Script for the May 23rd episode of the “Enjoying the Bible” podcast.
Welcome to the May 23rd episode of the “Enjoying the Bible” podcast. I’m Matt Ellis and I’m the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Polk City, Florida.
Today’s reading is in 1 Chronicles 19-21 and John 8. Hopefully, you’ve already spent time in God’s Word so let’s get started.
1 Chronicles 19
As we’ve been reading, King David’s reign is going incredibly well. He has been victorious in battles. He has earned the respect of neighboring nations who don’t want to fight against him. He’s also been given an incredible promise from the Lord.
1 Chronicles 17:8 (CSB): “…I will make a name for you like that of the greatest on the earth.”
But good times are always only a moment away from tragedy. That’s why we should be optimists but always be diligent.
In the first verses of this chapter, King David heard that the Ammonite king had died. King Nahash had shown kindness to David while he was alive. So David wanted to show kindness to the Ammonite’s new king, King Nahash’s son.
Yet, David’s intentions were misunderstood. His emissaries were suspected of being Israelite spies and they were sent back to David in shame.
1 Chronicles 19:6-7 (CSB): “6 When the Ammonites realized they had made themselves repulsive to David, Hanun and the Ammonites sent thirty-eight tons of silver to hire chariots and horsemen from Aram-naharaim, Aram-maacah, and Zobah. 7 They hired thirty-two thousand chariots and the king of Maacah with his army, who came and camped near Medeba. The Ammonites also came together from their cities for the battle.”
So, David had done something really thoughtful and nice. The next thing he knows, he’s rallying his men for war because he’s about to be attacked. It’s completely unfair. But life sometimes goes like this.
As we read about this incident, Joshua 22 comes to mind. The two and a half tribes of Israel were released to go back home after helping their brothers take the Promised Land. As they neared the Jordan River, they built a monument. Their brothers in the Promised Land thought they had built a competing altar to the one already set up by the Israelites and they were incensed. But Joshua 22 tells us that they talked before going to war. They were able to work it out before anyone got hurt. We can learn a lot from Joshua 22 about not jumping to conclusions.
But David didn’t have that luxury. There was no conversation. The Ammonites hired the Arameans and had come to defeat David.
Fortunately, Joab defeated the Arameans, and they went into a retreat. When the Ammonites saw this, they retreated as well.
The Arameans wouldn’t settle for a defeat. They called for more troops beyond the Euphrates. But David took his army into their territory and defeated them.
We read the end of this matter…
1 Chronicles 19:19 (CSB): “When Hadadezer’s subjects saw that they had been defeated by Israel, they made peace with David and became his subjects. After this, the Arameans were never willing to help the Ammonites again.”
It’s pretty sad, honestly. What started off as an act of kindness ended with thousands of men dead and people being subjected to others.
Don’t jump to conclusions. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Talk things out before jumping to action.
Romans 12:18 (CSB): “If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
1 Chronicles 20
David had previously reached out to continue to work for peace between Israel and the Ammonites. But the new king misunderstood his intentions and started a serious war that was intended to soundly defeat David and his army.
And once something of this magnitude happens, it changes things. Peace was no longer possible. The Ammonites were now a clear and present danger to Israel. So, David would do something about it.
1 Chronicles 20:1 (CSB): “In the spring when kings march out to war, Joab led the army and destroyed the Ammonites’ land. He came to Rabbah and besieged it, but David remained in Jerusalem. Joab attacked Rabbah and demolished it.”
For some reason, the author of Chronicles didn’t include the adulterous relationship with Bathsheba nor the intentional death of his husband in a time of war.
We are told that Joab, under David’s authority, defeated the Ammonites. After subjecting many of them to servitude, David and his army returned to Jerusalem.
Then, war broke out with the Philistines. Ambitious kings wanted to expand their territory but some of them inevitably miscalculated their abilities to win a battle. The Philistines would overplay their hand and David would give them a resounding defeat.
Let’s just take a sobering relationship lesson here. If a relationship goes sour, even if it was because of a misunderstanding, it will naturally continue to sour even further. It may cause personal conflict. So work for peace. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Consider talking to express your concerns. Because things could get worse, much worse, if you don’t.
1 Chronicles 21
We come across a fascinating text in an incredibly significant story. Let’s read the first couple of verses to get started.
1 Chronicles 21:1-2 (CSB): “1 Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to count the people of Israel. 2 So David said to Joab and the commanders of the troops, ‘Go and count Israel from Beer-sheba to Dan and bring a report to me so I can know their number.’”
In this text, we are clearly told that Satan was the one who “rose up against Israel and incited David to count the people.”
And yet we read in a few verses that there was someone else who was responsible.
1 Chronicles 21:8 (CSB): “David said to God, ‘I have sinned greatly because I have done this thing. Now, please take away your servant’s guilt, for I’ve been very foolish.’”
In this text, David clearly held himself responsible.
Yet, when we read a parallel account in 2 Samuel, we realize someone else was responsible.
2 Samuel 24:1-2 (CSB): “The LORD’s anger burned against Israel again, and he stirred up David against them to say, ‘Go, count the people of Israel and Judah.’ 2 So the king said to Joab, the commander of his army, ‘Go through all the tribes of Israel from Dan to Beer-sheba and register the troops so I can know their number.’”
In these verses, we are told that the Lord was responsible for moving against David to number the people.
So, when we look at these three accounts, we realize that the Lord, Satan, and David were all participants. I don’t believe that we can possibly fully understand this but I will briefly give my thoughts.
Satan tempted David to sin. He despised someone that the Lord loved and he wanted to tempt him to do something the Lord would hate.
David exercised his own free will to do what he desired to do. It appears that he wanted to calculate the number of his army. His motivation may have been to calculate his military strength and not trust as much in the Lord.
The Lord moved David to number the people, probably with His passive will. He was angry at David for some unknown reason (or sin) and so He removed His hand of protection and allowed David to do something that would bring negative consequences.
Joab clearly didn’t want this to happen. He knew this was a sin and would have negative consequences. But David sent him to carry out the census. It seems clear from Joab’s response that this census was purely to calculate the military might of Israel.
1 Chronicles 21:5 (CSB): “Joab gave the total troop registration to David. In all Israel there were one million one hundred thousand armed men and in Judah itself four hundred seventy thousand armed men.”
As we read earlier, verse 8 recounts David’s guilt. He knew what he did was wrong and asked the Lord for forgiveness.
1 Chronicles 21:9-12 (CSB): “9 Then the LORD instructed Gad, David’s seer, 10 ‘Go and say to David, “This is what the LORD says: I am offering you three choices. Choose one of them for yourself, and I will do it to you.”’ 11 So Gad went to David and said to him, ‘This is what the LORD says: “Take your choice: 12 three years of famine, or three months of devastation by your foes with the sword of your enemy overtaking you, or three days of the sword of the LORD—a plague on the land, the angel of the LORD bringing destruction to the whole territory of Israel.” Now decide what answer I should take back to the one who sent me.’”
None of the three options was pleasant. But David opted for falling into the Lord’s hands. David loved and trusted the Lord and would rather experience calamity from the Lord than from anyone else.
The Lord sent a plague and there were soon seventy thousand Israelite deaths.
But it’s noteworthy where the plague was stopped.
1 Chronicles 21:15 (CSB): “Then God sent an angel to Jerusalem to destroy it, but when the angel was about to destroy the city, the LORD looked, relented concerning the destruction, and said to the angel who was destroying the people, ‘Enough, withdraw your hand now!’ The angel of the LORD was then standing at the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.”
David asked Ornan the Jebusite if he could purchase the threshing floor so that he could build an altar and sacrifice to the Lord. Ornan wanted to give it to David.
1 Chronicles 21:24 (CSB): “King David answered Ornan, ‘No, I insist on paying the full price, for I will not take for the LORD what belongs to you or offer burnt offerings that cost me nothing.’”
So, the Lord’s anger was appeased with a sacrifice, and the plague stopped.
2 Chronicles 3:1 (CSB): “Then Solomon began to build the LORD’s temple in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah where the LORD had appeared to his father David, at the site David had prepared on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.”
This site was where the Temple was built and where Moses almost offered his son, Isaac, as a sacrifice. So, this site was so incredibly sacred. In the Jewish mind, you can’t get more important than Abraham and David. And these two men had offered sacrifices at this site to deal with sin. It is appropriate that this was also where the Temple would be built and where Jesus would be sentenced as the ultimate and final sacrificial lamb to die in the place of sinners.
There’s something we need to talk about as we begin reading John 8. Specifically, we need to talk about John 7:53 – 8:11.
Rather than attempt to explain it myself, let me read to you what the Bible Knowledge Commentary has to say about these verses.
“Almost all textual scholars agree that these verses were not part of the original manuscript of the Gospel of John. The NIV states in brackets that ‘The earliest and most reliable manuscripts do not have John 7:53–8:11.’ The style and vocabulary of this passage differ from the rest of the Gospel, and the passage interrupts the sequence from 7:52–8:12. It is probably a part of true oral tradition which was added to later Greek manuscripts by copyists.”
So, as we approach the story of the woman caught in the act of adultery, we are left to wonder if John actually wrote it or if it was added by a well-intentioned scribe sometime later.
With this text, I see nothing that contradicts any of the rest of known Scripture. So, I had taught through this story before and brought other Scripture into the lesson to speak of Jesus’ view of forgiveness.
It always bothered me that the scribes and Pharisees brought a woman to Jesus who was “caught in adultery.” Well, if you know anything about physical adultery, it takes two people. So if she was caught in the act, I want to know where the man was and why the Pharisees didn’t bring him.
The scribes and Pharisees tried to create a rift between the Law of Moses and Jesus who was known to have compassion. If Jesus advocated her death, then the Pharisees would never let it be forgotten that Jesus called for a woman’s death. But if he advocated for her forgiveness, the Pharisees would proclaim that Jesus disregarded the Law.
Jesus stooped to write in the sand. I have often wondered if he was writing the sins of the men who stood ready to condemn the lady. So when they persisted in questioning him, Jesus said, “The one without sin among you should be the first to throw a stone at her.”
They threw their rocks and left. Then, Jesus focused on the woman and encouraged her to see that no one stood to condemn her, including Him. She was encouraged to leave and engage in adultery no longer.
Then, we move into a section of Scripture where Jesus describes Himself again.
John 8:12 (CSB): “Jesus spoke to them again: ‘I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.’”
By this, Jesus meant that He came to speak truth into a morally dark world. He pointed the way to the Father. The lost world would despise Him because He brought their sin to light.
After speaking to some Pharisees who questioned his testimony about himself, He said that He was going away.
John 8:21 (CSB): “Then he said to them again, ‘I’m going away; you will look for me, and you will die in your sin. Where I’m going, you cannot come.’”
Of course, Jesus was speaking of how He would soon go to Heaven to be with His Father. The Jews that He was speaking with did not believe in Him. So they would not be with Him in Heaven.
Yet, while we understand this truth, the Jews did not. They were mocking him and speaking of how ridiculous His comments were. They had absolutely no love for Him or a desire to know Him more.
The good news is that some believed in Him.
John 8:30 (CSB): “As he was saying these things, many believed in him.”
This is great. People didn’t merely believe in what Jesus said. They believed in Him. But then Jesus pointed out a distinguishing factor of people who had a right to claim to be Jesus-followers.
John 8:31-32 (CSB): “31 Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, ‘If you continue in my word, you really are my disciples. 32 You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’”
Clearly, obedience to God’s Word wasn’t a means of salvation. It always wasn’t a way to stay saved. Instead, Jesus was saying that obedience to God’s Word simply demonstrated that someone truly belongs to the Lord. When people are saved, they are given the Holy Spirit which causes them to desire holiness and hate sin.
The back-and-forth between Jesus and the Jews continues as they ridicule what He was saying. But it ends with Jesus saying something incredibly profound.
John 8:56-58 (CSB): “56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day; he saw it and was glad. 57 The Jews replied, ‘You aren’t fifty years old yet, and you’ve seen Abraham?’ 58 Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, before Abraham was, I am.’”
Wow! When Moses stood at the burning bush and asked the Lord what he was to tell Pharoah when he asked who was sending Him, God said: “Say I Am has sent you.”
And now Jesus is using this same verbiage. “Truly I tell you, before Abraham was, I am.” He was clearly claiming to be God. And the Jews knew exactly what He was saying. Just listen to how they responded.
John 8:59 (CSB): “So they picked up stones to throw at him. But Jesus was hidden and went out of the temple.”
The Bible is clear that Jesus was fully human, but it also teaches that He is fully God. He had every right to call Himself the “I Am” just as the Father did.
Lord Jesus, help me never to find myself satisfied in a knowledge of You that is limited. I want to continue to learn more of You and enjoy You more. So help me as I read Your Word to be a student of You. I pray this in Your Name, Amen.
I hope today’s episode has helped you to understand and enjoy God’s Word so that you can apply it in the power of the Holy Spirit.
If looking over the script for this podcast would be beneficial to you, hop on over to my website at mattsmusings.net. I will provide a link in this episode’s show notes.
The “Enjoying the Bible” podcast is a ministry of the First Baptist Church in Polk City, Florida. Check us out at fbcpolkcity.com. See you tomorrow!