1 Chronicles 13-14 & James 1

1 Chronicles 13-14

    David consulted with the commanders of thousands and of hundreds, with every leader. And David said to all the assembly of Israel, “If it seems good to you and from the LORD our God, let us send abroad to our brothers who remain in all the lands of Israel, as well as to the priests and Levites in the cities that have pasturelands, that they may be gathered to us. Then let us bring again the ark of our God to us, for we did not seek it in the days of Saul.” All the assembly agreed to do so, for the thing was right in the eyes of all the people.

    So David assembled all Israel from the Nile of Egypt to Lebo-hamath, to bring the ark of God from Kiriath-jearim. And David and all Israel went up to Baalah, that is, to Kiriath-jearim that belongs to Judah, to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the name of the LORD who sits enthroned above the cherubim. And they carried the ark of God on a new cart, from the house of Abinadab, and Uzzah and Ahio were driving the cart. And David and all Israel were celebrating before God with all their might, with song and lyres and harps and tambourines and cymbals and trumpets.

    And when they came to the threshing floor of Chidon, Uzzah put out his hand to take hold of the ark, for the oxen stumbled. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah, and he struck him down because he put out his hand to the ark, and he died there before God. And David was angry because the LORD had broken out against Uzzah. And that place is called Perez-uzza to this day. And David was afraid of God that day, and he said, “How can I bring the ark of God home to me?” So David did not take the ark home into the city of David, but took it aside to the house of Obed-edom the Gittite. And the ark of God remained with the household of Obed-edom in his house three months. And the LORD blessed the household of Obed-edom and all that he had.

    And Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David, and cedar trees, also masons and carpenters to build a house for him. And David knew that the LORD had established him as king over Israel, and that his kingdom was highly exalted for the sake of his people Israel.

    And David took more wives in Jerusalem, and David fathered more sons and daughters. These are the names of the children born to him in Jerusalem: Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon, Ibhar, Elishua, Elpelet, Nogah, Nepheg, Japhia, Elishama, Beeliada and Eliphelet.

    When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over all Israel, all the Philistines went up to search for David. But David heard of it and went out against them. Now the Philistines had come and made a raid in the Valley of Rephaim. And David inquired of God, “Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will you give them into my hand?” And the LORD said to him, “Go up, and I will give them into your hand.” And he went up to Baal-perazim, and David struck them down there. And David said, “God has broken through my enemies by my hand, like a bursting flood.” Therefore the name of that place is called Baal-perazim. And they left their gods there, and David gave command, and they were burned.

    And the Philistines yet again made a raid in the valley. And when David again inquired of God, God said to him, “You shall not go up after them; go around and come against them opposite the balsam trees. And when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, then go out to battle, for God has gone out before you to strike down the army of the Philistines.” And David did as God commanded him, and they struck down the Philistine army from Gibeon to Gezer. And the fame of David went out into all lands, and the LORD brought the fear of him upon all nations.

(1 Chronicles 13-4 ESV)

James 1

    James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,

    To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion:

    Greetings.

    Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

    If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

    Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.

    Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

    Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

    Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

    But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

    If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

(James 1 ESV)

Something to Consider

James 1: James in writing to followers of Jesus that have been scattered outside of Palestine due to intense persecution begins his letter with a challenge to change their perspective on the suffering that they are experiencing. He describes the unique benefit of being beat down. According to James, trials test our faith, and the testing of our faith produces a steadfastness (persevering patience) that benefits us in this life.

The Greek word used here for this persevering patience literally means 'an abiding under.' Obtaining this type of persevering patience means that you are so fully submitted to God’s authority over your life that nothing can shake you. 

We need this type of persevering patience because we are called to have this type of unwavering trust and confidence in our sovereign God. It is not something we can obtain or just receive. It is something that God produces in us, and He produces it in us through trials and the testing of our faith. Suffering is the instrument used by God to reshape us, and it causes us to use our faith in areas that we may haven’t had to before. 

Suffering is the squat rack of spiritual growth. 

God cares more about our growth than he does our comfort. He may allow us to be hurt in order for us to grow in faith. This is true love. Persevering patience can not be achieved any other way. It is only achieved through experiencing trials. Books and sermons can't teach us persevering patience. It can only be produced in us by God through the testing of our faith. 
Some of us are going to struggle more with the testing of our faith than others. However, God is gracious and willing to help if we sincerely seek His counsel. When overwhelmed with the circumstances we may be facing, James encourages us to ask for wisdom. Not answers.

Wisdom is the ability to take our knowledge (about suffering, why we suffer, God’s sovereignty over suffering, and how we’re supposed to respond to suffering) and translate that knowledge into action. 

Wisdom is the power to perform the difficult task of facing trials with joy because even though we can’t always identify the specific reason for our suffering, we can know for sure what the reason for our suffering isn’t. The cross has made it clear that no matter what we may be experiencing, we can rest assured that it can’t be that God doesn’t love us or have a plan for us (Romans 8:28-39).