Daily Encouragement

July 13 – The Fruits of Bad Theology

1 Chronicles 15:1-16:36
Romans 1:18-32
Psalm 10:1-15
Proverbs 19:6-7

1 Chronicles 15:2 — David almost immediately realizes that it was his sin that caused the death of Uzzah (see yesterday’s notes on 1 Chronicles 13:10), and so he gathers over 800 Levites to carry the Ark. Notice that he recognizes the eternal mandate of the Levites to minister. Now that the Exiles have returned to the land, the Chronicler is reminding them that the deeds of David hundreds of years ago are as relevant today as they were then.

1 Chronicles 15:29 — What was David’s dancing and why did it bother Michal? From Hard Sayings of the Bible:

Was David’s Public Dancing Indecent?

Was Michal correct in her estimate of David’s dancing in front of the ark of God as it was being brought to the tent David had prepared for it in his city? Or did she misinterpret David’s actions and purpose?

If David had expected his wife Michal, the daughter of Saul, to rejoice with him in the arrival of the ark of God in the capital city, he had a long wait coming. It is a real question if this ever was a happy marriage, for as Alter notes, “Until the final meeting between Michal and David, at no point is there any dialogue between them—an avoidance of verbal exchange particularly noticeable in the Bible, where such a large part of the burden of narration is taken up by dialogue. When the exchange finally comes, it is an explosion.”

In one sentence Michal’s sarcastic words tell us what she thinks of David’s actions. To her way of thinking, the king had demeaned himself by divesting himself of his royal robes and dressing only in a “linen ephod” (2 Sam 6:14). With abandoned joy David danced before the Lord as the ark, properly borne this time on the shoulders of the Levites, went up to Jerusalem.

Michal did not even deign to go out on the streets to be part of the festivities, but she watched from a window (2 Sam 6:16). Obviously, there was more bothering Michal than David’s undignified public jubilation. Her words about David “distinguish[ing] himself” are further punctuated by her disdainfully emphasizing the fact three times over that the king had “disrob[ed]” (the final clause of 2 Sam 6:20 literally reads, “as any vulgar fellow, disrobing, would disrobe”). Was David’s dress, or lack thereof, as scandalous as Michal made it out to be? Though some have thought that they detected overtones of orgiastic rituals in preparation for sacred marriage rites (in, for example, the presence of slave girls), such suggestions are overdrawn if we are to take seriously David’s rejoinders to Michal in 2 Samuel 6:21–22. David speaks of his election and appointment to the office of king by God. He does rub in the fact that God chose him over her father Saul. But as far as David was concerned, it was not an issue of public nudity or scandalous dress, but a matter of humiliating himself before the Lord. Furthermore, he danced not for the “slave girls,” but for the Lord. The “linen ephod” consisted probably of a linen robe used normally by the Levites.

Kaiser, Walter C., Jr., Peter H. Davids, F. F. Bruce, and Manfred T. Brauch. Hard Sayings of the Bible. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1996.

1 Chronicles 16:7 — This psalm was edited by David and placed in our Psalter as Psalm 105. Notice the similarity between Psalm 105:1-15 to 1 Chronicles 16:8-22. The major difference is between 1 Chronicles 16:15:

Be ye mindful always of his covenant; the word which he commanded to a thousand generations …

and Psalm 105:8:

He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations.

Psalm 105:8 is edited for the purposes of continual praise; there the psalmist reflects on God’s effective and eternal covenant, whereas the Chronicler emphasizes that in David’s first use of the psalm, the people are reminded to be mindful of this covenant. Similar to God’s gift of salvation, we have been given a great gift, but we must also be mindful of what we have been given in order to work out our own salvation (Philippians 2:12).

1 Chronicles 16:26 — The Chronicler is emphasizing parts of Israel’s history that are important for the post-Exilic people to know – all gods are idols except the LORD of Israel. He is greater because He is the Creator. It is His power as Creator that gives Him authority over us.

Romans 1:18 — A false teaching going around today is that love is God. While God is love (1 John 4:8), God is also wrathful in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. Who are these people that He is angry at? Keep reading.

Romans 1:21-22 — I’m writing today’s piece from Canada, where the largest Protestant denomination is debating whether or not to allow atheists to be ministers. This followed the election of a practicing homosexual as Moderator (head of the church). Paul said this is the result of bad theology (Romans 1:26-27).

Romans 1:29 — Speaking of fruits of bad theology, the United Church of Canada has opened the doors to accept fornication since 1965 and accept abortion since 1971. Now they are struggling with whether or not to ordain atheists as ministers. As Paul goes on to expound in Romans 6:23 – these sins will result in death, and yet there are those who not only do this, but approve of this in their formal church documents.

Psalm 10:11 — The United Church of Christ (US-based) published a devotional that says:

Atheists are wrong, but they could be on to something. Maybe God is gone. Absent. Absence is not the same thing as non-existence. When someone you love dies, you encounter the presence of their absence.

This is the same thinking that David was struggling with – there are those who believe God is hiding and will not see what is going on. But David realizes (Psalm 10:12-15) that God sees everything, He will punish sin, and He will help His children!

Proverbs 19:6-7 — Solomon notices the problem that James will address a thousand years later in James 2:4 – partiality is the tendency of man. Though it is natural, it is still sin (James 2:9).

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