Thursday, July 13, 2017

July 13: 1 Chronicles 15 – 16:36; Psalm 10:1-9; Proverbs 19:6-7; Romans 1:18-32


            1 Chronicles: David built his house in Jerusalem and prepared a tent for the Ark. He assembled Israel and the Levites, who are listed and numbered. He admitted to the Levites that they hadn’t asked the Lord about the proper way to move the Ark before. So this time the priest and Levites consecrated themselves to carry the Ark on their shoulder with its poles. David commanded them to appoint singers, musicians, and gatekeepers. These also are listed.
            When they brought the Ark into Jerusalem, Michal, Saul’s daughter watched from a window. She saw David dancing and despised him in her heart.
            When the Ark was placed in the tent, they made burnt offerings and peace offerings. When finished, David gave bread, meat, and raisins to all the people. He then appointed Levites to minister before the Ark with thanksgiving and praise. Asaph was the chief.
            David’s song of thanks is recorded. He calls on all to give thanks to the Lord, to praise him, and rejoice in his glory. We are to seek him and his presence all the time. We are to remember his deeds. He is the Lord and judges the earth. We need to remember his covenant that is for a thousand generations made with Abraham and continued to Israel to give them the land of Canaan. They were few in number and wandered but God took care of them. We are to declare his glory to all nations because he is the Lord and above all gods that are only idols. We are to attribute to him glory and strength.
            The heavens and earth are to be glad because the Lord reigns. All nature is to rejoice because he comes to judge the earth. The people are to ask God to save them from the other nations so they can give thanks; for the Lord is God in Israel forever.
            Psalm: David is wondering why God doesn’t reveal himself in troubling times. He looks at the wicked who boast about their lusts and greed. He wants them caught up in their own snares. They are so prideful they think that God doesn’t exist. They appear to be prosperous and it doesn’t look like God judges them. They don’t think anything bad will ever happen to them. They are foulmouthed and think up evil then executes that evil against others.
            Proverbs: When a person is generous, many will come to him for help and will act friendly towards him. But a poor man’s relatives despise hem and his friends are even worse. Though he asks them for help, he can’t even find them.
            Romans: God’s wrath against ungodliness is evident. We are without excuse because his existence and character is revealed in nature. But the ungodly have bad thinking stemming from their sinful hearts. They think they are wise but worship all sorts of things instead of God. So, God gives them over to these evil desires and they just get worse and worse. Their sins lead from one thing to another and they will reap the consequences of their sin in their own bodies. Finally, they get to the point of saying their evil is good and encourage others to do the same.

What Stood Out

            1 Chronicles: “Ascribe to the Lord, O clans of the peoples, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength” (1 Chron 16:28)!
            Psalm: “For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul, and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the Lord” (Ps 10:3).
            Proverbs: “A poor man is shunned by all his relatives — how much more do his friends avoid him! Though he pursues them with pleading, they are nowhere to be found” (Prov 19:7 NIV).
            Romans: “Though they know God's decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them” (Rom 1:32).


            1 Chronicles: David got it right the second time. What is remarkable is that he admitted that they had not sought the Lord when they first attempted to move the Ark. When they did, they realized that they had done it wrong. The result of doing it right was a joyous occasion with much celebration and thanksgiving. David and the people learned a valuable lesson and it is reflected in David’s Psalm of thanksgiving.
            When we attribute to the Lord the glory due his name and his being, we are much better off than when we treat him lightly. When we have a high opinion of who God is and approach him with the respect and dignity he deserves, we are blessed. When we come to him casually, thinking he will excuse our sloppiness or half-hearted praise, we will suffer because of it. The saddest part of this is that we will not even know that we are missing his blessings.
            Think about how even nature will rejoice when the Lord comes to judge the earth. If animals and vegetation will rejoice, what should we, who are made in his image, do? We should be tankful and give him glory now.
            Psalm: Sometimes, the wicked look like they can get away with anything. They are so arrogant that they actually boast about their lusts and evil desires. I spent three years in the Navy and different companies working among people who didn’t restrain their talk about their lusts. What David says here is far more true than we care to admit. When all our friends are Christians and we have jobs that require some civility, we don’t see this as often. We think politicians are the only ones that are corrupt. The truth is that we were all that way at one time. Most of us have covered it up better than others.
            But covering it up isn’t the best answer. The best answer to this corruption and sin is to repent and turn to Jesus for forgiveness and a new heart regenerated by the power of the Holy Spirit so we can live godly lives. Then we will boast in what the Lord has done for us instead of how much evil we have been able to do without being held accountable.
            Proverbs: It is sad to realize how true this proverb is. With what appears to be an epidemic of homelessness, the reality of this becomes evident. I completely understand that some people have brought their condition upon themselves because of their choices (sins) in life. Their relatives and friend are nowhere to be found because their money and property has been stolen or destroyed. On the other hand, some people are homeless through no fault of their own. Life is sometimes hard in a fallen world. When a person’s skills are no longer a match for the job market and they are laid off because of automation, bankruptcy, or the sins of others, they find themselves on the street. We have a responsibility to reach all of these with the gospel and physical support as well. Both fit together as John said, “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:16-18).
            Romans: There are points in this passage that helps us make sense of the way the world seems to be careening out of control and rapidly getting more and more sinful. The first is that regardless of what people may disbelieve about God, his eternal power and divine nature is evident to everyone (Rom 1:20). The worst sinner in the world has a witness from God that he exists, is all powerful, and divine. When I think of divine, I think of holy and good. Deep down, that sinner has to know that his sins are an abomination to God who is holy and good. He is without excuse. But God says he ignores this and goes on with his life of sin doing even more evil. God says that deep down in his heart, he also knows that what he is doing deserves death (Rom 1:32). Because he is so determined to do what he wants and not what God wants, God lets him do it and removes the restraints from him so that he keeps on getting worse.
            That is the explanation for why the world will never get better until Jesus Christ comes back and removes all evil. Why doesn’t he do it now, before it gets worse? Because he is merciful and wants everyone to come to a knowledge of Jesus. He is patient waiting for those who will repent, the ones he has chosen from before time began. Any sinner, no matter how depraved who is still alive has the opportunity to be saved through Jesus Christ.


             There’s a lot of stuff in today’s passages about evil people in the world. It would be easy to ignore them and hide in the church. But God has called me, and you, to treat these people with respect but also share the gospel with them. I don’t know who is to be saved, but if I tell them about Jesus, I may be the one he uses to bring that person to himself.

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