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Showing posts from November, 2020

bible reading dec 1

Bible reading for Dec 1.  1 Chronicles 29. "Then the people rejoiced because they had given willingly, for with a whole heart they had offered freely to the LORD. David the king also rejoiced greatly." (29:9) GREAT JOY.   For a brief moment in Israel's history, the king and the people were united together in God's work for God's glory. Such free, whole-hearted willingness to obey, along with uncoerced generosity (vv 5, 9, 14, 17-18), was rare under the old covenant, and is the hallmark of the new covenant (Ps 110:3; Ezek 36:26-27; 2 Cor 8:1-5). Fullness of joy is the result of God's grace (vv 9, 22; cf Isa 9:3; Gal 5:22; 1 Pet 1:8). And just as King David provided gifts for his son to build the temple, so the Lord Jesus gives gifts to his children, that they may build up his body in this world (Eph 4:7-16).  PRAYER. Before we finish the chapter (and book), we should read his prayer in verses 10-19. Spend a little more time there. It is the Lord's will tha

bible reading nov 30

Bible reading for Nov 30.  1 Chronicles 28. "All this he made clear to me in writing from the hand of the LORD, all the work to be done according to the plan." (28:19)  PLANS & PREP. In chapters 23 through 27 David is preparing the way for the reign of his son Solomon. Genealogies of the priests and the Levites are reviewed, and David organizes divisions of service (or, tours of duty) for them, including musicians and gate-keepers, and finally, the military. In chapter 28 David gives a charge to Solomon to be faithful to the Lord, and to have courage to complete the work of building the temple (vv 7-9). This work was to be done according to plan (v 19). The organization of the divisions, as well as the design of the temple, remind us that our God is a God of purpose and order. The Bible teaches that behind creation and the flow of history is an infinitely-wise and powerful Designer. Our universe is not the result of random, impersonal forces. The early chapters of Genesi

bible reading thanksgiving edition

  "Oh give thanks to the LORD , for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south." (Psalm 107:1-3 ESV) THANKSGIVING. May you and your loved ones have a blessed Thanksgiving time this week! Of necessity many of us will be separated from our family and friends this season, which should remind us of what a precious gift "gathering" is. The Lord redeems and gathers us together from the lands. It is a gift to be placed into loving families, into caring churches, into good communities, and among supportive friends. Give thanks for that, along with a host of other blessings from the Lord!  GIRL PRAYING.  At the height of World War II the above painting by Norman Rockwell, "Girl Praying", appeared on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post (November 27, 1943).  This was published about a mo

bible reading nov 25

Bible reading for Nov 25.  1 Chronicles 21. "And David built there an altar to the LORD and presented burnt offerings and peace offerings and called on the LORD, and the LORD answered him with fire from heaven upon the altar of burnt offering. Then the LORD commanded the angel, and he put his sword back into its sheath." (21:26-27)  CENSUS AND PLAGUE. Second Samuel reports this event after the last words of David (2 Sam 24), as a kind of appendix, although it obviously occurred earlier. The Chronicler, with his emphasis on worship in Jerusalem, records it at this point in David's story, since the temple is a central theme. How did the temple mount come to be designated as the place of atonement? It was the sin of David that needed atoning. He confessed his guilt and entrusted himself to the judgment of God (v 13). It is David himself, facing a very large destroying angel (cf Rev 10, 11, 14), who purchases the altar site for full price and offers sacrifice. The Son of Dav

bible reading nov 24

Bible reading for Nov 24.  1 Chronicles 19-20. "And David said, 'I will deal kindly with Hanun the son of Nahash, for his father dealt kindly with me.' So David sent messengers to console him concerning his father. And David's servants came to the land of the Ammonites to Hanun to console him." (19:2)  KINDNESS REBUFFED. These two chapters relate David's victories over two neighboring hostile nations, the Ammonites (ch 19) and the Philistines (ch 20). These victories foreshadow the future inheritance of David's descendant, the Messiah: "Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession" (Psalm 2:8; cf Ps 110). What makes Hanun's response so despicable was that he was rejecting a kindness from David which was being made in good faith. He shamed and mocked the messengers who brought the offer of covenant friendship. Hanun serves as a warning not to foolishly reject, or treat lightly, the kindness w

bible reading nov 23

Bible reading for Nov 23.  1 Chronicles 18. "So David reigned over all Israel, and he administered justice and equity to all his people." (18:14)  WHAT'S WRONG WITH THANKSGIVING? Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of the year. It's so satisfying to have an entire day just to give thanks to the Lord and to enjoy his many blessings of family, friends, and good food. Sadly, this year due to the pandemic many will not be gathering in person with family and loved ones. But every year the sad problem with Thanksgiving remains the same -- the joy and gratitude don't last for very long! It's a precious, short period of time when we are all together, thankful to God, satisfied, content, getting along with each other. For a brief moment all seems right with the world! For a brief moment... and then the squabbling returns, the complaints, the discontent, and selfishness and greed and unhappiness. For a moment -- for some briefer, for some longer -- we see how happ

bible reading weekend nov 21

Bible reading for weekend of Nov 21-22.  1 Chronicles 16-17 "Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name;  make known his deeds among the peoples!  Sing to him; sing praises to him;  tell of all his wondrous works!" (16:8-9)  SING TO THE LORD! (ch 16) David had a heart for the honor of God. Early in his reign he appointed singers and musicians to serve in the temple courts (then, the tabernacle), so that the truth about God would be heard by all who entered the temple precinct to worship. The first songs listed in this chapter are David's compositions, Psalm 105 (the first half) and Psalm 96, along with an oft-sung refrain, "Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!" (Psalm 106:1; cf Psalm 136). Singing the Psalms in the temple court would accomplish a number of purposes. First, it was a way the gathered worshipers could praise God and give him thanks (Heb 13:15). It was also a way of reminding each person of the tru

bible reading nov 20

Bible reading for Nov 20.  1 Chronicles 15. "So all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the LORD with shouting, to the sound of the horn, trumpets, and cymbals, and made loud music on harps and lyres." (15:28)  CELEBRATION.  With great joy the Jews are bringing the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem. Consecration came first (vv 1-14), then celebration (vv 15-28). David was now more careful to walk with God in the way God directs. Consecration means to be set apart for the Lord, cleansed and separated for his will and purposes.  But this is not the only or even the final purpose. Rather, it is the worship and enjoyment of God to his glory. The Levites designated musicians and singers to play a variety of instruments -- harps, lyres, cymbals, horns, and trumpets -- to celebrate and "raise the sounds of joy" (v 16). David wrote in Psalm 16, "You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures fo

bible reading nov 19

B ible reading for Nov 19.  1 Chronicles 13-14. "And the ark of God remained with the household of Obed-edom in his house three months. And the LORD blessed the household of Obed-edom and all that he had." (13:14) BLESSING UPON DAVID.  The Chronicler highlights King David's love for the Lord and for worship in Jerusalem. Chronicles contains more details about this than are found in the parallel passages in 2 Samuel and 1 Kings. Chronicles and Kings are like the synoptic gospels in the NT (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) in that much of the same history is covered, but with some different emphases and variations in the reporting of the events. Variations in place names, and variant spellings of proper names, were normal. The names of the sons born to David in Jerusalem are listed in 14:4-5, numbering thirteen. That's two more than listed in 2 Sam 5:14. For some reason Elpelet and Nogah are not listed in the earlier Samuel account. These two chapters say that God's blessin

bible reading nov 18

Bible reading for Nov 18.  1 Chronicles 11-12. "All these, men of war, arrayed in battle order, came to Hebron with full intent to make David king over all Israel. Likewise, all the rest of Israel were of a single mind to make David king." (12:38)  HEROES. These chapters look back to 2 Sam 23 and the list of David's "mighty men" (Heb., ha-gibborim ). As postmodern as we may be, most of us still long for heroes, whether it be a political figure, athlete, soldier, scientist, or artist. It may only be imaginary, like Iron Man or Wonder Woman, but we still cheer for men and women of courage and strength who accomplish great things. King David attracted a wide assortment of people from various tribes (both within and outside of Israel) to be his inner guard or to serve as military commanders. They had various skills and abilities, for example, ambidexterity with weapons (12:2) or the gift of wisdom (12:32). Many of them had followed David in the wilderness while in e

bible reading nov 17

Bible reading for Nov 17.  1 Chronicles 9-10. "...besides their kinsmen, heads of their fathers' houses, 1,760, mighty men for the work of the service of the house of God." (9:13)  NAMES AND NUMBERS (ch 9). We now come to the people who returned to Jerusalem after the Babylonian exile. Central in this list are the priests, gatekeepers and singers who served at the temple. The focus of Chronicles is upon the worship of God at the temple in Jerusalem. We notice that, instead of the phrase "mighty men for war", we read "mighty men of the service of the house of God" (v 13). Israel had a tendency to rest upon its military strength (or on alliances with other strong nations) instead of being faithful to dedicated worship of the Lord their God. A sidebar: reading genealogies can be tedious. A professor once said to us in seminary, "All of the Bible is equally inspired, but not all of it is equally profitable." That is, God has fully inspired both

bible reading nov 16

Bible reading for Nov 16.  1 Chronicles 7-8. "All of these were men of Asher, heads of fathers' houses, approved, mighty warriors, chiefs of the princes. Their number enrolled by genealogies, for service in war, was 26,000 men." (7:40) PRE AND POST. The genealogies and numbers recorded here come from the time before the Babylonian exile (pre-exilic), during the period of King David (7:2). We'll see, beginning in chapter 9, the post-exilic census numbers are much lower. One purpose of the census of the tribes was to determine the number of soldiers available in the event of war. As we read 1 and 2 Chronicles we will also see some variations in numbers being reported, which may differ from Samuel and Kings. These may be due to scribal errors in copying, the rounding of numbers, or differing method of reckoning. See more in this introduction .    ===============   Hebrews 11. "And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must

bible reading weekend nov 14

Bible reading for weekend Nov 14-15.  1 Chronicles 3-6. "These were their settlements, and they kept a genealogical record." (4:33)  GOD KEEPS TRACK. The Jews are back in the land following their exile to Babylon (5th century BC). These are the updated genealogies ("to this day", 5:26, and chapter 9). Words like "registered" and "enrolled" (e.g., 4:41), along with locations (5:26), remind us that God keeps track of his people. It may seem like an endless list of people and places, but this is a testimony to God's preservation of his people. Also, there were remnant families from the various tribes that dwelt in Judah, for example the Simeonites, Levites, Benjaminites (e.g., Paul, Rom 11:1), and others. The Apostle Paul tells us that "all Israel will be saved" (Rom 11:26), which I take to mean that God still has a special place in his divine plan for ethnic Israel, and that there will be a great ingathering of Jews toward the end of

bible reading nov 13

Bible reading for Nov 13.  1 Chronicles 1-2. "These are their genealogies..." (1:29) PARALLEL HISTORY. Now we step back to read a parallel account of Israel's history, focusing on Judah (the southern kingdom), King David and his descendants, and the temple in Jerusalem. First and Second Chronicles are two volumes of one original work, Chronica , in the Hebrew OT (the Tanakh), coming right after Nehemiah. This was most likely written by, or compiled under the oversight of, Ezra the scribe, sometime in the fifth century BC after the Jews had returned from Babylon. It is an additional witness to the history recorded in 2 Samuel, and 1 & 2 Kings.  GENEALOGIES. The first two chapters open with genealogies, as all good Jewish history should! You can compare this with the genealogies of Jesus in Matthew and Luke, for example. God's work spans the generations. Here the names focus on David and Caleb, and a portion on Edom (descendants of Esau). These were the main famil

bible reading nov 12

Bible reading for Nov 12.  2 Kings 25. "And he burned the house of the LORD and the king's house and all the houses of Jerusalem; every great house he burned down." (2 Kings 25:9)  IT'S A WRAP, BUT NOT THE END. The day, month, and year of Zedekiah's reign reminds us that we are reading history and learning about real events. The year 586 BC is one of the saddest points in the OT -- the fall of Jerusalem and the exile of the Jews to Babylon. The city is hemmed in, under siege for a year and a half. Famine takes its toll, and finally the walls are breached. We cannot imagine the nightmare of the brutality of those days. As well, all of the beauty and wealth of the temple is destroyed or carried off. The temple was not a magic talisman for Israel. The Lord intended that his people would enjoy him in covenant relationship, and to enjoy the blessings of the land in his presence. What happened in this judgment was in complete accord with the Mosaic covenant as spelled