Friday, July 25, 2008

The One Year Bible July 25th

There have been times in my life where I can just feel the presence of God. At times I can hear his call and he seems close. But there are also times when God seems distant and far removed from my daily life. Have you ever felt this way? Remember that it is all just a matter of perspective. In reality in our sinfulness we are the ones that drift away. Sin takes us far from God and in our own minds we try to blame God for leaving us. Some times I would like God to give me a big sign in the sky to tell me his plan or that he is right there. The people of the Old Testament got a visual show. When God’s presence came to earth, the people would see it in the form of a thick cloud. God revealed himself to his people visually so they could believe. He did the same when he sent his son Jesus. Jesus became the walking temple for all of us to see. Today we can see him every time we partake in the Lord’s Supper, every time we read His Word, and every time he calls another child his own in baptism. When you think that God is distant, remember that he is right here, closer than you think. On to the study…

Seth’s Thoughts

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 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 but soon he would be buried with his fathers and his son Rehoboam would become king. Rehoboam did not fare to well. He did not listen to his father’s 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 six 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 (New Living Translation) 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 wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24 NIV). 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. On the 27th we will read that being a member of this family is easy, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9 NIV). Good news indeed!!! Now this verse has been used by many Christians to support a view that human beings must do something in order to become a Christian. This is not a new idea. Now days we call it “decision theology” but this has been with the Faith for a long time. To use a $2 word it is called syncretism. This means that in some way we have to cooperate with God in some way shape or form for our salvation. When we make some sort of an effort towards God then he will have mercy on us. The point of view goes something like this: We encounter the message of salvation and then we need to make a decision to accept this good news. The power of God does not begin in our lives until we make a conscious choice to follow him. Until then we are lost. This point of view is prevalent in many Christian circles. Those who hold this view are big believers in altar calls and praying the “sinners prayer” in order to become a believer in Jesus. There are two passages that help me understand that this is not how God operates. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians, Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, "Jesus be cursed," and no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 12:3 NIV) Paul also says in Romans 8, The sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.” (Romans 8:7-8 NIV) When we confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord, is cannot be an act of a sinful person, because this pleases God. There must be something that was working in us before we could even do this. This is the work of the Holy Spirit. He works in us before we even know who Jesus is. He comes to us in the waters of baptism before we can even talk. He starts working on our sinfulness even before we know. There is no way we can cooperate with God. Salvation is his action and his action alone. I could go on and on with this one but I think you get the idea. Please let me know if you have any more questions about this.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The One Year Bible for July 18th (a few days late)

Summer is usually a time of rest and relaxation. But sometimes summer can be just as busy if not more so than the school year. During the school year there is a set rhythm to the days and weeks and months, but summer seems to be a flurry of activity. In my life I have been busy with Vacation Bible School, the Alaska Mission Trip, swim lessons and dance class with my girls, planning and packing for vacation and many other things. While I was in Alaska last week I got way behind in my reading because I was so busy and in fact I apologize that this post is a few days late. I am looking forward to when I can rest by the pool in a few weeks. Of course before we leave I have a huge list of things that need to get done. It reminds me of our life in Christ. We all are looking forward to the day when we can rest in the presence of Jesus. It seems like that day will never come. And as we wait we have been given the task of doing God’s will here on earth. Some days it seems like we will never get it all done, but even when we fail (and we will!), God is right there to forgive us and point us in the right direction again. I hope that through your daily reading of Scripture the Lord speaks to you to not only remind you of the rest that awaits, but His love for you as we carry out His will. On to the study....

Seth’s Thoughts

The Old Testament
I will admit that this weeks readings were not too interesting for me, mostly a bunch of lists and numbers. A few things did jump out at me. Fist of all was the repeated mention of the Davidic Covenant that YAHWEH had made with the family of David. This was to last forever but it came to an earthly end. But remember that Jesus is the fulfillment of that covenant and Jesus still sits on the throne that was promise so many years ago. I also thought that it was cool to read about the six-fingered man. It is not too often you hear about them. One last thing that jumped out was the fact that David was the one who made the plans for the temple and gave them to his son Solomon. I am not sure if this is idealized history but it is in the Bible and I believe it.

The New Testament
WOW!! Where to begin? There are many, many books written about Romans and I do not intend to add to the list by using this blog. But I would be remiss if I did not touch on the big theological themes in the book. First of all it is important to remember that Romans reads like a legal court document. Paul is serving as the lawyer who representing faith in Jesus and he is defending his beliefs to a particular group of people at a particular time in history. I do not believe, as others do, that this book contains all that is needed to be a Christian. (i.e. there is no mention of holy communion just to name one). But I do believe that this book contains some of the most important insights into the Faith. First of all, Paul sets up his case by setting out the argument that everyone is a sinner. There is no one who does right. We are all scum, even those who think they are doing what is right (those who follow Jewish Law). God is also a God who shows no favoritism. He hates all sin no matter who does it. Paul brings up the character of Abraham because he is one of the biggies to the Jews. He is like a superhero to them. If anyone deserved to be saved it was Abraham, right? But what does Paul say that makes Abraham a righteous man? Was it is accomplishments, or his attitude, or the fact that he was circumcised? NO! In fact Abraham is declared righteous in Genesis 15 and he is then circumcised in Genesis 17. Abraham was justified by faith, apart from works of the law. We too are justified the same way. We do not magically become Christians by being baptized. We become Christians by faith!! Don't get me wrong here, baptism is important and is powerful, but it is not some pill that is taken or hoop to jump through in order to get "in". That was Paul's point. There is nothing that we do! When we try to earn our own way, or believe that we have some part in this process we get it all mucked up and we forget that this is an action of God and not us. Because we are in this great dilemma, God sent Jesus to us to be a sacrifice for us so we could be saved. It is all passive (by the way almost all of the Greek verbs that describe what we do or become of us are in the passive case). Paul says it way better than I, "For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous." (Romans 5:19 NIV).

One quick thing here. Did you notice that we read from Romans 3 that quoted from Psalm 14 on the 16th and then we read Psalm 14 on the 18th? How cool was that!!!

I hope your summer is not too busy and that you get some time for some earthly rest. Have a great week, let me know if you have any questions and I will see you all soon.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Day 5 of VBS...

Howdy to Long Beach and Beyond, it's "Guest Blogger Joshua Trapp" posting some pictures to give you a visual of what Seth's been telling you about the last few days.

The first one is from our time at Matanuska Glacier. Quite a spectacular sight to see, an incredible feeling to walk on, and a reminder of God's infinite wisdom in how He designed nature to be.

The next one is a view from the side of the road on our way to visit the abandoned mine in Hatcher's Pass. To say the least, it's quite a refreshing experience to stop and hear the roar of the water, drowning out any clouded thoughts.

And last but not least, family night at VBS. Very delicious pizza (from a gas station none-the-less), a joyful noise of songs, and smiles all around - couldn't have asked for a better evening.

Today is our last day of VBS, with one more day of group bonding activities on Saturday before we head back home to Long Beach. Thank you for all your prayers of strength, and encouragement; they are felt and we're surely grateful for your love.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Rain, rain, go away...

Good morning and here is your Alaska update.  During a yummy dinner of halibut chowder we were greeted with some liquid sunshine here in Alaska.  Our hosts at Lamb of God Lutheran Church do a mid week meal and invited us to join them.  They made some great food and the chowder was a hit with the team.  Some of the members of the church have also graciously decided to grill some halibut and salmon for us on Friday.  

I hope the rain does not put too much of a damper on VBS today.  Our Point Mac team does VBS mostly outside so they will be stretched today doing things inside and under some canopies.  Please keep them in your prayers.  The rain is supposed to let up by tomorrow but here in Alaska, if you don't like the weather, just wait ten minutes.  

Yesterday we got some laundry done and in the evening the team headed for Independence Mine at Hatcher Pass which was a working gold mine for many years and closed  in 1951 (more info here and here).  We had another stunning drive up to the mine and stopped by some rushing water.  The team took a ton of pictures as well.  

Tonight is Family night so we will be out at our sites for dinner and a short program.  We are hoping for a good turnout.  It is kinda hard to believe that tomorrow is our last day of VBS.  The sure has been flying by.  Once again, thank you for your prayers and support.  We sure have been feeling it up here.  Until tomorrow...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Mission Alaska Update for Wednesday

Good morning and greetings from Alaska.  Not much time here but wanted to give you some quick highlights from our second day at VBS in Alaska.  In Point Mac we had our largest turnout ever!  Things at Big Lake are looking great too.  The Lord is blessing our time here and we are grateful.  After VBS yesterday we took a drive to the Matanuska Glacier.  The drive was stunning and we got to walk out on the glacier.  It was a high for the day for many on the team (me included).  I will ask Josh to post some pictures later.  Today sees us back at our sites and sharing Jesus with the kids and families.  We are all a bit tired and coffee has been a close companion for many of us.  Please continue to keep us in your prayers as the week starts to fly by.  Talk to you later.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

It's Day 2!

Good morning Long Beach and beyond, it’s Day 2 of VBS! This is Joshua Trapp, your “Guest Blogger” giving you the Alaska Update.

I’m pleased to report that we had great turnouts at both sites – Big Lake and Pt. Mac on Monday. It was touching to see the VBS youth remember many of the mission team members – whether they came on last year’s trip or even the year before. Even more so, my heart was warmed as many of the missionaries shared “highs” for the day of seeing old faces or making new friends during VBS. It’s awesome to see God at work in the hearts of this team. We are eager to see whom the Lord has in store for us today.

Outside of VBS, our team is growing closer and stronger as we take in the experiences of Alaska. Some of the highlights from the last few days have included a few trips to the wonderful Fred Meyer (as Seth said, the one stop shop for anything from groceries to fishing supplies, or in our case - all the VBS supplies we need.), whiffle ball games in the countless hours of light, and most recently having dinner with old friends that Bethany has made over years of mission trips. This family has opened their hearts and home to our mission team over the last few years – and last night was no exception as they treated all 28 of us with many helpings of lasagna and strawberry rhubarb desert (a new favorite of many).

Please keep in your prayers the Alaskan youth attending VBS, the continued high energy and good health of our team, and the weather that continues to loom with dark clouds but not rain down upon us.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Mission Alaska Update

Hello to all. Our team is safe and sound in Wasilla Alaska. We are staying at Lamb of God Lutheran Church and they have wireless internet access. We are all doing well but are a bit sleep deprived. As I type this it is just after 10:00 PM local time and the kids are outside playing because the sun does not go down for another hour. It really is a trip to experience. And if you want to see it first hand we will be coming back next year, so send me an email and let me know that you would like to go.

Our preparations are going well and I have told the team that there seems to be two parts to our mission trips, VBS and Shopping. We find ourselves at the store multiple times a day. I think it would be annoying if it weren't for the wonderfulness that is Fred Meyer. For those of you who have ever set foot into one of these retail establishments you know what I mean. If Fred Meyer doesn't have it, you probably don't need it.

Our VBS programs start tomorrow and I am excited. I am looking forward to seeing what God has in store for us. Please pray for those kids that will be coming to our programs this week.

We have not had any major problems, but we did have to exchange one of our mini-vans when, after a freak encounter with a rock, the back window was smashed. There is a good story here but this is not the time or place to share. Ask me when we get home. It involves cut up railroad tie, a basketball, some physics, and a great right arm. Once again I am grateful that we purchase the Loss Damage Waver on all of our rentals.

I hope to be able to post some pictures later this week but I wanted to let you all know that we are doing great. I will ask if a few of the others would like to post later this week as well. Until then...

Friday, July 11, 2008

The One Year Bible- July 11th

It has been a pretty crazy week for me. I have spent most of it getting ready to go to Alaska on our annual mission trip. Our senior pastor has also been on vacation so I have been the guy in charge around church. My life has been even more hectic with my girls taking swim lessons and going to dance class this summer. It seems as if life is moving at the speed of light. I will admit that it has been hard finding time to do my readings. I am sure you have felt like this before. It is not a fun feeling, but God constantly reminds us that he is there right beside us, walking with us, picking us up when we fall. What a great and wonderful God we have! Even in the business of life we can be assured of the presence of Christ, who was not too busy to come to earth to take our sins to the cross so that one day we can have eternal rest with him. O.K. enough of the sermon, on to the study…

Seth’s Thoughts

The Old Testament
As you have seen, the book of 1 Chronicles starts out with just a bunch of lists and numbers. It is not easy reading (and I will admit that I have skimmed a bit) but it is setting the stage for the story to come. In his book called “A Theology as Big as the City” Ray Bakke gives some insight to 1 and 2 Chronicles,
“I believe the books called Chronicles emerged from documents compiled by folks combing through the ruins of destroyed cities after the captive and exile in Babylon. The events depicted in Chronicles are from the same period as Samuel and Kings, but they represent a theological perspective not originating in the palace. In Chronicles, Israel is viewed as a theocracy. David and Solomon are idealized, and the message is: Here’s how the Lord meets all needs, both material and spiritual.”
Bakke gives me some perspective when reading this book. A few insights from the readings, first the readings are a bit random at first and hard to understand but don’t let that bug you. Don’t worry if you don’t know all the names and even if you skip through some of it. Second, as you read, try to remember the stories as they were written in Samuel or Kings. How are they different? Chronicles does not give all the details but is like the “Readers Digest” version of the story.

The New Testament
We finished up the book of Acts this week with Paul in Rome having survived a shipwreck on the island of Malta. Paul was sent to Rome to have a trial by Caesar even though Felix, Festus and Agrippa all could find no reason to keep him. Felix did hope that Paul would bribe him but Paul didn’t and that is one of the reasons he probably stayed in Caesarea so long. During the hearings, Paul takes the opportunity to share is own testimony and to witness about Jesus Christ. Paul shares his conversion experience again (the third time in Acts) and gives glory to God in all he does. Paul summarizes his doctrine by saying, “But I have had God's help to this very day, and so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen— that the Christ would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would proclaim light to his own people and to the Gentiles.” (Acts 26:22-23 NIV). We will see this doctrine again and again as we read through Paul’s letters. A few interesting things at the end of the book, first off, Paul gets bit by a snake and lives! That is pretty cool. The people first thought it was “karma” that a prisoner would get bit by a snake, but when he did not die they all though he was a god. I would like to have known how Paul responded to this, but Luke moves on in the story. We learn that Paul is under house arrest in Rome but many people come to hear him talk and he shares the message of Jesus with them. One thing of note here is that Paul had already sent his letter to the Romans before he even arrived, so there were already believers in the city. An apostle did not start the church in Rome; Jews who were converted in Jerusalem at Pentecost most likely started it. The end of the book is a bit strange. Why do we not know the outcome of the trial with Caesar? How long did Paul stay in Rome? Where did he go after? How did he die? These are all good questions but they don’t all have good answers from scripture. We can piece together the end of Paul’s life from other sources but it is a bit blurry. Some theologians believe that Luke intended to write a third volume to the story. If he did, it has been lost to history. We will have to ask Luke when we get to heaven why the end is so abrupt.

Bits and Pieces
We will start the book of Romans this week. I love this book but I will try to limit my discussions of the text since I could teach a semester class with all the things that we can find in this letter. I will share the big ones with you. Here are the vital stats of the book:
PURPOSE: To introduce Paul to the Romans and to give a sample of his message before he arrives in Rome.
TO WHOM WRITTEN: The Christians in Rome and believers everywhere
DATE WRITTEN: About A.D. 57, from Corinth as Paul was preparing for his visit to Jerusalem.
SETTING: Apparently Paul had finished his work in the east, and he planned to visit Rome on his way to Spain after first bringing a collection to Jerusalem for the poor Christians there. The Roman church was mostly Jewish but also contained a number of Gentiles.
KEY VERSES: “The righteous will live by faith” (1:17b) “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (5:1)
KEY PEOPLE: Paul, Phoebe
SPECIAL FEATURES: Paul wrote Romans as an organized and carefully presented statement of his faith—it does not have the form of a typical letter. He does, however, spend considerable time greeting people in Rome at the end of the letter.

Friday, July 04, 2008

The One Year Bible- July 4th

With the calendar in my office reading July, I wish to congratulate you on reading more than one half of the Bible!! The year is half way done and we are well on our way to reading all of God’s Word this year. This may be the time to evaluate how you are doing in your reading plan. Is everything going well? Do you need to make any adjustments in your reading plan? Do you need to find a buddy to read with? Let me know how I can help. Keep up all the hard work! On to the study today...

Seth’s Thoughts

The Old Testament
We finished up the book of 2nd Kings this week with a flurry of Kings, most of them bad. We read quite often, “but he did what was evil in the LORD’s sight...”. Over and over the kings continued in the sins of the previous rulers. Remember God’s word to Joshua way back, “Make sure you drive out all the people living in the land and do not worship their Gods” (my paraphrase). Well the kings did not do a very good job and now the consequences are going to set in. First it was Israel’s turn to be exiled. The author of 2nd Kings does a great job telling us why, “This disaster came upon the people of Israel because they worshiped other gods. They sinned against the LORD...the followed the practices of the pagan nations...they build pagan shrines...they set up sacred pillars...they offered sacrifices on all the hilltops...they worshiped idols despite the LORD’s specific warnings” (2 Kings 17:7-12 NLT). What were these warnings? Sometimes it is helpful to look at the whole picture. The Old Testament is not in complete chronological order. So far it has worked out, but we will soon see, in the books of 1st and 2nd Chronicles, that this is not always the case. One thing that is difficult is the warnings most often came from the prophets. God sent his holy men to warn the kings and the people what would happen if they did not turn back to YAHWEH. Isaiah and Jeremiah are two prophets who gave many warnings. We must remember this context when we get into these two long books a bit later in the year. There are some Bibles out there called “Chronological Bibles” that insert the warnings of the prophets into the narrative story. This can be very helpful to remember the context of the prophets. We do get a couple of good kings, Hezekiah was pretty good Josiah was even better, but even these two kings could not stop the exile from happening. One neat thing from 2 Kings 19, when Isaiah speaks he mentions “The Holy One of Israel”. Remember this term. We will see it over and over again in the prophetic books. Almost always it is used in reference to the promised Messiah. Much more on this when we are in the book of Isaiah later this year. One really great thing that happened during the reign of Josiah was that the book of the Law was found. How did it get lost? This does answer some of the questions about how king after king did not follow the Law of YAHWEH. Josiah had the book of the Law read to the people and they began to come back to the LORD. I am of the opinion that God used Josiah to get the people ready for the exile. God had promised that a remnant would return (through the prophet Isaiah). This remnant will build the city up again. Israel went to exile never to be heard from again but Judah had the promise of the Davidic covenant and we will soon see how God will be faithful even to his unfaithful people. The city of Jerusalem lies in ruins, the people have been exiled and all hope seems to be lost.

The New Testament
We continued the story of Paul at the end of his third missionary journey. It seems that everywhere Paul went, there was some sort of trouble. There was trouble in Ephesus, and then big time trouble in Jerusalem. Even in all of this trouble and turmoil, Paul remains calm and cool. He stays focused on his mission, to spread the message of Jesus Christ. Paul knew that he was to go to Rome. It will not happen the way he wants it to but I am getting ahead of the story. You can tell a lot about Paul by from this quote, “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace.” (Acts 20:24 NIV). May we all have the same conviction as Paul!! We read just one chapter later, “I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” (Acts 21:13 NIV). I am truly humbled when I read of the conviction of Paul. Paul gets into some hot water with the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem and they try to kill him. Paul gives a great sermon and testimony on the steps of the governor’s palace. I am sure that there were some who heard his message and believed but many still wanted his head. The Roman commander ordered Paul to be whipped but once it was learned that he was a Roman citizen that was stopped quickly. Paul almost incites a riot between the Pharisees and the Sadducees when he was on trial and the Romans took no chances in losing control and secretly sent Paul off to Caesarea. Paul will never again live his life as a free man. Not only was he in physical chains, he also believed he was in chains to the Gospel and was a slave to Christ. We will see these patters emerge when we read some of Paul’s letters.

Bits and Pieces

The Old Testament
We will start 1 Chronicles the week but before we do we need to get some context to the book before they will make any sense to us. Both 1 and 2 Chronicles were written after the exiles returned from Babylon. They parallel many of the stories we have already read. Don’t get confused by hearing the same story again. These books are like commentaries on the books that preceded them. They are also like history books that were written by people who were not eyewitnesses to the events. Here are the vital stats for 1 Chronicles:

PURPOSE: To unify God’s people, to trace the Davidic line, and to teach that genuine worship ought to be the center of individual and national life
AUTHOR: Ezra, according to Jewish tradition
TO WHOM WRITTEN: All Israel (the nation is once again called Israel)
DATE WRITTEN: Approx. 430 BC recording events that took place from about 1000-960 BC
SETTING: First Chronicles parallels 2 Samuel and serves as a commentary on it. Written after the exile from a priestly point of view, 1 Chronicles emphasizes the religious history of Judah and Israel.
KEY VERSE: “And David knew that the LORD had established him as king over Israel and that his kingdom had been highly exalted for the sake of his people Israel” (1 Chronicles 14:2).
KEY PEOPLE: David, Solomon
KEY PLACES: Hebron, Jerusalem, the temple

The Psalms
We finished the book of Psalms this week but we get to do it all over again. Please let me know if you have some questions the second time around.

Have a great week!!!

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