Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Saturday, 23 June 18:
1. 1 Chronicles 9:1 – “And Judah was taken into exile in Babylon because of their breach of faith.” Sin limits God’s blessings in your life and warrants God’s discipline.
2. 1 Chronicles 9:1, 13; Proverbs 23:12, 24:1, 23:19 — “The people of Judah were taken captive to Babylon because of their unfaithfulness…. Saul died because he was unfaithful to the Lord…. Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge…. Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the Lord. There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off…. Listen, my son, and be wise, and keep your heart on the right path….”
– We should be motivated by faithfulness inspired by love. Love and faithfulness go hand in hand. As Psalm 85:10 says, “Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other.” The Book of Proverbs has this to say: “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart (3:3)…. But those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness (14:2)….. Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for; through the fear of the LORD a man avoids evil (16:6)….. Love and faithfulness keep a king safe; through love his throne is made secure…..” There are unavoidable consequences to unfaithfulness. Unfaithfulness dishonors God and causes pain, sorrow, and destruction. It robs you of your joy and hurts the innocent. Unfaithfulness can have an impact that affects generations. Let love and faithfulness never leave you.
3. 1 Chronicles 9:2 – “Now the first to dwell again in their possessions in their cities were Israel, the priests, the Levites, and the temple servants.” Priests should lead the way in dedication and closeness to God. Christians are all called to be “priests.” The leader in any room is the one closest to Jesus who is committed to drawing those around him closer to Jesus. Leaders “know the way and show the way.” Jesus is, “The Way, The Truth, and The Life.” If you are not leading others closer to Jesus, you are leading them astray.
4. 1 Chronicles 9:10 – “Of the priests: Jedaiah, Jehoiarib, Jachin….” God knows everyone of His servants by name and also recognizes them by their family. God deals with you personally, but He also deals with you through your relationships, particularly through your family. Family is a vital part of God’s plan for people. God gives very specific responsibilities to spouses and parents, and He also tells children to honor their fathers and mothers as a path to His blessings. Jesus obeyed His mother as an example to us.
5. 1 Chronicles 9:13 – “…heads of their fathers’ houses…” God expects fathers to lead their families and to raise up leaders who will keep the faith for generations.
6. 1 Chronicles 19:20 – “And Phinehas the son of Eleazar was the chief officer over them in time past; the Lord was with him.” Of Phinehas, the Bible specifically says that the Lord was with him. Is that what people say about you? More importantly, is that what God says about you?
7. 1 Chronicles 9:28 – “Some of them had charge of the utensils of service, for they were required to count them when they were brought in and taken out.” Management can be an act of worship, vital to the work of the ministry. Your God-given abilities were provided not that you could build your own kingdom on earth but rather that you could serve the Kingdom of God.
8. 1 Chronicles 9:33 – “Now these, the singers, the heads of fathers’ houses of the Levites, were in the chambers of the temple free from other service, for they were on duty day and night.” Music was considered so vital to worship that the singers had no other responsibilities and were on duty 24/7, 365.
9. 1 Chronicles 10:4 – “Therefore Saul took his own sword and fell upon it.” Saul and Judas had this in common — they both rejected the Lordship of God in their lives and committed suicide in defeat.
10. 1 Chronicles 10:6 – “Thus Saul died; he and his three sons and all his house died together.” 1 Chronicles 9 describes fathers who raised their sons to serve God faithfully, while 1 Chronicles 10 reveals that Saul’s ungodly leadership led to his death and the death of his sons. Rejecting God can have a devastating effect on not only you, but also upon your whole family and others you care about.
11. 1 Chronicles 10:9 – “…the Philistines to carry the good news to their idols and to the people.” The world’s “good news” is the defeat of God’s people. Our Good News, is that Christ is King, rules all, and offers salvation to all who are willing to accept it. Note that Saul and the kingdom was defeated not because of the might of the Philistines but, rather, because of the sins of God’s people. The Church can only be defeated in infidelity.
12. 1 Chronicles 10:12 – “…all the valiant men arose…” The valiant continue to resist the sinful world for God’s glory even when it seems like all has been lost. Are you valiant for the Lord today?
13. 1 Chronicles 10:13, 14 – “So Saul died for his breach of faith. He broke faith with the Lord in that he did not keep the command of the Lord, and also consulted a medium, seeking guidance. He did not seek guidance from the Lord. Therefore, the Lord put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David the son of Jesse.”
– Though Saul was chosen by God, His obedience was still required. We too live by grace but must obey God and continually seek His guidance alone. Saul’s downfall started when, he let fear reign in his life rather than God and chose to disobey God. God desires people “after his own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14) who will remain faithful regardless the circumstances. It wasn’t that Saul didn’t know the requirements of God; it wasn’t that Saul lacked the ability to fulfill the requirements of God; rather, Saul lacked the faith to obey God. Saul did what made sense to Saul as if there were no God or as if God had no integrity. This is unacceptable to God as God intends to reveal Himself and His character through His servants.
– With responsibility comes accountability and God holds us accountable for what we have been given as a trust. This does not just apply to kings and kingdoms but to all aspects of responsibility. Proverbs says, “The Righteous One observes the house of the wicked; he throws the wicked down to ruin. Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered.” (Proverbs 21:12, 13) Here we see the link between wickedness and a failure to steward God’s resources in which we have been entrusted in a way that cares for the needy. Also, the principle of accountability does not just apply to the Old Testament or to those who have not been saved by grace. Jesus said, “Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.” (Luke 12:48) Paul explains that we “have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.” (1 Thessalonians 2:4) We are called to spread the Gospel “by the command of God our Savior,” and we are instructed to “guard the good deposit entrusted to [us].” (Titus 1:3; 2 Timothy 1:14) We have been saved by faith and “approved in Christ,” no longer held “accountable…. under the Law,” but we have been “approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel” and to “do good works, which God prepared beforehand.” (Romans 16:10; Romans 3:9; Ephesians 2:10) We are called to be “zealous for good works,” to devote [ourselves] to good works,” “to stir up one another to love and good works,” and to have “a reputation for good works,” which will naturally cause Christians to be “approved by men.” (Titus 2:14; Titus 3:8-14; Hebrews 10:24; 1 Timothy 5:10; Romans 14:18) Jesus said, “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Mathew 5:17) We do good works because “it is God who works in [us], both to will and to work for his good pleasure,” and Paul warned that if we are not rich in good works we are, in fact, denying God. (Philippians 2:13; Titus 1:16) James was perhaps even more to the point: “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him…? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead…. Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.” (James 2:14, 17; 3:13) The life of good works is a walk in grace that is pure and holy, and the Bible is clear about the implications of walking in impurity while claiming the name of Christ – “For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, ‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay.’ And again, ‘The Lord will judge his people.’ It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebrews 10:26-31) Jesus said to the church that, by their behavior, they defile His name before men. “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.” (Revelation 2:5) No, repentance is not just for the unsaved who are not under grace but also for God’s people.
14. Proverbs 23:16, 23 – “My inmost being will exult when your lips speak what is right…. Buy truth, and do not sell it; buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding.” The righteous heart longs to hear the truth.
15. Proverbs 23:17, 18 — Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the Lord all the day. Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.” What is the future for you and your family?
16. Proverbs 23:20, 21 – “Be not among drunkards or among gluttonous eaters of meat, for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and slumber will clothe them with rags.” The Bible considers eating too much to be a sin like drinking too much, both demonstrating a destructive lack of self-control (which is a spiritual problem) and idolatry.
17. Proverbs 23 — God wants to ensure you understand the dangers of inappropriate sexual activity and alcohol abuse.
18. Psalm 72:1-4 — “Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness to the royal son! May he judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice!… May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the children of the needy, and crush the oppressor!” Justice is not defined by men but by God. Men are as just as they are submissive to God. Godly leaders pursue justice and protect the weak.
19. Psalm 72:11 — “In his days may the righteous flourish, and peace abound.” When the righteous flourish, peace abounds. A truly just ruler has the moral authority to expand is reign on earth.
20. Psalm 72:15 – “May prayer be made for him continually, and blessings invoked for him all the day!” We should pray for our leaders, particularly our faithful leaders.
21. Psalm 72:17 — “May prayer be made for him continually, and blessings invoked for him all the day!” God desires that we pray for righteous leaders continually.
22. Psalm 72:18 – “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous things.” All good things come from God.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 23 June 18: Choose today to lead your family to Christ as your first priority. If you have no family at all, choose today to lead those closest to you to Christ. To lead others to Christ, you must, but definition, be close to Him. (1 Chronicles 9)