1 Chronicles 19

1 Chronicles 19 Devotional
By Pastor Lawrence

Chapters 18-20 serve as evidence that God is keeping his promises to the king in regard to the Davidic covenant described in chapter 17. There God had promised to make David’s name great, to build him a house, to subdue all of his enemies and to give his people a place of rest undisturbed. Thus in addition to David’s victories over the Moabites, the Philistines and the Arameans described in the previous chapter, the chronicler now adds David’s victories over another of Israel’s near neighbors, the Ammonites.

At first the Ammonites were on friendly terms with Israel due to David’s good relations with their king, but when Nahash passed away, his son began to distrust David and sought to challenge his regime. When David sent his men to comfort the new king on the loss of his father, he mocked David’s men, shaving off their beards, and cutting off their apparel below the waist. This was an ancient way of suggesting that David’s men were mere boys without facial hair and that his army was something to be ashamed of. Of course, these were fighting words, and when the new king of Ammon began to hear of David’s wrath, he hired a conscript army to fight against Israel which was easily defeated. Thus instead of having his name disparaged through this act of mockery, David’s name became great, just as the Lord had promised him.

In the midst of the battle we see a little bit of Joab’s military leadership as well as his faith in the Lord to help Israel in battle, which helps us to understand why David would elevate such a man who would later cause him so much trouble. In the next chapter that continues to describe this conflict with the Ammonites, we also see Joab’s desire to give the glory to David in battle, even when David is not on the battlefield himself, taking the crown from the king of the Ammonites and placing upon David’s head. Even though David is seen early on fighting against the Ammonites and their conscripts, the numbers attributed to him, such as the killing of seven thousand charioteers and forty thousand foot soldiers, were clearly the works of his men fighting in his name.

Ultimately, the battle is the Lord’s, and the Lord gave a clear victory to David over the Ammonites when they sued for peace with David and became his loyal subjects, with many even being consigned as laborers to build up David’s kingdom. Thus, the Lord kept his word to David, giving him victory over all his enemies, granting his people rest from the surrounding nations and making his name great among the nations.

Clearly, these chapters were not given to us as a pattern for us to follow in our daily lives. Most of us will never be called to pick up the sword to fight against foreign nations, and we’ll certainly never be called to fight against unbelievers in this manner. No, the purpose of these chapters is to show us something of the glory of David as a foreshadowing of the coming glory of the Son of David. Already Christ Jesus has won the victory over the devil, conquering sin and death forever. Already he has brought rest to his people even in the midst of their enemies. Already he has turned many of those enemies into loyal subjects who now serve to build up Christ’s kingdom, and already his name has been made great. There will come a time when Christ returns in the flesh and completely vanquishes his enemies for good, but for now, God has been and will continue to keep his covenant with his son and will continue to build him a house that will give him a name above all names, and we are that house who have trusted in Christ, the king.