The Sovereign Hand of God is at work throughout the Biblical narrative directing the main activity of His redemptive drama onto a relatively small center stage: the shelf of rock known as the mountains of Moriah (lit. ‘seen of God’; or to paraphrase, ‘center stage’). This is where the father, Abraham, was told to take ‘his only son,’ Isaac, and offer his son as a burnt offering. He was to go to one of the mountains “of which I shall tell you” (Genesis 22:2). Abraham, the Father, is told to place his son on the altar to be sacrificed, and then God intervenes, saying that He would provide Himself a sacrifice as a substitute (Genesis 22:8). He was to name the place “Yahweh Jireh.”
Genesis 22:14 14 Abraham called the name of that place The LORD Will Provide, as it is said to this day, “In the mount of the LORD it will be provided.”
It is to this same shelf of rock, the threshing floor of Araunah, that David is directed to build an altar to remove God’s wrath against the great sin of numbering the people. When David saw the angel of the Lord with his sword over Jerusalem ready to destroy it, David offered himself and his family to take the punishment instead of having the whole city destroyed.
1 Chronicles 21:17 17 David said to God, “Is it not I who commanded to count the people? Indeed, I am the one who has sinned and done very wickedly, but these sheep, what have they done? O LORD my God, please let Your hand be against me and my father’s household, but not against Your people that they should be plagued.”
David’s self-sacrifice could not turn away God’s wrath. Only the sacrifice of a sinless substitute can turn away God’s righteous anger against sin and make an atonement (the perfect sacrifice of Christ). So, David is directed to build an altar where one day that perfect atonement would be made on Mt. Moriah, the threshing floor of Araunah, otherwise known as Golgotha, Mt. Calvary, and the temple mount.)
It will be here that approximately 1000 years later, the Promised Son of David would offer the temple of his body on the altar of the cross on this same shelf of rock.
David offered to pay the full price for Araunah’s threshing floor (50 shekels of silver). Araunah offered it as a gift, but David did not want to offer sacrifices without any personal cost to himself. However, we read in 1 Chronicles 21:25, David paid 600 shekels of gold for the site. This purchase evidently included the grounds on which Solomon would build the temple.
It is here that God chose to be His dwelling place. David sings of this in Psalm 132:
In Chronicles Chapter 22, we see David as a father preparing for the work of his son. The father provides the building material and design for the son to build a God-glorifying temple.
The father has secured abundant resources for the work of the son, who will construct a dwelling place for God’s presence to establish His rule on the earth.
Once again, the promises of God do not just have Israel but all nations in view. Just as all the families of the earth would be blessed by Abraham’s seed (Christ), so the temple built by the son would attract worshipers from all nations.
1 Chronicles 22:5 5 David said, “My son Solomon is young and inexperienced, and the house that is to be built for the LORD shall be exceedingly magnificent, famous and glorious throughout all lands. Therefore, now I will make preparation for it.” So David made ample preparations before his death.
David then commissions his son Solomon to build the temple. This has the relationship of God the Father and God the Son in view,
John 5:36b For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me.
The writer of Chronicles has the advantage of hindsight and knows that both the reigns of David and Solomon did not fulfill the Messianic promises of the Davidic covenant. The time of Israel’s kings was over. No son of David would sit on the throne until God would provide His Son to be born in the line of David, to fulfill the promise of a kingdom that would endure forever.
Both David and Solomon, and all human beings, fail to keep the terms of the covenant, “to be careful to keep the law of your God.” As we will read today in Paul’s letter to the Romans, “All have sinned and are presently falling short (the Greek word tense is present continuous) of the glory of God” (Romans 3:20).
Jesus comes to fulfill the law and proves Himself to be the builder, the temple, the glory, the King, the priest, and the sacrifice required to fulfill the terms of the covenant.
Matthew 5:17 17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
David charges his son to build a house for the Name of the Lord. It would be built by Solomon, who is a man of peace and rest. David explains that the Lord said he would not build the house because he had been a man of war and had shed much blood on the earth.
Jesus, in His first coming, would be ’a man of peace’ who would bring peace by shedding His own blood on the cross. (John 14:27; Colossians 1:19)
When Jesus comes a second time, He will come as a man of war (Revelation 19:11) to establish a kingdom of peace on the earth.
The priests and ‘the Levites’ were both descendants of Levi, but the priests had to be descendants of Aaron, the first high priest of Israel. Only they were authorized to perform the sacrifices of the altar. The Levites were descendants of the other sons of Levi- Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. In this permanent temple, their duties were no longer on transporting the tabernacle but focused more on assisting the Aaronic priests in the maintenance of the temple and its services. They did the work of elders, judges, and deacons. They were those who set forth the bread for the table of shewbread, making preparations for the offerings, serving as custodians, assistants, praise leaders, musicians, and repairmen. They participated in morning and evening praise services under the supervision of the priests who were descendants of Aaron.
TODAY’S READING FROM THE NEW TESTAMENT – ROMANS 3:9-31
Paul gives a summary of his argument begun in Romans 1:18, that Gentile and Jews alike, fall short of the glory of God. Both are sinners who, whether born under the law written on tables of stone (the Jews) or the law written on the heart (Gentiles as well as Jews) are condemned and in need of salvation.
Paul summarizes this with Old Testament Scriptures:
Romans 3:10 quotes Psalm 14:1-3; Psalm 53:1-3.
Romans 3:13a quotes Psalm 5:9; Romans 13b quotes Psalm 140:3.
Romans 3:14 quotes Psalm 10:7.
Romans 3:15-17 quotes Isaiah 59:7-8.
Romans 3:18 quotes Psalm 36:1.
Human beings suffer total depravity, which is evident in their minds (Romans 3:10-11, 17-18), hearts (3:12), speech (3:13-14), and their overall behavior and life direction (Romans 3:15-17).
The purpose of the Law was not to aspire striving in self-effort for righteous achievements, for by the works of the law, no flesh is justified. The purpose of the law was to reveal the righteousness we do not have and desperately need. The Law is to show us our need for a Savior.
In Jesus, we not only have righteousness revealed to us, in His perfect example, but we have righteousness offered to us as a gift:
Romans 3:22-24 22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. (NIV)
The Greek verb ‘to justify’ (dikaioo) is used 27 times in the New Testament and is a word that means ‘to declare righteous’. It is a forensic term. It is the proclamation of a legal verdict that all guilt has been acquitted from the accused party, and instead, righteousness is imputed. This describes what happens when a person puts their trust in Who Jesus is as the Son of God, the Lord of all, and what He accomplished when He offered Himself as a sinless substitute on the cross on their behalf. God declares the repentant sinner who believes on the Lord Jesus Christ as being legally absolved of all guilt and credited with the Savior’s perfect righteousness. Jesus’ righteousness, the righteousness of God, is now seen by God as being our own.
Verse 24 underscores important Biblical truths that were freshly rediscovered during the Protestant Reformation. Therefore, the Reformers, such as Martin Luther and John Calvin, trusted “Scripture alone” (Sola Scriptura) instead of the religious understanding that salvation is something that is to be earned through works of our own righteousness.
- It is given freely by grace (Sola gratia- “By grace alone.” It is undeserved favor).
- It is given to all who believe (Sola fide- “By faith alone”)
- The object of saving faith is the Person of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, and His redemptive work on the cross (Solus Christos) “In Christ alone.”
This is all for the glory of God alone (Soli Deo Gloria)! (There you have ‘The 5 Solas’ of the Reformation).
What good news this is– guilty sinners can be justified by faith in Christ; Justified-” ‘Just as if I’d’ never sinned.”
Penitent believers in Christ Jesus and His finished work are received by a holy God, not only as those who have been fully pardoned but those who have been credited with the righteousness of Christ!
Justification by faith does not nullify the Law as a revelation of righteousness; it points to the fulfillment of the Law’s demands in and through the Lord Jesus Christ.
TODAY’S READING FROM THE BOOK OF PSALMS- PSALM 12:1-8
The Psalmist bemoans the condition of society. Where have the godly and faithful gone? Fake news and flattery, beguiling and deceptive talk are the communication channels of the day. (12:1-4). “What is vile is honored among men” as “the wicked freely strut about” (12:8). This could have been written today rather than 3000 years ago.
The Lord hears the cry of the oppressed, the weak, and the needy and will come to their defense (12:5).
What anchors us securely in troubling times?
Psalm 12:6 6 The words of the LORD are pure words (flawless-NIV); As silver tried in a furnace on the earth, refined seven times.
TODAY’S READING FROM THE BOOK OF PROVERBS- PROVERBS 19:13-14
Proverbs 19:13-14 13 A foolish son is destruction to his father, and the contentions of a wife are a constant dripping. 14 House and wealth are an inheritance from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the LORD.
The Hebrew people recognize that wisdom is not merely the intellectual grasp of true principles; it is the behavioral application of truth. God’s Word gives us instruction from our heavenly Father. We are fools not to obey it. God gives counsel for our relationships and for marriage in particular. Marital contentions can wear one down. But God gives us His Word and His Holy Spirit to sanctify married couples and prepare them, and all believers to be the sanctified bride of Christ.
We should pray for Iran as tensions between Europe, the US, and Iran develop over the violation and abandonment of the nuclear agreement.
The following is from the Operation World Prayer App. www.operationworld.org/prayer-app/
The 1979 Islamic Revolution promised peace and prosperity, but 30 years later, it still has not come. Instead, a legacy of bloodshed, cruelty, injustice, corruption and economic hardship left many disappointed with the conservative religious leaders and their narrow version of Islam. An estimated 13 million Iranians live below the poverty line. Around 200,000 of Iran’s best-educated young people emigrate every year. Iran has one of the highest rates of opium addiction in the world, 200,000 street children, and widespread (but hidden) prostitution. Iran is an ancient, noble, and proud civilization. But in the modern era, these struggles have made many people, especially young people, very open to the gospel. Pray that Iranians’ desires for greatness, prosperity, freedom, and even for righteousness might ultimately be met through worship of Jesus.
PRAYER: Sovereign Lord, You have demonstrated in Your dealings with Your servants that You are ever mindful of our greatest need. You are faithful to have called us into fellowship with Your Son. He is our dwelling place; our perfect King, Priest, Prophet, Judge, sacrifice, and the One through Whom we have access into Your presence and can behold Your glory. We are grateful for the gospel that has called us out of darkness into Your marvelous light and that through faith in our Lord Jesus and His saving work on the cross, we are justified freely by grace! Thank You for the full pardon and the gift of Your Indwelling Holy Spirit that we have received. Empower us this day to live for You and through You. Soli Deo Gloria. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.