OT: I Chron. 26:12-27:34
Today, we read more about the gatekeepers, and the Levites who were in charge of the treasury. Plus, we got lists of the different military officers in charge of the different tribes.
I thought 27:23 was interesting where it said that David did not take a census. I'm guessing that means, David did not take another census. Perhaps he learned his lesson the first time? I mean, how could you not learn your lesson the first time that your actions cause 70,000 people to die?
And what was Joab thinking to start to do a count? Wasn't he the one who told David not to do the count last time?
Lastly, we read about the men in charge of David's various possessions (vineyards, olive oil, donkeys, etc.)
NT: Romans 4:13-5:5
I found this passage to be a beautiful picture of faith. First, Paul reiterates that all who have faith are Abraham's children. My favorite parts came a few verses later.
First of all, I loved verse 17, where Paul describes the "God who...calls things that are not as though they are." I have heard that phrase before in church, but I don't know that I put together that it was lifted straight from Scripture. I love that picture. To me, it, is a great description of life in the kingdom of God. And it is good to know that that is how God operates, too. And He does--you can see it in Christ. Christ said that the poor were blessed, and that the least were the greatest. He seemed to suggest that you should turn the other cheek in this world, which we all know is not a viable option from a worldly perspective. In short, Christ spoke of ways and of behaviors that were not (not acceptable, not effective, not sensible) as though they were. And he treated people who were not (not blessed, not worthy) as though they were. It's a trippy concept.
My second favorite point about faith was made about Abraham in verse 19: "Without weakening his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead--since he was about a hundred years old--and that Sarah's womb was also dead." Without weakening his faith, Abraham faced facts. I think that is important. I think sometimes we are scared of facts. We believe that by acknowledging certain facts, we are betraying our faith. There are many example of such facts that I believe scare us, but I will list two of my own:
Fact: I do not understand everything in the Bible.
Fact: I do not understand everything that happens in this world.
In the past, I have been afraid to face those facts b/c I was scared it would weaken my faith. I had to have answers, answers that explained every little question I had about God and the way He works. I have heard so many times that verse that tells us to always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks you something, and I was terrified that if I didn't have all the answers, I wouldn't be a good representative of Christ.
But the fact is, I don't have all the answers. And at some point in my life, I had to be like Abraham and face that fact, without letting it weaken my faith. For me, that point came in college, after Lipscomb did not prove itself to be the Answer Wonderland that I was expecting. Instead, it (horror of horrors) mainly helped me to ask even more questions, even better ones!
The bottom line is, faith does not mean having all the answers. And furthermore, faith is not the enemy of fact. Fact contradicts faith all the time. Fact told Abraham that his body was as good as dead. Fact told Sarah that her womb was closed. Facts tell us a lot of things that don't always seem to be in line with faith. But...that's why it is called faith. We see facts. Faith is "being certain of what we do not see" (Heb. 11:1). To use the language of Paul, it is treating things that are not as if they are.
Wow. Like I said earlier, that is all very mind-trippy to me. I like it, though.
Well, well, well. Here, we have the very psalm that was recently quoted by Paul. Needless to say, it does not paint a very cheery picture of humanity.
The poor come out looking okay, though. In verse 6, David says, "You evildoers frustrate the plans of the poor, but the Lord is their refuge."
Our proverb today continues the theme of "God loves the poor." It claims that, "He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward him for what he has done." I just love that. It reminds me of Matthew 25. God makes it pretty clear that serving the poor is ultimately serving God. That is a pretty profound concept.