1 Chronicles 27
by Pastor David Groendyk
This is certainly not your classic Thanksgiving text! But, believe it or not, there are many reasons from this chapter for Christians to be thankful. To set this chapter in its context, remember that from chapter 23 through chapter 27, David is organizing his leaders and administrators in Jerusalem—first his religious leaders (chs. 23–26), and now his civil administration (ch. 27). We could certainly take away as an application something about the wisdom of David in terms of rotating the work between tribes and getting every tribe involved and invested in the leadership and defense of the nation. However, primarily, we have to see this chapter as an outworking and fulfillment of God’s covenant promise to have a king reign over his people.
About 33% of 1–2 Chronicles, which chronicles 4000 years of history, is solely devoted to one person, David. There is a tremendous emphasis on the reign of God’s true and ideal king, and there is a tremendous emphasis on the importance of God’s people submitting themselves to the Lord and the Lord’s one true king. Ultimately, that one true king is Jesus Christ. More than that, though, the sheer amount of detail we have in this chapter shows not just that God reigns, but that he is intimately involved in the life of his people. God doesn’t “set it and forget it,” as the old infomercial slogan goes. He moves and organizes his people, and he has his hand directly guiding everything that comes to pass. As one study Bible puts it, this truth “should never fail to satisfy God’s people.” From Adam to Abraham to David to Daniel to Paul to John Calvin to now, God has been moving all the chess pieces of history with the intention of his own glory and the salvation of his people. If he’s been moving every chess piece of history for the sake of your salvation, then what could ever make you doubt his goodness towards you? That is one big reason to be thankful.
There’s also a solemn warning here as well. Take a moment to answer this question—how would you evaluate the strength and security of Tyrone PCA? Verse 24 certainly tells us the wrong way: by counting people. The Chronicler is referring back to 1 Chronicles 21 and David sinfully desiring to take a census of the soldiers. Satan had incited David to do it, and God poured out his wrath on David because of it. David foolishly doubted God’s promise to make Israel innumerable like the sand of seashore and the stars of the heavens (Gen. 15:5), so he decided to take matters into his own hands. So, how do we evaluate our strength and security as a church? It’s not by counting people, dollars, or resources but by counting God’s promises. We can be optimistic about our future if we keep in mind the God who holds our future. How can we cultivate more of this gospel-centered optimism as a church body rather than a man-centered optimism?