OT: I Chron. 12:19-14:17
Today, we read more about the huge army David amassed leading up to his coronation as king. I don't remember getting this impression in Kings, but Chronicles makes it clear that the tide had firmly turned for David in Israel.
The list of David's men among the tribes was not very painful to me b/c it contained several interesting tidbits about the men of various tribes. I'll just note two things. One, the 2 1/2 really turned out, didn't they? They sent 120,000 men, whereas the next largest group was only 50,000. And I know that they are, well, 2 1/2 tribes, but still. Even proportionally, it's still really high. And they are on the other side of the river and everything.
Secondly, my favorite phrase of the whole reading came during the list. It was the description of the men of Issachar, "who understood the times and knew what Israel should do" (32). I just had to pause and reflect on that phrase. Today, I see all these different trends in thinking, both without and within the church. Especially within the church, there are so many new ideas on what the kingdom of God is and what is the best way to reach the world. There are also very different ideas on what it even means to truly live as a Christian. And I hear all of these philosophies, and I see the merits and downfalls of the different ones. I see the different ways to interpret the Scriptures. And I just think, "I wish I understood the times better. I wish I knew what we should do." Does this please God, or does this? What exactly does God want from his church right now? What is the kingdom of God supposed to look like at this moment? I know I'm being vague, and I know that the easy answer is, "Love God and love others." But I've got to say, sometimes it is hard for me to know how God wants me to love others. If that sounds dumb, well, then welcome to my overthinking brain.
Today we also heard the Uzzah story again, and we heard about some of David's victories.
I thought it was interesting that the list of David's sons did not include Absalom, Amnon, and that other A guy. (Sorry, not going to look it up. You know, the one at the end:)). Were those guys already born? I always got the picture that they were older. This list is only the ones born in Jerusalem to what appears to be David's second wave of wives (14:3-6).
NT: Romans 1:1-17
Holy cow! We are in Romans! I remember so clearly the first time I read through Acts. You always hear about the early stories in Sunday school, but the end stuff was mostly new to me. And so I breathlessly read along, eagerly awaiting until Paul finally confronts Caesar. And then...he never does! The book just ends abruptly! And it still sneaks up on me today, apparently.
You're killin' me, Luke!
But hey, Romans is cool. I'm actually very happy to be in the epistles now.
Today in Sunday school, we learned about the early Christian councils (like around the 300's and 400's). It seemed that most of the big ones centered around debates about the nature of Jesus and how a person could be fully divine and fully human at the same time. I think it is hard to appreciate how much our thoughts on that subject have been shaped by the church that came before us. It seems so obvious to us that He is completely both, but I think we don't fully understand that our views were shaped by other factors than simply the Scriptures. I thought about this very thing when I read Romans 1: 3-4: "regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord." For someone trying to noodle out the nature of Christ, this would be an interesting passage to ponder. If I didn't have the picture of Jesus being fully divine and fully human already in my brain, I think this passage would appear to tip toward the human side. Or maybe not. Rereading it, I understand the wording more there at the end. It was confusing at first.
Two other small things that I found interesting:
1. Verses 11-12 talk about Paul's desire to impart a spiritual gift to the Romans. I liked that concept. I couldn't quite decide, though, if the gift was the encouragement or the faith. Both are listed in verse 12. I'm going to go with encouragement.
2. In verse 14, I loved the idea that Paul (and us, by extension) is/are "obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish." There is no way to write this without sounding like a jerk, so I'm just going to go for it and be honest. I sometimes get frustrated with what I view as foolishness or stupidity. And in my desire not to have conflict or to have to deal with unpleasant things, I sometimes would rather write off those whom I view as foolish. (Wow, it sounds so arrogant when I actually type it out. And it is, I guess.) And this verse reminds me that as a Christian, I am equally obligated to all people, not just the ones with whom I get along, and not just the ones who think like me, but everyone.
The second half of this psalm continues with its emphasis on nations. I'm sure I probably pondered God's judgment on the nations last time, and while the psalm did spark thoughts, it's getting a little late, and I'm having trouble forming coherent sentences. Maybe next time:).
The first is about how the loyalty of friends is often proportional to one's wealth, and the second one condemns false witnesses and liars.