Friday, July 23, 2010

July 23

OT: 2 Chron. 8:11-10:19

Today, the Queen of Sheba visits and is, of course, very impressed.

We also ended Solomon's reign today, and I must say, the stubborn refusal of the chronicler to say anything negative about the kings renders his narrative somewhat disjointed. Because he quite characteristically ignores the fact that Solomon turned from God, the abrupt shattering of Rehoboam's reign comes out of nowhere. The only explanation that the chronicler can muster is, "So [Rehoboam] did not listen to the people, for this turn of events was from God, to fulfill the word the Lord had spoken to Jeroboam son of Nebat through Ahijah the Shilonite" (10:15). Without understanding Solomon's fall from grace, that explanation makes no sense. After all, didn't God repeatedly promise that if Solomon followed His ways, his lineage would last forever?

Thankfully, we have the messy Samuel/Kings to make sense of all this. Oh, the irony.

It is a good reminder, though, that the Bible is meant to be read in its full context. You can't pull out a particular verse without the chapter, or a chapter without the book, or--as today's case proves--a book without the other books. In fact, even to read the OT apart from the NT, or vice versa, would also be theologically disastrous. Context is everything.

Romans 8: 9-21

You know, I always think of Romans 8 as such a wonderful passage, and yet it really kicked me in the pants today. The very first verse of our reading started things off on an intense note: "You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ" (9). Yikes. To paraphrase, if your actions are not controlled by the Holy Spirit, then you are not a Christian.

Wow. So, what I have to ask myself is, "Are my actions controlled by the Holy Spirit?" I do feel the Spirit in my life, but I still fall so short. I hardly feel that I am under the Spirit's complete control. There is still too much of me left. I haven't learned yet how to fully die to myself on a day-by-day, minute-by-minute basis.

Verse 17 is also incredibly challenging: "Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and coheirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory." Wow. Do I share in Christ's sufferings? I think not. I have a wonderful life, in fact. I am not hated, or mocked, or beaten, or really, persecuted in any way. Does that mean I am not an heir of God or a co-heir of Christ? I don't know....

As challenging as all of those verses were, I did get inspiration and comfort from verse 15, where Paul said, "For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Sprit of sonship. And by him we cry, Abba, Father." While I believe firmly that we should have a healthy fear of God (it's the beginning of wisdom, after all), I also think that it is His desire for us to have an intimate relationship with Him that is ultimately based on love, not fear. And if I am seeking Him with all of my heart, and dedicating each day of my life to Him as best I know how, I do believe that I can rest on His promises, and rest in His mercy. And I pray that He will lead me down the path to a life fully controlled by His Spirit. And if persecution lays at the end of that path, then so be it.

Psalm 18:16-36

David continues to rejoice in God's salvation.

Proverbs 19:26

Today's proverb was a statement of the obvious:

"He who robs his father and drives out his mother
is a son who brings shame and disgrace."



  1. I have always found the Sheba story interesting ..did she just not have anything to do, so she thought ..hmm, I am gonna go check out that King Solomon guy! Also, what questions did she ask him? I wish they recorded that. Was he attracted to her? Did she feel like her lame-o gift was lame-o? I mean, when they guy sends out ships and they come back with tons of gold, what is a few measly 9000 pounds?

    I think it is funny that the ships returned every three years with "gold, silver, ivory, APES and PEACOCKS" ..of all the animails, Apes and Peacocks? I wonder why those two?

    And, why did he only have 4000 stalls for 12,000 horses? And, logistically, dont you think the stable guys were like ..."greeeeat, another 100 mules...sheesh! I already have 3 horses per stall here!"

    I am just sayin' :)

    In my bible study on Elijah right now, we just did a run down of all the kings in 1 Kings. I just read the account of how Rehoboam became king, and the I Kings version of the spilt of the kingdom to Northern and Southern kingdoms. It is remarkable that it all started by him following some idiot advisers who kinna seem to be like frat guys sitting around and trying to come up with the stupidest things they can think of to waste a friday night. What the heck was he thinking?

    Romans: This book is so great...

    I noted something interesting ..vs 11: "The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your MORTAL BODIES by this same Spirit living within you."

    i see there, that God's spirit in us will be demonstrated in physical ways! I see that God's spirit can be evident on our physical bodies..I know it is because that is where my head is, but I see that a close association with the idea that God will provide the physical resources to accomplish his spiritual purposes for us. He will give life where it is necessary to fulfill his will for us.

    Aside from that, I just love how physical the indwelling of the Spirit is. He is physically dwelling in US we can experience victory over the physical struggles of our existence. We can resist the physical temptations, but also overcome the hindrances that our bodies present in order to fulfill his purpose in us, i.e., fasting, being patient and loving even when we have PMS :)

    I feel energized just thinking about it ...we have what we need in us to do everything God asks us to do. Everything. His spirit provides for us a guide to accomplish his will, but only if we get our butts out of the way and let it happen.


  2. Court--I can't believe I forgot to mention the apes! Only, my version says "apes and baboons" (9:21). Like you, I found that to be quite amusing.

    And I like your take on Romans. For some reason, I love the big picture of Romans, but actually sitting down and focusing on every verse tends to mess me up. Inevitably, when I read Romans 7-8, my reaction is, "Holy cow! Am I even a Christian? Does my life match up to this high standard of being dead to sin and controlled by the Spirit?" But rather than see condemnation, you see a promise. And I love the idea that our lives WILL be brought more and more under the control of God's Spirit, the more we learn to get out of the way.

    It's a process. I have to continually remind myself of that.

    Thanks for the thoughts!