TODAY’S READING FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT- 1 CHRONICLES 2:18-4:4
The genealogy continues and we have a lot of unfamiliar names mixed in with some whom we may recognize. There are a number of Hezrons and Calebs.
The Hezron we read about in 1 Chronicles 2:18 is the son of Perez, the grandson of Judah (not to be confused with Hezron, the son of Reuben (Genesis 46:9). He is the father of Caleb (not to be confused with Joshua’s fearless companion, Caleb, the son of Jephunneh; 1 Chronicles 4:15). What we notice about this Caleb is that he is the great grandfather of Bezalel, the famous artist -architect who put his talents to good use supervising the building of the tabernacle in the wilderness with his gift of craftsmanship (1 Chronicles 2:20).
This genealogy is important in that it traces the Messianic prophecy that Shiloh (lit. he whose it is”), the Christ, will be from the tribe of Judah (Gen 49:10).
In Chapter 3 we trace the house of David. 19 sons of David are mentioned! (1 Chronicles 3:1-9)
We also have a list of the Kings who were descendants of Solomon (1 Chronicles 3:10-16). These are the characters we read about in 1 and 2 Kings who reigned in Judah.
Then we read of Jehoiachin, the captive king of Judah imprisoned in Babylon, who, although in the royal line, his descendants were never to reign on the throne due to the Lord’s chastisement. Zerubbabel (3:19) was the head of the tribe of Judah when Cyrus gave permission for the Jews to return to Jerusalem after the Babylonian captivity. We will read about him in the Book of Ezra.
Did you know that there were people named Ephrathah and Bethlehem, which became names of the place where the Messiah would be born? (4:3)
TODAY’S READING FROM THE NEW TESTAMENT – ACTS 24:1-27
Paul’s return to Jerusalem was full of high hopes and good will. Yet, as we have seen, he was targeted by the religious leaders who falsely accused Paul, a card-holding Pharisee turned Christian, of being anti-Semitic, an opponent of the Jewish people, Jewish heritage, traditions, laws and one who defiled their temple by bringing a Gentile into the part of the temple where Gentiles were forbidden. (That never happened!)
The religious leaders slandered Paul as a trouble-maker responsible for riots in Jerusalem and the ringleader of a religious sect that threatened the stability of the Roman Empire!
The Roman authorities discerned that these charges lacked substance and that Paul, as a Roman citizen, needed a fair hearing. The Roman commander arranged for Paul to be rescued from Jerusalem and brought 60 miles northwest to Caesarea.
The Roman procurator, Felix, held Paul in custody and invited the Jewish leaders, including the high priest, Ananias, to come from Jerusalem to present their case against him. They bring their smooth-talking lawyer, Tertullus. Paul being tried before the high priest and Roman procurator is hauntingly familiar to the scene when Jesus stood before the same officers not too many years earlier.
Paul answers each charge: 1. The charge that he was a troublemaker stirring up the crowd was unsubstantiated. 2. He is faithful to the sacred Scriptures, the law and the prophets. His trust in Jesus as the Christ is consistent with the promise and hope given by God to Israel. Jesus’ identity as the Messiah is substantiated by the resurrection, and belief in the resurrection is consistent with the belief of the Pharisees. 3. Paul declares that he was innocent of any charge that he defiled the temple. He was ceremonially clean, and he went alone, with no crowd, therefore, no Gentile, with him.
The motivations of sinful men are highlighted by the behavior of these unregenerate Jewish leaders and the Roman procurator. The religious leaders are impervious to reason (Don’t confuse me with the facts, I’ve already made up my mind!). Felix wants to please the crowd, be entertained by Paul, and also hopes that Paul will offer him a bribe to be released (Acts 24:26). Paul is left in prison for two years, although he is permitted to receive guests. We have no doubt that Paul was faithful to share the gospel with his captors!
TODAY’S READING FROM THE BOOK OF PSALMS- PSALM 4:1-8
In Psalm 4 we have our second prayer in the Book of Psalms. It is another cry for help.
The Psalmist receives counsel from the Lord:
The Lord has set apart His people from the crowd that prefers delusions and false gods. (4:2)
When we are stressed it is important that “in your anger, do not sin”. We find this counsel repeated in the New Testament (Ephesians 4:26)
Rather than reacting, learn to respond to God. Learn to take His counsel to heart and give yourself to reflection, silent meditation, worship and a deeper trust in Who He is. (Psalm 4:4-5)
Does your heart know greater joy than that which material prosperity and temporal circumstances can give? Is the Lord the source of Your security? (Psalm 4:7-8)
TODAY’S READING FROM THE BOOK OF PROVERBS: PROVERBS 18:16-18
Proverbs 18:16-18 16 A man’s gift makes room for him and brings him before great men. 17 The first to plead his case seems right, until another comes and examines him. 18 The cast lot puts an end to strife and decides between the mighty ones.
There are three important proverbs here. 1. Faithfully steward your God-given gifts and opportunities to use them will present themselves. 2. Do not make quick surface judgments but gather enough facts before making decisions or evaluations. 3. Make every effort to come to agreement and put it in writing. Often a budget, or written purpose statement can help hold strong impulses and opinions in check.
PRAY FOR THE NATIONS- INDONESIA
Millions of Indonesians need a new place to live. Pray that Christians might show the love of Jesus to these displaced peoples.
- The “Transmigration Scheme”. Since Java and Bali are highly crowded, the government organized the relocation of over 8 million people to Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, and West Papua where more space is available.
- Natural disasters. As a result of earthquakes, tsunamis, and floods, millions since 2001 have become homeless or displaced and 200,000 have died.
- Community violence and religious persecution. More than 500,000 Christians from Maluku and central Sulawesi suffer personal loss, bitter trauma, and loss of their ancestral homelands to Muslim groups.
- Migrant workers. 400,000 legal migrants (and more illegal ones) seek work abroad. 80% are female, and they often work in people’s homes. Their loneliness can open their hearts to loving witness by Christians in other nations.
PRAYER: Lord, it is important to realize our genealogy, for what is born of the flesh is flesh, but what is born of the Spirit is spirit. In Adam all die, but in Christ, all live. We are grateful that You put us ‘in Christ’ when we believed (1 Corinthians 1:30; Ephesians 1:13). We are now qualified to receive an inheritance! We trace our ancestry now to the empty grave where You gave us victory over sin’s curse. Thanks be to You who always causes us to triumph. We thank You that now we have a testimony to share with others. Give us the boldness to speak the truth about Jesus Christ to those around us. Help us to tell of the great things You have done for us in Him! In Jesus’ Name.
So, naturally, we proclaim Christ! We warn everyone we meet, and we teach everyone we can, all that we know about him, so that, if possible, we may bring every man up to his full maturity in Christ. (Colossians 1:28, J.B. Phillips paraphrase)
New Life Community Church, Concord, MA 10742
Meeting Sundays at 10:30 AM at the New Life Ministry Center, 221 Baker Avenue, Concord, MA 01742
Church Office- 978-369-0061
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