Friday, May 21, 2010

2 Chronicles Chapters 17-20

17:3 - It is always worth noting one of the few honorable kings of the OT.

17:9 and 10 - I like this...the king not only honors God with his own life, but he sets up a system so that his people can be instructed on godly living. We know that peoples' lives are changed by the teaching because the fear of the Lord strikes all their neighbors. When people living a lie are confronted by people living in the truth - they fear it.

18:5 - Ahab gathers the prophets to him, but what prophets did he gather? We already know that Israel abolished God's prophets, so these must be prophets that are in the king's pocket. Jehosshaphat very intelligently wants a second you see what he says - "Yeah is there somebody around that can actually inquire of the Lord." In his world, you can find countless people who will tell you what you want to hear or give you their expert opinion, but those are worth nothing compared to a person who will speak God's truh into your life.

Chapter 18 - I know some crazy stuff takes place here, but you can sheck out my comments on this same story from I Kings chapter 22.

19:2 - The first real issue we see in the life of Jehoshaphat is that he is willing to get involved and influenced by men who do not honor God with their lives.

20:6 - When faced with nearly impossible odds, the king knows that he can only rely on God and leads the whole nation in petitioning the Lord. Great example for us to live out in our own lives. Before anything else - seek the Lord.

20:33 - He was a pretty good king but he did not follow through and hold his people accountable t the faith. Good leaders not only fight for and set the example in their own personal purity, but they demand personal purity of their followers as well.

20:37 - Again we see that Jehoshaphat is easily influenced by ungodly people.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

2 Chronicles Chapters 13-16

13:9 - If you offer yourself to anything other than God, looking to be fulfilled and will be left empty, having made yourself a priest of a non-existent, powerless god. Why do we do this? Why do we worship at the altar of things that continually let us down, believing that next time they will bring the satisfaction we desire. Offer yourself to God.

13:15 - This war cry is reminiscent of the shout that God's people let out when they are surrounding the city of Jericho. The men of Judah are surrounded on all sides, outnumbered 2-to-1, but they trust in God and cry out in confidence. They know that God will prevail and they live like it - do you?

14:3 - Abijah trusted God when it came to battle, but it seems that he didn't trust God enough to give his whole life to the Lord. When his son takes over as king, there are idols to false gods that Abijah allowed to exist in Judah. Asa on the other hand, understands that God-fearers must be willing to offer God their whole life - every area...and he starts cleaning house. What are the things that you and I need to cleanse from our lives - are there idols that we allow to replace God?

15:8 - We see a second reference to Asa removing idols and a thought comes to mind, "Did the people start worshipping idols again? Is that why he has to tear the altars down a second time?" Well, what we are reading here is the actual account of what was described at the beginning of chapter 14. Asa is introduced as a good king who removed the pagan altars...the story is told in full in chapter 15 as we see why he was motivated to do so - he wanted the people of Judah to be utterly faithful to God.

16:9 - Great verse! This might be coming soon for my boy's bible verse memory list. God sees all over the world all the time - He knows who you are and where you are and He is offering support to those who are faithful. Remember that you are never alone and that you are never helpless.

16:12 - Unfortunately as we have often seen, the king does not remain totally faithful at the end of his life. He starts to ignore God and put his trust in the strength and wisdom of man. As a follower of God, I want to finish well. I want to be at my most faithful and my most humble in my relationships with God as I get older.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

2 Chronicles Chapters 9-12

9:8 - We all need to ask ourselves, "Is this how people see us?" Talk about a challenge! Because of the wisdom of Solomon, the Queen of Sheba praises God. When people come in contact with us, do they thank God? Are we living out a lifestyle as God-followers that is so different that people are drawn to God?

10: 4 and 7 - The people are not asking for anything absurd - they are asking for a little bit of a break. They are asking Rehoboam to take his foot off the gas a little. The older advisers know that if the new king is willing to do this, he will have the people's hearts forever. New leaders cannot come in and assume that they can leader with the same authority as the leader before them...they have to earn the respect of the people who follow them before they can really start pushing. Unfortunately, Rehoboam decides to go to the other extreme and push the people mercilessly.

10:15 - This is the culmination of the prophecy that comes from I Kings Chapter 11.

11:14 and 15 - The people of Israel who rebel against the harsh rule of the king have every right to do that. He is being unjust and the text doesn't ever mention that they are wrong for doing so. Unfortunately, the rebels decide to get a little bit crazy. They kick the priesthood out of their territory and start worshipping golden calves and goat demons. That is what is known as the fast track to bringing God's wrath upon you! It is not their political rebellion that gets them in trouble, but their spiritual rebellion.

11:21 - Duet 17:17 clearly shows us that God does not approve of polygamy in His kings (or His people for that matter), but we can see that have a multitude of wives has become commonplace for the kings of Israel. The really tragic nature of polygamous families in the bible is that the husbands always pick a favorite. A favorite wife...a favorite child...and then the jealousies start to pie up and the in fighting and pretty soon all chaos is breaking loose.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

2 Chronicles Chapters 5-8

5:13-14 - This is such an awesome description of worship! Throughout these chapters as we look at Solomon's temple, I am going to make the connection to the new temple...the body of Christ - Christians. Next time we are gathered for worship, think back to this verse and remember that the Spirit of the Lord has filled you! That cloud that had the priests in awe is in your heart...let the glory of the Lord shine as you praise His name.

6:32 - Solomon understands completely the missional heart of God.He knows that God wants all people to be drawn to Him. The purpose of the Israelites existing as a holy, priest nation was to bring attention to the Name of God. To exist as a catalyst to bring all nations to Him.

6:41-42 - I Peter 2:9 tells us that followers of Jesus Christ are a royal priesthood. Aren't these verses awesome when you think about that? We are clothes in the blood of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ which brings us salvation. And because of his great mercy - we can rejoice!

7:1 - More powerful imagery here - the flames of heaven come down and consume the sacrifice. Some of us wonder why things like this don't happen any more, but we need to understand that they do. Like on the day of Pentecost at the beginning of the Book of Acts, the flames of fire come down onto the followers of Christ and they are filled with the Holy Spirit and able to share the truth about Jesus in ways they had never dreamed. God still consumes the sacrifices of His people with we offer ourselves as living sacrifices and the Holy Spirit of God comes upon us like a fire, burning away the lies and sins of this world.

7:15-16 - Just like God says He chose the temple and consecrated it in His name, He has also chosen us and consecrated us through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Wherever we go...He hears us...He knows us...we are the temple of God consecrated in His name to make make His name great in this world.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

2 Chronicles Chapters 1-4

1:6 - I love the example that Solomon set for us. The first thing that he does as king, is lead the people in worship of God. One of the things that he and his father David always did (In the times in their lives when they were focused on godliness), was go to God in worship and prayer before every major decision and in response to every victory. Is that not how God-fearers should live their lives? We should live like that on a daily basis.

1:10 - Do you see why Solomon asks for wisdom? He specifically asks for wisdom so that he can have the ability to lead GOD'S people. Solomon knows his place...he knows that even as a king, he is the servant of God. Parents - are you daily going before the Lord to ask for the wisdom you need to lead His children that He has gifted to you? Teachers? Leaders? Bosses?

1:11 - Do you ever wonder if Solomon was just giving his best churchy answer to God? Ex: God - "What can I give you Solomon?" Solomon - "Oh...uh...wisdom to lead your people, yeah that's it (Thinking: now God will give me what I really want!)." Verse 11 shows us that was not the case. God knows that Solomon honestly wanted wisdom to lead and He honors that request.

2:6 - God cannot be contained! I love how Solomon puts it...even the heavens cannot contain God! Solomon has an incredible understanding of the nature of God. Human beings cannot build God a home to live in...we should never allow ourselves to think of church as the place God dwells. Beliefs like that have allowed people to live their lives as if God isn't always with them...they put on their best behavior for church and then do whatever they want during the rest of the week. What an offensive view of God! Solomon knows a little bit about the magnitude of God's presence. We can't build a place to contain God, but we can build a place for His followers to gather so that they can be energized and inspired to go back out and honor His name.

2:12 - I love this! God's name is made great in other countries because of the example that King David and King Solomon live out for the world to see. Their faithfulness brings honor to God. May I live a life that brings honor to the name of God and understand that my actions can also bring dishonor to the name that I carry as a follower of Jesus.

2:17 - Uh-oh, Solomon takes data from the census (Which God hated and considered sinful) and uses it to put over 150,000 into forced labor in Israel. We get our first picture of the chink in Solomon's armor, which I believe is pride. He has unmatchable wisdom and unimaginable wealth, but he didn't ask for humility and it comes back to bite him as the years roll on. The people who were freed from generation after generation of slavery in Egypt have now become the slave masters in the Promised Land. Not a good sign.

Friday, May 7, 2010

I Chronicles Chapters 26-29

26:1 - The gatekeepers were incredibly zealous for God's I the same way?

27:3 - The is the "in a pit with a lion on a snowy day guy." He is an incredible individual fighter - he made a name for himself with fantastic combat victories. But we see here that he used his influence and abilities to lead other people instead of using it solely for personal recognition. It is always such a waste when talented individuals use their God-given gifts only to honor themselves...when they have such an opportunity to influence people around them.

28:8 - To maintain the covenant and remain in the Promised Land, the people needed to stay true to the Lord...David is reminding them of this fact. Unfortunately they don't remember and it gets ugly. Life has a habit of spiraling out of control when we choose to totally reject God.

28:9 - I love what David says to Solomon here...he has a great understanding of what it means to be a follower of God. Following God means that you offer every area of your life to Him as an act of worship...every area. It means you fight for righteousness and strive to honor God with your words, actions, thoughts, etc. There are no secret areas that we can keep hidden from God, so everything counts.

29:9 - I love this picture...they find great joy in giving away their material possessions to God's work! Is that what offering time looks like in our churches? How can they find such joy in sacrifice? Because they gave freely out of the love for God in their hearts...they had no expectations of future blessings...they had no fears...they just let themselves worship.

29:15 - In the ESV David says there is "no abiding" to end this verse. That means his view of life s that there is no hope...humans beings live and then thy die. Even for the Israelites, their only hope was a future for their descendants...they didn't have a fully realized understanding of eternity with God. How incredible is it that we have access to the hope that comes through Jesus Christ? We know how this story ends...we know that there is more to existence then just this life!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

I Chronicles Chapters 23-25

Wow - that is quite the chronicle of the temple organization! It makes for some really tantalizing reading, huh? Remember, when we come to passages like this, mine it for truth and try to think about it in the context of the Israelites. This is a historical document that lays out the structure and heritage of the priesthood around the time the first temple for God was built. Pretty important stuff in Jewish and Christian history though it is a tough read. Secondly, it really highlights how important it was for David to leave behind a legacy of faithfulness. You can see from the thought and effort he is pouring into this organization how desperately he wants to be the man to build God the temple, but he is unable to do it because he was a man of war. So instead of jealously trying to destroy his son's chances of building the temple, he tries to do everything he can to make sure that Solomon will be successful in honoring God. David has his rough moments in life, but this is a real testament to his heart for God and his love for Solomon.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I Chronicles Chapters 20-22

20:8 - So who are these giant people? Were they an entire nation of giants? What does all this mean? Some of these men were literally giant men. Goliath who David killed was almost 10 feet tall. Og the king of Bashan had a bed that was 13 feet long! The Rephaim described in I Chronicles 20 sound like they also are giant men. But I think it is safe to assume that not every descendant of these people was huge. These men are unique and stand out as warrior champions. The word Rephaim is also used to mean "important/great men" in the bible, so they may just be a race of people who are powerful, but not all literal giants.

21:1 - Satan is named the adversary here in the original Hebrew. It is really important that we understand the significance of this passage. We can see that the Israelites are starting to understand more about what is going on in the unseen world. Their theology has expanded and God has revealed to them that there is an adversarial force that is working against Him. Satan has come to tempt David into rejecting God.

21:3 - David is tempted by Satan, yes, but the he is the one who chooses to give into the temptation...and he goes all out. Joab confronts him and says, "Who cares how many people there are - isn't it enough that they are all your servants...don't do this David." He knows the census is wrong because it shifts the focus from God's power to man's power, but David rejects the good advise and pushes forward on his destructive path.

21:13 - Of all those choices, why does David choose death by pestilence at the hand of the angel of the Lord? Because he wants God to be the one to pour out the judgement and not nature (famine) or mankind (invading army). He trusts that God will act out of love and show mercy on His people, which is exactly what happens. How many hundreds of thousands would have died in three years of famine? How many people would have been raped and tortured and murdered by an invading army. David chooses to trust the punishment of the God who loves them.

21:17 - David fully understands now the enormity of the responsibility wrapped up in leadership. These people are punished because of his pride. How many times has that been the story of earthly kingdoms? Thousands of people punished and hurt for the arrogance of their leader.

Interesting side note - the place where David finally acknowledges his guilt and pleads for forgiveness with God, is the site of the future temple of the Lord. So now God has given the Israelites peace by giving them victory over the enemies surrounding them, and He follows up by allowing these events to bring about the building of the temple where they will have the spiritual power to overcome their adversary Satan. Pretty cool.

22:5 - I think it is awesome that David works so hard to give his son the tools he needs to be successful when he takes over as king. I want to do the same for my children...I want to give them the tools they need to be successful followers of God in this world.

22:16 - Great mission trip slogan! "Arise and work! The Lord is with you!"