April 18, 1 Chronicles 22-27

 

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What makes a leader great?  Certainly, David had his struggles and great sin, but he was a leader.  Today, we read of some of the principles that made David a great leader.  First, David was a great leader because he prepared for the future, even that future beyond his life.  In fact the NIV records his preparation as “extensive.”  A great leader looks beyond his or her present to the future generations.  Our legacy is only as great as our ability to influence the generation that comes immediately after us.

The second principle of leadership that stands out in today’s reading is how David organized the kingdom.  As chapter 27 concludes, we realize that David put somebody “in charge” of everything.  I am especially captured by the final words of chapter 27. Ahithophel is listed as the king’s counselor, Hushai is listed as the king’s friend, and Joab, of course, is listed as the king’s commander.  Do you have a counselor?  (Notice, as well, that the counselor’s successor is named indicating the importance of this role in David’s life.)  How about a friend?  How about someone with whom you trust everything?  These people may be hard to come by, but you may never rise to your level of leadership potential without these individuals in your life. 

Devotional by Steve Horn. Scripture links by www.biblegateway.com. Animated video by www.thebibleproject.com

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April 17, 1 Chronicles 17-21

 

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Today’s reading gives a glimpse of David’s contrasting personality.  On the one hand, he is a man of humility as evidenced in chapter 17.  The prayer of humility and thanksgiving is refreshing.  In this prayer, David recognized that all comes from God.  However, the humility of chapter 17 stands in stark contrast to the pride of chapter 21.  David calls for a census.  Now, there have been times, like at the beginning of the entry into the Promised Land where a census is applauded.  But, now, the text is clear that this is sin.  Joab, the commander, saw the problem with taking the census (21:3, 6).  We are left to conclude that David was prideful in wanting to know how many people were in his kingdom.

Again, as in the case of the Ark of the Covenant, when confronted with his sin, David repents.  In fact, when given the opportunity to have a “free” site for a place to be an altar, David insists on paying the full price.  The words of 21:24 should strike a chord with all of us:  “I will not …sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.”

Devotional by Steve Horn. Scripture links by www.biblegateway.com. Animated video by www.thebibleproject.com

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April 16, 1 Chronicles 10-16

 

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Today’s reading summarizes the early years of David’s reign as king.  Yes, we have read this before in 2 Samuel, but now we are reading from a different perspective.  The perspective of Chronicles is on the Temple and worship, whereas the perspective of 1-2 Samuel and 1-2 Kings is on the Palace and politics.  Amazing, isn’t it, how difficulty, like exile, can shift the focus to what is more important?

This change in perspective results in a special emphasis on handling the Ark of the Covenant.  What else is there to say except again to emphasize how serious God is about doing what He commands to do?  Fortunately, in this particular instance of the Ark, David and the others later get it right.

Pay close attention to the Psalm in chapter 16.  Try to make it your own Psalm today.       

Devotional by Steve Horn. Scripture links by www.biblegateway.com. Animated video by www.thebibleproject.com

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April 15, 1 Chronicles 1-9

 

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This may very well be the beginning of the most difficult reading so far in our Read the Bible through Series.  The difficulty is the result of the repetition of much of the same material and same lessons as Samuel and Kings.  But hangeth thou in there and persevere.  There is something that God wants us to learn.  For me, that something that He wants us to learn is summed up in one word:  perspective.

Chronicles cannot be understood properly without reading it from the right perspective. Scholars have traditionally attributed the writing of Chronicles to Ezra.  If this is correct, then we can begin to see the perspective of his writing.  Ezra’s passion was to rebuild the temple and resurrect right worship after the exile.  What better way to call people to action than to remind them of the glorious ancestry and the glory of the former temple.  For us, Chronicles provides an historical perspective of the temple, but for the original readers, the Chronicles were a call to action.

For some, chapters 1-9 might seem pointless, but if you have ever worked on your family genealogy, your opinion might be somewhat different.  For these post-exilic Jews, most who had never lived in the land of Israel, this list of ancestors should have been a great reminder of their glorious past and at the same time the reminder of why the exile occurred. (9:1)

Again, the purpose of Chronicles is to show the returning exiles of the plan that God has always had for them.  Maybe today we need to be reminded that God has a special plan for our lives.  Maybe you feel like you have been living in spiritual exile.  If so, take heart, God has a plan for your life.

Devotional by Steve Horn. Scripture links by www.biblegateway.com. Animated video by www.thebibleproject.com

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April 14

 

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Don’t miss the note of hope with which the book of Second Kings ends.  Hear the explanation of one Old Testament scholar. 

First and Second Kings end on a more hopeful note:  at Nebuduchadnezzar’s death, when Evil-merodach mounted the throne of Babylon (562 B.C.), Jehoiachin, still alive after thirty-seven years in captivity, was freed and accorded royal treatment (vv. 27-30).  This passage is a reminder that the final touches were not put on 2 Kings until well into the Exile, when full implications of the events recorded were perceived. 

Moreover, Jehoiachin’s release had its own theological message.  The necessary judgment, so long promised by the prophets and so ruthlessly executed by the Babylonians, had done its work.  Jehoiachin, whose captivity was the first chapter of the Exile, lived to see the last chapter begin.  The same God who sent the dove to signal the end of the Flood prompted the sacred writers to depict Jehoiachin, free from fetters and dining at the king’s table.  The storm was past; a better day was at hand.  That story, however, belongs not to Kings but to Ezra and Nehemiah.  (LaSor, William Sanford, and Hubbard, David Allan, and Bush, Frederic William Bush, Old Testament Survey:  The Message, Form, and Background of the Old Testament, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1982, 287.)

The entire message of Christianity is a story of hope.  Think about the key to our faith—the resurrection of Jesus.  Let me give you two quick ideas.  First, there is the hope of our own resurrection.  Jesus said to Martha, brother of Lazarus, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die.” (John 11:25-26)  Second, there is the hope of the return of Christ.  Again the words of our Lord as recorded in Luke.  “But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”  (Luke 21:28)

When I think about hope, I think about the little boy playing Little League baseball.  He is out in the field when his father arrives late for the game.  Through the fence his father asks, “What’s the score?”  “18-0!” says the little boy, “We’re losing.”  Trying to offer comfort his dad says, “I’m sorry, son.”  With the hope only a Little Leaguer could have, he answers back, “Don’t worry, Dad, we haven’t even got up to bat yet!”  Now that’s hope.

For someone who wasn’t privy to what was going on at Calvary, it might seem like Satan was ahead.  But, on that Sunday morning, God got up to bat and hit a homerun, and we who believe in Him have been ahead ever since.

Devotional by Steve Horn. Scripture links by www.biblegateway.com. Animated video by www.thebibleproject.com

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