind was full of meaningful memories, for he was a hero to many.
One of my heroes is Ted Hope. By the time we got to know him in the initial stages of Bible translation for the people group we served in Asia, he had already been involved with over fifty Bible translation projects. He and his dear wife Nell helped the Lisu tribe in Thailand become Christians. When Dr. Hope and Russell traveled together in China, they sought out the grave of yet another godly man, a British missionary named J.O. Fraser who brought the Good News of Jesus to the Chinese Lisu. Inscribed on his gravestone are Jesus’ words from John 12:24, “unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”
Aaron and his descendants were set apart to pronounce God’s blessings. King David strongly led in his generation and his songs still lead us to worship God today. God used James Fraser in incredible ways to bless the Lisu of China. Ted Hope carried on that good work with the Lisu in Thailand. We are all given one life to live. Will those who come after us remember us for our love for God and His people? Are we bearing fruit as people who die to self to live for God?
1 Chronicles 23:13b HCSB
When David was victorious in battle, others also benefited. We read how blessings lead to more blessings: Now when Tou king of Hamath heard that David had defeated all the army of Hadadezer king of Zobah, he sent Hadoram his son to King David, to greet him and bless him, because he had fought against Hadadezer and defeated him (for Hadadezer had been at war with Tou); and Hadoram brought with him all kinds of articles of gold, silver, and bronze.
Although these names may be unfamiliar to us, I pray that the principle of extending blessings is more than just an idea but is a part of our lives. David received these valuable gifts and treasures from other nations, and he blessed the Lord by dedicating these items to Him. David recognized that he did not win the battle alone – God was with him, and so he gave back to God as different nations gave to him.
Church economics are similar: God blesses people within a church family (in various ways) and out of gratitude we give a portion back to Him through the church (in various ways). A healthy church will then bless people both near and far who have a variety of needs, and the blessings continue. It’s not so much paying God back as it is applying the blessing He gives us to bless others. Being a part of the joy of His good blessings as they go forward sure can be a delight!
1 Chronicles 18:9-10 NKJV
I believe we live life differently- maybe it’s more thankfully, more aware, more abundantly- when there is a real realization that we are blessed. Confirmation from the Lord helps too when living purpose-filled lives. King David was indeed blessed by God. He recognized that the Lord’s confirmation of his new job assignment as king was not for his good alone. David realized that the LORD had confirmed him as king over Israel and had greatly blessed his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel.
God, I pray we live in the reality that we are blessed by You and are blessed to bless others. May we wake up with the intentional purpose of blessing someone each day. As we resolutely do this, the world might actually become a little more like, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.” Amen.
1 Chronicles 14:2 NLT
Even kings need a time of transition to settle into the role and put things in order as they should be. Such was the case for David and the ark of God. After an unsuccessful attempt of transporting the ark of God to Jerusalem, it was left at the house of Obed-edom for three months, and the Lord blessed Obed-edom and his whole family. Then King David received this report: “The Lord has blessed Obed-edom’s family and all that belongs to him because of the ark of God.” So David went and had the ark of God brought up from Obed-edom’s house to the city of David with rejoicing. It seemed everyone, except David’s wife Michal, was extremely joyful. Great thankfulness was expressed as they celebrated the return of the ark. When David had finished offering the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings, he blessed the people in the name of Yahweh of Hosts.
1 Chronicles 16 records the same events and shares some additional interesting detail including a song that David wrote for the event. The passage ends with: Then all the people returned to their homes, and David turned and went home to bless his own family. I love how blessings and rejoicing go together. We can often feel a sense of being blessed after a meaningful time with God in church. Be blessed and happy, celebrate, then return home to be a blessing to your family as you joyfully seek to meet their needs. And even after the emotional mountaintop experience levels out into the valley of day-to-day living, bless on.
2 Samuel 6:11b-12, 18 HCSB; 1 Chronicles 16:43 NLT