The sons of Tola: Uzzi, Rephaiah, Jeriel, Jahmai, Ibsam, and Shemuel, heads of their fathers’ houses, namely of Tola, mighty warriors of their generations, their number in the days of David being 22,600. 1 Chronicles 7:2 (ESV)
These genealogies are not just lists of names, these were recorded when the children of Israel returned from exile and serve as a call to a unified kingdom.
The tribes mentioned here are from the north of Israel, however the chronicler was from the Southern kingdom which is another indication that unity and oneness is being appealed to.
Another important note for this section is the numerous mentions of the amount of “mighty warriors” each tribe had.
As God’s people, from various cultures, times, locations and denomination we too are called to be one and to serve as mighty warriors in the army of our king Jesus Christ. See John 17:20-23 and 2 Timothy 2:3-4
His daughter was Sheerah, who built both Lower and Upper Beth-horon, and Uzzen-sheerah. 1 Chronicles 7:24 (ESV)
There is a biblical sort of inclusiveness in this passage, this is seen in the additional details and side notes. For example in verse 14 an Aramean (another nation) is mentioned and here the exploits of a woman (some cultures treat women as 2nd class) named Sheerah is noted.
This points to God’s heart for the purpose of Israel from the beginning, not that they would be an exclusive closed group but that they would be the light of the world and a blessing to all nations.
The calling on God’s covenant people Israel is also on God’s “new covenant” people the church (Jews and Gentiles). We are called to be a light in the world and a blessing to all people.
Jesus did not just die for one type of people but for all types from every nation, tribe and tongue and he died for both men and woman. We are called to finish the mission by proclaiming the good news to all people. See all nations around the throne in Revelation 5:9–10 and 7:9–10
Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity. 1 Timothy 5:1–2 (ESV)
Paul’s instructions to the young Pastor Timothy is connected to the biblical inclusiveness we observed in our OT reading.
The church is a family and we should treat each other with the love and respect that family deserves. We should respect and honour older men and women as if they were our own mum or dad and we should encourage, work with and walk alongside the younger men and women as if were actually our brothers and sisters.
Jesus said in Mark 3:31–35 that his true family was not limited to his physical mum and siblings but spiritually to all believers who obey him.
Paul gives a note of warning, knowing the tricks of the enemy to take these loving family like relationships in the church and turning them into a cause of temptation and stumbling. In Timothy’s case this was in regards to the young women.
We should love and treat each other like family, with pure motives and intentions.
But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. 1 Timothy 5:8 (ESV)
The fact that the church is a spiritual family does not take away from the fact that we have actual families with real spouses, parents, grandparents, siblings and children.
We have a biblical calling to provide for our own families. Our families should not suffer so we can “minister in the church” as we read earlier in this letter, things should be in order at home before we turn to work in the church.
The church should be a reflection of the healthy and loving “real life” family relationships in Christ. The Gnostics who taught that the spiritual was all that mattered would have favoured the spiritual family at the neglect of the real family.
God wants us (particularly men) to provide for our families through loving hard work. Our faith is so rooted in real life and God’s wonderful physical creation that Paul boldly declares that a man who does not provide for his family is worst than an unbeliever. Our self centred western culture needs to hear / see this today.
But they flattered him with their mouths; they lied to him with their tongues. Their heart was not steadfast toward him; they were not faithful to his covenant. Psalm 78:36–37 (ESV)
We must keep guard over our hearts that we are not just paying God lip service. We had a wonderful service yesterday morning where Pastor Dennis preached from this psalm and led us in true repentance before God.
This is what God wants from us, hearts that are faithful to him and his covenant, if we do not make our hearts steadfast towards the Lord then our repentance will become mere lip service.
Thank God for his Holy Spirit who helps to make our hearts strong for God and thank him for the covenant of his word which we can focus on as we walk in true repentance.
He let loose on them his burning anger, wrath, indignation, and distress, a company of destroying angels. Psalm 78:49 (ESV)
It is good to remember that God has given some of his Angels special ministries. As we pray we can ask God to even send a company of destroying angels to defeat the enemy