Friday, July 21, 2017

July 21: 2 Chronicles 4 – 6:11; Psalm 17; Proverbs 19:22-23; Romans 7:1-13



Overview

            2 Chronicles: The description of the furnishings that Solomon made for the temple are described. The altar for burn offerings, sea, lampstands, shovels, pots, basins, and pillars are included. Decorations of pomegranates and lattice works were on some of these.
            When everything was finished, Solomon assembled the heads of Israel to bring the Ark from Jerusalem to the temple. They also brought all the vessels from the tabernacle. They offered so many animals that they couldn’t count them all. Inside the Ark were the two tablets that Moses put there. After the priest had put the Ark in the most holy place, they took up a position east of the altar with musical instruments and sang, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever” (2 Chron 5:13). Then a cloud filled the temple so that the priests could not go back in because the cloud was the glory of the Lord.
            Solomon prayed and said that the Lord would dwell in thick darkness and that he had built a great house for him to live in forever. He then praised the Lord who had done as he promised to David letting Solomon build the house for the Lord and setting the Ark in it.
            Psalm: David asks that the Lord to pay attention to his cry for justice and that God would vindicate him. He says that God has tested him and knows that he hasn’t done wrong and avoided evil. He explains that he calls on the Lord because he knows the Lord will hear and show his love. He is the one who saves from adversaries. Because of God’s care for David, he will protect him from evil people. They have no compassion and are eager to defeat David like lions waiting in ambush. He asks the Lord to get up, confront, and put his enemy down. He wants deliverance by God’s sword. They only have this world in this life and leave their children their inheritance. But David will see God’s face after he dies and wakes. He will be satisfied with that.
            Proverbs: We all want others to have steadfast love and we know that being poor is better than being a liar. Fearing the Lord gives us life and this satisfies us and keeps us from harm.
            Romans: A person is only liable to the law while he is alive. Example: a woman doesn’t commit adultery if she marries another man after her husband dies. In the same way, we died to the law through Jesus. We belong to him who was raised so we can bear fruit to the Lord. When we were living according to the flesh the law exposed our sins bearing fruit to death. But now that we are released from the law, we live a new life by the Spirit.
            Does this mean the law is sinful? No, it lets us know what sin is. Example: once we know that coveting is sin, we recognize all sorts of coveting in our lives. The commandments that promise life end up causing death because it exposes sin, which results in death. While it appears that the law is therefore evil, it is holy, righteous, and good.

What Stood Out

            2 Chronicles: “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever” (2 Chron 5:13).
            Psalm: “As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness” (Ps 17:15).
            Proverbs: “What is desired in a man is steadfast love” (Prov 19:22).
            Romans: “Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, "You shall not covet." 8 But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness” (Rom 7:7-8).

Insight

            2 Chronicles: When the priest sang and praised the Lord, he filled the house of the Lord with a cloud that was a representation of his glory. We often pray that the Lord would come down and fill our worship services. We want him to manifest himself to us. I’m sure that some are thinking about this manifestation of the Lord in his temple. It is similar to the pillar of cloud that led the Israelites out of Egypt and into the Promised Land. It is the same as the cloud that filled the tabernacle when it was dedicated.
            So why doesn’t he appear to us in this way today? Why doesn’t he fill our churches with a cloud when we sing of his steadfast love that endures forever? Is it because our churches are full of sin and hypocrisy? Is because we are not preaching the gospel or some other gospel? These may be good reasons, but there are some churches that are faithful and solid. I’m sure that during Solomon’s dedication, there were some people there who were not fully dedicated to the Lord just as there are some in all our churches.
            The reason I think God doesn’t manifest himself in a cloud today is really because he has already manifested himself in Jesus and he doesn’t need to do it in any other way (Heb 1:1-2). All the theophanies of the Old Testament were to prepare us for the arrival of Jesus. We no longer need to look for a physical manifestation of God the Father, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit. Though we do not see Jesus, we believe in him (1 Peter 1:8). We don’t need these manifestations to believe. Not only that, but the Holy Spirit is living in us. When a congregation comes together to praise the Lord, we don’t need to ask God to come down and manifest himself because he is already with us and is manifested through the Holy Spirit in his temple, the body of Christ (Eph 2:21-22).
            Psalm: While most of this Psalm is about David wanting God to trounce his enemies and a description of their evil, the ending of the Psalm focuses us on life beyond this world. The wicked people only have what they can get in this life. Even what they get, they must leave to their children. They can’t take it with them.
            On the other hand, David has he Lord with him in this life. He can cry to him and ask for help to get through the tough times. However, that is not as significant as knowing that when he dies and then awakens in the presence of the Lord, he will see God face to face. That knowledge is what satisfies him in this world, not what he can accumulate, his fame, or his power.
            When we come to the same point, we will be able to navigate this world’s problem better. This life isn’t all there is and we really need to be godly and heavenly minded if we want to be satisfied in this life (Col 3:1-4).
            Proverbs: We really want other people to be steadfast in their love. What we generally don’t do is look at ourselves and say this is what we want for ourselves. There are times that we think about it, like at weddings, but generally we are disappointed when others don’t demonstrate steadfast love and tend to ignore the times when we don’t. We could all do better in this area.
            Romans: Paul spends a lot of time explaining why sin and sin’s relationship to the commandments or the Law of Moses. Apparently, some people were saying that the law was causing sin rather than exposing it. They were then saying the law was evil. Paul refutes this showing that the sin came from his flesh and not the law.
            The evangelism technique called “The Way of the Master”[1] uses the concept that once we know the law, we will be convicted by the Holy Spirit that we’ve broken the law. The way it works is by asking questions about what a person knows about the Ten Commandments, how many can the identify. Zeroing in on just a couple, for instance, “Thou shalt not lie,” they then ask if the person has ever told a lie. Most people will admit they have and that convicts them of being a sinner and therefore in need of a Savior. It reveals other areas of sin in a person’s life as well.
            Even though we Christians are dead to the law, knowing the law still reveals our sins. We don’t have an excuse for our sins even though the law doesn’t condemn us because of our faith in Jesus and his shed blood to cover our sins. In the sense of punishment, the law can’t touch us. In the sense that it reveals our sins, it is still effective. We shouldn’t be glib about not being under the law but under grace because we still sin. This should move us toward a more holy life.

Application

             Reading the Proverbs reveals sin. I’m not as steadfast in my love as I should be. I don’t fear the Lord the way I should. I can look in the Psalms at some of the evil characteristics of people or the Psalmists when they start complaining and find myself. I can look at the people of the Old Testament and see where I need to improve. I’m thankful that the law doesn’t condemn me because Jesus has taken the punishment for me.


[1] http://www.wayofthemaster.com/index.shtml

Thursday, July 20, 2017

July 20: 2 Chronicles 1 – 3; Psalm 16; Proverbs 19:20-21; Romans 6



Overview

            2 Chronicles: Solomon went to Gibeon where the tent of meeting resided. The bronze altar for burnt offerings were there though the Ark was in a tent in Jerusalem where David had brought it. Solomon offered 1,000 burnt offering on the altar.
            Solomon had a dream that night in which God appeared to him. He asked God for wisdom to rule Israel because they were so numerous and he needed it to rule over God’s people. God also said he would have all he didn’t ask for, riches, honor, and a long life.
            Solomon accumulated thousands of chariots and horsemen, silver, and gold. He set about to build the temple and his own palace. He had 153,600 people working on them (resident aliens). He asked Hiram king of Tyre for wood for the temple explaining that all the ordinances for offerings would be at the new temple. In return, Solomon would pay with wheat, barley, wine, and oil.
            Hiram thought that was a good deal and praised God for a wise king over Israel. He sent Huram-abi to work with Solomon’s craftsmen.
            Solomon started building in the second month of his fourth year. He built on Mount Moriah on the threshing floor of Ornan where the Lord appeared to David. The dimensions of the temple are listed and a description of some of the major parts and areas that were overlaid with gold. The construction and placement of the two cherubim is described.
            Psalm: David takes refuge in the Lord. He realizes that without the Lord, there is no good in him. He delights in those who consecrate themselves to the Lord. Those who don’t look to other gods and only increase their sorrows. He has chosen the Lord and he has bountifully blessed. He praises the Lord who counsels and instructs him. He trusts in the Lord who is always with him and he won’t be shaken.
            David rejoices in all this and knows his body is safe because God will not abandon his soul to the grave. The Lord will not let his holy one see decay. Rather, he will have eternal joy and pleasures at God’s right hand.
            Proverbs: Pay attention to good advice and instructions so that you’ll have wisdom for the future. We can make all sorts of plans but God’s plan is the one that will prevail.
            Romans: We are not to continue to sin so that it makes it look like there is even more grace. Rather, we are to consider that we have died to sin in the same way we died with Jesus in baptism. Jesus was raised to new life and we should also live a new life. To be united with Jesus in his death and resurrection means that we are no longer salves to sin because that old self has died.
            We don’t need to let sin control us by yielding to our passion. That starts by not making ourselves available to unrighteousness but presenting ourselves to God for doing righteous things. We were once slaves to sin but our hearts are now obedient to the teaching we’ve received.
            Before, we willingly indulged in sin but now we are to offer our bodies as slaves to righteousness and that leads to holiness and eternal life. The end result of sin is death but we have the free gift of eternal life that comes from Jesus Christ our Lord.

What Stood Out

            2 Chronicles: “But David had brought up the ark of God from Kiriath-jearim to the place that David had prepared for it, for he had pitched a tent for it in Jerusalem” (2 Chron 1:4).
            Psalm: “I say to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you’” (Ps 16:2).
            Proverbs: “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand” (Prov 19:21).
            Romans: “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life” (Rom 6:22).

Insight

            2 Chronicles: I’m not sure if we think about his or are even aware of this, but for many years, the Ark of the Lord was not in the tabernacle provided for it that Moses had constructed. That Ark was taken from its place to go into battle against the Philistines when Samuel was most likely still a young man (1 Sam 4:3). It had resided in Shiloh. The Philistines captured it and it was moved between their cities before it was returned to Israel. It was then sent to Kiriath-jearim (1 Sam 7:1-2). Saul had it brought briefly in Gibeah (1 Sam 14:16-18). It isn’t mentioned again until David went to Baale-judah in his first attempt to bring it to Jerusalem (2 Sam 6:2). It made it as far as Obed-edom’s house which was near the threshing floor of Nacon. Three months later, David moved it to Jerusalem where he pitched a tent for it (2 Sam 6:17). David didn’t bring the altar or tabernacle to Jerusalem but left them in Gibeon (1 Chron 16:39).
            The tabernacle was at Shiloh and then moved to Gibeon at some undisclosed time. The altar for making burnt offerings was kept with the tabernacle, so this is why Solomon went to Gibeon to make his sacrifices.
            We get the idea that David was extremely observant of the Lord’s commands. Yet we see him with the Ark in Jerusalem and the altar and tabernacle in Gibeon. How could they observe the Day of Atonement where the blood offered had to be sprinkled on the mercy seat of the Ark when the sacrifice was supposed to take place in Gibeon and the Ark was in Jerusalem?
            It wasn’t until Solomon built the temple and made a new altar for it there, that the sacrifices that required blood to be sprinkled on the Ark were performed. David was a foreshadowing of the changes God made in the structure of the Jewish religion when the temple was built. The structure of worship and the means of forgiveness of sins has been changed forever because of Jesus’ sacrifice. We should not think that we have to follow these Old Testament commandments any more. We have a New Covenant through the blood of Jesus that supersedes the old just as the temple superseded the tabernacle.
            Psalm: David expresses his complete trust in the Lord. Even before he does that, he acknowledges that the only good in him is because of the Lord (Ps 16:2). People who are not trusting in Jesus for their salvation really don’t have assurance that the future will bring them anything good. In fact, they can be assured that they will have sorrows if they don’t turn to the Lord for salvation. They may have a seemingly good life here on earth before eternity. But David assures us that we will have eternity with the pleasures of being with God. The alternative is sorrows when they are abandoned to the grave and their souls have no joy.
            Proverbs: We may have many goals and plans on how to accomplish them. But they are no good if they don’t line up with God’s plan for us. When we listen to him and get on his agenda, the we will have wisdom that will carry us into the future that is best for us. We’ll be with him forever.
            Romans: The Pharisees got bent out of shape when Jesus told they them they could be set free by the truth because anyone who sins is a slave t sin (John 8:32-34). They didn’t realize that sin is enslaving and keeps us from doing the things God want us to do. Before our salvation, we can only do the things we want and those are all motivated by a sinful heart.
            Few people realize though, that being free from sin’s enslavement can only be accomplished by becoming slaves to God. It may seem like a paradox to be free when we become slaves of God, but there is no other way. After all, we can’t serve two masters. We will serve either sin or the Lord. People want to be free but they don’t want to be slave of God. They don’t realize that under God’s lordship, we have the freedom to be the people God intends. This kind of slavery isn’t burdensome but joyful. It is the way of eternal life.
            What’s even better is that eternal life is a free gift.

Application

             Worshiping Jesus isn’t done by following the Old Testament traditions or any other traditions. It is done by becoming a slave to the Lord. It is done by considering ourselves dead to sin and alive to Jesus. Worshiping Jesus is becoming his slave.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

July 19: 1 Chronicles 28 – 29; Psalm 15; Proverbs 19:18-19; Romans 5:6-21



Overview

            1 Chronicles: David assembled all his officials and the leading men of Israel and explained to them that he wanted to build a house for the Lord but the Lord wouldn’t let him because he shed much blood. God selected and made him king over Israel forever and his son, Solomon would take over after him and he would build the temple. Therefore, they are to observe all the commandments so that they and their children can continue to possess the land.
            David then told Solomon to serve God and seek him but if he forsakes God, he will cast him off forever. David then gave the plans for the temple and the division of Levites to Solomon. It was all given to him in writing so that he could do the work according to the plan. He told Solomon to be strong and courageous and do it. God is with him so he didn’t have to be dismayed. God will not leave him until the work is done. Al the others assembled there are with him too.
            David told the assembly that Solomon was young and inexperienced so he provided much gold, silver and other things for the temple. He then asked who else will provide for the temple. The assembly also contribute much gold, silver, and other materials for the temple. David and the people rejoiced because they gave willingly.
            David then prayed and declared God’s awesomeness and provision. He admitted their dependence on God and the ability to give was only because of him. He prayed about God’s joy in righteous people. He asked the Lord of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel to keep his purposes in the people’s hearts. He prayed for Solomon to keep the commandments so he could finish the temple.
            He told the whole assembly to praise the lord and they did. They offered many offerings. They then anointed Solomon king. Solomon prospered and everyone pledged allegiance to him. The Lord made him greater than any king before him.
            David reigned over Israel 40 years. 7 in Hebron and 33 in Jerusalem. He died old, rich, and honored.
            Psalm: Who can live in fellowship with the Lord? Only the person who is blameless and does right. He never lies, slanders, gossips, or harma others. He despises those who do evil and honors those who fear the Lord. He will keep his promise even when it hurts. He is financially upright by not charging interest or accepting bribes. This kind of person will never be moved.
            Proverbs: Discipline your kids so that they won’t grow up to be people that you wish would be executed. If you bail out an angry person when he gets into trouble because of his temper, you will only have bail him out again.
            Romans: At the right time, Christ died for us. We were still sinners and that demonstrated God’s love for us. Being justified by his blood, we are saved from God’s wrath. We were enemies of God but now we are reconciled by Jesus’ death and saved by his life. Therefore, we rejoice in God and being reconciled to him.
            Sin came into the world through Adam and death was the consequence that applies to all people because everyone has sinned. Even before the law was given, there was sin and death. The free gift of life isn’t like the sin. Many died because of Adam’s sin. Because of Jesus, the gift of grace didn’t bring condemnation but justification for many after many sins. This grace reigns brigns the free gift of righteousness through Jesus Christ.
            One sin led to condemnation for all men but one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all. Adam’s disobedience caused all to be sinners but Jesus’ obedience makes many righteous. The Law came to expose how sinful people are and where that sin is exposed, grace is there even more. Sin reigns in death. Grace reigns through righteousness leading to eternal life in Jesus our Lord.

What Stood Out

            1 Chronicles: “A Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all” (1 Chron 29:11).
            Psalm: “In whose eyes a vile person is despised, but who honors those who fear the Lord” (Ps 15:4).
            Proverbs: “Discipline your son, for there is hope; do not set your heart on putting him to death” (Prov 19:18).
            Romans: “Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God” (Rom 5:9).

Insight

            1 Chronicles: The ending of David’s reign and his life are like a fairy tale ending. It would be except that David gives God all the glory. You don’t find that in fairy tales. David acknowledges that without God’s working, he wouldn’t have been able to do anything. He tells us that all the honor he received came because God gave it to him. David was quite generous with his riches as he prepared for the temple. He also lets us know that all these riches came from God. Everything in heaven and earth belongs to the Lord. He is in such control of nations and people that he can make it certain that the person he prospers will have as much as the Lord wants. No one gets rich or receives honor because they have the power within themselves.
            I’ve met people who are “self-made.” They believe that it was all due to their hard work and ambition that they are wealthy and honored. They discount God and don’t event believe in chance. That is the height of arrogance. The Lord has let them become who they are because he is gracious to them. However, if they don’t repent and turn to Jesus for salvation and repent of their arrogance, their earthly wealth and position will certainly be left to another and their eternity will be bankrupt at best and hell at worst.
            Psalm: Does God tell us that we should actually despise (loath, scorn, hate) evil people? That doesn’t seem to agree with what Jesus said about loving our enemies. It doesn’t seem to correspond with what Paul said that while we were still sinners, God loved us and Christ died for us (Rom 5:8). I think the answer to this is seen in the rest of the Psalm. David is saying that only a perfect person can dwell with the Lord. He is using hyperbole to make his point and that would then apply to his statement about despising evil people. Since we know that no one is perfect (just look at Psalm 14), we can also assume that despising evil people must have a meaning that is less drastic and is accordance with Jesus’ and Paul’s teaching.
            Rather than despising evil people, we should shun or avoid being like them. We can despise the evil they do but not necessarily despise them. In fact, we should have great concern for them and do what we can to steer them to faith in Jesus Christ so that Jesus’ righteousness will show them blameless before the Lord in the same way we are.
            Proverbs: Wow, what a couple of interesting Proverbs today. I wonder how many people have failed to disciple their kids and then later find out that they have done something worthy of the death penalty? Back in Deuteronomy 21:18-21 a rebellious son could be brought before the elders of a city and put to death when the parent gave up hope on him. That is a sad thought but our society has changed the way we disciple kids and my conversations with grade school teachers and administrators indicate that many parents who were raised without disciple are raising their kids the same way. When the child gets in trouble at school, these parents angrily blame the school and completely exonerate their kid.
            The second Proverb ties right in because these people never had to be accountable for their actions and especially anger. Now they continue to react in anger. Someone bailed them out of the consequences of their anger and it continues in their lives.
            The application is quite obvious, if you want to spare your kids future problems, some that will lead to jail time or worse, discipline them now.
            Romans: Many people rebel against the concept that we are all sinners and we are sinners because of Adam’s sin. They simply think it’s not fair that we should suffer for what Adam did. Or, they may say that they shouldn’t be blamed for their sins because they can’t help it; it’s Adam’s fault. Either way, they don’t want to be held accountable for doing things that they know are wrong. Why don’t they look at the rest of Paul’s argument? Jesus Christ died and his obedience in going to the cross to take our sins provides the opportunity for all our sins to be forgiven and receive God’s righteousness. The reason they don’t look at this is that they really like sinning. While they make all these other excuses or smoke screens, it is to cover up the fact they like their sins and don’t want to give them up. Christ’s sacrifice doesn’t help them at all because they are unwilling to have their sins forgiven. Some even think they haven’t done anything wrong. That’s why Paul says many will be made righteous instead of all will be made righteous (Rom 5:19). Jesus didn’t die so that everyone would be saved, but only those who confess Jesus is Lord and believe that God raised him from the dead (Rm 10:9-10).

Application

             Salvation is only through Jesus. Overcoming a lack of disciple in our lives and confessing that we are wrong is necessary to have salvation. If we don’t want to do that, we are enjoying our unsaved state and don’t want salvation. We can’t have fellowship with God when we are evil people and evil can be seen in the way we treat others. Even after becoming a Christian, we need to repent when we fail to live up to God’s standard. We will be restored to fellowship with God when we do.