Bible reading for Dec 2.
2 Chronicles 1.
"Solomon the son of David established himself in his kingdom, and the LORD his God was with him and made him exceedingly great." (1:1)
SECOND CHRONICLES is part B of one original work in the Hebrew OT, being an account of the history of Israel, centering on the line of David and the history of Judah. There is special emphasis on the worship of God at the temple in Jerusalem. Chronicles was most likely compiled by Ezra the scribe, sometime in the fifth century BC after the Jews had returned from Babylon. It is a second witness to the history recorded in 2 Samuel, and 1 & 2 Kings.
WISDOM AND WEALTH. Solomon ascends to the throne of Israel, c. 970 BC. He asks for wisdom to lead God's people, and God gives him wisdom, and great wealth, too. This does not mean he will always use that wisdom and wealth for God's glory, but at this point he is seeking the good of God's kingdom. In this he foreshadows our Lord Jesus, the son of David (Rom 1:3), who embodies in himself the perfect wisdom of God (Col 2:3; Eph 3:8-10). The Father has bestowed upon our Lord all creation to be his possession (Ps 2:8; John 3:35; Col 1:16). Solomon's priority is a good example for us.
REFLECT. "What are you seeking?" Jesus asked his new followers (John 1:38). This is a good question for us -- what are we asking for, what are we praying about, what are we seeking? Solomon kept the secondary things secondary. He sought first the wisdom of God. Wealth was thrown in as a bonus. I find that often I am praying for secondary blessings rather than primary. We feel our primary need is for money, or a job, or health, or a circumstance to be changed, or a problem to go away. We usually just want to feel happy. Yet, Jesus said, "But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you" (Matt 6:33). If we seek Christ we will find everything we need. Consider this quote from C. S. Lewis...
“The principle runs through all life from top to bottom, Give up yourself, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it... Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.” (From Mere Christianity)
1 John 1.
"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life -- the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us..." (1:1-2)
FIRST JOHN. In this first epistle from the Apostle John there are many themes carried over from the gospel which he wrote, the Gospel of John. He is writing late in the first century to a number of churches in Asia Minor (now Turkey), including Ephesus, where he lived his last years and was buried. It seems that his readers were being tempted to move toward a hybridized philosophy of Christ, which was more acceptable to Greek thinking at that time. This included a de-emphasis on the humanity of Jesus (some of the later Gnostics would say that Jesus was a kind of hologram from heaven), and an over-emphasis on knowledge, that knowing about heavenly things (especially secret things) was the main thing, rather than any kind of moral or social life-change. So John writes that a real relationship with Christ is manifested in three main areas: a) sound doctrine (knowledge of the truth); b) obedience (our moral response); and c) love for one another (our social response). [See chart below.]
TOUCHED WITH OUR HANDS. He begins with the real human nature of our Lord Jesus -- heard, seen, touched -- who himself is the life of God physically manifested (John 1:14). The Apostle Thomas gave testimony to both the human and divine natures of Christ, when he touched Jesus' wounds, and said, "My Lord and my God" (John 20:24-29). God's life was manifested in Jesus so that we might have eternal life and fellowship with him. "God is light" (v 5) tells us that God is holy, good, and pure, and that those who walk with him will desire to have the same character. We acknowledge and confess sin not only at our conversion but also throughout our Christian life (vv 7, 9).
REFLECT. This chapter tells us that we must deal with two great realities -- the reality of our sin, and the reality of Jesus coming in the flesh. God's Son, who is Life, came to us in human form. He came to, and for, sinners, including you and me. We can deny or hide our need, but it is best to come into the light (John 3:19-21). Even as we walk with Christ in the light he will provide the cleansing we need. Is it enough for you just to know something about Christ and to check off a religious preference box? Or should your trust in the Lord Jesus affect your thinking, your morals, and your relationships?
Image credit. The Tomb of St. John in Ephesus, via Wikimedia Commons. 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.