Monday, July 10, 2017

July 10: 1 Chronicles 9 – 10; Psalm 8; Proverbs 18:23-24; Acts 27:21-44



Overview

            1 Chronicles: Judah was taken captive to Babylon because they were unfaithful. The first to return were priests, Levites, and temple workers. Then came others from Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim, and Manasseh who lived in Jerusalem. They are listed by the heads of their family. Before the exile, there were gatekeepers who lived in villages. They came in rotation for duty of seven days. The four primary gatekeepers were Levites and were in charge of the treasuries, furnishings, flour, wine, and spices in the temple. Mattithiah took care of the offering bread. The musicians were on duty day and night and stayed in the rooms of the temple. The heads of the Levite families living in Jerusalem were listed along with some of Saul’s genealogy.
            Back in history: Saul’s last battle and death is told. The Philistines took his head and armor then hung them in the house of Dagon. The men of Jabesh Gilead brought the bodies of Saul and his sons back to Jabesh and buried them. Saul died because he was unfaithful to the Lord and even inquired of a medium.
            Psalm: The Lord is majestic and his glory is above all things. Even what infants say is enough to silence his enemies. When David looked at the heavens, stars, and moon that God set in place, he wonders why God cares about people. We are a little lower than the angels and yet he has given us glory and honor. He has given us dominion over all God’s creation on earth. The Lord’s name is majestic in all the earth.
            Proverbs: A poor man has to ask for things in a polite way while a rich man may be rude in his answers. A person with many acquaintances may find out none stand with him in trouble but only a friend who is closer than a brother.
            Acts: Going without food for a long time, Paul tells the men on the ship, “I told you so.” But he also tells that an angel informed him he must stand before Caesar and that all on the ship will be saved. Yet, they would run aground on an island. After 14 days, they approached land and the sailors let down anchor to keep from crashing in the night and prayed. Some tried to escape in the lifeboat but Paul said they all had to go together to be saved. The centurion had the boat cut away.
            At dawn Paul urged them to eat. He took bread, gave thanks to God and ate. They all ate and were encouraged. They still had wheat on board and threw it overboard to lighten the ship. They cast off the anchors, raised the sail and tried to run onto the beach. Instead, the hit the reef and the ship started to break up. The soldiers wanted to kill the prisoners lest any escape. The centurion kept them from doing it because he wanted to save Paul. They all made it to the beach.

What Stood Out

            1 Chronicles: “And Judah was taken into exile in Babylon because of their breach of faith” (1 Chron 9:1). So Saul died for his breach of faith” (1 Chron 10:13).
            Psalm: “Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor” (Ps 8:5).
            Proverbs: “The poor use entreaties, but the rich answer roughly” (Prov 18:23).
            Acts: “And fearing that we might run on the rocks, they let down four anchors from the stern and prayed for day to come” (Acts 27:29).

Insight

            1 Chronicles: Chapter 9 begins by telling us that Judah went into captivity because they were not faithful and chapter 10 ends telling us that Saul died because of his unfaithfulness. That should be a painful lesson to all of us. God’s promises to Israel are still in effect. There is nothing in the Bible that tells us that he will completely forsake them and that Jews will be wiped off the face of the earth as he did to some of the other nations and races. On the contrary, his promise is that Israel will turn back to him in the last days. As an individual, Saul lost his posterity because of his unfaithfulness.
            Applying these things to us, our salvation is like God’s covenant with Israel. We cannot lose our salvation but that doesn’t mean we won’t be punished because of our unfaithfulness. Like Saul, as individuals, we may suffer the personal consequences of being unfaithful. It makes a whole lot of sense that we should always be faithful and not let the deceitfulness of sin take us to a place where the Lord must discipline us. That disciple could end in our death.
            Psalm: In all creation, there is nothing like mankind. David says we are made a little lower than heavenly beings. The actual Hebrew says a little lower than God. The Septuagint translated this as a little lower than angels. When you think about this, the implications are astounding. While it may make us proud to consider how great we are, we must remember that whatever qualities and power we have, they are nothing in comparison to our Almighty God. He is infinite in holiness, love, compassion, power, wisdom, intelligence, knowledge, righteousness, and all his other attributes. We are lacking (Hebrew for made lower [The Online Bible Thayer's Greek Lexicon and Brown Driver & Briggs Hebrew Lexicon]) in all these qualities. A little lacking is a gross understatement. If we compare ourselves to the angels, a little is more appropriate but we still are lacking. We should stand in awe, as David did, that God cares anything for us. This is reason to praise his name.
            Proverbs: James takes some shots at the rich in his epistle and James 2:6 is like Proverbs 18:23. It is sad that many rich people feel entitled to treat poor people badly. When a poor person asks the rich for some help, some of them are downright mean in their answers. “I earned this myself, why should I help some beggar who only wants others to support him?” They think that the poor are poor because they are inferior and it is their own fault they are poor. The Lord wants us to be generous with what we have and have genuine compassion on those less fortunate.
            Acts: Paul is the one who maintains a calm presence in the disaster. He calmly tells the people on the boat that they should have listened to him. However, he doesn’t just tell them off, he also lets them know that God’s promise to him is still valid. He even sent an angel to affirm he would stand before Caesar. When they get near shore, he is the one who makes sure all go together and to eat and have strength to get ashore. I wouldn’t be surprised if he is the one who led the pray for day to come before trying to run ashore.
            Faith in God didn’t prevent the trials that Paul and those aboard the ship faced. Faith gave him peace in the trials. That is what we can have when we face trials. And we shouldn’t forget, in the middle of the them to pray. We can pray to get through the whole ordeal and we can pray to get through the next little hurdle. They prayed to just hold off until sunrise. Sometimes that’s all we need to do. Pray we can make it one more day.

Application

             I want to remain faithful. Sometimes that means praying for the strength to overcome temptations or to get through trials. With the Lord’s help, I can remain faithful.

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