Friday, July 7, 2017

July 7: 1 Chronicles 4:5-5:17; Psalm 5; Proverbs 18:19; Acts 25


            1 Chronicles: We have more of the descendants of Judah. Jabez is in it. He is more honorable than his brothers and asks that his borders would be expanded, God would protect him, he would not be harmed, and that he would be spared from pain. God gave him what he requested. There are some that were born to the daughter of Pharaoh. Some were linen workers and others potters serving the king.
            Descendants of Simeon are listed. Some increased greatly and looked for pasture land and found it in Gedor where Hamites used to live. The Hamites were killed off by the descendants of Simeon in the times of Hezekiah. They lived in place of the Hamites. 500 Simeonites invaded he hill country of Seir, killed the Amalekites and lived there.
            The descendants of Ruben, the firstborn of Israel, lost his birthright to Joseph because he had sex with one of his father’s wives. Judah was strongest of the brothers and a ruler came from him but the rights of the firstborn went to Joseph. The list includes one who was taken into exile in Assyria. Their land extended to the Euphrates River. During Saul’s reign, they fought the Harites.
            Psalm:  David is again calling on the Lord and groaning. He is calling on his King and God. He calls every morning along with his sacrifice. He knows that God does not delight in wickedness. He doesn’t let evil and prideful people stand before him. He even hates these and destroys liars and bloodthirsty people.
            It is only by God’s steadfast love that David can come before him and bow in fear. Because of David’s enemies, he wants to be led in God’s righteous ways. The wicked don’t have any truth, desire destruction, speak abominations and flattery. David wants God to make them suffer according to their guilt, suffer their own counsel, and be cast out because of their sins and rebellion against God.
            David asks that those who trust the Lord will rejoice. He asks for God’s protection over them when they love God’s name because God blesses the righteous and shelters them.
            Proverbs: When brothers quarrel and one is offended, it is harder to regain a good relationship than to conquer a strong city. It puts impenetrable bars between them.
            Acts: Festus took over after Felix and went to Jerusalem. The chief priest and Jewish leader wanted him to bring Paul to Jerusalem for trial and kill him on the way. Festus told them to come to Caesarea and present their case. When Festus returned to Caesarea, he convened a trial. The Jews brought charges they could not prove. Paul presented his case that he had obeyed the Jewish and Roman laws. Festus wanted to do a favor for the Jews so he asked if Paul would go to Jerusalem for trial. Paul replied that he was standing before Caesar’s tribunal and if he has done no wrong he shouldn’t be given to the Jews. He should be tried by Caesar and he appealed to Caesar. Festus said he would be sent to Caesar.
            After a few days, king Agrippa and his wife, Bernice came to visit Festus. Festus explained about Paul’s case. He said that the accusations were not what he expected. Agrippa said he would like to hear Paul and Festus set up a big show with a lot of important people. Paul was brought in and Festus said he was brought in order to learn what to write to Caesar since it was illogical to send a prisoner to Caesar without some explanation.

What Stood Out

            1 Chronicles: “Jabez called upon the God of Israel, saying, "Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain!" And God granted what he asked.
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            Psalm: “But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love, will enter your house” (Ps 5:7).
            Proverbs: “A brother offended is more unyielding than a strong city” (Prov 18:19).
            Acts: “For it seems to me unreasonable, in sending a prisoner, not to indicate the charges against him” (Acts 25:27).


            1 Chronicles: I know that a small booklet has been written about Jabez and his prayer. I think I read it many years ago and was not impressed. From my perspective, Jabez missed out on the abundant live from a Christian point of view. He was granted an enlarged territory, the Lord was with him, and he had freedom from trouble and pain. What he missed was an ever-increasing faith because his faith was not tested. Did his faith ever get proven genuine (1 Pet 1:6-7)? Did he ever get the opportunity to grow spiritually because he had to consider his trials as joy (Rom 5:3-5; James 1:2-4)? Yes, the Lord was with him, but he is with all of us who know Jesus. I think Jabez may have had what the world calls an idealistic life, but that isn’t the life I want.
            Psalm: There is a contrast between Jabez and David. Jabez only asked for good stuff for himself. David faced many difficulties that Jabez didn’t face. David wrote many Psalms and was a man after God’s own heart. Though David prayed to have his enemies destroyed, and many were, he had a steadfast trust in the Lord. He knew that it was only by God’s steadfast love that he was spared and his objective was to be in God’s house. Because of his trials, he could see the difference between the righteous and the wicked. He knew God better and knew what God was like. He knew about God’s blessing and protection from an experience that Jabez would never know.
            Proverbs: Some people have problems with their relatives that end up being unresolved because of some quarrel. They hold a grudge and will not reconcile. No wonder Jesus emphasized forgiveness even up to 70 times 7 (Matt 18:22). Of course, that means one or both need to admit that they are in the wrong and ask for forgiveness. It is better not to quarrel and to overlook offences (Pr 19:11) than to let it get to this point.
            Acts: You would think that Festus would have released Paul. He obviously knew that there wasn’t anything worthy of holding him, much less executing him. But the key was that he wanted to do the Jews a favor. The same problem as with Felix. That plan backfired when Paul appealed to Caesar. Then Festus was stuck with trying to explain to Caesar why he was sending him a person who didn’t have anything charged against him. But king Agrippa arrived and he decided to turn the whole mess into an opportunity for entertainment.
            What’s happening is God using the government to accomplish his purposes. God’s sovereignty is the major theme of this part of Acts from the time Paul is taken into custody. Paul is able to witness to jailers, governors, and now a king. The irony in it all is that Festus doesn’t even realize that these events are out of his control as he states it is unreasonable to send Paul to Caesar without any charges.


            I want to rejoice in my trials. I want to be able to recognize how these can not only help me grow, but may be opportunities to witness to other about our gracious and loving Father.

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