1 Chronicles 16-17

“Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous deeds among all peoples. For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; He is to be feared above all gods.” (16:24-25) 

“Ascribe to the LORD, all you families of nations, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. Ascribe to the LORD the glory due His name; bring an offering and come before Him. Worship the LORD in the splendor of His holiness.” (16:28-29‬)

It is good and right and perfect to praise the LORD. It is what we were made to do; to enjoy His goodness and sing His praises. The whole earth needs to be in on this. 

“Then King David went in and sat before the LORD, and he said: “Who am I, LORD God, and what is my family, that You have brought me this far?” (17:16)

I love this passage prayer. Have you ever had a moment like this? Faced with a very generous and gracious gift from the LORD, whether it’s favor, provision, or position, and thought: “why, Lord, would you be so good to me?” 

It is insanity, to me, how God chooses to use us to accomplish His work on earth. Don’t we make things take too long?? Isn’t it always one step forward and two steps back? 

Seeing the incredible diversity in France makes me think of how blended the world has become. I wonder if its because it was taking us too long to declare His glory to the nations, He’s bringing the nations to our neighborhoods. What a privilege to share the knowledge of His love and goodness. 

Tell someone about Him today.

-Bethany 

1 Chronicles 14-15

If you read through Samuel with us a while ago, you might remember this post I wrote about the paralleling chapters.

One of my favorite parts of Scripture is in today’s reading: 

“When you hear a sound like marching feet in the tops of the poplar trees, go out and attack! That will be the signal that God is moving ahead of you to strike down the Philistine army.” 14:15

If you are poised for battle, whether it’s for the good of mankind as a whole, or your own personal trials, God is in the scene too. And not only that, he moves ahead of you and has already defeated the Enemy. 

I like imagining how it sounded when David and his men listened eagerly for the sound of God’s army marching above the trees ahead of them. 

I listen for it too. When I’m about to take a deep breath and share the gospel with someone. When I’m staring into the face of grief and realize I have to fight for hope. When I’m sizing up a difficult situation and wondering if I’ll be able to scale such a wall. I keep an ear out for God going before me and signaling me that he has gone before me, is fighting the battle with me, and he’s already won. 

We are not alone in our battles. 

You are not alone. 


-Carly 

1 Chronicles 12-13

“The anger of the LORD burned against Uzza, so He struck him down because he put out his hand to the ark; and he died there before God.” ‭(13:10‬)

This story baffles people today, as it baffled David. “This is our God, why should He strike us down like an enemy?” 

Jesus has, and is, and always will be the only safe way to approach God. Only through Christ. No being cool with Him because you’re from the right family or doing the right things. The presence and favor of God isn’t a lucky charm we can bend to fit our context. In a knee-jerk decision, Uzza considered himself righteous enough to touch the ark, but he wasn’t.

I don’t want to fall into a “hey God, I’m going this way, bless me” mindset. I am His daughter, yes, and my life is hidden in Christ’s, but I want to remember, every day, to choose humility and surrender. I’m following Him, not leading Him somewhere. 

I arrived in France today and spent a lot of time on the plane wondering, “how did this work out??” All the best things which have transpired this year have been acts of God, in spite of me. Somehow, I still have to constantly remind myself not to try to take over. He is God, I am not. It’s always got to be His way in His timing. 

The ark eventually makes it to Jerusalem, carried the proper way. In the meantime, the family of Obed-edom was blessed to have His presence dwell there. Do I try to get God’s presence to come to me? Or will I seek Him where He is?

Again, it’s always humility and obedience. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.” (Proverbs 9:10)

-Bethany 

1 Chronicles 10-11

I like reading about David’s mighty men. I feel like I’m reading about characters in an upcoming Marvel movie; it can be hard to believe these stories are real. 

And yet, I do believe. I read that Beniah pursued a lion into a cave and killed it, soaking the white snow with the mammal’s red blood. I believe it. “Once, armed only with a club, he killed an Egyptian warrior who was 7.5 feet tall and who was armed with a spear as thick as a weaver’s beam.” I think yes, this happened.

However. I do doubt him when he says he’ll provide everything I need. Instead, I let myself worry about finances or work issues. My voice shakes when I ask him for strength, even though he promises to grant it to me. And in fact, tells me he already has. (2 Timothy 1:7) 

I read about a God who (literally) speaks through the mouths of donkeys, who empowers men to conquer giants and I still struggle to believe everything else he says. I know this is normal, you probably do too. But why? 

I read these chapters and feel proud to follow a God with a creative flare. I watch culture try to mirror it, pumping out movie after movie about superheroes. We want something bigger than ourselves. And it is abundantly available to us! 

Call upon the God Who Saves to meet you in areas you don’t imagine he can or will. Because he can. And he will. 
-Carly 

1 Chronicles 3-9

I know what you’re thinking, “that’s a lot of chapters for one day.” You’re right, but they’re all geneologies and easy to skim. Didn’t want to spend a whole week on them, ya know?

Here’s the Bible Project Overview.

This book is a major summation of Israel’s history, so of course these genealogies are vital. It also becomes clear that the line of Judah is most enduring, as the others in the north were lost during their exile to Assyria.

Something that really sticks out to me, about the themes and differences between Chronicles and Samuel/Kings (as mentioned in the overview), is the omission of David’s major flaws, and the highlighting of some other’s redeemable qualities.

I’ve always found comfort in knowing God could use and lift up someone who messed up as royally as David. Having those records of shortcomings can give us hope God can use anyone who chooses humility.

But that’s not the purpose of Chronicles. This book is more about endurance of hope for the future. I think we can glean something from this: Focusing on the good, in each other and in God’s faithfulness to preserve us, is exactly what we need to not give up. The glaring weaknesses in our humanity can very easily take the wind out of our sails. Our faith must be in God’s ability to preserve us, redeem us, keep His promises and claim victory over the death lurking among us. 

Think of some people in your life who you’ve really seen God use. Does it ever bother you to see God lift up someone you know is really messed up? It’s definitely bothered me before! But then God graciously (sometimes painfully) brings me down off my high horse to note how deeply broken I am, and how incredible it is that He can still shine in my brokenness.

David was a “man after God’s own heart”. David was the archetype for the future Messiah. David was an adulterous murderer with multiple wife’s and the blood of Philistine foreskins on his hands. 

This is hard to wrap my mind around. Isn’t it the incredible mercy of God to call him, or Abraham or Moses, a friend? Isn’t it even more incredible that He says, when He arrives He will in some ways resemble these mortals?!?!? We have one crazy God.

Jesus calls us His friends. He must really be focused on our image-bearing qualifies. Can we focus on those in each other today?

-Bethany 

1 Chronicles 1-2

Gotta love a good genealogy list every now and then, right? If you’ve been reading with us for a while now, you might recognize some of these names. These chapters are the official family records of Israel; they show us the history of God’s work. The intent of the Chronicles were to teach the people returning from exile in Babylon about their spiritual heritage as a nation. 

What’s your spiritual heritage? 

How did your relationship with God begin? I started writing out a list of names, as far back as I could remember, of people who have contributed to God’s work in my life. 

A few family members I never met. A great aunt and uncle. My parents. A small group leader I loved. My friend’s mom who baptized me. Some camp counselors. Mentors. Good friends. These names, and memories, are gifts. They mark the history I have with God. My spiritual heritage. 

Take a minute to think back on who has been spiritual family in your life, and thank God for them. And maybe thank them personally, too. 
-Carly 

James 5

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months.” (16-17)

Too often I pray for myself and limp along in my struggle. I forget I can bring my burdens to be prayed for by a righteous friend, and be healed

It is a beautiful reminder to consider: the giants of the faith, like Elijah, had all the same advantages we do. They didn’t have any super power besides the Holy Spirit, Who also dwells in us. 

It can be hard to find a friend that’s trustworthy, someone who won’t spread your pain around like juicy gossip, someone who won’t be intimidated by your tendency for evil. I want to commit to being a friend who is safe. 

This verse isn’t saying, “make your business everyone’s business”. Let’s not make our sin more or less than it is. We are a royal priesthood, we should be able to confess to one another without fear, shame, etc. Let’s be trustworthy priests, good friends, unintimidated, honest, humble and dependent on God, looking always to Christ. 

Our accuser wants to leave us injured and shackled in shame. We’ve been called out of darkness and into marvelous light, and it’s not just for the individual. We are members of one another. We suffer and rejoice together. 

“The prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him.” (15)

Lord, heal us! Thank you for Your glorious forgiveness. Thank you for making us Your people. Teach us to love like you love, and forgive as you forgive.

—–

Speaking of “giants”, tomorrow we start Chronicles! 

-Bethany