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4 minutes | a day ago
November 29th: Bible Meditation for 1 Chronicles 26–27
Bible Readings for November 29th 1 Chronicles 26–27 | 2 Peter 1 | Micah 4 | Luke 13 David assigns a group of the non-priestly Levites who were not called to the ministry of music to serve instead as gatekeepers in 1 Chronicles 26 (cf. 1 Chron. 9:17–32). While some of these gatekeepers were Merarites (1 Chron. 26:19), the primary group are called the Korahites (1 Chron. 26:1)—that is, the sons of Korah, who was the Kohathite who led the rebellion against Moses in Numbers 16. Though their ancestor Korah had sinned grievously against Yahweh, they are nevertheless called near to a particular place of privilege to serve as gatekeepers of the house of God. The influence of the Korahites, however, extends far beyond the gatekeeping duties that they executed thousands of years ago. They left behind Psalms 42, 44–49, 84, 85, 87, and 88—psalms that the church treasures to this day. Knowing that the sons of Korah were devoted to standing guard at the temple helps us to understand better why one of these gatekeepers would write Psalm 84, where we read, “How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of hosts! My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God….For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness” (Ps. 84:1–2, 10). They are the doorkeepers for the house of their God, and they rejoice in the privilege of dwelling in the shadow of the house of God. But even the fact that the Korahites were gatekeepers seems to influence their choice of themes in the psalms they write, so that they frequently describe Yahweh as their refuge, stronghold, and protection. For example, take Psalm 46: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble….the God of Jacob is our fortress” (Ps. 46:1, 7, 11). Or, Psalm 48: “Within her [Mount Zion’s] citadels God has made himself known as a fortress” (Ps. 48:3). Just as the gates where the Korahites served protected the temple, so also Yahweh himself acts as a refuge and a fortress for his people. It is a tender thing, then, for Jesus to describe himself as the true shepherd of the sheep to whom the gatekeeper opens (John 10:3), as well as the very door through whom we may enter into God’s presence and find salvation (John 10:7–18). It is the presence of Jesus that is better than a thousand days elsewhere, and it is Jesus himself who serves as our refuge and strength, and who stands as our fortress. For all those who are weary and oppressed, let us flee to Jesus, a very present help to us in times of trouble, both now and forevermore. Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The post November 29th: Bible Meditation for 1 Chronicles 26–27 appeared first on Free Daily Bible Study.
4 minutes | 2 days ago
November 28th: Bible Meditation for 1 Chronicles 24–25
Bible Readings for November 28th 1 Chronicles 24–25 | 1 Peter 5 | Micah 3 | Luke 12 In 1 Chronicles 25, David directs and organizes a division of the non-priestly Levites to serve as musicians in the house of God. As we discussed in the meditation from 1 Chronicles 16, David appoints three leaders of the musicians, one from each clan of the tribe of Levi: Asaph the Gershonite, Jeduthun (who also goes by the name Ethan) the Merarite, and Heman the Kohathite. These leaders, however, are not merely skilled musicians, but they prophesy with lyres, harps, and cymbals (1 Chron. 25:1). Each leader is explicitly called a prophet in some way: Asaph prophesies under the direction of the king (1 Chron. 25:2); Jeduthun prophesies “with the lyre in thanksgiving and praise to the LORD” (1 Chron. 25:3); and Heman is “the king’s seer” (1 Chron. 25:5). In other words, music wasn’t as much about sound as it was about declaring the prophetic word of Yahweh. Furthermore, David establishes formal musical training, with teachers and pupils actively working together to develop the next generation of musical (and prophetic) leadership among the Levites (1 Chron. 25:7–8). This prophetic ministry of music continues into the new covenant, with Paul commanding the church to “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Col. 3:16). Notice the context of the church’s singing: we are to sing so that the word of Christ may dwell in us richly—that is, the prophetic word of Christ written down in the Scriptures. Additionally, we sing so that we may teach and admonish one another in all wisdom—that is, so that we may train the next generations to be conformed to the image of Christ, who is the wisdom of God (1 Cor. 1:24). But where music was the exclusive ministry of the Levites under David, this is the ministry of all God’s people under David’s greater Son. As we talked about at length during our study of the book of Numbers, the non-priestly Levites were given lesser privileges than the Levitical priests but greater privileges than the rest of Israel. The reason for this was both to protect and preserve the holiness of God but also to foreshadow the day when Jesus Christ would cleanse and sanctify all his people as the new dwelling place for the Holy Spirit. Here too, the ministry of the Levites foreshadows the way God would lead all of us into musical ministry in our worship. Singing to the Lord is a great privilege that we must not take lightly, and Christ himself came as the ultimate Son of David in order to qualify all of us to sing in his presence. Brothers and sisters, let us therefore sing for joy to the Lord. Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The post November 28th: Bible Meditation for 1 Chronicles 24–25 appeared first on Free Daily Bible Study.
4 minutes | 3 days ago
November 27th: Bible Meditation for 1 Chronicles 23
Bible Readings for November 27th 1 Chronicles 23 | 1 Peter 4 | Micah 2 | Luke 11 In 1 Chronicles 23, David actively reshapes the worship of Israel by redefining the roles of the Levites in temple service. The rationale for all of what David does is found in 1 Chronicles 23:25–26: “For David said, ‘The LORD, the God of Israel, has given rest to his people, and he dwells in Jerusalem forever. And so the Levites no longer need to carry the tabernacle or any of the things for its service.’” Remember that the chief role of the various clans of the non-priestly Levites was their work in moving the tabernacle and all its holy things from site to site, as Yahweh led his people in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night (Num. 3–4). But with the permanent establishment of the temple in Jerusalem, those duties are no longer required. David, then, assigns new responsibilities to the non-priestly Levites: from this point forward, the Levites will assist the priests with cleansing the temple and preparing to make the offerings, and the Levites will offer praise and thanks to Yahweh whenever the priests make sacrifices (1 Chron. 23:28–32). We should see here a shift toward greater involvement of all God’s people in worship. Previously, the priests were really the only people involved in worship at all, but now, the rest of the Levites not only assist the priests but they are also assigned the duty of praising and thanking Yahweh during the sacrifices. And, while the remaining Israelites are still relatively passive in worship at this point, this shift anticipates a day when all God’s people would be actively involved in worship. Since Jesus has offered himself as the final sacrifice and as our great high priest, we no longer need other priests who mediate between us and God. Instead, our pastors and elders are called to lead us in worship—not to perform worship in front of us as we passively watch, but to lead us into active engagement in worship. So, just as the Levites were involved alongside the priests, we also ought to be engaged when we come before the Lord in worship. Ask yourself these questions: Are you prayerfully listening to the reading of the word and actively listening to the sermon while your pastor preaches, or do you permit your mind to wander? Are you singing out loud, or do you simply listen to others sing? Do you offer your own heart up during the congregational prayers, or are you simply letting the words wash past you? We have a great privilege—and therefore, a great responsibility—to involve ourselves in the worship of Yahweh. Why, then, do we treat worship as though we were spectators, consumers, or critics? For the glory of Jesus Christ and the sake of your soul, worship the Lord this week in spirit and in truth. Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The post November 27th: Bible Meditation for 1 Chronicles 23 appeared first on Free Daily Bible Study.
4 minutes | 4 days ago
November 26th: Bible Meditation for 1 Chronicles 22
Bible Readings for November 26th 1 Chronicles 22 | 1 Peter 3 | Micah 1 | Luke 10 A new section begins with our reading today from 1 Chronicles 22, where we will start reading even more explicitly about the reforms David makes to Israel’s worship. Over the next few chapters, David will organize the Levites, the priests, the musicians, and the gatekeepers in the temple, but he begins by charging his son Solomon and the other leaders of Israel to set their minds to the task of building a temple in which Yahweh will dwell in their midst. From this chapter, we learn two important principles surrounding the theology of the temple that we have not previously seen. First, we find out why David has been so involved in preparing for the building of the temple up to this point: he is worried about the youth and inexperience of his son Solomon, since the house in which Yahweh will dwell must be “exceedingly magnificent, of fame and glory throughout all lands” (1 Chron. 22:5). This is important, since it shifts the credit for the temple away from Solomon and places it on David. Of course, the important point isn’t to glorify David but rather that this directs Israel’s hope beyond the first son of David to the ultimate Son of David who would eventually become the dwelling place of God among his people. Second, we learn the reason why Yahweh did not allow David to build the temple: he had shed too much blood (1 Chron. 22:8). Instead, Yahweh wanted to give the building of his temple to a man who had rest from his surrounding enemies (1 Chron. 22:9). More than that, David urges Israel’s other leaders to dedicate themselves to the task of building the temple because of the fact that Yahweh had given his people peace on every side from their enemies through the blood David had shed (1 Chron. 22:18). Just as Yahweh had dwelt generally with his people in the Promised Land when he gave them rest on every side from their enemies during their conquest of Canaan (Josh. 21:44, 23:1), so now the temple in Jerusalem becomes the specific place where he will dwell with them through the peace David has wrought. And yet, we know already that this temple will be destroyed by the Babylonians. The theology of the Chronicles, then, isn’t pointing forward to a new temple that would be just like the old one. Rather, the Chronicles teach us that there would be a better temple than what Solomon built for us, built by Jesus Christ, who did not shed the blood of others but who gained rest from his enemies by rising from the dead after his own blood was shed. This new temple, then, would not be built with gold, silver, and bronze but with something far more precious: with the people whom Jesus Christ purchased with his own blood (1 Cor. 3:10–17). Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The post November 26th: Bible Meditation for 1 Chronicles 22 appeared first on Free Daily Bible Study.
4 minutes | 5 days ago
November 25th: Bible Meditation for 1 Chronicles 21
Bible Readings for November 25th 1 Chronicles 21 | 1 Peter 2 | Jonah 4 | Luke 9 In today’s reading from 1 Chronicles 21, we find the major exception to the way that the Chronicles avoid mentioning David’s sin. And yet, even here we find two key differences from what we read in 2 Samuel 24 in the way this story is told. Most significantly, we read in the very first verse of this story that it was Satan who “stood against Israel and incited David to number Israel” (1 Chron. 21:1). In 2 Samuel 24:1, however, we read this: “Again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying ‘Go, number Israel and Judah.’” So, which is it? Did Satan incite David, or did Yahweh? Is this an error or a contradiction in the Bible, or is something else going on here? In fact, everything we have studied so far helps us to see exactly what is happening here. In the narratives of Samuel and Kings, we saw Yahweh building his case against his people before sending them off into exile as judgment for their sin, so it is no surprise to see that Yahweh is angry with David and with Israel in 2 Samuel 24. God himself does not tempt anyone to sin (Jas. 1:13), but we must not forget that the greatest possible punishment for sin is to be handed over into deeper sin. We may reconcile these two seemingly contradictory versions of the same story, then, by recognizing that Yahweh is handing his people over to judgment when he permits Satan to tempt David. But the other detail that the Chronicler adds in this account of the story comes in the additional information we gain about the threshing floor that David buys from Ornan the Jebusite in 1 Chronicles 22:1: “Then David said, ‘Here shall be the house of the LORD God and here the altar of burnt offering for Israel.’” In other words, this story isn’t included to demonstrate David’s guilt so much as to provide the backstory for the eventual location of the temple. Even when we read of David’s sin in the Chronicles, the Chronicler ties those actions to the larger story of Israel’s worship. This has much to teach us about what it means to live by grace in the new covenant. Under the new covenant, we learn that because Jesus took upon the wrath of Yahweh for us at the cross, then we are no longer on trial. To be sure, there are still consequences for our sins as our heavenly Father disciplines his children, but even the consequences for our sins are opportunities to return to the once-for-all, perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ, where we may find complete pardon, forgiveness, and reconciliation with God. When you sin, flee to David’s greater Son Jesus, that you might be washed clean and reconciled with your Father in heaven. Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The post November 25th: Bible Meditation for 1 Chronicles 21 appeared first on Free Daily Bible Study.
4 minutes | 6 days ago
November 24th: Bible Meditation for 1 Chronicles 19–20
Bible Readings for November 24th 1 Chronicles 19–20 | 1 Peter 1 | Jonah 3 | Luke 8 As we have seen in our reading from 1 Chronicles, sometimes the significant factor of a story is not so much in the included details as in the excluded ones. In 1 Chronicles 17, we saw how the Chronicler left out the statement about disciplining the son of David with rods for his iniquity. In our reading for today from 1 Chronicles 19–20, several critical details are again excluded deliberately. The stories in 1 Chronicles 19 of how the Ammonites shame the servants of David and how the Israelites respond by defeating the Ammonites in battle are also found in 2 Samuel 10, and the details are largely similar. But the first story we find in 1 Chronicles 20 about capturing Rabbah doesn’t take place until the end of 2 Samuel 12, and the story of fighting with the Philistines doesn’t happen until 2 Samuel 21. So, what stories from 2 Samuel 11–12 and 13–20 does the Chronicler skip? In fact, those are the chapters where we read about David’s sin with Bathsheba, as well as the rebellion of David’s son Absalom. The account in the Chronicles skips David’s great sin and the consequences of that sin entirely. Furthermore, the account of the battle with the Philistines in 1 Chronicles 20 leaves out the critical detail from 2 Samuel 21 that, during the battle, the aging King David grows weary, so that Ishbi-benob tries to kill him until Abishai the son of Zeruiah comes to David’s rescue. After that battle, David’s men swore to him, “You shall no longer go out with us to battle, lest you quench the lamp of Israel” (2 Sam. 21:17). Where 2 Samuel had vividly illustrated the limitations of David, the retelling in the Chronicles removes any suggestion that the lamp of Israel might ever be quenched. But why? It isn’t as though the Chronicler is trying to sanitize David’s story to present a historically revised version of the authentic, sinful, and weak David. Instead, the retelling here is not written to look backward at David but to look forward to the story of the coming Messiah. The Chronicler tells a different story than the author of the books of Samuel and Kings, even though he uses the same histories to tell his story. All of this, then, is written to announce the glory of Jesus Christ, who would not fall into sin and whose lamp would never be quenched—not even by death itself. The reign of Jesus is like the reign of David, but it extends so much further than David’s so as to bring the glory of David to nothing in light of the spotless, eternal glory of the kingdom of Jesus Christ. Brothers and sisters, gaze upon the story of King David from the Chronicles so that you may there behold your true King, the Lord Jesus Christ. Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The post November 24th: Bible Meditation for 1 Chronicles 19–20 appeared first on Free Daily Bible Study.
4 minutes | 7 days ago
November 23rd: Bible Meditation for 1 Chronicles 18
Bible Readings for November 23rd 1 Chronicles 18 | James 5 | Jonah 2 | Luke 7 In many ways, Yahweh’s covenant with David that we read about yesterday in 1 Chronicles 17 is the heart of the theology of the books of Chronicles, but not only because Yahweh swears in this covenant to establish David’s kingdom forever. Additionally, it is David’s desire to build Yahweh a house of cedar—that is, a temple (1 Chron. 17:1–2)—that leads Yahweh to swear a covenantal oath to him in the first place. David’s preparations for the building of the temple will consume much of the remainder of this book. Even though David does not himself build the temple, the Chronicler gives us extensive information about the temple’s construction that we have not previously read. After only a few stories of David’s great military victories, nearly half of the narrative of David’s life in 1 Chronicles focuses on David’s preparation for the temple’s construction and his reordering of Israel’s worship in 1 Chronicles 22–29. Specifically, we learn in the Chronicles that although Solomon will be the one to build the temple, it is David who makes virtually all the preparations. And even in our reading from today in 1 Chronicles 18, the stories of David’s warfare aren’t provided for their own sake—instead, these stories serve as records of how David acquires the raw materials for building the temple through his victories in battle. So, David procures from the cities of Tibhath and Cun bronze with which Solomon would eventually make “the bronze sea and the pillars and the vessels of bronze” (1 Chron. 18:8). Then, David dedicates to Yahweh (i.e., to the eventual construction of the temple of Yahweh) articles of gold, silver, and bronze that he gains from Hadadezer, king of Zobah-Hamath, as well as from Edom, Moab, the Ammonites, the Philistines, and Amalek (1 Chron. 18:10–11). In the New Testament, Paul explains that the church is the temple of the great Son of David, Jesus Christ, where each believer is fitted together into a great structure, joined together with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone, so that the Spirit of God dwells within us corporately (Eph. 2:19–22). But, Paul also describes us as the captives whom Jesus Christ is bringing back from war in his triumphal procession, spreading the fragrance and knowledge of him wherever he leads us (2 Cor. 2:14–16). In other words, we are the precious materials that Jesus Christ has looted from the nations in his great victory over sin, death, and the devil, and he is using us to build up his temple so that he may dwell within us by his Spirit. “Thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in the triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere” (2 Cor. 2:14)! Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The post November 23rd: Bible Meditation for 1 Chronicles 18 appeared first on Free Daily Bible Study.
4 minutes | 8 days ago
November 22nd: Bible Meditation for 1 Chronicles 17
Bible Readings for November 22nd 1 Chronicles 17 | James 4 | Jonah 1 | Luke 6 As we have seen already in our study of the Chronicles, this retelling of Israel’s history centers on the person of David. The heavy emphasis on David does not suggest that David himself is the high point in the history of Israel, so that everything following David’s life is downhill; rather, the emphasis on David points forward to the new David, the offspring of David—one of his own sons—whose kingdom would be established forever, as Yahweh promises here in 1 Chronicles 17:11–14. Now, if you compare 1 Chronicles 17 side by side with 2 Samuel 7, you will see small variations in the wordings, but for the most part, this is an identical retelling of the story—except for one crucial detail. In 2 Samuel 7:14–15, the description of Yahweh’s covenant with David included a promise that Yahweh would chasten David’s son but that he would never withdraw his covenant love and faithfulness from David’s son completely: “When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men, but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you.” In 1 Chronicles 17, however, only part of this statement is included: “I will not take my steadfast love from him, as I took it from him who was before you” (1 Chron. 17:13). Why? The omission of this statement about Yahweh’s discipline lines up with what we have already seen of the Chronicler’s account of David—his interest is not compiling all the evidence necessary to build a case against David and his house, as in the books of Samuel and Kings. Rather, the emphasis here is on the future Davidic king who would not need to be disciplined for his iniquity. The Chronicler, therefore, isn’t revising history in order to whitewash David—rather, he is presenting David in such a way as to anticipate the great, final David, the Lord Jesus Christ, who would know no sin (2 Cor. 5:21) and who would therefore need no discipline. Nevertheless, both tellings of the story are essential. Where the narrative of Yahweh’s covenant with David in 2 Samuel 7 foreshadowed the work that Jesus Christ came to do at the cross, where he was disciplined, beaten with rods, and hanged on a tree to die, bearing the curse for our iniquity, the theology of the Chronicles anticipates the eternal kingdom that Jesus would establish by the work of his life, death, and resurrection. Therefore, let us trust in the finished work of Jesus at the cross as we live daily in dependence on the kingdom that dwells in our midst now, even as we await the eternal kingdom that Jesus will usher in at his second coming. Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The post November 22nd: Bible Meditation for 1 Chronicles 17 appeared first on Free Daily Bible Study.
4 minutes | 9 days ago
November 21st: Bible Meditation for 1 Chronicles 16
Bible Readings for November 21st 1 Chronicles 16 | James 3 | Obadiah 1 | Luke 5 As the festivities in worship grow during the settling of the ark of the covenant in the city of Jerusalem, we learn more about Heman, Asaph, and Ethan, three men whose names we find prominently featured in another book of the Bible: the Psalms. So, who are these men, what are their roles in the worship of God’s people, and what does that teach us for our own worship today? Heman, Asaph, and Ethan are Levites, so to understand their context, it is important to refresh our understanding of the three clans of Levi, formed from the descendants of Levi’s three sons: Gershon (sometimes spelled Gershom), Kohath, and Merari (Ex. 6:16; 1 Chron. 6:1, 16). Each of these clans had different roles in the transportation of the tabernacle: the Gershonites carried the fabrics (tent screens and coverings), the Kohathites carried the holy furniture, and the Merarites carried the frames, bars, pillars, bases, pegs, and cords (Num. 3–4). These three men, then, are representatives for each clan. Heman is a Kohathite, a descendant of the rebellious Korah who opposed Moses in Numbers 16 (1 Chron. 6:33–38). Then, Asaph is a Gershonite (1 Chron. 6:39–43), and Ethan is a Merarite (1 Chron. 6:44–47). In 1 Chronicles 6, the chapter containing the genealogies of the Levites, Heman seems to be the leader, with Asaph at his right hand (1 Chron. 6:39) and Ethan on his left hand (1 Chron. 6:44). Then, in 1 Chronicles 15:16–17, David commands the Levites to appoint for themselves musicians, and these three men become the leading musicians for their respective clans. Finally, David appoints Asaph and the Gershonites to minister before the ark (1 Chron. 16:4, 37) and sends Heman and Ethan to sing at the high place in Gibeon (1 Chron. 16:39, 41–42).1 These men were great worship leaders who all contributed songs that are still preserved for us in the Book of Psalms. Heman, the son of Korah, wrote Psalms 42, 44–49, 84, 85, 87, 88; Asaph wrote Psalms 50, 73–83; and Ethan—who also seems to go by the name of Jeduthun (1 Chron. 16:37–42, 25:1, 3, 6)—wrote Psalms 39, 62, 77, 89.2 Still today, we need worship leaders who will lead us in praising Jesus Christ. Worship leaders, however, are not merely musicians. These worship leaders wrote profoundly deep songs that ought to guide our own hymn-writing and serve as the criteria for selecting the songs we sing on a weekly basis. And more than that, our own worship ought to be steeped in the inspired lyrics of the Psalms. Let us therefore read psalms, preach psalms, and sing psalms as we exalt the Lord Jesus Christ, who declares himself the fulfillment of the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms (Luke 24:44). 1 Although high places eventually became a place of idolatry and wickedness throughout the reigns of the later kings, Yahweh had neither forbidden high places nor appointed Jerusalem as the only place for his people to worship him during the days of David, or even during the early days of Solomon (1 Kgs. 3:3–4). 2 Probably. The different names makes this difficult to track, but 1 Kings 4:31 may identify Ethan as “Ethan the Ezrahite,” the name used in Psalm 89. All the other psalms in this list were written under the name Jeduthun. Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The post November 21st: Bible Meditation for 1 Chronicles 16 appeared first on Free Daily Bible Study.
4 minutes | 10 days ago
November 20th: Bible Meditation for 1 Chronicles 15
Bible Readings for November 20th 1 Chronicles 15 | James 2 | Amos 9 | Luke 4 As we start getting deeper into 1 Chronicles, we begin to see the ways that the Chronicler writes about the events from the books of Samuel and Kings from a different perspective and with a different goal. In 1 Chronicles 15, we see our first major retelling of a story—the entrance of the ark of the covenant into Jerusalem—which provides two new pieces of information that change the tenor of the story from what we read in 2 Samuel 6. First, the version of this story we read in 2 Samuel 6 exclusively emphasized the way that Yahweh had struck down Uzzah for reaching out to steady the ark, since the Israelites had brought the ark in on a cart pulled by oxen (2 Sam. 6:1–15). Now, we do find that same story recorded for us in 1 Chronicles 13:5–14; however, here in 1 Chronicles 15, after a brief acknowledgement of what happened with Uzzah (1 Chron. 15:13), we find entirely new material about the second (and successful) transportation of the ark into Jerusalem, when the Levites carry it according to Yahweh’s commandment from Numbers 4:1–15. Here, David insists that “no one but the Levites may carry the ark of God, for the LORD had chosen them to carry the ark of the LORD and to minister to him forever” (1 Chron. 15:2). These passages in 1 Chronicles 13 and 15 do point out David’s error in initially carrying the ark on a cart, but we also see his willingness to repent and lead the people of Israel according to the Mosaic law. Second, David also commands that the Levites should sing and play loudly on musical instruments (1 Chron. 15:16–24, 28). David’s organization of the Levites (especially to play and sing music) is one of the significant emphases of this book (see 1 Chron. 23–26), despite the fact that we read nothing about David’s role in this in 1 and 2 Samuel. Furthermore, we read nothing whatsoever in the Mosaic law commanding that the Levites should play music, suggesting that this arrangement is something David himself instituted, acting as a new lawgiver, as discussed in yesterday’s meditation. This story, then, reflects a critical principle for understanding Christian worship in the light of Jesus. We do believe that Jesus has fulfilled and therefore abolished certain aspects of worship (e.g., the sacrificial system) and also that Jesus has commanded the continuance of other aspects of worship (e.g., singing, but also prayer and the reading and preaching of God’s word). Jesus’ reformation of worship, then, is not about getting rid of the “bad” and replacing it with “good,” but rather about fulfilling what merely pointed forward to him and then continuing all that still serves a purpose. As we gather weekly, we worship our great Messiah with the elements he himself has established for us. Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The post November 20th: Bible Meditation for 1 Chronicles 15 appeared first on Free Daily Bible Study.
4 minutes | 11 days ago
November 19th: Bible Meditation for 1 Chronicles 13–14
Bible Readings for November 19th 1 Chronicles 13–14 | James 1 | Amos 8 | Luke 3 Thus far, the author of 1 Chronicles has not only reviewed the entire history of the people of Israel, but he has also reshaped it around the person of David—not to exalt David himself, but to point forward to the coming of a new David. We looked yesterday at the way this new David would be a new kind of military leader, and today we will begin to look at the way this new David will reform Israel’s worship. At the beginning of 1 Chronicles 13, David consults with all his leaders, saying to the assembly, “If it seems good to you and from the LORD our God, let us send abroad to our brothers who remain in all the lands of Israel, as well as to the priests and Levites in the cities that have pasturelands, that they may be gathered to us. Then let us bring again the ark of our God to us, for we did not seek it in the days of Saul” (1 Chron. 13:2–3). Essentially, David is here establishing a special feast for all the people of Israel. The law of Moses commanded that the men of Israel should appear before Yahweh three times a year for specific feasts (Ex. 34:23; Deut. 16:16), but David now adds a new feast and calls all Israel together. David here acts as a new lawgiver. But while acting as a new lawgiver is remarkable in itself, the following verse is even more surprising: “All the assembly agreed to do so, for the thing was right in the eyes of all the people” (1 Chron. 13:4). Recall the theme verse from Judges: “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judg. 21:25). The judges had utterly failed to reform Yahweh’s people from their idolatry, but here, under the leadership of David, it is the true worship of Yahweh that is right in the eyes of the people. Now, Chronicles has already acknowledged that the reforms of the first David will not last and that Judah will eventually go into exile in Babylon (1 Chron. 9:1). Therefore, this depiction of David once again points forward to what only the new David will be able to do—he alone will act as the new lawgiver to fulfill in himself the old system of worship and to install, in its place, pure worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:23). And still today, as we gather together week after week in worship, we look forward to the day when we will be gathered together to the great Son of David once and for all. Then, our eyes will be made forever right in our resurrected bodies so that we will seek nothing but God himself for all eternity. O Lord, haste the day! Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The post November 19th: Bible Meditation for 1 Chronicles 13–14 appeared first on Free Daily Bible Study.
4 minutes | 12 days ago
November 18th: Bible Meditation for 1 Chronicles 11–12
Bible Readings for November 18th 1 Chronicles 11–12 | Hebrews 13 | Amos 7 | Luke 2 In today’s reading from 1 Chronicles 11 and 12, we arrive at the story of David himself. Everything up to this point has revisited the story leading up to David or has looked beyond him, but here we come at last to the main attraction: the great King David. In many ways, it seems at first that we are simply reading more lists of names just like the genealogies of the first nine chapters of 1 Chronicles, but this list of names documents David’s warriors rather than his descendants. So, we read about David’s mighty men in 1 Chronicles 11:10–47, as well as the divisions of troops in 1 Chronicles 12. Still, these chapters represent more than simple rosters of military personnel—the description of David’s army transcends the description of merely human militaries in two ways. First, the chief warrior of David’s thirty mighty men, Amasai, speaks with a prophetic oracle about David in a way that goes beyond merely human leadership: “Then the Spirit clothed Amasai, chief of the thirty, and he said, ‘We are yours, O David, and with you, O son of Jesse! Peace, peace to you, and peace to your helpers! For your God helps you’” (1 Chron. 12:18). David is more than an ancient near-eastern warrior king—he is the covenantal, anointed shepherd of Yahweh’s people, Israel (1 Chron. 11:1–3). Where Yahweh has been the king of Israel thus far (aside from the reign of Saul, briefly mentioned in 1 Chronicles 10), we see him now knitting his people to a human king. And in doing so, Yahweh paves the way to unite his people eternally with another human king who arises from the line of David—Yahweh’s own Son, Jesus Christ. Second, the Chronicler describes the vast numbers of people who join up with David in terms that go beyond merely human warriors: “For from day to day men came to David to help him, until there was a great army, like an army of God” (1 Chron. 12:22). Again, we are seeing something here that expands beyond a simple band of warriors in the desert. Remember, we have already met the commander of the army of God in Joshua 5:13–15, and that commander was himself Yahweh, as evidenced by the fact that Joshua fell down at his feet to worship him (Josh. 5:14). Now, however, it is David who is described as the commander of the army of God. Here too, these comparisons are not meant to exalt David beyond an appropriate level. Instead, they are meant to point forward to a new David, the Son of David, who genuinely is knit to his people covenantally and who does command all the armies of Yahweh. This new David will certainly be more than a military leader, but not less. Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The post November 18th: Bible Meditation for 1 Chronicles 11–12 appeared first on Free Daily Bible Study.
4 minutes | 13 days ago
November 17th: Bible Meditation for 1 Chronicles 9–10
Bible Readings for November 17th 1 Chronicles 9–10 | Hebrews 12 | Amos 6 | Luke 1:39–80 While the bulk of 1 Chronicles will follow the story of David, the first ten chapters look back to the days far before David as well as look forward to the days long after his death. In 1 Chronicles 9 and 10, then, we read the genealogy of the exiles of Judah who return from Babylon after the Davidic dynasty comes to an end, as well as the story of Saul, who immediately precedes David on Israel’s throne. Today, we will look at two main points the writer is highlighting in these stories. First, the author of the Chronicles wants to draw our attention to the lack of faith that existed from beginning to end during the reign of the kings of Israel and Judah. So, in 1 Chronicles 9:1, we read this: “And Judah was taken into exile in Babylon because of their breach of faith.” And then, at the end of the brief account of Saul’s life in 1 Chronicles 10:13, we read very similar words: “So Saul died for his breach of faith.” In other words, the same problems that disqualified Saul were also the problems that eventually disqualified the people of Judah from remaining in the Promised Land. Second, by ending this section of genealogies with a look beyond David after the exile and a look before David in the life of Saul, the Chronicler presents David as the hinge on which the entire story of the Old Testament swings. In 1 Chronicles, David is presented as the epitome of faithful kings. He will expand the kingdom of God in the Promised Land through warfare, establish the tabernacle and the ark of the covenant in Jerusalem for a permanent dwelling place, and reorder the worship of Yahweh’s people by assigning new roles to the Levites and by preparing for the construction of the temple under Solomon. Furthermore, while we will read in 1 Chronicles 21 about his sin in requiring a census, we will not read of his other failures that we read about in 1 and 2 Samuel—neither his failure to discipline those around him nor his sin with Bathsheba. The point of all this, however, is not actually to point to David himself but rather to point beyond David to the Son of David who would come. That David would not only lead his people beyond their longstanding breaches of faith, but that David would be the fulfillment of every promise, shadow, and covenant. That David would expand the kingdom of God through his sinless life, death, and resurrection; he would establish a new temple where God would dwell with his people by the Holy Spirit; and he would reorder true worship in spirit and in truth. That David—the Lord Jesus Christ—is himself the point of all the laws, stories, and genealogies, not only of the Old Testament, but of the entire Bible. Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The post November 17th: Bible Meditation for 1 Chronicles 9–10 appeared first on Free Daily Bible Study.
4 minutes | 14 days ago
November 16th: Bible Meditation for 1 Chronicles 7–8
Bible Readings for November 16th 1 Chronicles 7–8 | Hebrews 11 | Amos 5 | Luke 1:1–38 As 1 Chronicles lays out the genealogies of each tribe of Israel one by one, we see Judah and Simeon (the southernmost tribes) in 1 Chronicles 4; Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh (the easternmost tribes) in 1 Chronicles 5; Levi in 1 Chronicles 6; and then Issachar, Benjamin, Naphtali, Manasseh, Ephraim, and Asher in 1 Chronicles 7. Curiously, the genealogies of the tribes of Zebulun and Dan are not included. What are we to make of this exclusion? On the one hand, we don’t have much information to go on. Zebulun and Dan are both members of the northern kingdom of Israel that is eventually conquered by the Assyrians, but so are the tribes of Simeon, Reuben, Gad, Manasseh, Issachar, Naphtali, Ephraim, and Asher, and each of those tribes does receive a genealogy in these early chapters of Chronicles. Any hypothesis about what might be happening here should be held lightly because of our lack of information. On the other hand, the exclusion of Dan in particular may have some precedent, since Dan is associated with an unusually large degree of idolatry in the stories we have read so far. For example, it is the tribe of Dan who hires the Levite named Jonathan away from Micah in Judges 18—one of the stories leading up to the wicked crime of the Benjaminite city of Gibeah in Judges 19. Furthermore, when the Danites eventually settle into the city of Laish and rename that city Dan, we read that they set up carved images for themselves to worship (Judg. 18:29–31). Then, when Jeroboam leads the ten northern tribes of Israel in rebellion against Rehoboam and the two southern tribes of Judah, the city of Dan becomes one of the places where Jeroboam sets up golden calves for the Israelites to worship (1 Kgs. 12:29–30). Additionally, the prophet Amos singles out the tribe of Dan to associate with “the Guilt of Samaria”—that is, with idolatry (Amos 8:14). Even more curiously, when the book of Revelation prophesies the sealing of groups of twelve thousand from each of the twelve tribes of Israel in Revelation 7, that list of tribes includes Zebulun but does not include Dan (Rev. 7:5–8). What this suggests—and again, we must make our conclusions tentatively—is that Dan specifically is excluded from the list of tribes because of the tribe’s deep idolatry. Because the restoration of true worship is one of the main focuses of the Chronicles, excluding Dan may serve as a unique punishment for the most idolatrous tribe. On the whole, these written genealogies confront us with the necessity of repentance—even as we prepare to see how the new David will establish perfect worship among God’s people forever. Let us therefore seek Jesus, the Son of David, so that we may rejoice that our names are written in heaven (Luke 10:20). Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The post November 16th: Bible Meditation for 1 Chronicles 7–8 appeared first on Free Daily Bible Study.
4 minutes | 15 days ago
November 15th: Bible Meditation for 1 Chronicles 5–6
Bible Readings for November 15th 1 Chronicles 5–6 | Hebrews 10 | Amos 4 | Psalms 148, 149 & 150 A central focal point of the books of Chronicles is the reestablishment of true worship in Israel. So, where most of the tribes of Israel get only a handful of verses to recount their genealogies, the tribe of Levi receives an entire chapter to recount its lineages in 1 Chronicles 6. But again, the way the Chronicler retells the story of Levi both emphasizes what we have already read and reshapes that story in significant, surprising ways. Many elements in 1 Chronicles 6, then, are simply mentioned in passing to remind us of some aspect of the Levites that Moses established back in the first five books of the Bible. Still, we are reminded here of the three major clans in the tribe of Levi: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari (1 Chron. 6:1, 16, 61–81). Furthermore, we read a brief summary about the sacrificial system in 1 Chronicles 6:49: “But Aaron and his sons made offerings on the altar of burnt offering and on the altar of incense for all the work of the Most Holy Place, and to make atonement for Israel, according to all that Moses the servant of God had commanded.” Then, over the next four verses in 1 Chronicles 6:50–53, we read about the sons of Aaron who carried on the work of offering sacrifices from generation to generation. And yet, the Levites who served as musicians in the house of Yahweh garner far more attention in this chapter, taking up eighteen verses in 1 Chronicles 6:31–48—and all this despite the fact that we have read nothing up to this point about musicians among the Levites. Why, then, the sudden emphasis here? The answer is simple: David. Although we read nothing about it in 1 and 2 Samuel, we read extensively in 1 Chronicles about the ways that David restructures the roles of the Levites: “These are the men whom David put in charge of the service of song in the house of the LORD after the ark rested there” (1 Chron. 6:31). We read very little about the way Moses shaped the duties of the Levites in worship here in Chronicles, but we will read more and more about the way David reshapes it. The point, though, is not to surface interesting historical tidbits that were not included in 1 and 2 Samuel. Rather, the point is to present a picture of David that will foreshadow what the greater Son of David will eventually become. That new, ultimate David will transform the worship of Yahweh’s people as he establishes his kingdom forever on this earth—even more dramatically than Moses had done. We will read much more about the worship reforms of David, but this element regarding the Levites uses a re-telling of the first David’s history to set up a much more sweeping picture of the new David to come. Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The post November 15th: Bible Meditation for 1 Chronicles 5–6 appeared first on Free Daily Bible Study.
4 minutes | 16 days ago
November 14th: Bible Meditation for 1 Chronicles 3–4
Bible Readings for November 14th 1 Chronicles 3–4 | Hebrews 9 | Amos 3 | Psalms 146–147 Because 1 Chronicles represents a re-telling of the story of the people of God up to this point, David plays a critical, central role right from the very beginning. After one chapter to sum up the genealogy from Adam to Abraham, and then from Abraham to Jacob, the author of 1 Chronicles shifts immediately to the genealogy leading up to David in 1 Chronicles 2. In today’s reading from 1 Chronicles 3, then, the narrator lists out the descendants from David. Then, in 1 Chronicles 4, the tribe of Judah becomes the first tribe whose genealogy is recorded in this book. Now, there isn’t much narrative drama or tension in the genealogies here if we read them on their own, isolated from the rest of the story of the Bible. On the other hand, when we compare the re-telling of Israel’s history here with the histories we have already read, we start to find some interesting tidbits. For example, consider how much of the story of the Bible up to this point centered upon Moses, and yet, we do not encounter the name of Moses at all in the books of Chronicles until 1 Chronicles 6, when his name shows up twice in the genealogies, mentioned almost in passing. After that, his name shows up only a sprinkling of times, and typically in reference to the law—for example, “as Moses commanded according to the word of the LORD” (1 Chron. 15:15). But whereas the story of Moses dominated the books of Exodus through Deuteronomy, David is the one who takes center stage early and often in the books of Chronicles. In fact, the only place in the books of Chronicles where the name of Moses does play a significant role is in 1 Chronicles 23, where we read about how David reshapes the worship established through the word of Moses. Even where Moses is significant, he is overshadowed by David. What we are starting to see right from the outset of the Chronicles, then, is that the way forward for Israel’s future has less to do with strict law-keeping and more to do with a new Davidic figure who would appear. Of course, Yahweh had promised David explicitly that he would establish David’s throne forever (2 Sam. 7:16), and Chronicles is written to reflect that reality. Israel was never able to redeem herself through observance of the law, so that the nation will need a Savior who can secure redemption for her, on her behalf—a king in the line of David. Even in the genealogies, this promise begins to unfold, and as we will see as we continue to read through the Chronicles, David’s story will take an even greater role to point forward to the Root of David and the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Jesus Christ himself (Rev. 5:5). Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The post November 14th: Bible Meditation for 1 Chronicles 3–4 appeared first on Free Daily Bible Study.
4 minutes | 17 days ago
November 13th: Bible Meditation for 1 Chronicles 1–2
Bible Readings for November 13th 1 Chronicles 1–2 | Hebrews 8 | Amos 2 | Psalm 145 The books of Chronicles are very similar to the books of Samuel and Kings, so that we will read many of the same stories we just finished reading over again during the next few weeks. And yet, the books of Chronicles are doing something very different than what we saw in the previous four books of the Bible. We are not merely reading a second-hand retelling of the same stories. Rather, we are looking at the same stories from a fresh vantage point: where everything that we have read so far looks backward to trace the downfall of Israel and Judah into exile, Chronicles now retells the story by looking forward to the renewal that Yahweh would bring his people through the coming Messiah. What this means practically is that, where the books of Samuel and Kings meticulously documented the sins of Israel and Judah, the books of Chronicles focus largely on the positive elements of Yahweh’s people and of the mercy Yahweh shows to his people again and again. It isn’t that the books of Chronicles are trying to sweep Israel’s sins under the rug but rather that the two tellings of these stories serve different purposes. The books of Samuel and Kings serve to provide undeniable prosecutorial evidence that Yahweh was justified in sending his people into exile, but Chronicles charts a path forward for the people of God beyond the exile. This helps to explain why 1 Chronicles begins with the genealogies of the very first humans to walk the earth. Through lineages, the author of the Chronicles retraces the ancient stories of Adam and Seth, Noah and Shem, Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, and Jacob/Israel leading up to David. These genealogies preserve for us many of the names of Yahweh’s people that we do not find elsewhere, but they also take us back (in brief) through the rich history of how Yahweh has led his people all the way from the beginning. Furthermore, these genealogies tell us the stories in the simplest possible format: in a list of names that drive us back to the stories as written elsewhere. The goal here is not so much to provide us with new facts but to reframe the whole story of Yahweh and his people, starting at the beginning. Ultimately, the stories we read in the books of Chronicles will provide substantial direction in understanding who Jesus would be. Primarily, Samuel and Kings gave us a picture of what Jesus needed to save his people from, but Chronicles will show us what Jesus needs to save his people for. That is, in the stories to come, we will see a fresh vision for the role of the king and for the worship of Yahweh’s people, and through both of those, we will gain some glimpse of how King Jesus will reconcile us to glorify, worship, and enjoy God forever. Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The post November 13th: Bible Meditation for 1 Chronicles 1–2 appeared first on Free Daily Bible Study.
4 minutes | 18 days ago
November 12th: Bible Meditation for 2 Kings 25
Bible Readings for November 12th 2 Kings 25 | Hebrews 7 | Amos 1 | Psalm 144 In 2 Kings 24, we read about the beginning of the captivity of Judah to the Babylonians. Ominously, that chapter ended with this sentence: “And Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon” (2 Kgs. 24:20)—that is, he refused to pay tribute to Babylon any longer. In today’s reading from 2 Kings 25, we read about the remaining devastation Yahweh faithfully brings to his people, along with the glimmer of gospel hope that this passage provides. Nebuchadnezzar brings swift and sudden destruction in response to Zedekiah’s rebellion. The Babylonians besiege Jerusalem, slaughter the sons of Zedekiah, break down the walls of Jerusalem, loot the temple of any remaining precious metals, and then burn it to the ground (2 Kgs. 25:1–17). Nevertheless, the story doesn’t end with the total annihilation of Yahweh’s people. Rather, the book of 2 Kings ends with a short report about Jehoiachin—the wicked king whom Nebuchadnezzar carried off to Babylon during the second deportation of Judah (2 Kgs. 24:8–17). Despite his unbelief and hardness of heart, we cannot forget that Jehoiachin is a rightful king of Judah in the line of David himself. So, when we read that Jehoiachin is released from prison and that he receives food from Nebuchadnezzar’s table at the end of 2 Kings 25, we learn something critical: Yahweh has not abandoned his covenant promises to David. Yahweh had promised that David would never lack a man from his own body to sit on the throne of Israel, and here Yahweh preserves the life of this heir of David even in exile. The real value of this preservation of the line of David becomes apparent with some of the first words of the New Testament. There, we discover that Jechoniah (another name for Jehoiachin) is the ancestor of Jesus himself (Matt. 1:11–12). Yesterday, we looked at how Yahweh’s faithfulness meant that he would send his people off into exile if they disobeyed, just as he had promised. But, we also see that Yahweh is faithfully keeping his promises to show covenantal mercy to his people by preserving the lineage of David through this exile. And through this line, Yahweh would eventually raise up his own Son to deliver his people from their deepest bondage—not to the Babylonians, the Medes and Persians, or even the Romans, but to the tyranny of sin, death, and the devil. Despite the winding, wayward nature of the sinful Israelites, Yahweh lays a path story by story, generation after generation, toward the coming of his Son. No suffering, defeat, or discouragement can throw Yahweh off of his eternal plans and decrees—not the Babylonian exile, not the crucifixion, and not even the challenges we encounter today. The question, then, is this: if God’s plans and purposes stand forever, do you trust him with the uncertainty of your own life? Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The post November 12th: Bible Meditation for 2 Kings 25 appeared first on Free Daily Bible Study.
4 minutes | 19 days ago
November 11th: Bible Meditation for 2 Kings 24
Bible Readings for November 11th 2 Kings 24 | Hebrews 6 | Joel 3 | Psalm 143 Once Josiah dies, Yahweh lifts his temporary restraint and sends his people off into exile because of their sins (2 Kgs. 24:3–4). During the reign of Josiah’s son Jehoiakim, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon makes Judah his servant—that is, he forces them to pay him tribute in exchange for peace (2 Kgs. 24:1). But also, Yahweh sends bands of Chaldeans (i.e., Babylonians), Syrians, Moabites, and Ammonites against Judah to begin to destroy the nation, bit by bit (2 Kgs. 24:2). Furthermore, we read that this is also the time of the first deportation, when Nebuchadnezzar carries off the best and the brightest from Judah, including Daniel and his three companions (Dan. 1:1–7). This, however, is only the beginning. During the reign of Jehoiakim’s son Jehoiachin, Nebuchadnezzar leads Babylon against Judah once again. This time, he ransacks the temple, stealing all its treasures and vessels—the vessels that Solomon himself had made (2 Kgs. 24:13). This also marks the second deportation of Judah, when Nebuchadnezzar carries away the remaining officials, mighty men, craftsmen, and smiths in Judah—including King Jehoiachin himself—leaving only the poorest of Yahweh’s people to remain in the Promised Land (2 Kgs. 24:14). In Jehoiachin’s place, Nebuchadnezzar sets up Jehoiachin’s uncle Zedekiah as king in Judah (2 Kgs. 24:17). Previously, in 2 Kings 17, we saw Yahweh send the northern nation of Israel off into captivity, but here Yahweh begins the process of sending the remainder of his people off into exile as punishment for their sins and rebellion. We should not think, however, that Yahweh is being petty or trying to get even with Judah—rather, Yahweh is executing the terms of the covenant he made with them. He had promised Israel blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience (Deut. 28), and that is exactly what Yahweh gives to his people here in 2 Kings 24. In fact, what we see here is an example of Yahweh’s faithfulness. Yahweh made promises that he would act in a certain way, and he keeps his word completely. We who live in the new covenant, however, have different promises—namely, that Yahweh will be faithful to lavish his steadfast love upon us perpetually, not because of what we have done, but because of what Jesus has done for us. Although 2 Kings 24 is a warning against persisting in our sin, this passage also underscores that Yahweh keeps his promises and that we can therefore have confidence that he will keep the good promises that he has made to us. Is your faith a vague feeling that things will turn out okay in the end, or is your confidence rooted in unshakable faith that God will keep his promises to you in Christ Jesus? Brothers and sisters, let us believe the promises, because God is faithful to keep them. Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The post November 11th: Bible Meditation for 2 Kings 24 appeared first on Free Daily Bible Study.
4 minutes | 20 days ago
November 10th: Bible Meditation for 2 Kings 23
Bible Readings for November 10th 2 Kings 23 | Hebrews 5 | Joel 2 | Psalm 142 In 2 Kings 23, we read a detailed account of the main reforms Josiah implemented in Judah. This chapter documents the sheer greatness of Josiah as king that we began to talk about in yesterday’s meditation, but it also shows the limitations of one of Judah’s greatest kings. Josiah’s reforms on the worship of Judah include stopping some things and re-establishing others. So, Josiah stops the extensive false worship that his father, Manasseh, had established in Judah. He destroys vessels used to worship false gods (2 Kgs. 23:4) and then he deposes priests (2 Kgs. 23:5), tears down the houses of cult prostitutes (2 Kgs. 23:7), and defiles altars, high places, and pillars used for worship (2 Kgs. 23:8–15). Finally, to fulfill an earlier prophecy, he sacrifices the priests of the high places and burns their bones on their own altars (2 Kgs. 23:20; see 1 Kgs. 13:2). Josiah also re-establishes the observance of the Passover feast, which had not been kept properly since the days of the judges or during the days of the kings (2 Kgs. 23:22–23; cf. 2 Chron. 30). Josiah’s reinstatement of Passover signifies an important return to the true worship Yahweh had commanded. And yet, for all of the good things Josiah does in Judah, he is unable to stem the tide of Yahweh’s wrath against Judah. Yahweh promises his wrath will not come during Josiah’s lifetime (2 Kgs. 22:20), but Yahweh also resolves yet again that “I will remove Judah also out of my sight, as I have removed Israel, and I will cast off this city that I have chosen, Jerusalem, and the house of which I said, My name shall be there” (2 Kgs. 23:27). Then, after Josiah’s tragic death in battle with King Neco of Egypt (2 Kgs. 23:29–30), Josiah’s two sons Jehoahaz and Jehoiakim both commit evil in the sight of Yahweh (2 Kgs. 23:32, 37), turning the nation back toward the idolatry that Josiah had worked so hard to eradicate from Judah. Through the story of the Bible so far, we have seen the utter failure of every measure introduced thus far to reform Yahweh’s people. Neither the giving of the law (Ex. 32), nor the reception of the Promised Land (Josh. 24:19), nor the judges (Judg. 21:25), nor even a godly king like Josiah is capable of transforming Yahweh’s people or of turning away Yahweh’s wrath. And yet, despite the utter failure of Judah to circumcise their hearts, we see the groundwork laid for the entrance of God’s own Son who would turn away Yahweh’s wrath by bearing it himself, and who would transform the hearts of Yahweh’s people by pouring out his Spirit. This is the point in Judah’s story where the darkness will become greatest, signaling the nearness of the dawn. Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The post November 10th: Bible Meditation for 2 Kings 23 appeared first on Free Daily Bible Study.
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