1 Chronicles 15 & James 2

1 Chronicles 15

    David built houses for himself in the city of David. And he prepared a place for the ark of God and pitched a tent for it. Then David said that no one but the Levites may carry the ark of God, for the LORD had chosen them to carry the ark of the LORD and to minister to him forever. And David assembled all Israel at Jerusalem to bring up the ark of the LORD to its place, which he had prepared for it. And David gathered together the sons of Aaron and the Levites: of the sons of Kohath, Uriel the chief, with 120 of his brothers; of the sons of Merari, Asaiah the chief, with 220 of his brothers; of the sons of Gershom, Joel the chief, with 130 of his brothers; of the sons of Elizaphan, Shemaiah the chief, with 200 of his brothers; of the sons of Hebron, Eliel the chief, with 80 of his brothers; of the sons of Uzziel, Amminadab the chief, with 112 of his brothers. Then David summoned the priests Zadok and Abiathar, and the Levites Uriel, Asaiah, Joel, Shemaiah, Eliel, and Amminadab, and said to them, “You are the heads of the fathers' houses of the Levites. Consecrate yourselves, you and your brothers, so that you may bring up the ark of the LORD, the God of Israel, to the place that I have prepared for it. Because you did not carry it the first time, the LORD our God broke out against us, because we did not seek him according to the rule.” So the priests and the Levites consecrated themselves to bring up the ark of the LORD, the God of Israel. And the Levites carried the ark of God on their shoulders with the poles, as Moses had commanded according to the word of the LORD.

    David also commanded the chiefs of the Levites to appoint their brothers as the singers who should play loudly on musical instruments, on harps and lyres and cymbals, to raise sounds of joy. So the Levites appointed Heman the son of Joel; and of his brothers Asaph the son of Berechiah; and of the sons of Merari, their brothers, Ethan the son of Kushaiah; and with them their brothers of the second order, Zechariah, Jaaziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, and Mikneiah, and the gatekeepers Obed-edom and Jeiel. The singers, Heman, Asaph, and Ethan, were to sound bronze cymbals; Zechariah, Aziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Maaseiah, and Benaiah were to play harps according to Alamoth; but Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, Mikneiah, Obed-edom, Jeiel, and Azaziah were to lead with lyres according to the Sheminith. Chenaniah, leader of the Levites in music, should direct the music, for he understood it. Berechiah and Elkanah were to be gatekeepers for the ark. Shebaniah, Joshaphat, Nethanel, Amasai, Zechariah, Benaiah, and Eliezer, the priests, should blow the trumpets before the ark of God. Obed-edom and Jehiah were to be gatekeepers for the ark.

    So David and the elders of Israel and the commanders of thousands went to bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD from the house of Obed-edom with rejoicing. And because God helped the Levites who were carrying the ark of the covenant of the LORD, they sacrificed seven bulls and seven rams. David was clothed with a robe of fine linen, as also were all the Levites who were carrying the ark, and the singers and Chenaniah the leader of the music of the singers. And David wore a linen ephod. So all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the LORD with shouting, to the sound of the horn, trumpets, and cymbals, and made loud music on harps and lyres.

    And as the ark of the covenant of the LORD came to the city of David, Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David dancing and celebrating, and she despised him in her heart.

(1 Chronicles 15 ESV)

James 2

    My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called?

    If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

    What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

    But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

(James 2 ESV)

Something to Consider

James 2: We have this evil tendency within each of us (some worse than others) to exalt those around us based on the superficial, external basis of their appearance, race, wealth, rank or social status. For some of us, we are just more comfortable being around those who are just like us. Those that are not like us seem foreign to us, and we don’t know what to expect from them so just hanging around people like us is the safer play. However, for many of us, we can trace our discrimination toward others all the way down to a vicious intention to pursue and achieve a higher status for ourselves.

Partiality and favoritism are deceptive efforts to use people (even our closest friends) for our own personal benefit. We don’t want to waste our time and energy on those who make us uncomfortable or who don’t benefit us in some way. We assume the poor are lazy, uneducated, unskilled, irresponsible, and we keep them at a safe distance. We may write checks to organizations who care for these people but then we'll consider our duty done towards them.

However, God has always been in the business of exalting and honoring those that the world sees unfit and unqualified.

The Kingdom of God is an upside-down type of Kingdom compared to the ways of this world. The last will be first; the least will be the greatest; the poor will be rich. When we disregard or brush off those we consider lower than us, we are violating the order of God and His Kingdom. Think about it: we tend to dishonor those God chooses to be rich in faith and heirs of His Kingdom, and we tend to honor those whom Jesus said would find it near impossible to enter the Kingdom of God (Mark 10:23-25). We have to ask ourselves, "Are we hanging out with the right crowd?"

Now, it should be said that we are not to go so far as to disassociate ourselves with the rich and only concern ourselves with the poor. That would be a dramatic over-adjustment that would then lead to an alternate form of discrimination that many people unfortunately fall into. As James alludes to earlier in his letter (James 1:9-10), Jesus is the common denominator in which there is no discrimination. All have fallen short of the glory of God, and all are in desperate need of God's grace and mercy. We are all the poor in spirit who are spiritually bankrupt and in need of the free handout of God’s grace. Therefore, in light of the gospel, we should speak and act like people who are overwhelmed and blown away by the mercy that has been extended to us.

True disciples of Jesus seek to uphold the Royal Law of the Kingdom given by the King Himself (Matthew 22:37-40). They are so radically revolutionized by the love and mercy of God that they do not discriminate or dishonor anyone around them. Those who have been truly touched and amazed by God’s grace will radically transform into relentless givers of that same grace.

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. (2 Corinthians 8:9)

True disciples of Jesus view the world through the eyes of their Lord and Teacher and seek the benefit of all men with the same sacrificial devotion as shown by their Savior. Pray that the Lord may reveal the roots of discrimination and prejudices in your own heart and pray He transforms you into a creature so amazed by grace that you become a relentless giver of that same grace.