Sunday, July 23, 2017

July 23: 2 Chronicles 8:11 – 10; Psalm 18:16-36; Proverbs 19:26; Romans 8:9-21


     2 Chronicles: Solomon built Pharaoh’s daughter her own palace in Jerusalem because she was not to live in a place where the Ark had stayed making it holy. Solomon offered sacrifices according to daily requirements and other periodic ordinances. He appointed the priests and Levites as David had prescribed.
            He built a fleet of ships and three times a year Hiram’s men went with Solomon’s on the ships bringing back gold from Ophir.
            The queen of Sheba heard of Solomon and came to test him with hard questions. She had a large company and brought expensive gifts. Solomon answered all her questions and showed her all he had. She was impressed. She praised the Lord who established Solomon and gave him all the wealth. Solomon gave her many gifts.
            Hiram’s fleet also brought gold and other precious products. He used some for the temple and some for making musical instruments. He made gold shields and vessels for his palace. He made an ornate throne for himself. He had so much silver that it became common. The ships sailed every three years to bring back more wealth, apes, and peacocks. He was richer and wiser than all the other kings of the earth. Everyone who visited brought many gifts. He accumulated many horses and chariots. Silver was as common as stones in Jerusalem.
            Solomon reigned 40 years and when he died, his son, Rehoboam took over. Jeroboam returned from Egypt (he had fled from Solomon) and came to Shechem with all Israel to make him king. They asked Rehoboam to lighten the load Solomon had put on the country and they would serve him. Rehoboam conferred with the old men who had counseled Solomon. They advised him to do as the people asked and they would serve him forever. Rehoboam also conferred with his young friends and they advised him to tell the people he would make their burden heavier.
            Rehoboam answered the people harshly because it was to bring about what God had spoken through Ahijah to Jeroboam. The people rebelled except for Judah. Rehoboam tried to have his taskmaster go to them but they stoned him. Rehoboam fled to Jerusalem.
            Psalm: David recounts God’s rescue because God delighted in him (Ps 18:16-19). He proclaims his innocence and for that, God rewarded him ((Ps 18:20-24). David generalizes about God’s treatment of people who are merciful, blameless, crooked, and humble people ((Ps 18:25-27). He explains God is his lamp and trains him for war and keeps him blameless (Ps 18:28-36).
            Proverbs: A person who seeks harm to his father and will not care for his widowed mother after that is a real lowlife in society.
            Romans: We are not in the flesh but the Spirit if the Holy Spirit lives in us. Anyone without the Spirit isn’t a Christian. Our bodies may be dead because of sin but our spirit is alive because we’ve been made righteous by Jesus. Our bodies will also be made alive by the Spirit who raised Jesus.
            Our obligation is not to live by the flesh because living by the flesh brings death. It is by the Spirit that we put to death the sinful deeds, so we live by the Spirit. We are led by the Spirit because we are sons of God. The Spirit doesn’t make us slaves so that we fear God, but the Spirit gives us the ability to call God, “Daddy, Father.” The Spirit lets u know we are God’s children and heirs of God along with Jesus, providing we share in his suffering.
            That suffering is nothing compared to the glory we will have with Christ. It is like the creation that waits in for us to be revealed in glory. God distorted creation so that when we come into our glory as children of God, it also will be liberated from decay.

What Stood Out

            2 Chronicles: “And when the queen of Sheba had seen the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he had built, the food of his table, the seating of his officials, and the attendance of his servants, and their clothing, his cupbearers, and their clothing, and his burnt offerings that he offered at the house of the Lord, there was no more breath in her” (2 Chron 9:3-4).
            Psalm: “For who is God, but the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God?—the God who equipped me with strength and made my way blameless” (Ps 18:31-32).
            Proverbs: “He who does violence to his father and chases away his mother is a son who brings shame and reproach” (Prov 19:26).
            Romans: “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God” (Rom 8:20-22).


            2 Chronicles: We are easily impressed by the rich and famous. Queen Sheba came from a long distance to question Solomon. The answers all made sense to her and the appearance of Solomon’s court took her breath away. I get it, God had really done a number with Solomon giving him wisdom, riches, and everything else. But sometimes, we get impressed by all the wrong stuff. We get impressed with the abundance that movie stars have. We are wowed by the big yachts, private airplanes, and mansions of the CEOs and even some TV pastors.
            I recently visited St. Ignatius Mission in Montana. This is a good sized brick church especially considering it was built in the 1890s on the Flathead Indian reservation. I was impressed by the multiple painting on the walls, ceiling, and behind the altar. This was like a mini Sistine Chapel. See the picture at the start. But even these things shouldn’t be what truly impress us. The Queen of Sheba praised God who had all of this done for Solomon. We should be impressed by God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. What has he done for us? He saved us and he will bring us to heaven to live with him forever. The glory of Solomon, the beauty of St. Ignatius Mission or the Sistine Chapel is absolutely nothing in comparison to what God has in store for us. If we get distracted by these things or the wealth of the world, we will suffer for it. Jesus told us that Solomon’s glory was nothing compared to the flowers of a field. If he cares so much for the flowers and the birds, how much more will we have in glory when we appear with Jesus. We need to keep our sights on heaven and our eternity.
            Psalm: The Queen of Sheba was more impressed with Solomon than God, but there is no doubt that David was more impressed with God. After poetically describing God’s deliverance from his enemies, David takes God’s provision to a personal level. God wasn’t a giant warrior in the sky who swooped down to deliver him. No, God was personal. He was David’s lamp who guides him through dark times. He is the one who personally trained him to be a warrior. But he also tells us that God can be our shield when we take or refuge in him. When we trust the Lord, we can say along with David that God is our Lord and our Rock. He is the one who gives us strength to accomplish his purposes and makes our way blameless. Of course, that blamelessness is not based on our merit but on Jesus’ death and sacrifice for us.
            Proverbs: Under normal circumstances where parents are not criminally abusive people, drug addicts, or other severely dysfunctional people, a person who turns on his parents is an anomaly in society. We are to honor our parents and respect them. Certainly, we should never do violence against them. That is showing one of the lowest kinds of sinfulness (Rom 1:30). If it becomes common in society, then we know the end is near (2 Tim 3:1-2).
            Romans: The bottom line of Paul’s argument about the flesh and the Spirit is that when we become Christians, we have the Holy Spirit in us. He gives us the power to overcome our sinful nature and to live lives that lead to glory with Christ. If we aren’t living by the Spirit, it only proves that we don’t have the Spirit and that means we aren’t really Christians. While I recognize that we all sin at times, that isn’t the way we normally live when we have the Holy Spirit. We should be so used to walking with the Spirit that we have no fear of God. Instead, we should be able to come to him like a child who call his father Daddy or Poppa. That doesn’t mean we don’t have a healthy respect for who God is and what he can do. But we recognize he will not punish us like those who don’t have the Spirit.
            Paul tells us that when we suffer for Christ we’ll also share in his glory. He gives us a hint about what that will be like because all creation has been suffering under sin since Adam and Eve. Look at the curse in Genesis 3 and you will see that something dreadful happened to nature. Paul explains that God caused nature to change. The DNA of plants and animals changed so that some plants became thistles, some animals started killing and eating others. Creation was under bondage to decay, which means that things now wear out. Before the curse, nature would have lasted forever. Now things rust, mildew, erode; everything is slowing down. But look at Revelation 21-22 to see what it will be like when the sons of God are revealed. It will all be made new and the glory of the New Jerusalem will make Solomon’s glory look like a sandcastle.
            When we focus our lives on God’s glory instead of this world, we’ll be able to follow the Spirit instead of the flesh.


             I need to make sure I’m looking for glory in the right places. If I’m too impressed with the world, I’ll be the poorer in heaven. If I don’t walk by the Spirit, I have to question whether or not I’m even a Christian. If I’m not, then I’ll miss out on the New Jerusalem. However, when I do have the Spirit, I know I’m saved.

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