~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
1 Chronicles 12:19-14:17 ~ Romans 1:1-17
Psalm 9:13-20 ~ Proverbs 19:4-5
Old Testament - Today in 1 Chronicles 13 we read about David bringing the Ark back to Jerusalem - which was good in intention, but poor in execution... God is clear in Numbers 4:5-15 that the Ark was to be moved only by the Levites and only by using carrying poles. No one, not even the Levites were to touch the Ark itself. David ended up following the Philistines example of moving the Ark on a cart, rather than following God's command. Thus, in verses 9 & 10 we read - "But when they arrived at the threshing floor of Nacon, the oxen stumbled, and Uzzah put out his hand to steady the Ark. Then the LORD's anger blazed out against Uzzah, and he struck him dead because he had laid his hand on the Ark. So Uzzah died there in the presence of God." I wonder if we are like David was in this chapter in our lives today - how often do we have "good intentions", but poor execution? How often do we take shortcuts on things God has been very clear on? Even if these shortcuts seem like they are good ideas, why do we take them? Why do we take the risk?
New Testament - Today we begin the book of Romans! What a great book coming up! We’ve been reading about Paul’s missionary journeys and being in chains for the Gospel in Acts. Now get ready to read and study some of Paul’s writings first hand! Below is a portrait of Paul painted by Rembrandt in 1657 -
Date: A.D. 57/58
Content: Paul was in Corinth on his third missionary journey and was planning to go to Rome, but had never been there before. This letter was written to introduce himself to the church and to summarize his theological teachings. For the latter reason, it is the most systematically organized letter of Paul. He begins by showing the universal sin of man. Neither Gentile nor Jew has any legitimate claim upon God because sin has invalidated any appeal. But God in his mercy stepped in, while we were still sinners, and opened the way back to himself (Romans 5:8). From this may come a victorious Christian life. Paul then deals with the place of the Jews in God’s plan (Romans 9-11), concluding with a series of ethical exhortations.
Theme: The righteousness of God, his righteous dealings with the world, and the righteous plan of salvation are the focus of this book. God is seen to be the great and holy God of the universe who cannot relax his laws because they are based upon his nature. But consistent with those laws, he devised a plan of salvation for Jews and Gentiles alike that sent his Son down from heaven to die for the sins of the world. Now anyone who trusts in Jesus will be saved (Romans 10:9) and be given the power of God over sin in his life. From God and his love nothing can separate the believer. (Romans 8:38-39) (Above commentary is from Tyndale Publishers “The One Year Bible Companion” p. 24)
More commentary on Romans is at these 3 links –
(Bob Deffinbaugh says at this link directly above – “If you can reason your way through Romans, you will have the Gospel under your belt. . . . As you begin this study, I would challenge you to review the Book of Romans often in your mind, seeking to trace its argument from the very first chapter to wherever your study has brought you. It is my hope that you will then seek to apply what you have learned in your own life, and to share the message of the Gospel it contains with those who are lost and without hope, apart from the faith this Epistle describes and defines. May God bless you in your study of this portion of His Word.”)
How powerfully strong are Paul's words in Romans chapter 1 verses 16 & 17 today... "For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes--Jews first and also Gentiles. This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, "It is through faith that a righteous person has life."" Do you believe these 2 verses to be true? Are you not ashamed of the Good News about Jesus Christ? Do you believe that God makes us right in his sight by faith?
Bible.org's commentary on today's Romans Chapter 1 readings are at this link.
Psalms - Psalm 9 verse 18 is powerful - "For the needy will not be forgotten forever; the hopes of the poor will not always be crushed." This is a great reminder that God's heart is for the poor in this world. If God's heart is for the poor - should our heart be for the poor too?
Proverbs - Interesting to consider the Psalm verse about compared to Proverbs 19 verse 4 today - "Wealth makes many "friends"; poverty drives them away." This is a true Proverb. I am intrigued by "friends" being in parentheses - what type of friends do we attract with wealth? Will they still be there when the wealth is gone? I do think it's true that poverty drives "friends" away. If the poor do not have many friends, then should we be a friend to the poor? Why or why not? How could we be a friend to the poor? Was Jesus a friend to the poor? What type of poor was Jesus a friend too - poor in spirit; poor in wealth; poor in health; all of the above? Should we emulate Jesus in his friendship to the poor?
What verses or insights jumped out for you in today's readings? Please post up in the Comments section below!