Today’s Bible reading: 1 Chronicles 24-26:11; Romans 4:1-12; Psalm 13:1-6; Proverbs 19:15-16
In 1 Chronicles 24 David organizes Aaron’s descendants into 24 groups (1 Chronicles 24:3). This meant that each group would serve 2 weeks a year based on a 48-week lunar calendar.
No preference was given to any of the groups. Their assignments were chosen at random (1 Chronicles 24:5, 31). Other than skill, we are not to give any special consideration to anyone volunteering to serve God. Sadly, many churches today operate on a clique-system where the “best” volunteer opportunities go to family and friends.
The musicians are appointed in 1 Chronicles 25 in much the same way. Notice again that there were 24 groups (1 Chronicles 25:9-31). God isn’t asking everyone to serve every day or even every week. If we did then there would be many people who would not get to serve at all. He is asking us each to do our part and to also let others have the joy of serving as well.
Some interesting names are recorded in 1 Chronicles 25:1, notably Asaph and Heman. Considering that these men were musicians who lived at the time of David it is likely that these are the very same Asaph and Heman who are credited with writing some of the Psalms. Asaph is credited with writing Psalm 53 as well as Psalms 73 through 83. Heman is credited with Psalm 88.
When someone tells you that the Bible is inconsistent, just point out the consistency of people and places mentioned over the thousands of years of biblical history. There is no inconsistency in the Bible.
The Jews, even those in Rome, considered Abraham to be justified by his works (interesting since the law had not yet been given). But even the very Scriptures the Jews revered said bluntly that God counted Abraham as righteous because of his faith (Romans 4:3 in reference to Genesis 15:6).
Notice that God “counted” or “credited” righteousness to Abraham. Abraham was not righteous – and neither are we. We are not inherently good. Hence we cannot earn righteousness. Instead God credits righteousness to us when we believe.
The Greek word used for “count” or “credit” is an accounting term used when money is deposited into an account. At the moment someone believes in God and what Jesus did on the cross this person is born-again and God “deposits” righteousness into their spiritual account.
This stands in contrast to works-based righteousness which states that God “owes” us something because of our behavior (Romans 4:4). Nothing is further from the truth. Righteousness is granted from God by His grace – it is a gift for which He expects nothing in return.
Once God declares a person righteous, He no longer looks at that person as a sinner but as His adopted child. Furthermore, when God says we are righteous He is not only saying that our past, present, and future sins are wiped clean, He is also saying that we are now “innocent” – we are now “good” in His sight.
If you have been born-again then God doesn’t look at you as simply a wretched sinner who has been forgiven. God looks at you and likes what He sees.
What joy there is in knowing that God views you this way! Paul quotes Psalm 32 in which David describes these emotions.
The Jews also believed that no one could be declared righteous by God until he was circumcised. But Paul points out that Abraham was declared righteous in Genesis 15:6 which was about 14 years before he was circumcised. So circumcision was just an outward expression of an internal reality. Just like baptism is today. Baptism is an outward expression of a person’s new nature that is the result of his or her born-again experience.
Some denominations, notably Catholicism, claim that being baptized means a person will go to heaven. That is why they baptize new-born babies. But we know this is not true. If Paul were writing today he could easily have referred to baptism instead of circumcision. Neither saves a person from their sins.
Sometimes we go through difficult times that seem to have no end in sight. So did David (Psalm 13:1-2). During these times we need to keep focused on God. Its okay to question Him. Its okay to complain to Him – I do a lot of this 🙂 But in the end we need to trust God’s faithfulness and goodness. That is what will rescue us (Psalm 13:5-6)
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