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Week 1 January 2024, Devotion Part 1

Satan stood up against Israel, and incited David to number Israel. 1 Chronicles 21:1

“The devil made me do it!”  It is a primitive line – with comedic overtones – yet in subtle disguises also used by Christians. How much is Satan really worth as scapegoat? To get an estimate, we return to Mount Moriah, where the ultimate blame game was properly scored. In David’s day it was known as the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. By an odd plot twist it became the designated site for Solomon’s temple. The first link in God’s redemptive history that mentions Moriah, identifies it as the place designated by Him for Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac (Genesis 22:1-19). 

Success visibly went to David’s head during his heyday as warrior-king. His loyal commander-in-chief Joab secured for him the Ammonite crown. A giddy David paraded the gaudy seventy-five-pound monstrosity on his brow. Another nephew slew a famed giant with twelve fingers and twelve toes. Monstrous pride caused David to order a census. The conqueror in him was on a roll, eager to enroll all possible manpower. (Part 1 of 2)

Comment:  By “manpower” we mean the number of people working or available for service. David sought foot soldiers. “Womanpower” implies the influence or authority of women.  Perhaps we think of the career-driven ones who break glass ceilings to rise to the corporate top.  Zeruiah of O.T. fame was in a league of her own.  When Samuel bypassed Jesse’s seven sons to anoint David as Israel’s second king, no mention was made of her or her sister.  Abigail’s son Amasa gained notoriety as head of rebellious Absalom’s army. Joab later stabbed his cousin to death when he dragged his feet to mount a campaign against the traitor Sheba. This was denounced as a revenge killing.  Zeruiah’s name is mentioned 26 times and in 4 books, all in connection with her brother David.  Her sons Abishai, Joab, and Asahel all excelled in leadership and military prowess.  Fiercely loyal to Israel, they belonged to the famous “thirty” who composed the elite core of David’s “mighty men,” while he was still pursued by murderous King Saul.  When he finally marched on Jerusalem to establish his monarchy and make her the “City of David,” Joab killed the very first Jebusite out to defend what then was known as Jebus.  This earned Zeruiah’s middle son the coveted rank of David’s commander-in-chief.  We don’t know what her “secret sauce” was in raising such exceptional patriots and gifted leaders, but the Holy Spirit surely did.  In the chronologies of the patriarchal past, sons were commonly introduced with the reference to their father.  So Boaz fathered Obed, who fathered Jesse, who fathered David, and so on.  In marked contrast, the mighty warriors Abishai, Joab and Asahel were consistently introduced as the “son (or sons) of Zeruiah.”  Similarly, the Holy Spirit also honored Deborah, the prophetess, judge, and military leader.  Although married, no mention is made of the husband or offspring, only that she gained lasting fame as a “mother in Israel.”  If manpower equals numbers, might it take only “one woman” to significantly glorify God with her passionate love for and prayerful defense of His Kingdom? 


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