Today’s Bible reading: 1 Chronicles 19-21:30; Romans 2:25-3:8; Psalm 11:1-7; Proverbs 19:10-12
King David sends messengers to King Hanun to express his sympathy for the death of Hanun’s father. But these messengers were mistreated and humiliated (1 Chronicles 19:1-4). David’s response is very mature. He doesn’t seek revenge. He takes the high road and decides to move on (1 Chronicles 19:5).
There is no way any of us can live a life that is free from pain and hurt imposed upon us by others. That is part of the deal. Our best response is to do what David did – nothing. Let God handle it.
Nevertheless, Israel is attacked by the Ammonites and Arameans who completely surround David’s army (1 Chronicles 19:10). Notice Joab’s take on the situation. He immediately puts together a plan to win. He never even mentions defeat. That is because he knows that victory is from the Lord (1 Chronicles 19:13). All the troops had to do was fight. God wants to give us victory but He can’t do that if we shy away from the difficult things in life.
As usual, the victory is pretty easy when God is involved. All Joab and his men had to do was move in the direction of the enemy and the enemy fled (1 Chronicles 19:14-15). I look at the enemies of Israel as being symbolic of Satan and sin. We can have victory over them. But we must not cower. We need to be courageous and fight bravely (1 Chronicles 19:13). Satan knows God is on our side and he will flee if we simply confront him.
Critics of the Bible often point to verses such as 1 Chronicles 20:6 which describes a man with 6 digits on each hand and foot. But this is a real condition called polydactyly which is not all that uncommon. Just a few years ago there was a baseball pitcher, Antonio Alfonseca, who had 6 fingers on each hand and foot.
Earlier this year we read about David taking a census. Today we find out that God allowed Satan to tempt David into taking the census as a means of testing him. Nothing happens on this earth without God’s approval. Satan may tempt us and trick us, but only with God’s permission. God is ingeniously using Satan to refine our character.
When God gives David the choice of which of three punishments he wants David wisely chooses the one that is directly from God rather than either of the two that would be from men (1 Chronicles 21:13). People may think God is mean. This is not true but even so, God’s alleged meanness is nothing compared with the evil that men are willing to do.
Atheists may think that eternity away from God and in the presence of human beings is desirable. But I guarantee they will change their minds quickly once they are in hell separated from Him. Sadly, such a decision cannot be altered.
The Jews in Paul’s day thought that they were saved from hell because they were circumcised. They believed that an outward ritual carried more weight with God than behavior. Paul corrects them in Romans 2:25-29.
No ritual, such as circumcision or baptism, can save anyone. These were meant to be outward signs of something internal. After all, other cultures circumcised their children and that did not make them right with the true God of the Bible. Even Ishmael, Abraham’s “other” son was circumcised. But it was Abraham’s son Isaac who received God’s blessing.
What matters is that a person’s heart is right with God (Romans 2:29). God wants our hearts to be “circumcised”; He wants our human nature cut off and replaced with the nature of God.
God will never be unfaithful to anyone who is unfaithful to Him (Romans 3:3-4). God will always be kind and generous and will always keep His promises. Nothing we do can change that.
Sometimes it seems like things are out of control on this earth (Psalm 11:3). But God is in control in heaven, watching everything that is going on (Psalm 11:4). Therefore we need not fear. We need not look anywhere else but to Him for safety (Psalm 11:1).
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