Old Testament – I think today’s readings in First Chronicles could be called “Famous Dave!” As indeed, David moves into his role as the King of Israel in today’s readings and we read about his growing fame and support amongst the tribes!
In chapter 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 we have coming up! We’ve been reading about Paul’s missionary journeys, the storm at sea, and being in chains for the Gospel in Acts. Now get ready to read and study some of Paul’s teachings first-hand! Some commentaries say that the book of Romans is a “Bible within the Bible.” And others: “The most profound book in existence.” Personally, I think we need to obviously consider all 66 books of the Bible to be the Bible and the entirety of the Bible to be the most profound book in existence. But, yes, Romans is a profound book of the Bible no doubt! Martin Luther said this about Romans: “It is worthy not only that every Christian should know it word for word, by heart, but occupy himself with it every day, as the daily bread of the soul. It can never be read or pondered too much, and the more it is dealt with, the more precious it becomes.” Not a bad quote for us to jump into the book of Romans this week! Let’s go!
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)
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! In fact, the NIV Study Bible’s commentary says that these two verses are the theme of the entire book of Romans: “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 two 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 is at this link.
Psalms – Psalm 9 verse 18 is so true and 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?
- How is your heart for the poor these days?
- How do you remember the poor and their hopes?
Proverbs – It is interesting to consider the Psalm verse about compared to Proverbs 19 verse 4 toay: “Wealth makes many “friends”; poverty drives them away.” This is a true Proverb.
- 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?
- 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?
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today: “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” Romans 1:16 TNIV
- Pray that you are not ashamed of the Gospel in any way, shape or form.
- Pray that you proclaim the Gospel throughout your life in every way.
- Pray that you fully know and believe that the Gospel is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes.
Comments from You & Questions of the Day:
- What verses or insights stand out to you in today’s readings?
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Love, Trust and Obey Jesus,
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