“I want the whole Christ for my Savior, the whole Bible for my book, the whole Church for my fellowship and the whole world for my mission field.”

John Wesley

TODAY’S READING: 2 Samuel 5; 1 Chronicles 11–12

The New Testament will open with the link of David to Jesus (Matt. 1:1). We will explore this in more detail when we read 2 Samuel 7, for the connection is critical to the metanarrative of the Bible. In today’s reading, David was made king by all the tribes of Israel. The record of Chronicles lists every tribe having representatives who wanted David to be king [even Benjamin who supported Saul (1 Chr. 12:1–7)]. This mixed multitude included members of every tribe, different nationalities (Hittites, Ammonites, and Moabites in 1 Chr. 11:39–46), and a dizzying array of families: Hachmonites, Ahohites, Kabzeelites, Harorites, Pelonites, Tekoites, Anathothites, Hushathites, Netophathites, Pirathonites, Baharumites, Shaalbonites, Gizonites, Mecherathites, Carmelites, Berothites, Mithnites, Ashterathites, Aroerites, Tizites, Mahavites, and Mezobaites, just to name a few. I list them (and they are names strange to our ears) to remind us that Revelation 5:9 assures that all families of earth will welcome back King Jesus. The strange tribes listed at the end of each day’s devotional reading are today’s families—each one will be around Christ’s throne. In the meantime, all of God’s family is needed to take all the gospel to all the world.

Once crowned king, David consolidated his people, ruling from Hebron for seven years before taking Jerusalem. Entrenched on top of a fortified mountain, the Jebusites taunted David, thinking they were so established that David would never conquer the city, for even the lame and blind could repel him. It’s an oft-repeated mistake. The Algerian Arabs who have immigrated to France might seem entrenched in Islam, and they may even taunt the God of missions saying: “The gospel will never come in here. Even our weakest are stronger than that!” It may be that what David did to defeat the Jebusites is what God will do to win Algerians and other unreached peoples. Jerusalem was able to resist conquest because not only was it fortified on top of a mountain, but the people also dug through solid rock to a water source. David used this Jebusite-made shaft for surprise access into the city. What had helped the Jebusites resist invasion became the means of their defeat. The Lord in His wisdom is able to take that which unreached peoples have used to resist His advance and turn it into the means of His access into their hearts. We don’t presume to know what those hidden access shafts are, but we can rejoice that they are there and go digging for them.

Once David takes Jerusalem, the Philistines take note and come after him. Once the gospel starts to penetrate an unreached people, demonic attacks increase. The devil is not concerned about ineffective churches or missionaries and is surprisingly content to leave them alone, to let them muddle on in their ineffectiveness, or at his sneakiest to even cheer on their numeric growth as long as they are not making disciples. But once we start to make disciples that make disciples in our communities and unreached peoples, then the forces of evil marshal against us. David wisely asked advice of God, and God told him to attack and God broke through (2 Sam. 5:19–20). A second battle opportunity presented itself, and David again sought the Lord. God told him to circle around and wait for the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees (v. 24). Sometimes we quietly climb up shafts, sometimes we boldly take things head on, and sometimes we circle around and God sends angel armies to march on top of the trees. Let’s stay creative in mission. Let’s keep asking God’s advice. Let’s not assume that what God did among my people group is proscriptive for what He does in yours.

As soon as David took Jerusalem, he built “the Millo.” An interesting archeological reality is that it’s not clear what “the Millo” was, even though it is mentioned in both 2 Samuel 5:9 and 1 Chronicles 11:8. “Archaeological excavations in the city of David discovered terraces built on its steep eastern slope. These terraces served as retaining walls for the buildings constructed above. This innovative support structure was probably what the Jerusalemites knew as ‘the Millo.’”[1] Whatever the wars for God’s glory among the nations, David needed a secure home base, a solid sending structure. So it is today. The innovative structures that send missionaries (mobilize, train, pray, financially support, strategically guide, coach, and care) are critical to conquest and are often the unsung heroes of the missionary story. If you are reading this today and are a sender, I salute you. You are the foundation on which every one of our missionaries stand. We are one army, and together we rise or fall.

[1] The Chronological Study Bible. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2008. 347.

Prayer Focus: France (37 UPGs)

Today’s Unreached People Group: Algerian, Arabic Speaking
Population: 477,000
Language: Arabic, Algerian Spoken
Primary Religion: Islam
Evangelical: 0.10%
Estimated Workers Needed: 10

[Source: Joshua Project]

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