Friday, July 21, 2017

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


            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).


            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.


             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.


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