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.
Both our 1 Kings reading and our Psalm are about Solomon and the temple today. This makes me think of how much the Bible connects with itself. Have you noticed it? In the Psalms they talk about God parting the waters and saving the Israelites from the Egyptians. In the gospels Jesus and John the Baptist quote Isaiah. Genealogies continually confirm the stories we’ve previously heard. When you notice one of these things, let it remind you that God is consistently giving you nods that he is real and his word can be trusted.
1 Kings 5:1-6:38:
5 – Note that when David was in power, he wanted to build a house for God but God stopped him because that was not what he was calling David to.
King Solomon’s temple most likely looked something like this:
This entire section is a recap of the history between Abraham and Moses. Stephen is proving that he knows the Israelite history and is not blaspheming against God or Moses.
Note that this psalm is written by Solomon.
1 – Meaning that all our efforts are only fruitful if blessed by the Lord. It can also be attributed specifically to the temple, or house of the Lord, Solomon built.
3-5 – Children, particularly sons, were seen as direct blessings from God. Barrenness was often seen as having been forgotten by God.
This explains the destructiveness of evil intent and actions.
Like the argument of the chicken and the egg, one of the biggest points of conflict between Jesus and the Pharisees was whether Sabbath laws trumped human need or vice versa. Today, in our Luke section, Jesus heals on the Sabbath. He clearly chooses human need over Sabbath Law.
Moses offers blessings to each of Israel’s tribes based on the role they tended to play. Some were larger, some had great warriors, some were set aside for teaching God’s law to the rest of the people.
29 – He rounds out his blessing with a reminder of how adeptly God cares for them and that they are truly set apart.
10-17 – The synagogue’s authorities yet again become enraged by Jesus’ actions because he “does work” by healing on the Sabbath. Jesus reminds them that they do too do work on the Sabbath, but have found a way to justify it, while he does work on the Sabbath to bless and love people.
18-19 – There are many interpretations of why the mustard seed is a good comparison for the Kingdom of God. Some say that it’s because a mustard seed is tiny and grows quickly into something great. Others say it is because a mustard seed grows in a wild, uncontrollable fashion. Others say it is because the birds make nests in the mustard tree just like we can make a home and be welcomed into the kingdom of God.
20-21 – Leaven activates ingredients do to what they’re supposed to do. Leaven also makes dough rise.
There are several times in Scripture where it describes God as silent. Before he calls Samuel and when there were no prophets for 400 years before John the Baptist arrived are some examples.
68 – Judah was the tribe that both David and Jesus came from.
Anxiety is normally equated with worry. The Bible often equates worry with a lack of trust. God continually gives us reason to trust as he continually proves himself faithful.
Do you know what can make a decision clear quicker than anything? Knowing the consequences of your decision before you make it. You may notice a strong emphasis in this week’s Deuteronomy readings on blessings and curses. Basically, through Moses, God gives the Israelites a scenario and explains that they can choose blessings or curses. One decision leads them down one path and the other down a different path. Whether they didn’t believe him, doubted the severity, or the temptation was just too strong, they unfortunately frequently chose curses. Just to give you a little cheat sheet – faithfulness to God leads to blessings; being unfaithful leads to curses. It’s pretty simple overall.
Starting today, and for the rest of our time in Luke, Jesus is definitively headed toward the cross. In the first verse of today’s Luke reading it says, “When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.” Throughout the rest of our readings until Palm Sunday, we will read over and over that he is headed to Jerusalem. He know his earthly ministry would end and his purpose would be fulfilled in Jerusalem with his death and resurrection.
This week, as we finish up Lent and prepare for Palm Sunday, Holy Week, and Easter, take time to thank Jesus for his resolute dedication to heading towards the cross.
Numbers 6:24-26 is a beautiful blessing Aaron told the priests to pray over the Israelites. It is a great one for us to pray over those whom we love.
1-21 – Nazirites, by taking a vow into the priesthood were set apart with specific regulations. They couldn’t drink alcohol, cut their hair, or be near a dead person. Levites were priests who were born into it. Nazirites were priests who chose to be.
24-26 – This is often used as a blessing or benediction at the end of church gatherings. Many youth groups use it.
38-40 – Jesus puts the scribes’ desire to be in places of honor and noticed for their holy actions in contrast with what he has instructed his followers to do – humble themselves and let the last be first.
41-44 – It’s not the amount but the sacrifice that God values.
11 – An example of how God provides exactly what we need.
8-11 – Jacob expresses his excitement and gratitude for not only seeing his long-lost son again, but also for getting to meet his grandchildren.
14-22 – In an interesting twist, like in his own life, Jacob assures that the younger brother receives the greater blessing. Manasseh was the older brother, but Jacob blesses his Ephraim with carrying on the line of Israelites.
21 – Jacob assures Joseph that his family will not always remain in Egypt, but will return to the land God gave them. This won’t happen for a while, but will happen.
1-28 – Jacob, before dying, offers specific blessings to each of his sons. Though he blesses the actual sons, their blessings come to, in part, define the tribes they will become.
29-31 – We often want to receive recognition for the good things we do. Jesus did miracles in order to give God glory. When we recognize where our strength and abilities come from, it is easier to give God the glory since it is his already.
32-39 – A very similar story to the feeding of the 5,000. It would seem that the disciples should have assumed Jesus would perform another miracle and yet they still seem to look for logical solutions from him.
1-4 – The religious leaders ask Jesus for a sign to prove his identity even though he has just healed, exorcised, and performed a variety of miracles.
4 – The sign of Jonah relates Jonah’s story with Jesus’ upcoming plight. Jonah was in the whale for 3 days and Jesus will be in the tomb for 3 days. Both exited.
5-12 – Once again, the disciples are somewhat dense. They’ve just seen Jesus feed multitudes with meager amounts of food and they’re worried about his provisions for them. Jesus, in the midst of this, warns them against a greater danger, the Pharisees’ and Sadducees’ teachings.
7-8 – Where this verse lists horses and chariots as things they trusted in over the Lord, we could probably fill those blanks differently. Verse 8 reminds us who is forever in control.
These wise words sound like the verse of every parent giving sound, solid wisdom that could keep their children away from a multitude of heartache. Like the hearers of this proverb, we too struggle to take them at face value.
1-29 – Rebekah and Jacob tricked Isaac to bless him instead of Esau. Jacob had already tricked Esau out of his birthright and now he attempts to steal his father’s dying blessing. Jacob is sneaky and a liar and yet, he seems to be blessed over and over.
30-42 – When Esau lost his birthright, it was, in large portion, his own fault. In this case, however, he was simply obeying his father and due to his mother and brother’s trickery, he loses his blessing as well. Esau’s anger is understandable.
46 – Jacob has to flea because of his and his mother’s deceitfulness. Rebekah is afraid Jacob will marry a Hittite woman while he is among them, but if that were to happen it would be a consequence of her sin.
1-8 – The Pharisees think Jesus is blaspheming because they don’t realize his divinity and think forgiveness is not something he can offer.
10-13 – The Pharisees were far more concerned with the practices of holiness while Jesus was focused on redemption. Jesus quotes the prophet Hosea saying, “I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.” In other words, God desires for us to offer love and grace that lead to change rather than simply going through the motions.
16-17 – The new emphases of the faith Jesus brought could not be contained by the constraints of the old law and practices.
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.
9 – It is easy to give from the leftovers of our abundance, but it takes real trust to give God your first and bust.