Bible reading for September 10.
2 Samuel 4-5.
"And David knew that the LORD had established him king over Israel, and that he had exalted his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel." (2 Samuel 5:12)
DAVID ANOINTED KING. Ish-Bosheth is killed by those who thought to gain reward from David, but they are condemned for their treachery. We are introduced to Jonathan's son Mephibosheth, whom we will read more about later. Representatives from all the tribes come to David at Hebron and anoint him king over Israel. David captures Jerusalem from the Jebusites and will make it the capital. The Lord blesses David with children. And he wins two major victories over the Philistine armies. We are reading about key persons and places that figure into biblical history: the house and lineage of King David, and the importance of the city of Jerusalem in the history of redemption. At this point David is seeking the Lord, his righteousness, and his guidance for his reign. His desire for God's reign of righteousness foreshadows the glorious reign of our Lord: "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined. You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil" (Isa 9:2-3).
REFLECT. Verse 5:12, quoted above, highlights a principle: God raises up leaders not for their personal benefit but for the benefit of the people being led: "...a throne will be established in steadfast love, and on it will sit in faithfulness in the tent of David one who judges and seeks justice and is swift to do righteousness" (Isa 16:5). And he says, "Each will be like a hiding place from the wind, a shelter from the storm, like streams of water in a dry place, like the shade of a great rock in a weary land" (Isa 32:1-8). This is absolutely true of our Lord Jesus, and also gives to us a pattern for godly leadership today. If God grants us a measure of authority -- whether as parents, church ministers, teachers, or with positions in the community, state, or nation -- can we say that we are truly exercising this position for the benefit of others? Are we concerned with God's righteousness (rather than the polls, for example), steadfast love, faithfulness, and justice? Are we like Jesus, being a shelter from the storm, a stream of water in dry places, and shade in a weary land?
1 Corinthians 15.
"For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve." (1 Corinthians 15:3-5)
OF FIRST IMPORTANCE. Strictly speaking, the gospel is not a message about how to be saved. We are saved by believing the gospel (vv 1-2), but the gospel itself, the Good News, is about our Lord Jesus, who, in fulfillment of Scripture, died for our sins and rose bodily from the dead (vv 3-5). So the gospel is not about what we do but what Christ has already done. And in response we are to believe the gospel and to cling to its truth. Christ's resurrection was not only prophesied but also witnessed by many. Christ's resurrection is the firstfruits (v 23), that is, the first among many who will be raised in the future. Some of the Corinthian believers apparently held to what theologians call "an over-realized eschatology". That means they thought their resurrections had already taken place spiritually and immaterially. Many Greeks thought the idea of a future physical resurrection was repulsive or nonsensical. The Apostle Paul is making his argument that Christ was raised bodily to glory and so we shall be raised also in the future.
THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST is central to the gospel and to the Christian life. Foretold by the OT prophets and witnessed by the NT writers, the resurrection of Christ is critically important to us. We can have confidence that our sins are truly forgiven (vv 14-17; Rom 4:25). We have confidence we will be re-united with loved ones who have died in the faith (vv 18-19; 1 Thess 4:13-18). [See Constable on those "baptized for the dead", v 29.] We ourselves are united to the one Man, the last Adam, who gives life, and who has removed the curse of sin and death (vv 21-28, 45-49; Rom 5:12-21). Finally, there is a future bodily resurrection for us and a glory which we will share with Christ forever. We have a sure and certain expectation for a glorious future. That's what the Bible means by "hope."
REFLECT. This chapter ends with a call to be steadfast. There is a continuity between this life and the life to come. We have confidence that our work for the Lord in this life has value and will make a difference. We have a reason to be optimistic and energetic in serving Christ: "Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain" (1 Cor 15:58). Do you often think about Christ's resurrection and its relation to your life today and to your future resurrection? Why is this important?
Image credit. Photo of a tomb in Nazareth, Israel, by Pisit Heng on Unsplash. We are following the Robert Murray M'Cheyne (RMM) two-year reading schedule, as arranged by D. A. Carson.
Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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