Today’s Bible reading: 1 Chronicles 1-2:17; Acts 23:11-35; Psalm 3:1-8; Proverbs 18:14-15
Today we begin reading 1 Chronicles which, along with 2 Chronicles, documents the stories of the kings of Israel. Even though 1 & 2 Kings deals with the same subject matter, Chronicles provides some extra information.
Both Israel and Judah had been conquered by Assyria and Babylon, respectively. As part of their conquest both Assyria and Babylon took captive the most talented and skilled Jews and brought them back to their own lands leaving behind a weak and impoverished remnant.
Assyria and Babylon were subsequently conquered by Persia and it is at this point that the books of Chronicles were written. In today’s passage in 1 Chronicles 1 & 2 we read a genealogy starting with Adam and continuing on through David.
Even though there is virtually nothing left of the original Israel God has not forgotten them. He still cares for them, knows their names, and remembers who they are.
Don’t you sometimes feel like you are just a face in the crowd? Don’t you feel sometimes that no one knows who you are? You are never just a face in the crowd to God. He knows who you are. He knows your name. He cares about you.
Notice that the chronicler doesn’t just mention Israel. He starts with Adam and continues with Abraham and Issac, all of whom existed before the Jews did. He also includes many family lines that do not include Israel such as Ham and Edom. God is a God of all people, not just the Jews. The message of the Bible – salvation through Jesus Christ – was always meant for everyone, Jew and Gentile alike.
The way things have been going for Paul it is not surprising that he was discouraged. But while he is being held in Jerusalem Jesus appears to him to comfort him (Acts 23:11). Jesus tells him to “Cheer up!” – while he is sitting in a jail cell.
We often want God to deliver us from difficult circumstances. He may or may not do that. But we need to remind ourselves that whether He does or does not, He is always with us – so we can be glad. He isn’t only with us in the good times. He is right there beside us in the bad.
Jesus gives Paul a hint about his immediate future: he will be going to Rome, most likely as a captive, in order to tell people there about Jesus as well. When we find ourselves in places we don’t like – a job, a marriage, prison – we need to be aware that God has placed us there. We need to be, and can be, a light for Him no matter where we are.
Paul may have wondered if he were going to die in that prison. But Jesus had told him that he was going to Rome. So as long as Paul was not in Rome, he knew he would live through whatever happened. There was no reason for Paul to fear anything that would happen in Jerusalem. Likewise, as Christians we need not be worried about what the future holds. God has already told us the future. It will happen just as He said.
Don’t we all hear the voices of our enemies telling us “God does not exist” or “God doesn’t love you” just like David did in Psalm 3? Don’t believe them. Believe God.
Our enemies may overwhelm us at times, just like they did David. But when David turned to God he got the right information. This in turn allowed him to be calm and rest and not be afraid when the odds were 10,000:1 (Psalm 3:4-5).
Intelligence is marked by a willingness to learn (Proverbs 18:14). And learning provides more intelligence. So intelligent people get more intelligent. While those who spurn learning become less so.
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