Monday, July 31, 2017

July 31: 2 Chronicles 29; Psalm 24; Proverbs 20:12; Romans 14



Overview

            2 Chronicles: Hezekiah became king at 25 and reigned 29 years. In his first year, he made the priests and Levites consecrate themselves and clean the filth out of the temple. He explained that his and their fathers had forsaken the Lord. They had shut the temple, put out the lamps and not made offerings and that is why the Lord’s wrath was upon the land of Judah. He wanted to make a covenant with the Lord so his anger would be turned away.
            The Levites did as the Hezekiah commanded. After taking out all the filth, it took them eight days to consecrate the temple. They reported back to Hezekiah that all Ahaz had discarded had been restored. Early next morning, Hezekiah and all the officials of the city sacrificed as prescribed by the Law for atonement for all Israel. He set up the Levites with their musical instruments as David had prescribed. When the burnt offerings began, they sang and worshiped.
            Hezekiah then called upon the people to come and give thank offerings and sacrifices. The people brought many animals but there were too few priests to process the offerings to the Levites helped them. They all rejoiced because the cleansing and offerings had taken place quickly.
            Psalm: In the first six verses, David declares that the whole earth belongs to the Lord. Only those who are pure can stand before him. They are blessed by God and they are the ones who seek him. In the last six verses, David expounds on the King of Glory, the Lord of hosts. No one is like him who is strong and mighty.
            Proverbs: God gives the ability to see and hear physically and spiritually.
            Romans: Some people have stronger faiths than others. A strong faith understands all food is acceptable but a person with a weak faith only eats vegetables. They should not despise or judge each other. We are not to pass judgment on such things because God has welcomed both and he will make them stand.
            Other things that we shouldn’t judge others about is what day or days we observe, eating, and fasting. Rather we should do these things to honor the Lord and give thanks. We shouldn’t be doing it for ourselves but for Christ who died and lives, who is Lord of the living and the dead.
            We will all stand before the judgment seat of God and bow before him. We will all give an account to him. So, again we should not judge others and not put stumbling blocks before others. Nothing is unclean unless someone thinks it is unclean. If our eating grieves another, then we should not eat that but we should not let it be called evil either. The kingdom of God isn’t about things but about righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. If someone serves Christ he is acceptable to God and approved by men. Let’s purse peace and building up each other.
            Don’t destroy God’s work for the sake of food. Everything is clean but it is wrong to make someone stumble over it. If you have faith to do things others think are wrong, keep quiet about it and let it be between you and God. You are blessed if you don’t have a reason to judge yourself, but if you have doubt you are condemned because whatever is done without faith is sin.

What Stood Out

            2 Chronicles: “And Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced because God had prepared for the people, for the thing came about suddenly” (2 Chron 29:36).               
            Psalm: “Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob” (Ps 24:6).
            Proverbs: “The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the Lord has made them both” (Prov 20:12).
            Romans: “For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin” (Rom 14:23).

Insight

            2 Chronicles: Hezekiah didn’t waste any time making reforms when he became king. Considering the fact that Ahaz had turned most of the people to worship idols, it is only by the grace of God that Hezekiah could find enough Levites to do the work. When they finished cleaning the temple and making atonement, the congregation then had the opportunity to show their repentance by offering sacrifices.
            One of the major signs that a person has truly repented is how fast they start getting rid of sin in their lives. Many will show remarkable progress in one or several areas of their lives. Others will keep some secret sin or may not understand how offensive to God a sin really is. Those are the ones that can hang on for many years. However, if there is no change in a person’s life after confessing Jesus as his Lord and Savior, then there should be question as to whether that person is really a Christian. The genuineness of Hezekiah and the Levite’s repentance was demonstrated in how quickly they restored proper worship and the people rejoiced. We should also rejoice when we see a person’s quick repentance.
            Psalm: David tells us about those who can stand in the presences of the Lord. They really need to be people who are pure in their ways. The small list of things we shouldn’t do is minuscule compared to the whole Law. Yet the key comes in verse 6 where he tells us that this is the way those who seek the Lord will act. We can’t seek the Lord until the Lord regenerates us. He has to give us the desire to look for him before we will even attempt to do that. Many people will tell of their journey to faith and it seems like they made some decision to look for God. While this may be true, they wouldn’t be able to make that decision unless the Lord showed his mercy and grace upon them to open their eyes and hearts to who he is and their need for him. He is the King of Glory.
            Proverbs: This Proverb could be used to describe how the Lord works in creation and in salvation. Anyone who thinks that the complexity of an eye or an ear could evolve from one celled animals is ignoring the laws of science to believe what they want to believe, that there is no God. They think they are wise, but in truth, the Lord has not given them the ability to see or hear the truth. Without the Lord giving them the ability to spiritually see and hear the truth in the same way he gives us the physical ability to hear and see, they will not believe in God and can’t be saved until God regenerates them.
            Romans: Chapter 14 is a hard chapter to comprehend. There seems to be contradictions all over it. It appears that Paul has already said a person has a weak faith if they only eat vegetables, a judgment. It also is hard to understand how you can abstain from something to keep another from stumbling and also not let what you regard as good to be spoken about as evil. That seems to be hypocritical. If I think eating pork is ok, but my Jewish believing brother thinks it is sinful, I should not eat pork where he can see it. If he tells me it is sinful to eat pork, I’m supposed to tell him it is ok. The same goes for worshiping on different days of the week.
            The two things that make it all work is remembering that in these disputable things, we are not to judge one another. The other thing to remember is that if we aren’t sure about what we are doing, then it is sinful.
            This gets particularly sticky when a couple does something truly sinful such as sex before marriage and we call them on it. They may say that they have faith that it is ok for them or that it is a disputable action because they dispute its sinfulness. They use the arguments in Romans 14 to rationalize their behavior. We handle it by going to the Bible and showing them it is wrong. But they could come back and call me out for eating pork citing the Law to say it’s sin. So what’s the difference, they ask? If I’m not under the Law and can eat pork, they can argue they aren’t under the Law because they aren’t doubting.
            I guess that’s where we decide if we can have fellowship with each other or not. If they are members of the same church, then the matter has to be escalated but there are some churches that don’t care. They will just tell you not to judge each other as long as you confess Jesus is Lord and Savior.
            At this point, I’ve dug myself in a hole. I’m in conflict about judging and about making someone else stumble.

Application

             I need to understand the Bible enough to make sure I’m doing what is right. I still need to point out sin but I need to remember that I’m not the judge to whom others must give account. If they ignore my and the church’s warning because they think they are ok, then it is not my problem. I may have to avoid them to keep myself from stumbling – not stumbling into doing the same thing they are doing but in becoming angry and spiritually proud.

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