Friday, July 29, 2016

I Chronicles 24: Aaron's Long Shadow

Many generations had come and gone between Moses and David (exactly how many is still a bit of a conjecture).  Yet the precedents established in the law under Moses concerning the ritual worship of God with his brother Aaron serving as the high priest had continued, or were at least re-instituted, under David.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

I Chronicles 23: Born This Way

It wasn't just anyone who could serve as a worship leader in ancient Israel.  The administration of the temple functions and the leadership of the sacrifices was given to one tribe in particular.  You had to be born a Levite in order to be one of the professional religious leaders.

I Chronicles 22: Equipping The Next Generation

David serves as a role model for us in many ways: courageous warrior, humble worshiper, repentant sinner, gracious king, and true friend.  He also demonstrates the beauty of equipping the next generation for their role in God's plan.

I Chronicles 21: Good Out Of Evil

I Chronicles 21 starts with something evil and ends with something good.

I Chronicles 20: Perspectives

Sometimes the questions are asked, "Why are there four gospels, especially when three of them duplicate so much material?  Why does the Bible include both the Chronicles and the books of Samuel and Kings when they cover so much of the same ground?"  Where some might find unnecessary duplication, I see the value of perspective.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

I Chronicles 19: Oops!

Occasionally someone in scripture makes a huge mistake.  In I Chronicles 19, an Ammonite king named Hanun commits such a blunder.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

I Chronicles 18: Happy Days

David's reign was marked with great success and justice.  The Bible testifies to both of these characteristics in I Chronicles 18.  Success?  "And the Lord gave victory to David wherever he went" (vs. 13).  Justice?  "So David reigned over all Israel; and he administered justice and equity to all his people" (vs. 14).  Many of Israel's persistent foes were defeated during his rule: the Pharisees, the Moabites, the Arameans, the Edomites, etc.  Truly, these were "happy days" for the nation of Israel!

I Chronicles 17: Forever Means Forever

There is a question in I Chronicles 17 of exactly who is building who a house.

I Chronicles 16: Let The Psalms Begin!

"Then on that day David first appointed the singing of praises to the Lord by Asaph and his kindred" (vs. 7).

Monday, July 25, 2016

I Chronicles 15: Getting It Right The Second Time

Although the first disastrous attempt to bring the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem ended with the death of Uzzah, David nevertheless decides to try it again.  This time, however, he resolves to follow the letter of the law and do things by the book.

Psalm 129: Haters Gonna Hate

There have been enemies of the Jews for about as long as there have been Jews.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

I Chronicles 14: In It To Win It

David's fame and power is growing in I Chronicles 14.  He receives cedars, along with stone masons and carpenters, from King Hiram in Tyre in order to build a palace.  In addition, he acquires more wives and children.  He feels established as king (vs. 2).  Along with this newfound respect and prosperity, however, also come enemies for David.  The Philistines are out to thwart his reign as soon as possible.  David's forces counter-attack, and, because he had inquired of the Lord, they prevail over the Philistines.  It is clear that David is growing greater and greater, and he is in it to win it for the sake of Israel.

I Chronicles 13: Don't Handle The Holy!

It's easy to feel sorry for Uzzah.  The poor guy was just trying to do his job and - BAM! - struck down by the Lord's wrath for reaching out to steady the Ark of the Covenant.  I have talked to more than one person who has asked me about the fairness of Uzzah paying the ultimate price for a momentary lapse of judgment.

I Chronicles 12: Enemies To Friends

One of the characteristics of David that may have earned him that compliment of being a man after God's own heart was his ability to turn enemies into friends.

I Chronicles 11: Superheroes In The Bible?

If we had superheroes in the Bible, I think they could be found in I Chronicles 11.  The exploits of David's mighty men would make for some pretty exciting stories!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

I Chronicles 10: The Tragedy Of King Saul

"Saul died because he was unfaithful to the Lord; he did not keep the word of the Lord and even consulted a medium for guidance, and did not inquire of the Lord.  So the Lord put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse" (vs. 13-14).

I Chronicles 9: Nuts And Bolts

I Chronicles 9 gives us a peek at some of the daily activities that took place around the tabernacle and the temple.

I Chronicles 8: What Might Have Been

The genealogy of I Chronicles 8 might have become more famous than the lineage of David, were it not for Saul's failures as king.  He had the opportunity to establish his family as the permanent royal line of Israel, but his spiritual flaws as a leader ultimately cost him the throne.  What was Saul's loss was David's gain, however.  God's plan for the salvation of His people could not be thwarted.  But instead of the line of Benjamin, Judah's was chosen.  Never underestimate God's ability to use what we would consider "Plan B" (Adam and Eve after the Fall, Jacob instead of Esau, kings instead of judges, Judah after the exile, etc.) to bring about His will.

Monday, July 18, 2016

I Chronicles 7: A Blizzard Of Words?

I don't know how you feel as you read through the list of names in the genealogical record of I Chronicles 7.  If you're anything like me, your eyes may have a tendency to glaze over.  There is a blizzard of words here, and it can be difficult to make sense out of all the foreign-sounding names and places.  Yet each name signifies a precious life, a very real person who once lived a part of God's grand story of salvation.  They even made it into God's word!

Psalm 128: The Sweetness Of The Righteous Life

Blessings come in all shapes and sizes.  Those who pursue God ("fear God and walk in his ways" according to verse 1) will find their life enriched in a variety of ways.

Friday, July 15, 2016

I Chronicles 6: Heman And Asaph

In addition to the other items on his resume (shepherd, psalmist, soldier, king, lyre-player, giant-slayer, etc.) David maintained a great interest and patronage for the worship of the Lord.  He wanted to bring the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem, and it was in his heart to build a great temple for God, a task which he passed down to his son Solomon.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

I Chronicles 5: A Bloody History

I happen to be blogging tonight on the evening of yet another terrorist attack upon France, this time in Nice on Bastille Day (July 14, 2016).  Even though the pictures and video from the breaking news hit us with a fresh shock, I am reminded that the rituals of warfare in all its forms are not a modern invention; as the Bible illustrates, fighting is ancient.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

I Chronicles 4: The Prayer Of Jabez

"Jabez called on 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 hurt and harm!'  And God granted him what he asked" (vs. 10).

I Chronicles 3: Keeping Track

For those watching and waiting for the Messiah to come and ascend to the throne of his ancestor David, it was important to keep track of the royal linage.  The pedigree of the prophesied Messiah would surely include links to his ancestors David, Solomon, and the kings of Judah.  So careful records (mostly oral) of the genealogy was maintained.  Sure enough, there came a time when the Messiah arose from this line.  You can see much of this same list recorded in I Chronicles 3 reflected later in the New Testament, in Matthew 1:6-12.

I Chronicles 2: David's Family Tree

Every family tree has a few nuts.

I Chronicles 1: Begin The Begats

If you were looking for a section of the Bible that could turn off many modern-day Americans from reading the rest of the book, the first couple of chapters of I Chronicles might just do the trick.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Jeremiah 52: Exile

There are two big ideas critical to understanding the Old Testament: the Exodus and the Exile.  Like bookends, these two events frame the experience of God's people.

Psalm 127: Unless

There is a lot of power in that little word "unless."  The dictionary defines unless as "except on the condition that; except under the circumstances that."  Unless has the power to change the whole meaning of a sentence, or a life.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Jeremiah 51: Out Of Babylon

"Flee from the midst of Babylon, save your lives, each of you!  Do not perish because of her guilt, for this is the time of the Lord's vengeance; he is repaying her what is due" (vs. 6).

Friday, July 8, 2016

Jeremiah 50: The Punisher Punished

If you ever have friends who believe in punishing Jews for their "complicity" in the death of Jesus, you might want to refer them to the fiftieth chapter of Jeremiah.  There the prophet reveals that one must be careful in taking on the role of the punisher, for they, too, will be punished.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Jeremiah 49: Enough Terror To Go Around

"Take their tents and their flocks, their curtains and all their goods; carry off their camels for yourselves, and a cry shall go up: 'Terror is all around!' (vs. 29)

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Jeremiah 48: Bemoaning Moab

For 47 verses, Jeremiah describes the destruction of Israel's neighbor, Moab.  Though Moab deserves the punishment meted out to her, the Lord still has sympathy for the plight of her people.  "Therefore I wail for Moab; I cry out for all Moab; for the people of Kir-heres I mourn" (vs. 31).  God is often revealed in scripture as One who is willing to punish and avenge, but He does so sorrowfully.  Instead of bringing destruction on evildoers, He would rather bless the righteous.  But human beings have an unfortunate tendency to resist God to the point that only punishment is an appropriate response.  Even when He brings disaster on a people out of a sense of justice, He weeps for them.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Jeremiah 47: God's Sword

"Ah, sword of the Lord!  How long until you are quiet?  Put yourself into your scabbard, rest and be still!  How can it be quiet, when the Lord has given it an order?  Against Ashkelon and against the seashore - there he has appointed it" (vs. 6-7).

Jeremiah 46: North Versus South

Long before the world wars of the twentieth century, there were epic battles waged between regional powers.  In the days of the prophet Jeremiah, two such sparring nations were Babylon and Egypt.

Psalm 126: Bringing In The Sheaves

"Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.  He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him" (vs. 5-6).

Friday, July 1, 2016

Jeremiah 45: When God Gets Personal

It would be easy to believe that an individual human being is insignificant to God.  After all, in the Book of Jeremiah, God is seen as planting empires like Babylon and plucking up nations like Judah.  The Lord is involved with the great movements of history and epic wars.  What is a solitary individual to Him?  And yet, Jeremiah 45 reveals that God is just as aware and attuned to the life of one person as He is to all the rest that is raging around him.

Jeremiah 44: Who's At Fault?

Picking through the traumatic events of the destruction of Jerusalem and the exile of Judah, the survivors in Egypt naturally ask themselves, "Why?  Who is at fault for the fall of our nation?"  However, depending upon their spiritual perspective, they come to radically different answers.

Jeremiah 43: Buried Prophecy

After the Judeans flee to Egypt against God's wishes, the Lord instructs Jeremiah to leave them a sign that their search for security will be fruitless.

Jeremiah 42: No Sanctuary In Egypt

Johanan and his band of survivors have a dilemma.  On the run from the king of Babylon because his appointed governor over Judah, Gedaliah, has been assassinated, they are tempted to flee to apparent safety in Egypt.  But before they make their final decision, they decide to consult with Jeremiah the prophet and ask him to intercede for them before the Lord and seek divine guidance.

Jeremiah 41: Treachery!

Things go from bad to worse in Judah as the fallout from the exile continues.

Jeremiah 40: Conspiracy Theory?

We live in a day and age when some people see dark conspiracies connecting every event.  Usually we can dismiss such theories as wild fantasies.  But what about when the conspiracy is real?  Jeremiah 40 relates an episode in Judah's history when just such a thing happened.