1 Chronicles 9:1-10:14 ~ Acts 27:21-44 ~ Psalm 8:1-9 ~ Proverbs 18:23-24
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Old Testament - Today in our First Chronicles readings, in between chapters 9 and 10, we go back to the future! Or something like that... :)
Chronicles chapter 9 recounts the return from exile in Babylon, which took place between 538 B.C. and 458 B.C. Then in chapter 10 we go back in time 500 years to some of our earlier readings in First Samuel when Saul was king and dies in approx. 1010 B.C. Why this dramatic shift in chronology of events? Well, the Chronicler basically wanted to take us through Israel's history from Creation to the return from exile in Babylon in chapters 1 through 9. In chapter 10 the Chronicler takes us back to the beginning of Israel's kingdom period when Saul was the first King. However... you will notice that the Chronicler spends all of only 1 chapter on Saul! (and just a 14 verse chapter at that...) And then, coming up in our readings, the Chronicler will spend the next 18 chapters on the life of David and his kingdom through the end of First Chronicles! Think this Chronicler had his favorite? Why do you suppose this is? Well, the Chronicler of course tells us very plainly why in verses 13 and 14 in chapter 10 today: "So Saul died because he was unfaithful to the LORD. He failed to obey the LORD's command, and he even consulted a medium instead of asking the LORD for guidance. So the LORD killed him and turned his kingdom over to David son of Jesse." This Chronicler wants to spend more time on obedience than on disobedience! How about you in your life today? Do you focus on being obedient to God? Do you seek and pray to God for guidance on what obedience to God would look like in your life? Are you like David - a person after God's own heart? Do you want to know God's heart and plan for your life? Will you remain faithful to God no matter what the world tries to tempt you with?
For today, in chapter 10 we get one more reminder of disobedience from Saul, and I'll throw in this image below from artist Guy Rowe of the prophet Samuel denouncing Saul, as you'll recall from our First Samuel chapter 13 readings, verses 13 & 14: ""You acted foolishly," Samuel said. "You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. But now your kingdom will not endure; the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him leader of his people, because you have not kept the LORD's command.""
New Testament - In stark contrast to Saul in our First Chronicles readings, I love seeing Paul's leadership in action in today's readings in Acts 27! He shows big-time leadership through his encouragement in verse 22: "But take courage! None of you will lose your lives, even though the ship will go down." And then Paul also shows some leadership in a very simple thing, namely eating, in verses 33 & 34: "As the darkness gave way to the early morning light, Paul begged everyone to eat. "You haven't touched food for two weeks," he said. "Please eat something now for your own good." The best demonstration though of Paul's leadership I think was when he did what reminded me of his Savior's Last Supper in verse 35... "Then he took some bread, gave thanks to God before them all, and broke off a piece and ate it." Does this action of Paul's remind you of anyone else you might know?
Julius, the centurion, shows some amazing respect for Paul in the last 3 verses of today's readings! "The soldiers wanted to kill the prisoners to make sure they didn't swim ashore and escape. But the commanding officer wanted to spare Paul, so he didn't let them carry out their plan. Then he ordered all who could swim to jump overboard first and make for land, and he told the others to try for it on planks and debris from the broken ship. So everyone escaped safely ashore!" Below is the 19th century woodcut artist Gustave Dore's take on this very last sentence:
And then it looks like the island of Malta, where Paul and the ship's passengers were shipwrecked, decided to create a stamp that looks quite a bit like Gustave Dore's artwork above... :)
Bible.org's commentary on today's Acts readings titled "A Biblical Look at Leadership" is at this link.
Psalms - Today we read Psalm 8! Verses 3 & 4 I love: "When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers-- the moon and the stars you have set in place-- what are mortals that you should think of us, mere humans that you should care for us?" What I love about this verse is that before I had faith in Jesus, and even God, I used to always look toward the night sky and just be amazed by the stars! I would always think to myself - there is no way that this all just happened by chance. There's gotta be something bigger going on making all of this happen. The night sky was evangelizing me!! :) What a beautiful thing. Have you ever had the experience of nature, God’s creation, evangelizing you? When you are out in nature, do you offer up praise and thanks to God for His amazingly beautiful creation?
Proverbs - Proverbs 18:23 today teaches us: "The poor plead for mercy; the rich answer with insults." Wow... this Proverb should make us stop and think. Who are the poor in our world today? And who are the rich? Do you think that the poor are pleading for mercy today? And how are the rich answering this plea? Have times changed from the days of when this Proverb was written to today? Meaning, are we now answering the poor with love and justice and care consistently today? Or are we still basically answering the poor with insults? Please know that over 1.2 billion people in the world today are living on less than $1 a day. That's abject poverty. My hunch is that most people reading this blog posting right now are very rich in comparison to this 1.2 billion in abject poverty. The poor are indeed pleading for mercy in our world today. How will you answer their plea today? And tomorrow? And the day after that?
YouTube Video: Today's Psalm 8 reminds me of MercyMe's song "All of Creation:"
Has Creation evangelized you? Click here to meet the Creator!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on two verses of Scripture today: "When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what are mere mortals that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?" Psalm 8:3-4 TNIV
Prayer Point: Pray that when you enjoy the beauty of creation you worship your Creator, and that you don't worship creation. Pray that God's creation points all people toward Himself and ultimately a saving relationship with Jesus. Pray a prayer of praise to God for being mindful of you and for creating you in His image.
Comments from You & Questions of the Day: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!