character study distinct distinctiveness faithfulness right and wrong righteousness Uncategorized

Zadok The Priest

Neal Pollard

Zadok the priest was neither an Anglican Church member or even British. Many associate his name with Handel’s 18th century coronation hymn, written first for King George II. But, he was a significant, if minor, Old Testament character. We learn at least four great lessons from his character, as revealed in Scripture.

  • He was a versatile servant of God. He is introduced as “a young man mighty of valor” (1 Chron. 12:28), but also as a priest of God (1 Chron. 15:11). Thus, he was handy in a fight while also helpful in reconciling men to God. What an example of a five or two talent man, able to serve God in more than one way. God has blessed most of us with the ability to do many things well. We should be motivated to use those skills for Him.
  • He was a respecter of God’s Word. His predecessor, Uzzah, disregarded God’s instructions for transporting the ark and paid for that with his life. Zadok was at the head of the list of priests tapped to do it the right way, according to God’s word (1 Chron. 15:11ff). Nothing we see after this does anything except strengthen the view that Zadok submitted to the divine will. What a legacy to leave, known as one who simply takes God at His word and strives to be obedient to it.
  • He was a loyal friend. When Absalom rebelled against King David, many in Israel aligned themselves with this usurping son. However, Zadok remained true to David (2 Sam. 15). David relied on him, with Abiathar, to keep tabs on the insurrection while ministering in Jerusalem. David knew he could count on Zadok. In the same way, Scripture praises such loyalty. David’s son penned that “A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity” (Prov. 17:17). We should be a friend others can count on at all times.
  • He was a good judge of character. Whether choosing to serve David over Absalom or Solomon over Adonijah, Zadok was an excellent discerner of the right choice. In both cases, these were the righteous and God-approved choices. Even Abiathar, who stood with David over Absalom, got it wrong when Adonijah tried to supplant God’s will concerning David’s rightful successor. For this reason, Zadok took his place alongside Samuel as the only priests to anoint a king during the United Kingdom period of Israel’s history (1 Kings 1:39). It was this event Handel coopted to write his coronation hymn. God had bright hopes for those who feared Him, that they would be able to “distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him” (Mal. 3:18). That was Zadok, and it should be us–regarding preachers, elders, teachers, as well as every child of God we have dealings with. We must grow in our ability to be capable fruit inspectors (cf. Mat. 7:15-20; John 7:24).

Thank God for Bible characters who show us, with their lives, the way to please Him with ours. The times may, in some ways, be drastically different from when Zadok walked the earth. But, with the time God gives us, we would do well to imitate these traits of this priest of God remembering that God desires us to be faithful priests for Him today (cf. 1 Pet. 2:1-9).



Vulcan The Iron Man

Neal Pollard
I took an hour to go over to see one of the iconic figures of the south, Birmingham’s cast iron statue of “Vulcan.” Built 110 years ago for the World’s Fair in St. Louis, it is the largest cast iron statue in the world. This is a nod to the iron industry that put Birmingham, Alabama, on the map starting in the 19th century. I remember this imposing figure from when I was a little boy and our family visited this “big city.” At that time, Vulcan’s torch would shine red if there was a traffic fatality and green if a traffic accident wasn’t fatal. It was, and is, a fascinating icon and landmark.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of this unique statue is the prominent place it occupies in the skyline as you approach the city from several points of origin. If you had no other clue, you would know you were in Birmingham as soon as you saw Vulcan. The city takes understandable pride in the distinctiveness he lends it.

Other cities in our nation’s history and in other nations throughout time have had landmarks that set it apart and are even synonymous with it. In Jesus’ day, Egypt had the sphinx and the pyramids, Greece had the acropolis, Italy had the Colosseum, and nearer to Palestine was Petra (in modern Jordan) and the lion of Babylon (in modern Iraq). The Romans had their iconic statues and buildings that often towered over the cities within its empire.

Jesus may have fired the imagination of the first-century disciples with His picturesque imagery, calling us a city set on a hill or a light of the world (Mat. 5:14-16). Our distinctiveness is not based on physical prominence, not our church buildings or having famous members. It centers on how well we reflect the mission and character of Christ as a congregation and as individual members of it. When people hear about the church of Christ, they should know who we are and, while they may try and say evil against us (cf. Ti. 2:8), the charge of wrongdoing should not stick. Instead, they should look at us and see a reflection of Christ. A community could have no better landmark! May we work to provide it.