Thursday, July 27, 2006

The One Year Bible- July 26, 2006

Have you ever had a vacation where at the end you needed a vacation? This was not the case for me. My trip to Mexico was very low key and relaxing. I was able to relax and just let life drift on by. I hope you find some time for the same thing this summer. I have also found that being in the word is quite relaxing. I have enjoyed immersing myself in the words of God and to be uplifted by their message. Granted, sometimes God’s word makes me uncomfortable, but overall it is a relaxing time basking in the presence of God. Take time today to just sit, relax and enjoy God’s presence in His word. On to the study....

Where We Have Been

The Old Testament
Some good stories this week in the Old Testament. Most of the counting and lists are done with and the narrative picks up in earnest. You may not have even been aware that we started 2 Chronicles this week. I did not catch it until about Monday. I will give the vital stats on the book at the end of this section. Solomon continues to build the Temple for the LORD. It was an impressive structure! There was so much gold used it could not be counted. Silver meant nothing and bronze was almost worthless. It is interesting to note that the curtain of the temple is mentioned. It is what separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place. This is the curtain that tore in two (in a different temple mind you) when Jesus died. Jesus’ death brings Holy God and sinful man back into a relationship again. It must have been an awesome sight to see the thick cloud of YAHWEH filling the temple. This was the first time in a while that there had been a physical manifestation of God on earth. Solomon’s prayer was a good one and got the people back on track. God’s response to Solomon was also quite amazing. All was good during the life of Solomon, then he died. Solomon’s son Rehoboam did not fare to well. He did not listen to his fathers advisors and soon the kingdom was split. Civil war then raged and the Northern Kingdom went on a road to destruction as they worshiped idols and bowed down to other Gods. King Asa tried to get things right with God but it did not last. Jehoshaphat tried to do what was right but we will soon find out that he has troubles as well. Here are the vital stats for the book of 2 Chronicles:

PURPOSE: To unify the nation around true worship of God by showing his standard for judging kings. The righteous kings of Judah and the religious revivals under their rule are highlighted, and the sins of the evil kings are exposed.

AUTHOR: Ezra, according to Jewish tradition


DATE WRITTEN: Approximately 430 B.C., recording the events for the beginning of Solomon’s reign (970 B.C.) to the beginning of the Babylonian captivity (586 B.C.)

SETTING: Second Chronicles parallels 1 and 2 Kings and serves as their commentary. Originally 1 and 2 Chronicles were one book. It was written after the exile from a priestly perspective, highlighting the importance of the temple and the religious revivals in Judah. The northern kingdom, Israel, is virtually ignored in this history.

KEY VERSE: “If my people who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV).

KEY PEOPLE: Solomon, the queen of Sheba, Rehoboam, Asa, Jehoshephat, Jehoram, Joash, Uzziah, Ahaz, Hezekiah, Manasseh, Josiah

KEY PLACES: Jerusalem, the temple

SPECIAL FEATURES: Includes a detailed record of the temple’s construction

The New Testament
Paul really gets on a roll in this weeks readings. If you were not convinced you were a sinner before, I bet you are now. Romans 6 deals with the idea that those who have been united with Christ have been united with him in his death and more importantly in his resurrection. This is great news because now those who are “in Christ” (one of Paul’s favorite phrases) will receive all the benefits of God. Those who are in Christ are dead to sin and alive in Christ. We do not have the freedom to just continue sinning. We are no longer slaves to sin. But then Paul brings up a good point. This is a confusing passage (especially in the NIV) but the NLT is a bit clearer for me. “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead I do what I hate...I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it” (Romans 7:15,18b-20 NLT). Paul realizes that in this world, we are so interwoven with sin that it is impossible to extract ourselves. We are in dire straights! We cry with Paul. “What a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?” (Romans 7:24 NLT). In the end it is all about Jesus. He is the only one that can free us from this problem. His death and resurrection make it possible for us to leave the sin of this world behind and live for Him in all we do. We now live our lives by the Spirit of God and we have been adopted into his family. And we can call him Daddy (Abba, Father). This relationship cannot be broken. It holds firm even when sin attacks. Therefore do not worry about your status in the world. The important thing is that we are part of the family of God. Paul says that being a member of this family is easy, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe with your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:9 NLT). Good news indeed!!!

Where We Are Going

The Old Testament
The commentary on the time of the kings continues in 2 Chronicles. We will hear about the kings and what they did. Joash will spend some time repairing the temple but in the end he is not a very good king. Some more attention will be given to Hezekiah. He was a good king and helps the people get back on track in their relationship with God.

The New Testament
Some fantastic things are on the horizon for us this week as we read in Romans. One of my favorite passages in the book is Romans 10:14-15. I will spend some time next week on this passage. Paul will also spend some time with the analogy of in-grafted branches. It is a great analogy that will take some time for me to flesh out for you. Chapter 12 begins the last major section of the book. This is the response portion of the book. We will take a close look at what it means to live a live “In view of God’s mercy.”

Key Verses

Romans 6:22-23
Romans 7:6-7
Romans 8:1-2
Romans 8:14
Romans 8:35-39
2 Chronicles 16:9
Psalm 19:14
Romans 10:9


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