When was the last time you cried out to God? In today’s psalm, David cries out because Saul has chased after him for a while, trying to kill him. At times, our suffering and difficulty are exhausting and seem never ending. You’re not alone. And like he did for David, God will come through for you too.
- 1-7 – Clearly it was not going to be through merely physical effort that God’s purposes would be accomplished. It was by God’s spirit working through Zerubbabel’s words that ultimately did so.
- 8-10 – Zerubbabel was charged with rebuilding the temple. God blessed its completion.
- 1-5 – A special song of praise was reserved for the 144,000 righteous ones who were set apart.
- 13 – Traditionally, Jews believed death was a separation from God. This suggests that now death is a good thing because one can rest.
- 14 – Son of man is a term Jesus used for himself.
- 15-20 – This seems to be another removal of the unfaithful.
- David is crying out to God in the midst of Saul’s attempts to murder David. This chase lasted a long time and must have been exhausting for David.
- 21-23 – These are all shifts from a lowly state to a far more respected and accepted one. The earth would tremble because it’s so foreign from the way the earth typically works.
Today’s psalm is beautiful. If you’ve ever felt abandoned, unwanted, unworthy, or unloved, read this psalm. God so intricately knit you together. Allow yourself to be amazed by the care God took to make you. He took that same care to make each of us. You are loved. You were made on purpose. You are wanted and known by the one true God.
- 1-6 – Haggai is given the message to rebuild the temple. He was a contemporary of Zerubbabel, who we read about in Ezra. Haggai supported Zerubbabel as he led the effort to rebuild the temple.
- 1-9 – Haggai is called to spur on Zerubbabel and Joshua to rebuild the temple even though they weren’t familiar with the glory of the first one.
- 12-19 – Though confusing to interpret, this passage seems to make it clear that though impurity is easily spread, purity is not. God is displeased that the Israelites have returned and built their own houses and begun to farm but have not focused on his house. He reminds them that he controls what they have no matter how much effort they put in.
- 23 – Zerubbabel is in the line of David. The signet ring would be a sign that God had placed his favor on him and would be the sign that David’s line had, as God said it would, returned to the throne.
- 1-14 – The two witnesses were witnesses for God. The people of the earth end up killing them and then a large portion of the city and its inhabitants are killed. Those who remain see what happened and repent and give glory to God.
- 15-19 – This seems like it could be the ending. God’s kingdom officially comes to earth with the blowing of the 7th trumpet. Wrath is poured out on the evil people and joy and celebration is amongst the faithful.
- In one of the most beautiful and poetic psalms, David recounts all the ways God’s knowledge of humanity and him specifically are vast and complete. He recognizes that God was there as he was formed and God knows every bit of his innermost being.
- 15-16 – These verses explore the depth of greed out there. No one is specifically identified as possessing these qualities, but the qualities are made clear.
Fear, to some degree, is something we all struggle with. Media, culture, and advertising thrive on this. If we fear, we feel out of control and tend to look to gain control through all kinds of options. But today’s Proverb reminds us that when we have faith, we have no need to fear. We can know that God has ultimate control and will take care of us and protect us fully.
- 1-9 – This portion of the prophecy declares that Edom will be humbled and brought low because of their pride.
- 10-18 – The violence Edom has inflicted on Judah is remembered and God promises to return Judah to prominence and warns Edom not to get too cocky despite their temporary victory.
- 5 – The number seven is used as a symbol of completion. The seven torches represent that the fullness of God was present.
- 8-11 – This section shows that eternity will be filled with God’s praises.
- 11-18 – This is God’s promise to keep David’s line in the throne forever. This is fulfilled with Jesus.
- 25 – Fear has no hold on us when we are grounded in our faith in Christ.
Are you a leader in any arena? If so, you’ll notice that leadership comes with responsibility. If you’re a leader, that means you have followers and that ultimately means that you are, at least in part, responsible for those who follow you. In today’s Ezekiel reading we see examples of good and bad leadership. Ezekiel heeded the call of leadership and shared God’s message with the people. At the same time, many religious leaders led people away from God and towards other gods. Leadership should always be taken seriously.
- 1-9 – Ezekiel was tasked with sharing God’s messages of repentance to Israel. If he did so and the Israelites did not turn away from their sins, their destruction was on their own heads. If Ezekiel didn’t share the message, their destruction was on him.
- 10-20 – God does not and did not delight in destroying people. He gave them every opportunity to turn around, but they continued to choose not to.
- 2 – This is not referring to shepherds of white fluffy animals, but the leaders of the Israelites who were supposed to be leading them towards God.
- 7-10 – God was not pleased with the leaders’ negligence towards the people, so God committed to rescuing the people.
- 20-24 – God is referring to Jesus here when he talks about bringing all his people together under one. Jesus was in the line of David.
- 1-2 – This reminds us to be kind and caring to everyone in our midst.
- 4-5 – The things believers should and shouldn’t do stay pretty consistent throughout the New Testament.
- 15-16 – To be faithful we need to praise God and serve others.
- 1-8 – A great deal of the Bible is focused on who we should focus on and worship. Too often we get distracted and choose to offer our affections elsewhere.
- These tools and metals are referring to a purifying process. This is to suggest that a fool cannot be separated from his folly.
We often don’t like it when people talk about money in church. We often think they want our money or they’re going to tell us to give away our money. Too often, we hold onto our money so tightly that we can’t grab hold of anything else. But, money is not the root of the problem. The problem comes when we allow money to become more important to us than God. Today’s 1 Timothy reading touches on righteous living versus greed and the place in our lives that money should occupy.
- 11-21 – King Zedekiah didn’t like what Jeremiah said about being taken over so he imprisoned him.
- 1-6 – The officials wanted to kill Jeremiah so they put him in a cistern. This is normally a deep hole, which is used to hold water. This one was empty.
- 7-13 – Ebed-melech, who was a servant, rescued Jeremiah from the cistern so he wouldn’t starve to death in there.
- 14-28 – King Zedekiah asks Jeremiah to tell him the truth. Jeremiah tells Zedekiah he has to surrender to the Babylonians or all his wives and kids will be given over to the Babylonians for them to do what they like.
1 Timothy 6:1-21:
- 6-8 – Godliness and contentment together are a powerful combo. We don’t want anything but what we’ve been given and we act as righteously as possible.
- 9-10 – Greed and covetousness are dangerous because we begin to do things we know are wrong to achieve what we want.
- 17-19 – Being rich isn’t the problem. The problem comes when we rely on and hope in our riches.
- 38-45 – The portion of this psalm we read yesterday speaks of how God was planning to exalt David. This portion is explaining that David’s family has now been forgotten and rejected. We know through Isaiah and Jeremiah that David’s line was given over to exile in Babylon because of their lack of obedience.
- Self-control is what protects us from temptation and sin, just like walls protect a city from attack.
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” These words were some of Jesus’ last on the cross. But they were also spoken by David in today’s psalm many generations before. What kind of pain and struggle would it take for you to say words like this? How abandoned and rejected would you have to feel?
2 Chronicles 21:1-23:21:
- 6 – The “ways of the kings of Israel” were not good. There were next to no faithful kings of Israel after David.
- 15 – This sounds like an unpleasant punishment.
- 9 – Even though Ahaziah was unfaithful and was punished and killed because of it, he was given a proper burial to honor the faithfulness of his grandfather.
- 10-11 – It is extremely significant that Jehoshabeath hides and saves Joash. God had promised to sustain King David’s line. Athaliah nearly destroys this by killing off all of the royal family, but Joash is saved, which saves David’s line.
- 16 – Jehoiada became a mentor figure for Joash since Joash was just a child when he started his reign as king.
- 13-14 – This may seem like a strange technique, but if the Jews saw the new gentile Christian’s closeness to God, maybe they too would want to be saved.
- 17-20 – Olive trees are unique in that new ones grow up alongside old ones and share their roots. So an olive tree being “grafted in” actually meant that it connected itself to the nourishment and life that the established tree already had.
- 30-31 – Though it seemed unfair that the Israelites’ hearts had to be hardened for gentiles to have a chance at salvation, now it was coming full circle and gentiles were causing Jews to come to salvation.
- 33 – We should all memorize this verse for the times when we’re confused at how God is working and wondering why he does things the way he does.
- 1 – Jesus quotes this on the cross. We’re not certain which situation caused David to say it.
- 2-5 – David is able to lean on his experience with God’s faithfulness to sustain him even though he feels that he is currently crying out and getting no response.
- What an encouragement to live faithfully so our children can see it, learn from it, and be blessed.
This week we continue in 2 Chronicles and Romans, and as always, our good friends Psalms and Proverbs. In today’s 2 Chronicles reading we hear a story we learned once before in 2 Kings, but it’s worth, once again, exploring, thinking about, and weighing the consequences.
Rehoboam, King David’s grandson, had a guaranteed path to the throne, but he wanted power and control and listened to terrible advice in order to get it. He didn’t trust God’s promises to get him where he needed to be. He tried to flex his muscles to get there instead. And it failed.
Rehoboam didn’t just fail himself. His consequences are still felt today. He caused Israel to become a divided kingdom and weaken tremendously. This put them at risk of being conquered, which they were, and exiled, which they were.
Too often we fail to follow God in our decisions and weigh our consequences. This week, let’s learn from Rehoboam’s mistakes.
In today’s 1 Chronicles reading we read the way that we should approach all our offerings to God. Too often we hold tightly what we have thinking there is no way we could give up that much. We think we need what we have and fail to realize that we actually need to give back to God. We don’t give because God needs our time/money/resources. We give because it grows and benefits us to trust God enough to give him the time/money/resources we think we need so desperately. It was a gift from God in the first place. We are just entrusted with it for a time.
1 Chronicles 28:1-29:30:
- 2-8 – In David’s final year as king, he explains that he was chosen for a specific purpose. He was a king of war, but his family, from his line was chosen to be on the throne forever. This is culminated with Jesus coming from David’s line. Interestingly, there are things he wasn’t called to do. God has a specific purpose for each of us.
- 20 – These words David speaks to Solomon are familiar. We hear them in parts when Moses hands over leadership of Israel to Joshua and we hear them throughout the Psalms.
- 3-5 – Leaders have to put their money where their mouth is.
- 14 – This should be our attitude with our resources. We are simply giving from what God has given us.
- 6-11 – This confirms Paul’s explanation of why we can’t earn our way to salvation. Christ died for us when we were sinners, so none of us could say that we earned or deserved it. It also shows God’s incredible love for us.
- 12-17 – Paul juxtaposes Adam, who brought sin in the world, and Jesus, who brought the grace of salvation into the world.
- Remember that, in certain parts of the tabernacle/temple, sin could not be present, this is why there were cleansing rituals. This psalm spells out what kind of person could enter that space.
- Other translations say “while there is hope” instead of “for there is hope”. The writer urges the reader to discipline a child while they’re still moldable unless you want to contribute to their destruction.
What do you currently do for someone who can’t repay you? I normally invite friends over for dinner who will eventually invite me over in return. I hangout with people who bring me joy. But today’s Proverb reminds us that we are to care for and serve those who have no means by which to repay us. When we do this, we know a far greater reward awaits us in heaven.
1 Chronicles 26:12-27:34:
- 29-31 – Some of the Levites were given jobs outside of the temple.
- 31 – David’s 40th year of reigning was his last.
- 23-24 – David was not asked to run this census of the people and God was not pleased that he did. These verses seem to attempt to absolve him of his wrongdoing because the census was never completed.
- 33 – It is funny that right in the middle of all the official positions and responsibilities is listed Hushai, the king’s friend, as if that is an official position too.
- 18-22 – It must have been difficult for Abraham to have faith that God would provide a child for he and his wife so late in life. His faith that God would fulfill his promises was considered his righteousness. We too can have faith that God has and will do the impossible for us too.
- 3-5 – It is not easy to rejoice in our sufferings, but it becomes easier when we realize what it results in.
- 7 – The good news is salvation does end up coming out of Zion. Jesus’ death and resurrection occur in Jerusalem.
- This is reminiscent of the separation of the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25. Those who served the poor and needy actually served Jesus. Though the poor person is not able to repay the generous person, the Lord is able.
Who do you admire? Is there someone who can always sway you? Maybe a personal hero or someone you simply see as an authority figure? In today’s Romans reading, Paul is smart to call upon the experiences of Abraham and David, who his Jewish audience would have considered heroes, to convince them to live faithfully. Who would someone need to reference in order to convince you?
1 Chronicles 24:1-26:11:
- 1-19 – This is a way of organizing the priests so their duties can be split up. “Sons of Aaron” is always referring to priests.
- 1-31 – Like the priests, David divided the musicians to all have a certain role.
- 2-3 – Paul had to point out that Abraham, a Jewish hero, was not under the law and never earned righteousness. His belief in God was what was counted to him as righteousness.
- 4-8 – Paul tries to make the difference between what we’ve earned and what is freely given to us. Paul is smart to use heroes of the faith like Abraham and David to prove his points. They were held in very high esteem.
- 9-12 – Circumcision was not in and of itself capable of giving us salvation. It is faith that confirms salvation.
- This seems like a last ditch effort of David. He cries out hoping the Lord will hear before he is overtaken. He finishes up with praise and remembering God’s faithfulness.