Today’s Bible reading: 1 Chronicles 12:19-14:17; Romans 1:1-17; Psalm 9:13-20; Proverbs 19:4-5
More men defect from Israel to join David and his growing army in 1 Chronicles 12:19-22. This demonstrates that David was a good leader with a good future. People don’t follow losers. They follow winners. David was a winner because he loved God and was obedient to Him. Therefore God blessed him.
Notice these men were completely loyal to David (1 Chronicles 12:33). We need the same commitment when following Christ. We can’t follow Christ while at the same time being afraid to miss our favorite TV shows, or while trying to get ahead at work. If we aren’t going to give Jesus everything we are then we might as well not follow Him at all.
The goal of these men was to make David king over all of Israel (1 Chronicles 12:38). David had numerous opportunities to usurp power from Saul but he chose not to. He waited until the people were with him. The same is true of Jesus. He could easily force Himself into our lives. But He doesn’t. He gives us the choice as to whether we want Him to be our King or not.
In 1 Chronicles 13 we read the story of David bringing the Ark back to Jerusalem after a 70-year absence. Although the idea to bring the Ark to Jerusalem was a good one, David noticeably did not consult with God – he only consulted with men (1 Chronicles 13:1). This will lead to problems.
God wanted the Ark carried. (Exodus 25:12-15). But instead David puts it on a new cart (1 Chronicles 13:7). No word in the Bible is wasted and the word “new” tells us the men thought God would be impressed by their creativity and hard-work in building a cart for this special occasion. God is not impressed by what we do. He is impressed by our obedience towards Him. And while we (and David) may think we are doing something good when we act on our own impulses and ideas, we are not.
I think sometimes we don’t realize God is blessing us. We figure it out from events and circumstances in our lives. That seems to be what happens to David in 1 Chronicles 14:2.
Notice that the reason David was made king by God was not for his own sake, but for the sake of the people. God made David king so He could bless the people through David. Whenever we receive God’s blessing we are not to keep it to ourselves. We are to disperse that blessing to others. Its never about us. Its always about everyone else.
Just because David had made it to the top didn’t mean that his life would be easy. There were still challenges (1 Chronicles 14:8). But notice that David proactively goes out to meet these challenges. David was confident. And his confidence came from this faith and trust in God.
When the Philistines return in 1 Chronicles 14:13 David doesn’t just go out and fight them as before. He asks God what to do (1 Chronicles 14:14). We should seek God in every situation, even if we’ve been there 1,000 times before. We should never rely on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6). Notice that God’s plan the second time differed from His first.
We begin reading Paul’s letters today, starting with his letter to Christians in Rome. Paul had not yet been to Rome when he wrote this letter so he is not writing to a specific church about a specific problem as he did in his other letters. Instead he is writing a general letter to the Roman believers about God’s plan of salvation.
Paul calls himself a “slave” of Christ (Romans 1:1). The Greek word for slave used here is “duolos” and implies someone who willingly subjugates himself to another. It does not have the meaning we apply to it today – someone who is forced into serving another against his will.
God’s plan of salvation is not new – it has been around for a long time (Romans 1:2). It is not a new invention created by human beings to bring peace and tranquility to one’s life through a system of behaviors. It is all about a person – Jesus Christ (Romans 1:3).
The Romans of Paul’s day had every reason to fear their government which was repressive and demanded loyalty to Caesar who was considered a god. Keeping quiet about their faith would have been the logical, self-preserving thing to do. But the gospel was not meant to be hidden because it has power – more power than the powerful Roman Empire – to actually save people (Romans 1:16).
Likewise we should not be ashamed either even though every day it becomes more unacceptable in the United States to believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ. People need to hear it so they can believe it and be saved from hell.
This is further expounded upon in Psalm 9:14. David asks God to save him so he can tell others about Him. God didn’t save us just for our own sake. He saved us so we could spread His message around the world. All believers came to know Christ through someone else. That is how it works.
The fate of any nation that ignores God is destruction (Psalm 9:17). The United States needs to turn itself around, and quickly.
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