Today’s Bible reading: 2 Chronicles 4-6:11; Romans 7:1-13; Psalm 17:1-15; Proverbs 19:22-23
Solomon builds the furnishings for the Temple in 2 Chronicles 4 and completes the Temple in 2 Chronicles 5. The Temple was not actually complete until the Ark of the Covenant had been set in its place. This was a very special event and was treated as such (2 Chronicles 5:2-5).
Originally there were three items in the Ark: the 2 stone tables on which were written the 10 Commandments, the jar of manna, and Aaron’s rod. But by this point in history only the stone tablets remain (2 Chronicles 5:10). Apparently the other items were removed at some point – possibly while the Ark was in the possession of the Philistines.
Once the Ark was in the Holy of Holies a concert breaks out (2 Chronicles 5:12-13) showing us that the use of music during important events is very biblical.
After everything is set in place in the Temple God fills the Temple in the form of a cloud (2 Chronicles 5:13). Because of this cloud the priests could not continue their work (2 Chronicles 5:14). Similarly when God comes into the life of a believer that person cannot continue “as usual”. They are a new creation – incapable of doing what they were doing before. God’s presence makes all the difference.
Paul continues his discussion of how believers are not to live under the law any longer in Romans 7.
Once a person dies, that person is no longer bound to any contracts. Just as a wife is free from the laws of marriage when her husband dies, so, too, are born-again believers free from the law once we “die” to it – at the moment we are born-again (Romans 7:2-3). The old law no longer applies because that person – our old self – is dead (Romans 7:4). Just like a criminal wouldn’t continue serving his sentence after it expired, we should not continue to serve sin once we have been set free from it.
But more than that, we are now “united” to Christ (“the one raised from the dead”) and we belong to Him. Serving sin would be the equivalent of committing adultery. Jesus is our Lord now. It is He whom we should serve.
Now that we have been released from the bondage of the law, we can serve God in a new way (Romans 7:6). Whereas before we served God by trying and failing to keep commandments through guilt, we are now to serve Him out of thankfulness. We do this by living according to the Spirit – by being led by God rather than by temptation.
Although the law cannot save anyone, the law does do one important thing: it reveals our sinful nature. How would someone know if they were speeding without a speed limit sign? How would someone know if they had a tumor without an X-ray machine? Just like these things the law showed us what was wrong with us. And, that is a good thing. Because without knowing that we were sinful, there is no way anyone could have found the cure: a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
If you tell a child not to do something, that becomes the thing that he wants to do and as adults we are pretty much the same. The law worked in a similar way (Romans 7:8). Sometimes I see a sign stating “Do Not Do Such-And-Such”. Well, I never would have thought of doing such-and-such if the sign wasn’t there. In the same way we misused God’s good laws for evil. That is not the fault of the law, Paul argues (correctly). It is the fault of our evil hearts. We look for ways to do wrong and are more than willing to take our cue from a command that warns us against doing that very thing. We’re all pretty messed up, aren’t we?
The problem is we fall for Satan’s lie – the same one he used in the Garden with Adam & Eve and continues to use to this day: that God is trying to keep us from having fun with all His “do”s and “don’t”s. We fall for it every time.
In Psalm 17 David appeals to God for justice (Psalm 17:1-2), and protection (Psalm 17:7-9). So often we turn to something/someone other than God for what only He can provide. We sue each other, looking for justice. We pack guns or expect the police or judicial system to protect us. But man is flawed. He cannot offer perfect justice or perfect protection. Only God can do that. Only God is 100% willing to do that with no ulterior motives or political influence.
I think its pretty hard to become very wealthy without at least a bit of dishonesty along the way. But is that fulfilling? Not according to Proverbs 19:22. It would be better to be dirt poor than to have gained wealth dishonestly.
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