Bible Order: Psalms 40–44
Chronological Order: Ecclesiastes 7-12
New Testament Only: John 19:28–20:10
Untroubled By Trouble
Today we read of a battle in 1 Chronicles 19 that is also recorded in 2 Samuel 10. In places they are in sync word for word. They describe a “two-front” war. David is beset by armies in the front and to the rear. History is full of cautionary lessons about fighting a two-front war. Certainly the Germans had to experience this lesson twice before it sank in. Both WWI and WWII were two-front wars for them and they lost both of them. The only example of a nation winning a two-front war that I can think of is the good old U.S. of A. in WWII. It seems that Roosevelt and David are the exceptions to the rule. Of course we were fighting in foreign lands separated by oceans. That kind of gives you an advantage David didn’t have.
David had a number of nations suddenly aligned against him. Did he cower? Did he run looking for alliances of his own? Did he surrender to this larger force between which he found himself pressed? No, David trusted in the Lord and marched out in confidence.
1 Chronicles 19:13 ESV
“Be strong, and let us use our strength for our people and for the cities of our God, and may the Lord do what seems good to him.”
We, like David, can face anything with great confidence. Challenges will come but we need not moan and wail at the trouble. God uses all things to His good purpose for those who love Him. David had matured to the point that He was untroubled by trouble. What seemed good to God was good enough for him. Is it good enough for you?
One last thought here. Look at these two passages describing the same scene:
2 Samuel 10:18 ESV
“And the Syrians fled before Israel, and David killed of the Syrians the men of 700 chariots, and 40,000 horsemen, and wounded Shobach the commander of their army, so that he died there.”
1 Chronicles 19:18 ESV
“And the Syrians fled before Israel, and David killed of the Syrians the men of 7,000 chariots and 40,000 foot soldiers, and put to death also Shophach the commander of their army.”
Did you notice that one has a figure of 700 chariots and the other 7,000 chariots? I see two possible reasons for this discrepancy. One possible reason is that the author of Chronicles mistakenly added a zero to the total from 2 Samuel. Another reason would be that one is referring to the number of chariots and the other is referring to the number of men assigned to man a chariot. This would mean there was a 10 man crew for each chariot. If this is so, did they all ride in the Chariot? I don’t know. Some of these men could have been support personnel that maintained the horses and chariot itself. It could be that chariots were the tank of the day and that they had ground forces assigned to march along into battle.
Either answer is simply speculation. We just don’t know. It feels like an error. Does this mean Scripture is not “inerrant”? I for one do believe in the inerrancy of Scripture. Did God use human hands to write what He compelled them to write? I believe so. How can there be errors in the Bible then if God directed the human hands that wrote it? It is my belief that when we think there is an error in Scripture it is a matter of our lack of understanding. Just because things don’t seem to add up right doesn’t mean they are in error. It can simply mean that we don’t have the full story.
Let me ask you something – can there be any great spiritual concept that is wrongly communicated because these two numbers don’t match? I don’t think so. When one doesn’t want to believe they will take anything that appears problematic and use it as an excuse to use the Bible as they see fit. “Well, the Bible has some good stuff in it but it has errors in it as well so we just have to take the good stuff and leave the errors behind”. That is a foolish viewpoint. From the beginning man has wanted to be his own god. Slicing and dicing the Bible up to fit our own preconceived notions of what we want God to be is foolish.
To me it’s like the fellow who reads in a science text book that the world is of an oval shape. He looks up at the horizon and it looks pretty flat to him so he says “This is a pretty good science book but clearly some of this stuff is in error so we need to take the stuff we like and discard that which we can’t see or don’t understand”. A lack of understanding your part does not equate to an error on God’s part. I’ve read through the Bible several times and I just don’t see these alleged errors others have alleged. All I see is incomplete information and frankly, these alleged errors never apply to spiritual truths communicated in Scripture.
Bottom line, don’t get sidetracked by meaningless debate over meaningless things. There are so many urgently important truths within Scripture that we should not was time on the trivial. That’s my opinion for what it’s worth – not much I know.
Have a blessed day!
Your brother and servant in Christ,
Dying to self, living to serve!
(Originally posted 5/11/11)