Last week we got a brief synopsis of salvation – the basic high points. This week we’ll get to dive into Romans and the nitty-gritty of salvation a little more. We will celebrate that God is so good and loves us so much that we can have true salvation. He sent his Son to die for us! That’s pretty incredible.
Forgive me a small tangent – when I was a kid we only got play shoes twice a year unless something crazy happened. So one summer I got new white tennis shoes. My older brother and sister told me it wasn’t cool to have white shoes and that I needed to dirty them up, so I rolled them in the dirt. My mom was understandably furious! Why? Because you don’t take something new, clean, and great and roll it in the dirt.
This week we’ll learn something new about the gospel. We weren’t given this free, wonderful gift of salvation so that we could roll it in the dirt – aka – sin a bunch. We were given the free gift so we could grow closer to Christ and know and love him more.
Many people wonder if God’s law was a mistake since we don’t adhere to all of it anymore. Did God make a mistake? Are we still actually supposed to be following it? Are modern day Christians so much smarter than ancient Jews who followed the law? The answer to all these is a confident no. Romans reminds us that the law and prophets were extremely beneficial because they pointed us all to Christ. Christ is the fulfillment of the law and all the prophets’ words.
1 Chronicles 22:1-23:32:
- 1-5 – Though God did not want David to build the temple, he knew Solomon was supposed to so he helped make preparations for it.
- 6-10 – God had different purposes for David and Solomon. David was King of Israel during a time of war and he established Israel as a major power. God granted Solomon peace during his reign so he could build the temple.
- 11-13 – The Ancient Israelites were always sure to speak specific blessings over their children, particularly before they died. We would be wise to take on this practice.
- 5 – It’s pretty cool that a specific job was just to offer praise to the Lord all the time. Seems like a pretty sweet gig.
- 26-32 – The Levites’ job was to be the priests who fulfilled the rituals required by God.
- 19-20 – The law made it clear to those under it what was sinful. Those not under the law were not always aware of what they shouldn’t do leaving them innocent.
- 21-22 – Paul makes it clear that the Prophets and the law that the Jews held in such high esteem were by no means worthless. They all pointed to Jesus who can provide righteousness for all.
- 23-26 – We’re all sinners and require God’s mercy offered through the grace given to us through Jesus.
- 31 – As we read in the gospel, Jesus came to fulfill the law. He didn’t eliminate it, he fulfilled it for us.
- 5-8 – Because we have failed and have not taken care of the poor and needy, God needed to step in. We tend to celebrate wickedness, but God shows us what is good and right.
- 14 – Advice to choose your spouse wisely.
What does it look like for us to give of ourselves or sacrifice something? I believe, in order for it to be a sacrifice, we actually have to feel it. It has to be something we care about or worked hard for. This is why a Lenten fast from cookies for someone who doesn’t really like cookies, is not that helpful. In today’s 1 Chronicles reading, David seems to understand this when Ornan tries to sacrifice for David’s sins.
1 Chronicles 19:1-21:30:
- 16-19 – The Syrians and Ammonites were both known as strong armies. The Syrians did not like having been defeated by Israel, but David defeats them again when they come back for more.
- 1 – Presumably, this is the same time when David sleeps with Bathsheba. That story begins in the same way explaining that spring time was when nations fought and David did not go with them as he should have.
- 1 – Though there were times God asked the Israelites to number themselves, he had not asked David to do so. David is most likely doing this out of a lack of trust and wanting to be able to gauge who he could defeat in war and who he could not.
- 11-17 – David has a choice of consequences and his choice caused his people to suffer. Once it became reality, he tried to make it stop.
- 22-27 – If Ornan had given his property for David’s sacrifice, David would actually be sacrificing nothing. This is why he won’t accept Ornan’s gift.
- 25-29 – We might compare the way they were counting their circumcision as holiness to when people simply come to church these days and count that as holiness or salvation. What we look like or appear to be is not the same as having Christ as our salvation.
- 1-4 – Being a Jew/Israelite, was special to God. They were chosen and set apart. This passage explains that just because there were some Jews that were unfaithful to their covenant with God does not make God unfaithful or mean that the covenant was not meaningful.
- 5-8 – Paul asks this rhetorically. If our sin gives God more chance to be holy, shouldn’t we sin more. No! We’re still called to avoid sin.
- David chooses to take refuge in the Lord instead of following the advice of others to flee from his enemies because they are clearly ready to attack.
- 4-7 – David contrasts the righteousness of God with the sinfulness of the wicked.
We often assume God is not answering our prayers when we don’t get what we ask for. Often, God has a different, better plan. Maybe you didn’t get the job you were hoping for. Maybe God has something better in store for you and someone else is a better fit for that job you wanted. In today’s 1 Chronicles reading we are reminded that it was not David’s job to build God’s temple even though he wanted to. God had that plan for someone else and a different plan for David.
1 Chronicles 16:37-18:17:
- 1-15 – Like we learned in 2 Samuel, God did not intend for David to build the temple. That would be Solomon, his son’s, job. God made promises to David, however, about building him up and establishing his kingdom long term.
- 16-27 – David humbly accepts the blessings God offers he and his family.
- 1-5 – We often misinterpret “judgement”. We think we’re not allowed to determine if something is good or bad, when in fact, we must decide this to function. When we are told not to judge others it is telling us that we should not and cannot condemn others. We too are sinners and do not have the authority to condemn.
- 12 – Those without the law are non-Jews. “The law” refers to the laws Moses handed down. Whether we sin against the law or against God himself, we are all sinners and are deserving of death.
- 13-16 – This passage can be more easily understood if it’s read like: 13(14-15)16. In short, this tells us that those who don’t even know the Mosaic law were able to fulfill parts of it. Doing what the law says and/or intends, whether you know what it says or not, is far more important than simply knowing it.
- 17-24 – Some Jews held their heritage as a reason why they were closer to God or more holy than gentiles. Paul calls them out recognizing that all, no matter their heritage, are only saved by faith in Jesus.
- 17 – There are a number of times when Scripture mentions God hearing the cries of the afflicted. Most notably, God hears the cries of the Israelites in Egypt, which starts the process of a mass exodus.
- Verses 8 and 9 stand in contrast with one another giving options for success and failure.
Even for faithful folks, it’s easier to focus and spend our time on the things that are most imminent, those that we can see and touch. Even more than that, we tend to have things that scream for our attention. Those demand that we give them our time and attention. In today’s Romans reading, we are reminded of how easy it is to give ourselves over to whatever idol is placed before us. But we must remember that none of these things will satisfy like worshipping God.
1 Chronicles 15:1-16:36:
- 1-24 – David prepares a huge celebration for the arrival of the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem.
- 29 – This is the same story that’s found in 2 Samuel 6 when David dances undignified before the Lord as the Ark of the Covenant returns to its rightful place and people.
- 8-36 – Like Moses, Mary, Zechariah, and others, David has a song for the Lord to praise him for a specific situation but also uses that time to praise God for his overall goodness.
- 20 – This verse explains that God’s character and attributes are revealed through creation – aka we can know that he gives us new life when we see leaves reappear on trees in the spring, or we can see his power and majesty through the mountains, etc. This is an answer to many people who wonder about people who have never heard about God. They have seen him all around them.
- 22-23 – It is easier to worship the things we see, touch, and are familiar with. This is why the Israelites wanted some tangible thing, even just a golden calf, to convince themselves that there was a god to worship and take care of them.
- 24-27 – Four times in a row, Paul explains that people exchanged God’s perfect plan for something counterfeit. He explains that God gave the people over to the counterfeit thing they desired.
- 28-32 – Those who are not righteous not only practice these things that are listed, but they also encourage others to practice them as well.
- The psalmist seems to be describing someone who is wicked and sinning purposefully. And seemingly, it is someone who is sinning and wicked towards him. Though the judgment and request for punishment sounds harsh, we would probably feel the same way towards our true enemies.
- This is also the psalm of people who, in frustration, watch others get away with bad things.
- Once again we’re confronted with our bias towards wealth. Poor men tend to be left in a lurch by everyone where as people come out of the woodworks for someone with money or influence.
If you could write anything to the people you know and love, what would you say? Here’s what Paul wrote:
When’s the last time you shared the gospel with someone? This is a rare occurrence for modern day Christians. We are afraid that the gospel is offensive and will upset people. Paul, in writing his letter to the Romans, and on every other day of his life (post conversion) realized the gospel was good news. The fact that we have a Savior who lived and died for us is a great thing! Let’s remember that as we approach others who might not know it.
1 Chronicles 12:19-14:17:
- 19-40 – At the time the chronicler is talking about, David was still not king. He had a great deal of men who chose to defect from Saul to him.
- 10 – David was extremely faithful in asking the Lord what to do before doing something.
- 1-7 – There is a lot of information crammed in these verses.
- 1) Paul is writing this.
- 1-2) Paul was set apart to be an apostle of Jesus.
- 2) We knew the truth of the gospel – aka Jesus’s birth, ministry, death, and resurrection – because it was revealed through the prophets.
- 3) Jesus was descended from David.
- 4) Jesus was God in flesh and God’s power raised him from the dead.
- 5-6) Jesus empowers apostles to bring others to him, including many who would hear this particular message.
- 7 – This letter was written to the people of Rome.
- 8-15 – Paul had been eager to go to Rome, where he was a citizen, because he had heard of the faith of many there and wanted to help strengthen that faith.
- 16-17 – We often see the gospel as offensive and we’re afraid to share it. Paul knew that it was good news and brought life. He was not ashamed.
- There are several terms like “Higgaion” and “Selah” whose meanings are not certain. They are presumed to be some sort of musical term since the Psalms often have instructions such as that they are “for the choirmaster”.
- 4 – Just a few verses earlier, the author tells the reader to choose your friendships carefully and here explains that we often choose our friends for the wrong reasons.
We’ve talked about this before. I hate negative consequences!! Don’t you? If I have the opportunity, I like to shift the blame anywhere other myself. It’s easier that way. Unfortunately, we often blame God for the negative consequences of our sins. “Why would God let me lose my job!?!” we cry. When really the question should be, “Why did I break company policy hoping to get ahead?”
1 Chronicles 11:1-12:18:
- 4-9 – Jerusalem became the central city for the Israelites and remains so to this day, but it was not so until this conquest of David.
- 15-19 – Though David’s actions seem a bit ungrateful, he pours the water out as a drink offering because he considers himself not worthy of their extreme devotion. The reason David wanted the water in the first place is because he was originally from Bethlehem.
- Though you may not recognize or remember many of the names in the lists from today’s reading, recognize that the chronicler is reminding us that there were a great deal of capable, dedicated fighting men, particularly those dedicated to David’s service.
- 8 – Because of the snake incident, the people already thought Paul was a god. His ability to heal Publius’ father as well as the other ill people probably only solidified this thought.
- 16 – Remember that Paul is still technically imprisoned and awaiting trial in front of Caesar by his own request.
- 20 – He’s referring to Jesus as “the hope of Israel.”
- 25-28 – It would make sense that the Jews should have recognized Jesus as the Messiah since he fulfilled so many of the prophecies they knew. Many, however, were unable to see it. The gentiles didn’t have as many preconceived notions of who the Messiah should be, so they were more open to Jesus being it.
- 29 – Did anyone else notice that there’s no Acts 28:29? One does exist, and it’s pretty inconsequential, but many translations leave it out.
- 9-10 – Confirmation that when we seek God, he will be faithful to meet us. He does not hide from or forsake us.
- 1 – This is in exact contrast to how our society lives and thinks.
- 3 – So true!! How often do we blame God for the consequences we receive for our own poor choices?
I hate negative consequences, don’t you? I like to try to skirt around them as much as possible even though I totally deserve them. The sailors in today’s Acts reading are like that. They sailed far later in the season than they should have and have now put themselves and others at risk. They’re trying to figure out any way to not face the music. I can relate.
1 Chronicles 9:1-10:14:
- 2 – After a long time in exile in Babylon, the Israelites were allowed to slowly return to their land.
- 17-27 – The position of gatekeeper was one of honor. It was passed down through generations. This position guarded the gates of the temple and the chief gatekeeper manned the gate the king would enter through.
- 39 – This is Saul, the first king of Israel. We know he was from the tribe of Benjamin so that’s the tribe we’re talking about now.
- 1-7 – This is the event that finally allows David to become king. We read about this previously in 1 Samuel.
- 30-32 – The sailors were desperate and wanted to save themselves thinking they would be better off without all the other ship passengers. Paul recognizes their attempt and explains that if they leave the rest of the passengers are doomed.
- 33-36 – Whether because they were too busy with managing the storm or because they wanted to conservatively ration in case they had to be on the boat a lot longer, the people hadn’t been given food for a while even though they had it.
- 38 – With a lighter load, the ship could sail closer to shore because it would float higher.
- David writes this Psalm seemingly overwhelmed and in awe of the majesty of God’s creation and the goodness he shows to us through it.
- This is encouragement to choose friends carefully. You can’t be best friends with everyone and it’s not wise to try.
I have posted today’s proverb on my husband’s mirror. I feel it’s just a good reminder.
1 Chronicles 7:1-8:40:
- Many of the tribes, after naming their genealogies, describe their men as “mighty warriors”. Israelite men over the age of 20 were expected to fight in wars. Still to this day, all Israeli men, now at the age of 18, are required to spend 4 years in the army. Women are now required to serve 2 years.
- 27 – This is the Joshua who was mentored by Moses.
- 9 – Ancient Jews timed their sailing seasons around the various festivals because of the weather that accompanied those times of years. Sailing after the Fast, which was the Day of Atonement, which was around September, was treacherous.
- 3-9 – Clearly David is confident that he is on God’s side and obeying God’s will in the situation he’s referring to. He even asks God to judge him according to his own righteousness, which I don’t feel like any of us would be willing to do.