TODAY’S READING FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT- 1 CHRONICLES 9:1-10:14.
The writer of Chronicles takes us forward in history, giving us a list in Chapter 9 of the remnant from the tribe of Judah that are the first to return to Jerusalem after the seventy-year Babylonian captivity. King Cyrus of Persia sponsored the first group of exiles led by Zerubbabel and Joshua, the priest, in 538 BC. (The second remnant to return led by Ezra did not occur until 458 BC, 20 years after Esther became Queen of Persia.)
Israel would have priests serving the altar of God after the captivity, but no King on the throne of David, until Jesus, the Expected One, the Christ, arrives as King of the Jews.
Returning members of the priestly tribe of Levites are listed along with their responsibilities. Notice how they apply to your New Testament role as a ‘believer-priest’ in the house of God. Christians are also ‘responsible for ministering to the Lord’, and to serve as ‘gatekeepers responsible for guarding the entrance of the dwelling of the Lord’.
The Apostle Peter says we are a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9). How are you doing with ‘the positions of trust’ that God has given you in the house of the Lord, the body of Christ? Do you share the gospel and welcome people into the family of God?
The gatekeepers in Jerusalem had their day and night shifts. Because the city, the rooms and treasuries needed to be protected 24/7, from time to time, their brothers from the villages would come and give them relief.
Many practical duties needed attention in the temple. These were ‘the deacons’ of the Old Testament church. Each one had an assignment to take care of the furnishings of the sanctuary.
It is interesting that we don’t know the precise names of those who were in charge of the particular temple duties, with the exception of a man named Mattithiah. He was the firstborn son of Shallum, the Kohathite, and was in charge of baking the bread to be set out on the table every Sabbath. (It is good to see this honorable mention given to the baker in the Book of Chronicles!)
Notice that the heads of the Levite families were musicians, and that they were exempt from other duties “because they were responsible for their important work day and night”. Making music to encourage God-honoring praise was not just for an hour on Sunday!
The history of the church has been blessed by those who were full time servants of the church devoted to writing music for worship services. Johann Sebastian Bach served many churches and was director of church music for the city of Leipzig, Germany. When he was starting out, he would write a sacred cantata every month. In 1724 he wrote a fresh cantata every week! He dedicated each work to the glory of God alone, writing at the end of each sheet of music; – SDG- Soli Deo Gloria! We can be grateful for those who minister unto the Lord in music. (1 Chronicles 9:32).
As we are learning, The Book of Chronicles will focus on the tribe of Judah and the reign of King David in particular. The writer has the advantage of hindsight to recognize that the Messiah was yet to come, yet David was a clear type of the man who would be after God’s heart, the Son of David, the Son of God, Jesus Christ.
The priority given to the reign of David is clearly seen when we get to chapter 10. Here are the only verses dedicated to the reign of King Saul of the tribe of Benjamin. (1 Chronicles 10:1-14). Just 14 verses. The summary of the life of King Saul is not an admirable one. He is noted for his defeats and his attempt to take his own life. Nothing is mentioned of his victories that are recorded in 1 Samuel. His history as recorded in 1 Chronicles is one of shame:
1 Chronicles 10:13-14 13 So Saul died for his trespass which he committed against the LORD, because of the word of the LORD which he did not keep; and also because he asked counsel of a medium, making inquiry of it, 14 and did not inquire of the LORD. Therefore, He killed him and turned the kingdom to David the son of Jesse.
TODAY’S READING FROM THE NEW TESTAMENT – ACTS 27:21-44
Paul was taken on board the ship a prisoner. But when the terrible storm comes and threatens the lives of all on board, it is Paul who acts as the captain. Very often when non-Christians are going through trials they will turn to the man or woman of God they previously gave little attention to and seek their counsel.
In this part of Acts 27, it is the apostle Paul, and not the ship captain, who is giving the orders. He even conducts a worship service on board the ship (Acts 27:35).
Paul affirms that the Word of the Lord is sure and that his previous warning about suffering damage and loss was true (Acts 27:21).
Paul speak with confidence because he has divine assurance that their lives will be spared, and he would soon stand before Caesar to testify of the gospel.
There are 276 souls on board, and not one of them was lost, although the ship hit a sandbar and was broken to pieces by the pounding surf.
The soldiers planned to kill the prisoners to prevent them from escaping, but because of the testimony of Paul, their extraordinary prisoner, all the other prisoners were spared, and everyone reached the land in safety.
TODAY’S READING FROM THE BOOK OF PSALMS- PSALM 8:1-9
This is a tremendous Psalm and is often quoted. The Bookends of this Psalm are identical twins, verses 1 and 14.
Psalm 8:1 1
O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth, Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens!
Psalm 8:9 9 O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth!
Psalm 8:4 4 What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him?
The answer to that question is found in Jesus Christ. He is the perfect man, the son of Man. He is the Last Adam. He is man as He, as God, made man to be— full of the Spirit, the express image of God’s person.
We are shown the dignity of our humanity according to creation, and his exaltation through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus to the privileged position of being His joint heir and an heir of God.
Psalm 8:6 6 You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet.
This is our position “in Christ Jesus”!
TODAY’S READING FROM THE BOOK OF PROVERBS- PROVERBS 18:23-24
Proverbs 18:23-24 23 The poor man utters supplications, But the rich man answers roughly. 24 A man of too many friends comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
It is doubtful that a man who has too many friends has sufficient time to devote to meaningful in-depth personal relationships. But there is one friend who sticks closer that a brother.
We may have friends, our brothers in Christ with whom we share a spiritual union that makes us closer than a natural born brother, but there is One who is a friend of sinners, who will never leave us or forsake us- a friend who loves at all times- Jesus Christ (Proverbs 17:17)
PRAY FOR THE NATIONS- INDONESIA
PRAYER: Father, we are humbled by the kindness You have shown us by sending Christ to us, who died for us, to live in us. We are grateful that You put us in Christ, and Christ baptized us with the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit baptized us into the body of Christ (1 Cor 1:30; Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33; 1 Corinthians 12:13). We marvel at Your creation as it reflects the majesty of Your Name. But “what is man that You are mindful of us” and have given us such a privileged status as mature sons, heirs qualified to receive an inheritance and reign with Christ? Hallelujah! What a Savior!
- Pastor David