A contrast between Jesus and the Queen

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September 25, 2022

This week we finished 1 Chronicles. There are events in this book of the Bible about David that are not documented in Samuel or Kings.

I am not going to discuss anything from Chronicles this week.

While singing at church today, God laid on my heart to talk about the death and mourning of Queen Elizabeth and compare that with the death and mourning of Christ.

I am sad the queen has passed. She reined for 70 years and met many leaders throughout the world. She was very accomplished.

According to the BBC, the queen was surrounded by family and passed peacefully. As seen on TV and in the papers, thousands, if not millions came out to pay their respects. People stood in line up to 24 hours to visit the casket. People spent the night to obtain a spot on the lawn so they could watch her casket and the family drive by. I think it is wonderful, the respect and reverence the people of the U.K. and around the world gave Queen Elizabeth.

I then compare that to what happened to the King of Kings, Jesus Christ.

Who was Jesus? According to John chapter 1, Jesus was with God in the beginning, he was God in the beginning, and everything was made through Him. He lived in glorious heaven with the Father. He then made himself a man. Philippians 2:6-8, “Who, being in very nature[a] God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross

Jesus was God in the flesh! Jesus was 33 years old. He had been in ministry for 3 years with his disciples and others. He had a major following. He healed people physically and he healed them spiritually.

At the end of his life, the Pharisees and Sudducees, the leaders of the Jews, wanted Jesus dead. He was perfect, yet Jesus was falsely accused of a crime and ended up dying on a cross taking on the sins of the world. He died for our sin and then rose again, so we could have everlasting life with Him and the Father.

At his death he was mocked, beaten, and hung on a cross to die with 2 other criminals. All the disciples except for John abandoned Him. Peter denied Him 3 times. After his death he was buried in a tomb. There was no procession. There were no mourners. Even when Lazarus died, there were mourners at the house of Mary and Martha. This was not happening at the home of Jesus’ mother Mary.

What a difference between the respect given to Queen Elizabeth and that given to Jesus Christ.

How could he be treated so bad?

I ask myself today, “Am I respecting and revering Christ today? Am loving Him with all of my heart, soul, and mind?” If I’m honest, I have to say that I do not respect and show Christ love all the time. I continue to sin. I don’t always profess my faith. The list goes on and on. Thankfully, because I have accepted Him as my Lord and Savior, he forgives me, and loves me unconditionally.

I want to do better. How about you? Thus, my prayer for us is that we love and respect the Lord through obedience to Him and love to others and that the Holy Spirit will guide each one of us in this way.

How are you doing in loving and revering the King of Kings?

Next week we will read 2 Chronicles 1-12.

Have a blessed week.

A bold prayer by Jabez

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September 18, 2022

This week we started the book of Chronicles. This book was thought to be written by Ezra. It is a chronicle of the Kings of Judah (from the southern territory). There is a small section that focuses on king Saul, but the majority of the book discussed King David.

The beginning of the book is genealogy from Adam through the kings of Judah. In Chapter 4 there is a pause from this genealogy and a prayer from a man named Jabez. This is going to be the focus of our discussion today.

Here is the scripture from 1 Chronicles 9-10.

Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez,[c] saying, “I gave birth to him in pain.” 10 Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.”

The preceding text talks about different genealogy, and then Jabez and his prayer are mentioned. He must have really been important for him to be mentioned so specifically.

The name Jabez means “to grieve,” or “he makes sorrowful.” In this day the Jewish tradition was to name the child after someone or something meaningful at their birth. Obviously, something was very painful, sorrowful, or difficult at the time of Jabez birth because 8 days later when he was circumcised and named, his mother said that “I gave birth to him in pain” so will name him Jabez.

Even with a difficult start, Jabez was more honorable than is brothers.  What a great compliment this is to someone. He was a man of honor and respect. Why was this important? Because he was an overcomer. He lived with being reminded of the sorrow he caused, but this did not bring him down. He overcame that and became a better man than his brothers.

Jabez was a man of prayer. He did not call out to the many secular gods that others were praying. He prayed to the God of Israel. He doesn’t just ask God, but cries out to him. According to the Lexicon, this means “to cry out in a loud voice” or “to cry for help.”

He asks God for 4 things:

  1. God’s blessing: he wanted God’s divine favor on him. This could be spiritually or in some other way.
  2. An enlargement in territory: he wanted an increase in his border or land.
  3. God’s hand to be with him: the word in Hebrew for hand means strength or direction. Jabez wanted God to give him strength and provide direction in his life. He wanted God’s plan for his life.
  4. To keep him from harm so that he would be free from pain: the word in Hebrew for harm means evil, trouble, or calamity. The word for pain is grief or distress. Jabez was praying for protection from evil and to deep him free from whatever would cause him grief or distress. This is interesting because his name means grief. So, he was praying for protection against whatever caused him to be named Jabez in the first place.

Verse 10 then says that God answered the pray.

Jabez came boldly to the throne of God and asked God for his needs. And God not only answered the prayer, but he answered with a yes. God heard Jabez’s prayers, and he hears your prayers too.

Let’s prayer this prayer together for ourselves in terminology from today.

Lord, I pray your blessing over me and my family. I pray that you will increase my territory. Lord, give me your strength and direction in my life. Let me hear from you. Lord, keep me from evil and sorrow.

Please let me know if you have other prayer requests. I would be happy to pray.

Next week we will read 1 Chronicles. 20-29. Have a blessed week.

1 and 2 Kings. A historical perspective

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September 11, 2022

Over the past two weeks we finished reading 2 Kings. I am going to summarize 1 and 2 Kings, as these are very important chapters historically and spiritually.

King David (a man after God’s own heart) lead all 12 tribes of Israel and died. He was a great king, even though he had some failures. He then left the kingdom to his son Solomon. Solomon began his reign well by asking for wisdom. He did not end well because he married many women and allowed the worship of other gods.

After Solomon, there was a split between the 12 tribes. Ten tribes went to the north and were called Israel and were ruled by the king Jeroboam. He was not a descendant of Solomon. 2 Kings 12:26-33 says, “26 Jeroboam thought to himself, “The kingdom will now likely revert to the house of David. 27 If these people go up to offer sacrifices at the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem, they will again give their allegiance to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah. They will kill me and return to King Rehoboam.”

28 After seeking advice, the king made two golden calves. He said to the people, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.” 29 One he set up in Bethel, and the other in Dan. 30 And this thing became a sin; the people came to worship the one at Bethel and went as far as Dan to worship the other.[d]

31 Jeroboam built shrines on high places and appointed priests from all sorts of people, even though they were not Levites. 32 He instituted a festival on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, like the festival held in Judah, and offered sacrifices on the altar. This he did in Bethel, sacrificing to the calves he had made. And at Bethel he also installed priests at the high places he had made. 33 On the fifteenth day of the eighth month, a month of his own choosing, he offered sacrifices on the altar he had built at Bethel. So he instituted the festival for the Israelites and went up to the altar to make offerings.”

In the northern territory, there were 20 total kings. All 20 kings were evil in the site of the Lord. Because the Israelites did not turn from their ways, God gave them over to the Assyrians. 2 Kings 12:5 says, “The king of Assyria invaded the entire land, marched against Samaria and laid siege to it for three years. In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria and deported the Israelites to Assyria. He settled them in Halah, in Gozan on the Habor River and in the towns of the Medes.” Thus, the northern tribe of Israel was taken over.

2 Kings 12:7-21 says, “All this took place because the Israelites had sinned against the Lord their God, who had brought them up out of Egypt from under the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. They worshiped other gods and followed the practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before them, as well as the practices that the kings of Israel had introduced. The Israelites secretly did things against the Lord their God that were not right. From watchtower to fortified city they built themselves high places in all their towns. 10 They set up sacred stones and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every spreading tree. 11 At every high place they burned incense, as the nations whom the Lord had driven out before them had done. They did wicked things that aroused the Lord’s anger. 12 They worshiped idols, though the Lord had said, “You shall not do this.”[b] 13 The Lord warned Israel and Judah through all his prophets and seers: “Turn from your evil ways. Observe my commands and decrees, in accordance with the entire Law that I commanded your ancestors to obey and that I delivered to you through my servants the prophets.”

14 But they would not listen and were as stiff-necked as their ancestors, who did not trust in the Lord their God. 15 They rejected his decrees and the covenant he had made with their ancestors and the statutes he had warned them to keep. They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless. They imitated the nations around them although the Lord had ordered them, “Do not do as they do.”

16 They forsook all the commands of the Lord their God and made for themselves two idols cast in the shape of calves, and an Asherah pole. They bowed down to all the starry hosts, and they worshiped Baal. 17 They sacrificed their sons and daughters in the fire. They practiced divination and sought omens and sold themselves to do evil in the eyes of the Lord, arousing his anger.

18 So the Lord was very angry with Israel and removed them from his presence.”

There were two tribes that went into the southern kingdom; Judah and Benjamin. They were called Judah. Judah was ruled by king Rehoboam who was the son of king Solomon. 1 Kings 12:21-24 says, “21 When Rehoboam arrived in Jerusalem, he mustered all Judah and the tribe of Benjamin—a hundred and eighty thousand able young men—to go to war against Israel and to regain the kingdom for Rehoboam son of Solomon.

22 But this word of God came to Shemaiah the man of God: 23 “Say to Rehoboam son of Solomon king of Judah, to all Judah and Benjamin, and to the rest of the people, 24 ‘This is what the Lord says: Do not go up to fight against your brothers, the Israelites. Go home, every one of you, for this is my doing.’” So they obeyed the word of the Lord and went home again, as the Lord had ordered.”

In the southern territory there were 20 kings. Out of those 20, only 8 were good kings. Even with 2 great kings, Hezikiah and Josiah, the southern kingdom did evil in God’s sight. 2 Kings 12:19-20 says, “19 and even Judah did not keep the commands of the Lord their God. They followed the practices Israel had introduced. 20 Therefore the Lord rejected all the people of Israel; he afflicted them and gave them into the hands of plunderers, until he thrust them from his presence.” When you read 2 Kings 25, you see that Judah is taken over by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.

2 Kings 25:1-“So in the ninth year of Zedekiah’s reign, on the tenth day of the tenth month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon marched against Jerusalem with his whole army. He encamped outside the city and built siege works all around it. The city was kept under siege until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah.

By the ninth day of the fourth[a] month the famine in the city had become so severe that there was no food for the people to eat. Then the city wall was broken through, and the whole army fled at night through the gate between the two walls near the king’s garden, though the Babylonians[b] were surrounding the city. They fled toward the Arabah,[c] but the Babylonian[d] army pursued the king and overtook him in the plains of Jericho. All his soldiers were separated from him and scattered, and he was captured.

He was taken to the king of Babylon at Riblah, where sentence was pronounced on him. They killed the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes. Then they put out his eyes, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon.

On the seventh day of the fifth month, in the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, Nebuzaradan commander of the imperial guard, an official of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. He set fire to the temple of the Lord, the royal palace and all the houses of Jerusalem. Every important building he burned down. 10 The whole Babylonian army under the commander of the imperial guard broke down the walls around Jerusalem. 11 Nebuzaradan the commander of the guard carried into exile the people who remained in the city, along with the rest of the populace and those who had deserted to the king of Babylon. 12 But the commander left behind some of the poorest people of the land to work the vineyards and fields.

13 The Babylonians broke up the bronze pillars, the movable stands and the bronze Sea that were at the temple of the Lord and they carried the bronze to Babylon. 14 They also took away the pots, shovels, wick trimmers, dishes and all the bronze articles used in the temple service. 15 The commander of the imperial guard took away the censers and sprinkling bowls—all that were made of pure gold or silver.

16 The bronze from the two pillars, the Sea and the movable stands, which Solomon had made for the temple of the Lord, was more than could be weighed. 17 Each pillar was eighteen cubits[e] high. The bronze capital on top of one pillar was three cubits[f] high and was decorated with a network and pomegranates of bronze all around. The other pillar, with its network, was similar.

18 The commander of the guard took as prisoners Seraiah the chief priest, Zephaniah the priest next in rank and the three doorkeepers. 19 Of those still in the city, he took the officer in charge of the fighting men, and five royal advisers. He also took the secretary who was chief officer in charge of conscripting the people of the land and sixty of the conscripts who were found in the city. 20 Nebuzaradan the commander took them all and brought them to the king of Babylon at Riblah. 21 There at Riblah, in the land of Hamath, the king had them executed.

So Judah went into captivity, away from her land.”

After the Babylonians took over Judah, some of the people lived in Babylon. While their country was gone, and many died, there were some left that live with the Babylonian people.

Throughout the years of the kings of the northern and southern kingdom, the prophets were sent by God to try and persuade the kings to do right. The kings did not listen. Thus, both kingdoms were taken over.

In 2 Kings 24, Johoichin (also named Jeconiah) was taken prisoner by the Babylonians. In Chapter 25:27-31, we see that he was allowed to live. “In the thierty-seventh year of the exile of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the Awel-Marduk became king of Babylon, he released Jehoiachin king of Judah from prison. He did this on the twenty-seventh day of the twelfth month. He spoke kindly to him and gave him a seat of honor higher than those of the other kings wo were with him in Babylon. So Jehoiachin put aside his prison clothes and for the rest of his life ate regularly at the king’s table. Day by day the king gave Jehoiachin a regular allowance as long as he lived.”

These last 4 verses of the chapter are very important. King Johoichin was also called Jecohiah.  Matthew chapter 1:12-16 shows how Jesus is in this line of genealogy of David on Joseph’s side of the family.

 “After the exile to Babylon:

Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel,

Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,

13 Zerubbabel the father of Abihud,

Abihud the father of Eliakim,

Eliakim the father of Azor,

14 Azor the father of Zadok,

Zadok the father of Akim,

Akim the father of Elihud,

15 Elihud the father of Eleazar,

Eleazar the father of Matthan,

Matthan the father of Jacob,

16 and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah.

17 Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah.”

This is important because there was prophesy that there would be a king from the line of David (2 Samuel 7:12-16; Isaiah 11:1; Jerimiah 23:5-6). This prophecy was fulfilled in Jesus. The genealogy of Jesus in Matthew shows it lineage, as does the genealogy presented in Luke looking at Jesus’ lineage on Mary’s side of the family. There are numerous other scripture in the New Testament that show Jesus is the son of David. Mark 10:47 says, “When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Thus, the prophecy of Jesus coming from the line of David was able to be fulfilled even with the battles that occurred with the Assyrians and Babylonians.

Next week we will read 1 Chronicles 1-19. It sounds like a lot, but the first 8 chapters are all genealogies.

Have a great week, and feel free to comment or ask questions about this. It is very complicated.

The God who Multiplies

The Story of Elisha and the Widow

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August 29, 2022

This week we read 2 Kings 1-10. We see that Elijah the prophet is about to be taken up into heaven and hand over the leadership role of head prophet to Elisha (means God is my salvation). 2 Kings 2:9-10 says, “When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you? “Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit,” Elisha replied.“You have asked a difficult thing,” Elijah said, “yet if you see me when I am taken from you, it will be yours—otherwise, it will not.” The spirit that Elisha was asking for was a spirit filled heart to know God, and he wanted a double portion. He did watch Elijah go up into heaven, so received this double portion. After this, Elisha became the leading prophet.

As we continue into 2 Kings, Elisha performs many miracles. The miracle I want to discuss is the one about the widow in 2 Kings chapter 4.

2 Kings 4:1-2 says, “The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the Lord. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves.”

This woman’s husband was training to be a prophet and was someone Elisha knew. He was married, had two sons, and had some debt. When he died, his wife could not pay the debt, and if that happened in that day, the sons would have to be slaves until the debt was paid. The woman had no way to make money either as women did not work. The woman was in a desperate state. She lost her husband and now her sons were going to be forced into slavery.

Elisha says in verse 2, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?

The prophet wants to help her and asks her how he can do this. He does not wait for an answer. He just asks another question. He already knows she is desperate and in need. He doesn’t know what she owns. So he asks.

Verse 2 says, “Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a small jar of olive oil.”

She initially thought she had nothing, but remembered she had a small jar of olive oil. This was worth quite a bit of money in those days as it was used for many things such as food, illumination or lighting, ointment, making soap, and for making anointing oil (theisraelbible.com). She only had a small jar, however.

In verse 3-4, “Elisha said, “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few. Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.”

God wanted this woman to participate in the miracle. He could have done anything for her but wanted her to be a part.

In order for her to be obedient, she first had to humble herself and ask others for a jar. God did not specify the number of jars that she was to get, but that she should not ask for just a few. He was hinting to her that he wanted her to get a lot of jars.

He then had her go inside her home and shut the door behind her and her sons. God wanted this to be a private miracle. Then she poured the oil she had in her one little flask, and filled each of the pots she obtained from the neighbors.  

Verse 5 says, “She left him and shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring. When all the jars were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another one.”

But he replied, “There is not a jar left.” Then the oil stopped flowing.”

Once the jars were full, the miracle stopped.

She says in verse 7 “She went and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left.”

God was very generous with this woman. He gave her enough to settle her debt, and then enough for her and her family to live on.

Are you in a difficult circumstance? Maybe you’ve lost a loved one like this woman, or have been struggling financially.

Let’s learn from the prophet’s wife.

Humble: She knew her problem, was humble by asking for help from the Prophet and asking the neighbors for their jars.  

Faithful: She had faith. If she hadn’t, she would not have spent the time doing all this work to get the jars
Obedient: She was obedient to what God called her to do (even though it did not make sense) by pouring the oil into the jars.

Participatory: she did participate by collecting the jars.

Private: she closed the door to the house so other people would not see.

Blessed: she was blessed by God when she received enough oil to cancel her debt and to live on at least until her sons were old enough to work.

When you are feeling down, discouraged or empty, remember this story, and the below verses.

Philippians 4:9 states: “19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”

2 Corinthians 9:8 says, “

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”

God bless you!

Next read 2 Kings 11-20

The Ripple Effect

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August 21, 2022

This week we finished 1 Kings by reading chapters 11-22. To review, Solomon became king. He was given wisdom from God and he built the temple. 1 Kings 10:23 says, “King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth.”

Solomon had many weaknesses, and they were the money and women. 1 Kings 11:1-10 says, “King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh’s daughter—Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. They were from nations about which the Lord had told the Israelites, “You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.” Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love. He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray. As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been. He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molek the detestable god of the Ammonites. So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the Lord; he did not follow the Lord completely, as David his father had done.

On a hill east of Jerusalem, Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable god of Moab, and for Molek the detestable god of the Ammonites. He did the same for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and offered sacrifices to their gods.”

Thus, Solomon followed other gods because of all the women in his life, and not the one true God. 1 Kings 11:9-13 says, “The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. 10 Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the Lord’s command. 11 So the Lord said to Solomon, “Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates. 12 Nevertheless, for the sake of David your father, I will not do it during your lifetime. I will tear it out of the hand of your son. 13 Yet I will not tear the whole kingdom from him, but will give him one tribe for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen.”

This is exactly what God did. He separated the kingdom as he said he would and as he prophesied to Ahijah the prophet (1 Kings 11:29-40). After Solomon reigned for 40 years he died. Rehoboam succeeded him on the throne, but not with all 12 tribes of Israel. Rehoboam only reined over the tribe of Judah and Benjamin. Another man, Jeroboam, who was Solomon’s official, was actually given the kingdom over the other 10 tribes of Israel.

So, the kingdom was split. The Israelites (10 tribes) were in the north and Judah (and Benjamin) were in the South. The rest of 1 Kings discusses different kings for each tribe. Thus far, all of the Israelite kings were evil. Rehoboam and Abijah were evil but Asa and Jehoshaphat were both good kings for Judah.

After Solomon

The Kings that reigned in Judah (and Benjamin)

Rehoboam (Solomon’s son) reigned 17 years and was evil

Abijah reigned 3 years and was evil

Asa reigned 41 years and was good

Jehoshaphat reigned 25 years and was good

After Solomon

The Kings that reigned in Israel (the other 10 tribes)

Jeroboam reigned 22 years and was eveil

Nadab reigned 2 years and was evil

Baash reigned 24 years and was evil

Elah reigned 2 years and was evil

Zimri reigned 7 days ansd was evil

Ahab reigned 22 years and was evil

What happened to these kings that caused them to become evil?

Solomon’s sin caused a ripple effect onto his son and many of the other kings that followed. He worshiped other gods, and so did other kings. He did not follow in the ways of God, and neither did others.

Our actions and decisions can have a ripple effect on others as well. That ripple can be good or not so good.

What kind of ripple effect are we having on others?

Next week we will read 2 Kings 1-12.

God’s Glory

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August 14, 2022

This week we read 1 Kings 1-10. King David died and his son Solomon became the king. Solomon asked for wisdom and received it from God. Because he did not ask for riches or long life, God gave him riches. During his reign he built a permanent temple for God.

After Solomon built the temple, 1 Kings 8:6-7 says, The priests then brought the ark of the Lord’s covenant to its place in the inner sanctuary of the temple, the Most Holy Place, and put it beneath the wings of the cherubim. The cherubim spread their wings over the place of the ark and overshadowed the ark and its carrying poles. These poles were so long that their ends could be seen from the Holy Place in front of the inner sanctuary, but not from outside the Holy Place; and they are still there today. There was nothing in the ark except the two stone tablets that Moses had placed in it at Horeb, where the Lord made a covenant with the Israelites after they came out of Egypt.

10 When the priests withdrew from the Holy Place, the cloud filled the temple of the Lord. 11 And the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled his temple. I think this is a beautiful picture of the LORD’s presence.

There is a new temple now that Christ has come. Once we give our lives to Christ, we become God’s temple and God lives in us. 1 Corinthians 3:16 says, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?”

John 14:16-17 says, “16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[c] in you.”

Today, if we are Christian, we have God’s presence in us. My question is this, “Does the glory of the LORD fill our temples? Do people see God through our lives?

What would someone look if God’s glory shone through them? John 15:8 says, This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”

Galatians 5:22-26 says, “22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

Is the glory of the LORD shining through your temple?

Next week we will finish 1 Kings and read Chapters 11-22.

David gives me hope.

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August 7, 2022

We read 2 Samuel 11-23. In chapter 11 we see that King David sinned. His soldiers were fighting a war, and for some reason he stayed back. He looked out the window and saw a beautiful woman. He asked who she was, and even though she was married to Uriah the Hittite who was serving on the battlefield, he had Bathsheba brought to him and slept with her. He already had 7 wives and 10 concubines, but had to have one more beautiful woman.

Bathsheba then gets pregnant. The king thought he could bring her husband back from the war and he would sleep with his wife, but he only slept outside the door to honor those at war. So, King David had him put on the front line, and ultimately, he was killed. After the appropriate time of mourning, he made Bathsheba his wife.

This caused God to be angry, and David suffered the consequences of his sin. His son from Bathsheba died.

With such sin in a man’s life, how can he be called a “man after God’s heart.” Saul, the previous king, had sinned. He did not obey God, and God removed his blessing. What was the difference?

Throughout the Bible, David is praised. Jesus was called the son of David (Matthew 1:1). Acts 13:22 says, … (God) raised up for (Israel) David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.”

In 1 Kings 15:11 we read that “(King) Asa did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, as David his father had done.” Also in 2 Kings 18:3 “(King Hezekiah) did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, according to all that David his father had done.”

How can David be called “a man after God’s own heart?” He committed adultery, lied, and murdered?

David loved God. He had faith in Him and we see that when he fought Goliath. David was also humble. Yes, he sinned big time, but he was humble. After he realized what he had done, he says in 2 Samuel 12:13, “I have sinned against the Lord.” David does not make excuses and does not blame. He confesses his sin to God.

He also asked forgiveness. He wrote Psalm 51 after his transgression with Bathsheba.

Psalm 51:1-12

Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
    blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
    and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
    and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
    and justified when you judge.
Surely I was sinful at birth,
    sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
    you taught me wisdom in that secret place.

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
    wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins
    and blot out all my iniquity.

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
    or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”

The humanness of David gives me hope. He committed a terrible sin. Through his humility and love of God, he asks for forgiveness. He still paid a consequence for what he did, but God forgives him. He went down in history as a great man of God.

We can do the same through Jesus Christ.

The Bible says in Romans 3:23 “all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory.”

The consequences of that sin are death, both physically and spiritually. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus.”

There is good news, however. Jesus paid the full price for our sin through salvation by his death and resurrection. Romans 5:8 states, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

We receive forgiveness, salvation and eternal life through faith in Jesus. Romans 10:9-10 and 13 says,
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved … For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

We all make mistakes. If you want the free gift of salvation that Christ can give, ask him to forgive you, and call on the name of the Lord. If you want someone to pray for you, please let me know.

Next week we will read 1 Kings 1-11.

Davidic Covenant

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July 31, 2022

This week we read 2 Samuel 1-10. Chapter 7 really connects the New and Old Testament. It is about the promise God made to David and is called the Davidic Covenant. We will also see how God’s plans for our lives are so much better and bigger than anything we could dream.

At the time, David was king over all of Israel. He had won many battles and was taking a rest from war.

2 Samuel 7:1-2 says, “after the king was settled in his palace and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies around him, he said to Nathan the prophet, “Here I am, living in a house of cedar, while the ark of God remains in a tent.”

David had good motives to move the ark of God into a temple. Nathan the prophet agreed with him. That night Nathan had dream revealing that God had different plans.

2 Samuel 7:4-17 says, But that night the word of the Lord came to Nathan, saying:

“Go and tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord says: Are you the one to build me a house to dwell in? I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought the Israelites up out of Egypt to this day. I have been moving from place to place with a tent as my dwelling. Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their rulers whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?”’

“Now then, tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord Almighty says: I took you from the pasture, from tending the flock, and appointed you ruler over my people Israel. I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men on earth. 10 And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore, as they did at the beginning 11 and have done ever since the time I appointed leaders[a] over my people Israel. I will also give you rest from all your enemies.

“‘The Lord declares to you that the Lord himself will establish a house for you: 12 When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with a rod wielded by men, with floggings inflicted by human hands. 15 But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. 16 Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me[b]; your throne will be established forever.’”

17 Nathan reported to David all the words of this entire revelation.”

What can we learn from this text?

  1. This was not God’s will or His timing. God did not want David to build him a temple at this time. This was going to be done by his son (Solomon). David’s idea was not bad, but he had not consulted God first. God never gave anyone the plans to make a temple, but for the tent (verse 7).
  2. God dwells with His people. He told David that he went with the people (verse 6). God had the people carry the tent wherever they went and He was with them.
  3. God was in charge. He took David from being a shepherd to being a ruler over Israel. God cut off his enemies (verse 8-9).
  4. God had a plan for David now and in the future. He was going to raise up David’s offspring to succeed him as king over Israel, but he was also going to establish his house and kingdom forever. Initially God was talking about Solomon taking over as king after David died. The second part, God was talking about establishing his house through the birth of Jesus Christ. This was the covenant God made with David: that his kingdom would last forever. The New Testament also talks about the covenant. Here are a few of those scriptures.

Matthew 1:1 lists Jesus’ genealogy on Joseph’s side. “This is the genealogy[a] of Jesus the Messiah[b] the son of David, the son of Abraham.”

In Luke 1:32, the angel was speaking to Mary about Jesus and said, “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

Romans 1:3 says, “regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life[a] was a descendant of David.”

David did not get what he wanted when he thought about building a house for God. He received something much bigger and better. God made David’s name great with all men, and his kingdom through Jesus Christ lives on forever.

I am so thankful God made this promise with David. The principles above are applicable to our lives now.

  1. God has a perfect plan for our lives. We can pray for anything, and He wants us to pray, but His answer may be a  “yes”, “wait,” or a“no.” He may have something much better for us and we just have not seen it yet.
  2. God dwelt with the Israelites in the tent. The same holds true today. If you are a Christian, God dwells within you through the Holy Spirit and goes with you wherever you go.
  3. God is in charge of our life as He was for David. David started as a shepherd, , and then, over time, made David king. God is in charge of our lives too and will take us on our own journeys based on His will.
  4. God established his kingdom forever through Jesus Christ. We can be a part of Jesus’ kingdom “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9). That salvation guarantees a life with Christ for eternity.

Are you trusting God for His plan for your life? Start praying for His will to be done.

Are you a part of Jesus’ kingdom? Let me know if this is something you want and I will pray for you.

Next week we will finish 2 Samuel and read chapters 11-23. Have a blessed week.

How do you handle conflict?

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July 24, 2021

This week we finished 1 Samuel and read chapters 21-31. We see a change in David. He went from fearless and dependent upon God, to fearful of Saul. Skip Heitzig has said, “Even the best men are men at best.” And that was David. Even though he was a man after God’s heart, he was only a man.

While he was fearful of Saul, he did have good moments too. We are going to talk about one of those moments and another from a different character, Abigail, and discuss what they have in common. The chapters we are focusing on are 1 Samuel 24 and 25.

In Chapter 24, David and his men were in a cave. Saul came into that cave to go to the bathroom. David had an opportunity to kill Saul and his men actually wanted him to do this. While Saul was in the cave David crept up unnoticed and cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. David’s was convicted that he should not kill Saul.

After Saul left, David called out to him. In David’s exchange with Saul, we find that Proverb 15:1, which says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

This is what transpired in verses 8-22. My lord the king!” When Saul looked behind him, David bowed down and prostrated himself with his face to the ground. He said to Saul, “Why do you listen when men say, ‘David is bent on harming you’? 10 This day you have seen with your own eyes how the Lord delivered you into my hands in the cave. Some urged me to kill you, but I spared you; I said, ‘I will not lay my hand on my lord, because he is the Lord’s anointed.’ 11 See, my father, look at this piece of your robe in my hand! I cut off the corner of your robe but did not kill you. See that there is nothing in my hand to indicate that I am guilty of wrongdoing or rebellion. I have not wronged you, but you are hunting me down to take my life. 12 May the Lord judge between you and me. And may the Lord avenge the wrongs you have done to me, but my hand will not touch you. 13 As the old saying goes, ‘From evildoers come evil deeds,’ so my hand will not touch you.

14 “Against whom has the king of Israel come out? Who are you pursuing? A dead dog? A flea? 15 May the Lord be our judge and decide between us. May he consider my cause and uphold it; may he vindicate me by delivering me from your hand.”

16 When David finished saying this, Saul asked, “Is that your voice, David my son?” And he wept aloud. 17 “You are more righteous than I,” he said. “You have treated me well, but I have treated you badly. 18 You have just now told me about the good you did to me; the Lord delivered me into your hands, but you did not kill me. 19 When a man finds his enemy, does he let him get away unharmed? May the Lord reward you well for the way you treated me today. 20 I know that you will surely be king and that the kingdom of Israel will be established in your hands. 21 Now swear to me by the Lord that you will not kill off my descendants or wipe out my name from my father’s family.”

22 So David gave his oath to Saul. Then Saul returned home, but David and his men went up to the stronghold.”

You see, David spoke truth to Saul, but in a respectful, kind and loving manner. It softened Saul’s heart.

1 Peter 3:9 says, “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”

Luke 6:35 says, “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.”

Another example of a gentle answer turning away wrath was from Abigail in 1 Samuel 25. David and his men had protected a man name Nabel’s sheep and shepherds. When the celebration day of sheep shearing came, David wanted remuneration for their protection. Nabel said in 1 Samuel 25:10, “Who is this David? Who is this son of Jesse? Many servants are breaking away from their masters these days. Why should I take my bread and water, and meat I have slaughtered for my shearers, and give it to men coming from who knows where?”

When David heard this, he was very angry with Nabel and wanted to kill Nabel. Again, David was not perfect here at all.

When Abigail, Nabel’s wife, heard this, she took 200 loaves of bread, 2 skins of wine, 5 dressed sheep, 5 seahs of roasted grain, a hundred cakes of raisins and 200 cakes of pressed figs, and with her servants, she brought them to David and his men.

1 Samuel 25:23-35 says, “When Abigail saw David, she quickly got off her donkey and bowed down before David with her face to the ground. 24 She fell at his feet and said: “Pardon your servant, my lord, and let me speak to you; hear what your servant has to say. 25 Please pay no attention, my lord, to that wicked man Nabal. He is just like his name—his name means Fool, and folly goes with him. And as for me, your servant, I did not see the men my lord sent. 26 And now, my lord, as surely as the Lord your God lives and as you live, since the Lord has kept you from bloodshed and from avenging yourself with your own hands, may your enemies and all who are intent on harming my lord be like Nabal. 27 And let this gift, which your servant has brought to my lord, be given to the men who follow you.

28 “Please forgive your servant’s presumption. The Lord your God will certainly make a lasting dynasty for my lord, because you fight the Lord’s battles, and no wrongdoing will be found in you as long as you live. 29 Even though someone is pursuing you to take your life, the life of my lord will be bound securely in the bundle of the living by the Lord your God, but the lives of your enemies he will hurl away as from the pocket of a sling. 30 When the Lord has fulfilled for my lord every good thing he promised concerning him and has appointed him ruler over Israel, 31 my lord will not have on his conscience the staggering burden of needless bloodshed or of having avenged himself. And when the Lord your God has brought my lord success, remember your servant.”

32 David said to Abigail, “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, who has sent you today to meet me. 33 May you be blessed for your good judgment and for keeping me from bloodshed this day and from avenging myself with my own hands. 34 Otherwise, as surely as the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, who has kept me from harming you, if you had not come quickly to meet me, not one male belonging to Nabal would have been left alive by daybreak.”

35 Then David accepted from her hand what she had brought him and said, “Go home in peace. I have heard your words and granted your request.”

Ten days after this happened, Nabel died. David then asked Abigail to be his wife.

Abigail was very humble when she spoke to David. She spoke truth, but in a respectful manner.

In both of these stories it took a lot of courage to speak the truth in love. It takes a lot of courage for us to do the same when someone has wronged us.

As you can see, it be done, and positive results can come from it.

How do you feel about confrontation? Do you avoid it? Do you confront but with an angry manner?

Or are you like David in the first story and Abigail in the second and become humble and gentle but truthful?

I challenge you to do the same. I will quote Proverbs 15:1 again, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

Next week we will read 2 Samuel 1-10. Have a blessed week and let me know how I can pray for you.