Stay by the Stuff

There are some words in the Bible that have always struck me as funny. The Bible uses the word “stuff” several times. Stuff doesn’t strike me as an overly biblical word, but I guess it is since it is used 13 times.

One of my favorite uses of the word stuff is in the story when David and his men went to battle in 1 Samuel 30. Some men had to stay behind because they were too tuckered out to continue the battle (v. 10). At the end of the chapter, after the battle was won, the 400 men who went to battle came back to join the 200 men who stayed by the stuff.

A conflict arose among the men who actually fought in the battle. They wanted to keep all the spoils for themselves. They did not want to share with the men who stayed behind.

David taught a valuable lesson in verses 23 and 24. He said that those who stayed behind and guarded the stuff were just as worthy to receive the rewards as those who fought the battle. His point was that it is not just the guys on the front line who make an army strong. Those who are in the kitchen feeding the troops or making the uniforms are just as critical to the effort.

When I worked in a camping ministry the president of the organization tried to help the 15-year-old high school boys understand that their job was just as important as his job as the preacher. If they didn’t do their job right by serving the food properly, then he could not do his job effectively by trying to preach to disgruntled campers. If the high school boys would see their job as important then they would work the job with the respect it deserved.

Regardless of your position in the service of the Lord, you need to work as if you were the guy fighting the enemy on the front lines. God rewards those who are faithful in their position. Your job as a stuff guarder is just as important as the warrior on the front lines.

Is there not a cause?

When David went to the front lines to check on his brothers in obedience to his father, he was confronted with the taunting of Goliath. He immediately began to stir up the people around him in 1 Samuel 17 saying that there was a cause for which to fight. Goliath had not done anything personal to David. David’s fight with Goliath was impersonal. What David fought for was a cause. Goliath had made an attack on God and His people. David chose to fight for God’s cause.

In the following chapter of 1 Samuel, Saul began to mount a personal attack against David. He ignored the attack. But God didn’t. God fought on David’s behalf. David was a man who did not fight out of anger or emotion—he fought for causes (at least at this point in his life).

As I sat at lunch today talking with other missionaries we reflected on how important it is to not take confrontation and attacks personally. We need to look at the reason we are on the mission field and fight for the cause. When you start internalizing the frustrations you begin to think that the whole country and culture needs to change to match your perspective of the world. You forget that you are there for a reason. That reason is not to change a country, but to win people for the Lord. As you fight for the right cause you will see the personal attacks as being petty and unnecessary to fight.

Allow God to fight on your behalf when personal attacks come. Your cause is to bring others to Christ.

Bible Study: 1 Chronicles – Summary of the Book

Summary of the Book of 1 Chronicles

The books of 1 and 2 Chronicles were originally one book. Like the books of Kings, this is a historical book. However, the books of Kings focused on the northern kingdom, Israel, and this book focuses on the southern kingdom, Judah.

The two books of Chronicles cover about the same time period as 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Kings. For 1 Chronicles this is approximately 1000 to 960 BC. It includes the end of Saul’s reign and takes the reader up to the beginning of the reign of Solomon.

Author of 1 Chronicles

The book does not claim an author, but tradition says that the author was Ezra. Ezra was a priest in the southern kingdom who lived in Jerusalem (Ezra 7:11). The books of Chronicles focus on temple worship, priests and Levites. This fits with the fact that Ezra was a priest. The writing style is very similar to Ezra, who wrote the book bearing his name. The two books of Chronicles are historical books which go up to the time period of the book of Ezra. The book of Ezra reads like a continuation of the book of 2 Chronicles.

Date Written

The author of the book wrote it after the end of the Babylonian Captivity (1 Chronicles 3:19; 6:15; 9:1, 2). The book seems to be a guide to those returning from exile to know how to worship in the rebuilt city of Jerusalem. It was written between 450 and 425 BC. The book of 1 Chronicles covers just 40 years while 2 Chronicles is approximately 424 years. Continue reading Bible Study: 1 Chronicles – Summary of the Book

Bible Study: 1 Kings – Summary of the Book

Summary of the Book of 1 Kings

The books of first and second Kings were originally one book in the Hebrew Bible, but were later divided into two books: just like the books of Samuel and Chronicles.

First Kings covers about 126 years of Israel’s history. This includes the death of David to the death of Jehoshaphat, or about 960 to 834 BC. This is the period of history in Israel from its greatest glory to its division into two kingdoms which eventually led to the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities by the end of the second book of Kings.

Author

The author of the book is unknown but tradition says that it was Jeremiah the prophet. Jeremiah wrote another book bearing his name.

Date Written

The end of the second book of Kings covers the Babylonian captivity and a few years beyond. Its contents end about 586 BC. The book is suspected to have been written sometime between 586 and 540 BC. The book of Jeremiah was written about the same time covering the previous 40 years from 626 to 586 BC. Continue reading Bible Study: 1 Kings – Summary of the Book

Bible Study: 2 Samuel – Summary of the Book

Summary of the Book of 2 Samuel

Originally the books of 1 and 2 Samuel were one book. The men who translated the Septuagint from Hebrew to Greek separated the book into two parts. They are two separate books to this day.

The book of 2 Samuel is one of the books of history in the Bible. Like the other books of history, it does not seem to have a targeted audience. It covers a time period of approximately 40 years. This was from the death of Saul until the end of the life of King David.

Author

Tradition held that Samuel wrote the book. However, that is not likely. Samuel died in 1 Samuel 25:1. If Samuel wrote at least part of the books of Samuel, then whoever finished what is now 1 Samuel probably wrote 2 Samuel.

Possible authors are Gad or Nathan (1 Chronicles 29:29). The book could have been finished before the death of David. Even though David did not die until the next book, whoever wrote the first book would have probably included some information about David’s death if his death had happened when the book was written. Continue reading Bible Study: 2 Samuel – Summary of the Book