OT: I Chron. 28:1-29:30
Today, David gathers all the Israelite leaders together for what appears to be a parting speech. He tells them all about his plans for the Temple, how God thwarted them, and how he has nevertheless done everything short of actually building the Temple. Apparently, David is quite passionate about this little project.
He also relates to the people the part where God told him that his kingdom would reign forever. Apparently, David inferred the tacit caveat in God's guarantee, b/c in his restatement of God's declaration, he adds it in: "I [God] will establish his [Solomon's] kingdom forever if he is unswerving in carrying out my commands and laws..." (7, emphasis mine). David goes on to implore Solomon to be just that (8-10). He then lays out his plans for the Temple.
Earlier, I wondered whether David's actions in preparing for the Temple should be considered positively or negatively. Were they passionate or imprudent? David clearly interprets them positively. He believes, in fact, that God's hand was with him through the process: "All this...I have in writing from the hand of the Lord upon me, and he gave me understanding in all the details of the plan" (19). Okay, I can go with that.
I loved the part where David gives so much to building of the Temple, and then the people voluntarily give, as well. David is so overwhelmed with the amount that they received, and I love his little speech. He asks, "But who am I , and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand" (14). I like the rest of the speech, too, but I especially loved this verse. It inspired me to give more, with the understanding that everything I give comes from God in the first place.
By the time we ended the reading, David was dead, and Solomon was king. No mention of Absalom, or Amnon, or Adonijah was ever made. The adultery with Bathsheba was totally omitted. All in all, everything was a lot less messy in I Chronicles. And honestly, I'm okay with that. We all pick and choose what we tell about a subject. The chronicler obviously had a different purpose than Samuel, and he acknowledged that other versions existed. In fact, he even directed his readers to them, should they desire the full, messy tale: "As for the events of King David's reign, from beginning to end, they are written in the records of Samuel the seer, the records of Nathan the prophet, and records of Gad the seer" (29:29). So check there if you want the whole scoop!
NT: Romans 5:6-21
I've realized that with the early chapters of Romans, I tend to be a "big picture" girl. I get Paul's overall message, and I tend not to bother with all the details. So for example, the big picture of today's reading is that Christ died for our sins, even though we didn't deserve it. And now we are able to be reconciled with God in a way that was impossible through the Law. And the reason that we even needed reconciliation is that Adam and Eve brought sin into the world, and it has plagued us and separated us from God ever since. The Law was given to make us aware of our situation, and then Christ came to fulfill the Law and bring us back into communion with God. Got it.
Even though I get the big picture, however, I have several questions about the individual verses:
--What is the distinction between a "righteous" man, and a "good" man? What's the difference? Why are people more likely to die for a good man than a righteous man?
--And what about Paul's use of "how much more" in verses 9 and 10? He uses that phrase to make a distinction between our justification and our salvation in verse 9, and our reconciliation and our salvation in verse 10. Again, what is the distinction? To be justified before God and to be reconciled with God are to be saved, right? So what is up with the "how much more" bit?
--Also, what does it mean in verse 13 that sin is not taken into account where there is no law? Does that mean that everyone who does not have the law has not sinned? I seem to remember that earlier it said that where there was no law, there was no trespass. If that is the case, then why give the law at all? And why punish pagans who do not have the law? Yet, Paul also seems to make it clear that we all have some version of the law in our hearts (2:14-15). And so is there ever a time when there is no law? I'm confused.
I am good, however, with the death through Adam, life through Christ stuff.
So in conclusion, I'd have to say that my reaction to Paul here is this:
Big picture: Got it.
Small picture: Huh?
David asks, "Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill?" (1). He then goes on to give a laundry list of qualifications for such a dwelling. Thinking about the sorry state of mankind that Paul describes in Romans makes me wonder if anyone can dwell in God's sanctuary. I think the point of the law was to teach us that no one can live on God's holy hill without God Himself justifying him.
As a parent of young children, I was encouraged by verse 18, which says,
"Discipline your son, for in that there is hope;
do not be a willing party to his death."
Providing consistent, loving discipline takes so much effort, and it is always good to have a reminder about how crucial it is. Good discipline brings hope and life.