Bible 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 blessing was upon King David's reign. Unlike Saul, David sought the Lord in making decisions (14:10, 14; cf 1 Chron 10:13, 14). And so, "...the fame of David went out into all lands, and the LORD brought the fear of him upon all nations" (14:17).
BUT ALSO JUDGMENT. David had a heart for God, but he was not perfect. In the case of Uzzah's death (ch 13), David was negligent. As king he was supposed to have written his own copy of the Law (Deut 17:17-20) and should have known that the ark was only to be carried by priests with the specially-made poles. The oxcart was a time-and-labor-saving device. Even though Uzzah was only trying to help, no one was supposed to touch the ark, ever. Uzzah died because of David's carelessness toward God's will. (And yet, blessing later comes upon the house of Obed-edom where the ark is stored.) The passage in Deuteronomy just cited also points to David's failure in "multiplying wives". Though very, very common among Middle-eastern monarchs and men of wealth (or wanna-be monarchs, Gen 4:19-24), polygamy is not part of God's design for marriage (Gen 2:24; Matt 19:4-6; Eph 5:33; 1 Tim 3:2). As we read the history of the kings of Judah and Israel we shall see the problems which resulted from disobedience to God's commandments.
"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creation." (1:17-18)
THE EPISTLE OF JAMES. This is, along with Galatians, one of the earliest NT letters, written from Jerusalem in the AD 40s. This James was the brother of our Lord Jesus (1 Cor 15:7), who was an influential leader of the church in Jerusalem (Acts 15:13; Gal 1:19). In this letter he introduces himself simply as "a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ" (v 1). His epistle was written to Jewish-background believers in Christ who lived in various regions around the Middle-east and Mediterranean. He refers to them as the twelve tribes scattered abroad. Jews living outside of Israel, for whatever reason, were referred to as the Diaspora, which means the dispersion.
STRAIGHT TO THE POINT. James' letter is direct, practical, and similar to the OT Proverbs in that there are many brief statements and exhortations. These bullet points may seem unrelated but there are a number of interwoven themes. In chapter one we read about trials, wisdom, the rich and poor, being steadfast, the dynamic of temptation and sin, God's gift of salvation, being doers of the Word, bridling the tongue, and visiting widows and orphans! James is also rich in imagery: waves of the sea, the sun and wildflower, conception and birth, a mirror, a planted seed, firstfruits, and a bridle. Don't rush through James. Ponder these images, and think about their meaning, and about the relationship between these seemingly unrelated statements.
DUAL AUTHORSHIP. You'll notice that James writes in a different style than the Apostles Paul, Peter, or John. They all wrote in their own individual style. The inspiration of the Scriptures does not mean that information was simply dictated to the apostles from God, but rather, God's authoritative revelation is given to us through human personalities. Much like Jesus was fully divine and fully human, so also the Bible has dual authorship, both human and divine. The writers wrote in their own language, style, and personality, yet the words they wrote are the words of God: "...men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit" (2 Pet 1:21). Men spoke... by the Holy Spirit. The final written product, the Scriptures, are therefore God-breathed (1 Tim 3:16).
Image credit. Photo of wheat field courtesy Thinkstock Photo. 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. One recommended resource is NETBible.org, a ministry of bible.org.