TODAY’S READING FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT- 2 CHRONICLES 4:1-6:11
The temple and its furnishings are built to a much grander scale than the wilderness tabernacle we became familiar with in the earlier part of the Old Testament.
The increase in size was needed to accommodate the large crowds that would be attending the feasts on the high holidays (Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles), as well as the daily sacrifices as the Temple in Jerusalem became the central place of worship for the nation.
Later in 2 Chronicles we will read of the worshipers assembling at the temple in Jerusalem, from the entire land of Israel.
2 Chronicles 30:13 13 Now many people were gathered at Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the second month, a very large assembly.
The temple portrays the dramatic means required to bring the human race back into a right relationship with God. Nothing short of the perfect sinless sacrifice of Christ, symbolized by the shed blood of a spotless animal substitute, can remove God’s wrath against sin and restore sinners to genuine fellowship with God.
The ark was brought from its temporary tent-dwelling to the temple and placed in the inner sanctuary, the Holiest of all. The mercyseat over the ark of the covenant, containing the Law of God, was designed to receive the blood of the Substitute. The carved images of the cherubim, protectors of God’s holiness, originally guarding the way back to Eden (Paradise) are pictured looking for the blood of the sacrifice.
The Books of 1 and 2 Chronicles were compiled by a single author after the Babylonian exile, yet it seems that some of it was written before the destruction of Solomon’s temple in 587 BC. This is most likely why you have the statement indicating that the poles that carried the ark of the covenant “are there to this day” (2 Chronicles 5:9).
In 2 Chronicles 5:14 we read of the glory of the Lord filling the house so that the priests could not minister because of the cloud.
This is a foreshadowing that when Christ, the glory of God, perfectly fulfills His role as the Lamb of God for sinners slain, there will be no more need for the Old Testament priesthood with all of its temple sacrifices.
TODAY’S READING FROM THE NEW TESTAMENT – ROMANS 7:1-13
The gospel declares our freedom. In Christ we are free, not just from the debt of sin, but also from the demand of sin. We are not only free from sin’s penalty; we are free from sin’s power.
Paul anticipates that the believer might stop short of entering into the liberty of their salvation, because of old habits in which they rely upon their own self-justifying efforts. We revert to the impossible task of trying to bring forth righteousness in the flesh. Instead of embracing our faith-union with Christ and trusting Him as the Lord our righteousness, enjoying His presence and joyfully serving Him in the enabling power of the Holy Spirit, we put ourselves back in the cage of slavish obedience to the law, trying to please God through the self-justifying works of the flesh.
The futility of this arrangement is illustrated by an unhappy marriage of a sincere woman married to a perfectionist husband. We will call him “Mr. Law”. Mr. Law is himself a man of perfection and he expects his wife to be just as perfect. He expects her to fulfill his demands for the perfect management and upkeep of the household and yet does not lift a finger to assist her. This relationship makes her miserable. She is bound to this unhappy marriage, with no relief in sight. The legal clause of their marriage covenant was “Until death do they part” and she was bound to keep it. This relationship was a continual drudgery in which she was reminded of her many failures as she fell short of her husband’s righteous demands and bore his condemnation at the end of the day.
But the Apostle Paul speaks of a happy turn of events. One day this woman is liberated from the no-win relationship through death. She is now legally put in a position where she is free to marry another, Mr. Grace, who is as much a man of perfection as Mr. Law, except that he promises to fulfill every one of his righteous demands on her behalf. He invites her to have the joy of a harmonious relationship working together. In this new marriage she is free to serve righteousness in the newness of spirit!
The woman is liberated from her relationship of bondage to Mr. Law through death. The Apostle Paul does not teach that ‘the Law’ dies, but ‘the relationship of bondage to the Law’ dies when we die with Christ on the cross. Our inclusion in Christ’s death not only liberates us from our bondage to sin but also to our bondage to the law. If we are walking after the flesh (our old sin nature) and married to the Law we will be miserable. If we walk after the Spirit, as those who are identified with Christ, we can have a joyful relationship with the Lord our Righteousness (Mr. Grace).
Mr. Law is spiritual, holy, righteous and good, but does not function as a helpful husband. He was helpful to point out failings. But he did not offer transformative power to enable his bride to fulfill righteousness. Our own sin deceives us into thinking that we can fulfill these demands in our strength apart from a relationship with the Lord our righteousness. But the result is death rather than life.
Paul describes principles that operate within us. He refers to them as laws.
When I end up doing the things that I make no allowances for, I transgress what I know to be good. This is the law of sin. (Romans 7:16-18)
When I don’t do the things, I know that I ought to do, I lack the sufficient life to do them. This is the law of death (Romans 7:19-20).
Paul would like to do good (fulfill God’s law) but finds a self-sabotaging principle of evil working within. This is the flesh, the old sin nature that is prone to self-justifying efforts to fulfill the law.
As the poor wife described in his earlier situation, the Apostle Paul confesses that left to himself and his old sin nature, prone to self-justifying works, he is a prisoner both to the law of sin and the law of death.
Romans 7:2424 Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?
The answer is not a ‘what’ but a ‘who’; not a ‘program’ or ‘prescription’ but a Person. The answer is to be found “in Christ Jesus”. Christ living, dying, rising for us in order for Him to live in us, by the Holy Spirit.
Romans 7:25-8:2 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin. 1 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.
TODAY’S READING FROM THE BOOK OF PSALMS- PSALMS 17:1-15
This is a prayer of David. His prayer is dependent upon a righteousness he does not have, but believes in. From your presence let my vindication come! Jesus is the unseen mediator. Our right standing depends upon Him. His perfect living. His perfect speech.
David has this confidence in prayer because he has found refuge in his Savior.
Psalm 17:6-8 6 I have called upon You, for You will answer me, O God; Incline Your ear to me, hear my speech. 7 Wondrously show Your lovingkindness, O Savior of those who take refuge at Your right hand From those who rise up against them. 8 Keep me as the apple of the eye; Hide me in the shadow of Your wings.
David describes the threats of the enemies that surround him and war against his soul (17:9-12). He calls out for deliverance from his enemy and full vindication: “Arise O Lord!” “Confront him!” “Subdue him!”
He contrasts how his prospects compare to those of his enemy: “the men of this world have their portion in this life.”
Psalm 17:15 15 As for me, I shall behold Your face in righteousness; I will be satisfied with Your likeness when I awake.
David’s hope is in fellowship with his eternal God in the resurrection.
TODAY’S READING FROM THE BOOK OF PROVERBS – PROVERBS 19:22-23
Proverbs 19:22-23 22 What is desirable in a man is his kindness, And it is better to be a poor man than a liar. 23 The fear of the LORD leads to life, So that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil.
PRAY FOR THE NATIONS – ISRAEL
Here is a link for a video from Prayercast.com:
Pray for the Body of Christ in Israel to be strong and unwavering amid persecution and hardship.
- Pray for the Jewish people to call on the name of Yeshua the Messiah.
- Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
The Chosen People and the Promised Land of scripture stand as testaments to the faithfulness of God’s promises. Despite having very limited natural resources, Israelis have developed thriving agricultural and industrial sectors in less than twenty years. Home to many historically and religiously significant Christian, Muslim, and Jewish sites, the capital city of Jerusalem has been conquered and reconquered for over 3,000 years, which has left the “Old City” quite divided. The capital is not the only partitioned area of Israel, though, as most of the nation still reflects an ancient and violent rift between the Palestinian and Jewish communities that has only deepened through the centuries.
Despite various attempts to reconcile differences and settle land partitions, nothing has stymied the aggression between the Arab and Jewish peoples. Each side of the issue views the other as the aggressor. Palestinians believe the Jews are unlawfully occupying their homeland, whereas the Jews feel the land they are taking is theirs despite being exiled for thousands of years. After multiple armed conflicts and nearly as many failed peace accords, resolution is still far from being reached. Due to the conflict, Palestinians within Israel tend to be viewed with suspicion and are not fully accepted. On top of the ethnic and religious disputes, cocaine, ecstasy, and heroin are increasingly trafficked from Jordan and Lebanon.
The Torah is viewed as both a historical record and religious law. Freedom of religion is a legal right, but is not always respected as Messianic Jews still struggle for political recognition. Christians are often harassed by conservative Jews and Muslims alike. Seventy-five percent of the population follows Judaism, with barely two percent Christian and the rest Muslim. Even in the face of animosity, the gospel is being spread and interest for the Word of God is increasing. The most powerful witness has been the testimony of Christian Jews as they are able to minister to their lost brothers and sisters in ways that the rest of the world cannot. As house churches grow, God’s grace is empowering and encouraging the evangelical leaders to spread the good news that Messiah has come and is coming back soon.
PRAYER: Great and Mighty God. We know that you do not dwell in buildings made with hands, but we thank you for providing a meeting place in the person of Your Son. As Solomon’s temple was a place for the exercise of repentance and expressions of faith and worship, we thank You for providing a place for this in our own lives also. We see how Christ came into the world to fulfill the Law and not destroy it. We thank You for this new relationship where we are no longer under condemnation but joined in a covenant relationship with the Lord our Righteousness. Help us to stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.