Today’s Bible reading: 1 Chronicles 11-12:18; Acts 28:1-31; Psalm 9:1-12; Proverbs 19:1-3
At first some of Israel wanted Ishbosheth to be their king but he turned out to be a coward and was later murdered (2 Samuel 4). Then all of Israel chooses David as its leader (1 Chronicles 11:1-3). Isn’t it interesting that some people put their faith in someone who let them down. Then they turned to David.
We do the same thing today. We put our hopes in someone or something (like money, career, a friendship) that turns out not to be what we thought it would be. Its only then that we turn to God. How much better our lives would be if we would just listen to and believe God in the first place when He tells us that He is all we need and that He has great plans for us (Jeremiah 29:11).
Notice the three characteristics of David that qualified him to be the leader of Israel: He was one of them (1 Chronicles 11:1); he demonstrated leadership skills in the past (1 Chronicles 11:2); he was called by God to lead (1 Chronicles 11:3).
Four hundred years after the Israelites entered the Promised Land the city of Jebus (now Jerusalem) was still in the hands of the Canaanites. Because of its location on a hill the city was easy to defend. But David captures it easily (1 Chronicles 11:5). Whenever something seems impossible… whenever the enemy tries to discourage us… we need to remember that with God anything is possible.
The story of David becoming king in 1 Chronicles is quite brief and it would seem that he was an over-night success. But that was not the case at all. It took over a decade for David to become king from the time God first called him (1 Samuel 16 – 2 Samuel 4). During that time David experienced many hardships. Nothing comes easily or quickly when we follow God. There is always a lot of on-the-job training and failures along the way.
No one goes it alone in God’s kingdom. All of us, even leaders, need a support team just like David had (1 Chronicles 11:10-47).
God is a God of order and structure. Every group needs leaders and leaders of leaders – an organization chart. Notice that David’s men fell into two groups, each with their own leader (1 Chronicles 11:11, 20). This is a recurring theme in the Bible. We were designed by God to work best in a structured hierarchy.
Paul was a great man of God but he isn’t so great in his own mind that he can’t help with the most routine of tasks – gathering wood for a fire (Acts 28:3).
When Paul is bitten by a poisonous snake he is not concerned – he simply shakes it off (Acts 28:5). He knew he was going to Rome because God had told him so. Therefore there was no reason for him to be scared of dying on Malta.
When Paul was bitten the people thought he must be a murderer (Acts 28:4). When he didn’t die they thought he was a god (Acts 28:6). Neither was true. We should never listen to what other people think about us – whether they put us down or exalt us. All that matters is what God says.
While on Malta Paul heals people (Acts 28:8). He went to work spreading God’s love exactly where God had placed him. So often we get upset when our plans are delayed. But we are always right where God needs us.
When he finally gets to Rome Paul explains that the reason he was in chains was because of what he believed (Acts 28:20). Apparently Paul was not allowed to think what he wanted. Sound familiar? It is exactly the path the United States is going down. In recent years people who believe the Bible condemns homosexual behavior are branded as “haters”. Those who believe the Bible condemns abortion are branded as “extremists”. Those who believe in the Bible at all are branded “intolerant”. And it is only going to get worse.
Notice what the Jews in Rome knew about “The Way” – not much. All they knew was that is was “denounced everywhere” (Acts 28:22). To their credit they wanted to hear more before making a decision. But there are too many people who hear that Christianity is “intolerant” or “a hoax” and they simply agree without investigating.
Apparently the judicial system was just as slow back then as it is today for Paul waited two years for his case to come up (Acts 28:30). But that was actually a blessing because during that time Paul could tell others about Christ (Acts 28:31). What we often think of as a delay or a problem is almost always an opportunity.
The book of Acts is the story of how the early church started and the spreading of the Gospel after Jesus’ resurrection. Although we conclude the book today the story has not ended – it continues to this day and will continue until the day Christ returns. You and I are part of the story.
Psalm 9 reminds us that God is always in control, sitting on His throne reigning and judging (Psalm 9:4,7). No matter what our trouble, God is our shelter (Psalm 9:9). He will never abandon us in our time of need (Psalm 9:10) because He cares for those who are hurting and helpless (Psalm 9:12).
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