Last week, we made our way through 1 & 2 Chronicles, Ezra and good ol’ Nehemiah. The Chronicles were a bit of drudgery for me because so much of it was repetition from previous books. I tried to make a game out of it by looking for anything that might not have been included before (like phrases, etc.).
I managed to stay on track, but I’m hoping hoping hoping that I can continue on schedule this week. We are in the middle of revival services at our church which means I also get to spend some time with old ministry friends. Plus, our youth group (and The Eldest) is participating in a Disciple Now weekend in addition to several other “normal” things. Yep, it’s going to be another hectic week!
Now, for the observations of the week from my Old Testament readings:
- We’ve already read about the time David took a census of the army and got in trouble with God, but when I read it the second time, I wondered, “Why was that a sin?” Anyone know? (1 Chron. 21)
- In several places throughout the OT, there are references to people called “seers.” The word automatically makes me think of a fortune-teller for some reason, but the seers were always doing God’s work for people. So despite my “read-now-study-later” policy, I looked it up. Turns out, seers are prophets, though the change in the thinking; they became more of a “moral teacher” associated with a particular temple. Well, that’s what it says HERE anyway…but the Librarian in me doesn’t necessarily trust this particular source. I’ll put it back on my “to study later” list. 😉
- 1 Chron. 21:9 David asks God why others are being punished for his sins. That’s EXACTLY what I’ve been wondering throughout the entire Old Testament! It seems to happen a lot: one guy sins then an entire family or even an entire nation seem to be punished for his sin.
- I guess I never caught the reason why David wasn’t able to build the temple: he had shed too much blood (been at war). Solomon reigned during peaceful times. I wonder if the main reason it was to be built during peace instead of war was because the people wouldn’t be otherwise distracted and could focus all of their time and energy on building the temple?
- Offering/sacrifice must cost us something (I Chron. 21:24)
- “Now devote your heart and soul to seeking the Lord your God…” (I Chron. 22:19)
- “…acknowledge the God of your father and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts.” (I Chron. 28:9) Does God take in account motive to judge sin, or is sin “just sin?” Hmmmm…..
- If God calls us to it, He will see us through it: “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged for the Lord God, my God, is with you. he will not fail you or forsake you until all the work..is finished.” (1 Chron. 28:20)
- David on giving: “But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you and we have given you only what comes from your hand.” (I Chron. 29:14)
- David died having enjoyed “long life, wealth and honor.” (1 Chron. 29:25). Nothing wrong with that.
- In my corner of the world, there are a bunch of jokes told when it gets all drought-like. It’s pretty common to hear “ol’ so-and-so must not be living right” or something along those lines. We always hee-haw about it, but I can’t keep overlooking all the scriptures that talk about rain being withheld because of sin. Take 2 Chron. 6:26 for example: “When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because your people have sinned against you…” Is that just one guy’s opinion–that God withholds moisture from the land as punishment for sin–or was that really God’s policy? If so, is it still His policy?
- While re-reading about Rehoboam (the good kid; Jeroboam was the bad seed), this line stuck out to me: some people began opposing him “when he was young and indecisive and not strong enough to resist them” (2 Chron. 13:7). It just made me think: should we protect our children until they get through that vulnerable stage, until they are mature enough to make rational decisions and stand up for themselves…or is that over-parenting? Perhaps vulnerability of youth is what makes us become stronger as adults. I dunno…
- Asa got some sort of foot disease, but he only sought help from physicians and not from the Lord. Conclusion: he died. I’m reading in-between the lines to say that God could have healed Asa if he had asked and not simply relied on the “power” of the doctors alone. I guess that’s a good example of why we need to pray for physical healing or maybe just not give all the glory to our doctors for healing. (2 Chron. 16)
- Really gross verse of the week: 2 Chron. 21:14-15. Basically, the people got some kind of intestinal disease. In fact, Jehoram was told that he would be “very ill with a lingering disease of the bowls, until the disease causes your bowls to come out.” Um…that’s just nasty, y’all.
- Sad verse of the week: Jehoram (nasty bowl guy) “passed away to no one’s regret.” (2 Chron. 21:20) 😦
- Picture of repentance: Manasseh was not a God follower, but a dramatic event (basically being taken away as a slave) caused him to repent. He was brought back to his homeland where he got rid of idols and served God alone. It took a lot to get his attention, but he did become a changed man! (2 Chron. 33)
- Remember how the Book of the Law had been lost for ages and no one had been following it because the people had forgotten what it said? Could this happen to us? So few people in America actually read their Bibles! It’s not physically lost, but if we don’t hide its words in our hearts, will we forget how we are supposed to live?
- Another reminder that sometimes the Bible is hard to understand at face value–even the people of the day who spoke the language in which it was written had to have someone make Bible (well, the Law) clear/understandable. (Neh. 8:8) Don’t feel guilty if it doesn’t always make sense to you!
- There are some great pictures of worship in Nehemiah: singing, rejoicing, celebrating and fellowshipping together because “they now understood the words that had been made known to them” (Neh. 8:12). In Neh. 9, they do a lot of Bible reading, sing confession and good old-fashioned worshipping.
- In the end, the Israelites agreed that they had gotten everything they deserved and that God was just: “In all that has happened to us, you have been just. You have acted faithfully while we did wrong.” (Neh. 9:13)
Comments, complaints, concerns? Happy reading, everyone!