TODAY’S READING FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT- 1 CHRONICLES 12:19-14:17
This section continues to describe how the Lord was bringing more people to support David.
1 Chronicles 12:22 22 For day by day men came to David to help him, until there was a great army like the army of God.
The Scriptures remind us that there was a cost associated with following David before he was formally installed as King. Some of the men from the tribe of Manasseh defected from Saul to join David when he went with the Philistines. They also helped David defend himself against raiding bands (1 Chronicles 12:21).
The Chronicler records the numbers of those who loyally identified with David, and were fully determined to make David king over all Israel (1 Chronicles 12:38).
We can see the hand of the Lord in bringing support to David as day after day people were added to his army. It reminds us of the Book of Acts.
Acts 2:47. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.
As the numbers of the tribes are listed, we read about the men of Issachar:
1 Chronicles 12:32 32 Of the sons of Issachar, men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do, their chiefs were two hundred; and all their kinsmen were at their command.
They understood what was happening in history. I believe what is implied is that these men recognized that God had rejected the house of Saul and that His hand was on David and that their priority was to ensure that David be enthroned as king.
Do we understand our times in the context of God’s activities in redemptive history? Do we know what we are to be doing in this present age? Do we rally to the charge to make disciples of King Jesus during this present age of darkness?
David sets out his agenda:
1 Chronicles 13:3 3 “Let us bring back the ark of our God to us, for we did not seek it in the days of Saul.”
The ark symbolized the Mosaic covenant that placed the very presence of God’s glory in their midst. It bore the testimony of God’s self-revelation in the wilderness.
Throughout the reign of King Saul, the ark of the covenant had been ignored and neglected. It was kept in the village of Kiriath Jearim. It is taken from Abinadab’s house on a new Philistine cart, rather than the prescribed means of transport on the shoulders of the Kohathites. Uzzah is struck dead when he tries to steady the ark with his hand. The place of Uzzah’s death is called Perez Uzza to this day.
The ark was to be transported on staves of wood, symbolizing the cross. We cannot bear the presence or come into the presence of Christ without the work of the cross.
David reacts with anger and changes his plans and delivers the ark to the house of Obededom where it stays for 3 months.
1 Chronicles 13:14 14 Thus the ark of God remained with the family of Obed-edom in his house three months; and the LORD blessed the family of Obed-edom with all that he had.
Hiram, king of Tyre, sent messengers to David with supplies of cedar logs, stonemasons, and carpenters.
1 Chronicles 14:2 2 And David realized that the LORD had established him as king over Israel, and that his kingdom was highly exalted, for the sake of His people Israel.
We see that David disobeys God’s written word and multiplies wives to himself (Deuteronomy 17:17; 1 Chronicles 14:3). Some of his children are listed here, but noticeably absent in the list are those whose sad endings we have read about: Amnon, Absalom, Adonijah, and Tamar.
When the Philistines hear that David had been made king of Israel, they search for him. David inquires as to whether he should attack the Philistines who were raiding the Valley of Rephaim. The Lord assures David of victory and he is granted success.
When the Philistines attack again, David inquires of the Lord, who gives specific instruction
1 Chronicles 14:16-17 16 David did just as God had commanded him, and they struck down the army of the Philistines from Gibeon even as far as Gezer. 17 Then the fame of David went out into all the lands; and the LORD brought the fear of him on all the nations.
TODAY’S READING FROM THE NEW TESTAMENT – ROMANS 1:1-17
Paul wrote this letter to Rome before he or any of the apostles had personally been to Rome. The church most likely was planted by believers who returned there from Jerusalem at Pentecost or travelers who heard the gospel in other places and brought it back to the Empire’s capital city.
This is the first letter in the sequence of New Testament epistles although it is not the earliest written. Paul is addressing the need of the church to accept both the Jews and the Gentiles. The Jews had been banished from Rome and were being permitted re-entrance. It was important for the Gentile Christians at Rome to make room for the Jewish believers and appreciate that they were being grafted into the story.
Paul wrote Romans in 57 AD from Corinth while on his third missionary journey.
I n writing this pastoral letter to the church in Rome, Paul makes it clear that the ‘gospel of God’ is the answer to the dilemma of both Jew and Gentile. The good news is centered on the person and work of His Son. The entire Bible is centered on the theme of God providing redemption according to His promise of a Messiah.
In the opening paragraph of this epistle, Paul confidently proclaims that Jesus of Nazareth is this Messiah, anticipated by the prophets, the promised son of David. The resurrection gives him the confidence that Jesus is the Son of God (Romans 1:4).
Paul’s salvation and calling as an apostle is completely dependent upon the person and work of Jesus Christ. And so is our salvation. We are saved and belong to God as members of His church simply by the obedience of faith, that is, heeding the gospel’s demand for committed trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The gospel is the good news about God salvaging the human race, restoring it to a right relationship with Himself and then to fulfill His choice purposes, restoring it to mint condition (undamaged, as if freshly minted, like manufactured money).
We read of the person and work of Christ as it is anticipated in the Old Testament, as it is accomplished in the gospels, and as it is analyzed in the epistles. The gospels and the book of Acts tell us what Jesus did and the epistles tell us what it means.
Paul is thankful for the testimony of God’s saving grace in the church at Rome. He describes his own personal readiness in terms of eagerness. He is eager to come visit them and minister his portion of Christ among them (Romans 1:15). It is a readiness of heart, “I am longing to see you”. It is a readiness of mind, “I am not ashamed of the gospel”, and it is a readiness of his will. He explains that he has been persevering in his attempts to visit them (v,13) and has not given up. His actions reflect his conviction that ‘good news is for sharing’. He says, “I am under obligation” to all people.
The great missionary to Africa and India, CT Studd said: “If Jesus Christ be God, and died for me, no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for him.”
We are all under obligation to share the gospel with as many people as possible. We have been given spiritual gifts and opportunities for service. The love of God compels us to use them for the building up of the church of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The gospel is about the power of God doing for us what we could not do for ourselves. It is a revelation of the righteousness of God, from faith to faith, from first to last.
It is helpful to think of ‘righteousness’ as ‘rightness’. God is ‘ever in the right’. Because of sin, we are ‘ever in the wrong’. How can God who is ‘ever in the right’ make us who are ‘in the wrong’, ‘in the right’, without compromising His rightness?
The answer is in the cross. In the cross of Christ God righteously judges sin in His Son, the sinless substitute and provides forgiveness to those who receive Him as such by faith.
This is the message that we are called to preach. This is a pastoral epistle to a local church, but it is also a clear exposition of the doctrine of salvation to all churches. For this reason, the Book of Romans has sometimes been called, “The Gospel According to St. Paul”.
Romans 1:16-17 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.”
TODAY’S READING FROM THE BOOK OF PSALMS- PSALMS 9:13-20
The Psalm keeps both heaven and hell in view. We read about the enemy coming to everlasting ruins, the nations sinking into the pit that they made, and receiving the Lord’s judgment. We also read of the humble penitent soul who appeals to God to lift him from the gates of death.
Psalm 9:13-14 13 Be gracious to me, O LORD; See my affliction from those who hate me, You who lift me up from the gates of death, 14 That I may tell of all Your praises, That in the gates of the daughter of Zion I may rejoice in Your salvation.
TODAY’S READING FROM THE BOOK OF PROVERBS- PROVERBS 19:4-5
Proverbs 19:4-5 4 Wealth adds many friends, but a poor man is separated from his friend. 5 A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who tells lies will not escape.
We are reminded of our responsibility to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), be aware of the deceptive nature of wealth, and to be compassionate to the poor.
PRAY FOR THE NATIONS- INDONESIA
Sulawesi has over 110 people groups. Most coastal peoples are Muslim, and Christians are a majority in the northeast and the central highlands. Violent conflict between Muslims and Christians (1990s and 2000s) left over 1,000 people dead. Christians feel unfairly treated and harshly punished. Pray for a Christlike response. Bible translation is an enormous unfinished task. Pray for the less-reached Muslim Bugis, Makassar, and Gorontalo peoples. The Makassar are one of a few strongly Muslim groups to show some response to the gospel.
PRAYER: Gracious God we thank You for the gospel centered in Your Son. You have declared Your glory and His centrality in the work of redemption by raising His from the dead. In Him we have redemption and the forgiveness of sins. In Him we have acceptance and eternal life. In Him we are blessed with every spiritual blessing. Keep us ready to share this good news; readiness of mind, heart and will. May we be mindful that it is Your power unto salvation to everyone who believes. Keep us alert to opportunities to reach out with Your message of reconciliation to all kinds of people, Jews and Gentiles, that they may have peace. In Jesus’ Name.