Psalm 90

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (v12). While we are bombarded by promises of looking younger and enjoying a longer, healthier life, the psalmist instead embraces the reality of death and shows us how to live well during our short years on earth. We may experience “trouble and sorrow,” but God’s compassion and unfailing love never leave us (v13-14). Rather than living in fear, guilt, and shame, we can confess our “secret sins” to our Savior (v8) and walk in forgiveness and freedom.

“Lord, you have been our dwelling place through all generations” (v1). Our short lives have significance because God is our dwelling place, our true home, for all eternity.

Romans 10:11-21

“I have been found by those who did not seek me; I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me" (v20). Paul explained that because God wanted everyone to hear the good news of salvation and have a chance to believe, preachers would have to be sent all over the world (v14-15). Just like in Isaiah’s time, we are often surprised by who accepts the message. Sometimes religious people reject it, while those on the margins, the least expected, receive it (v19-21).

God ignores our human categories (conservative/liberal, Jew/Gentile, religious/secular). Instead, “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (v13).

Romans 10:1-10

“For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge” (v2). Paul desperately wanted more of his Jewish brethren to be saved (v1). He saw that their problem was that they were pursuing God’s righteousness on their own terms, rather than accepting what God Himself freely offered (v3). They thought they owned their religion and its rules (v5-9), and so they were offended by “the word of faith” (v8) that simply declares “Jesus is Lord.”

“Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame” (v11). Self-justification keeps us stuck in guilt and shame, but embracing the powerful love and forgiveness of Jesus sets us free.

II Chronicles 8

“Then Solomon offered up burnt offerings to the LORD …according to the commandment of Moses for the Sabbaths, the new moons, and the three annual feasts--the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of Booths” (v12). The ritual offerings and celebrations, done in the right spirit, could be authentic ways to honor God (ch 7). However, King Solomon seemed much more faithful in these religious duties than in his personal life. His many wives and concubines (I Kings 11) complicated the peaceful kingdom he had inherited.

“So the house of the Lord was completed” (v16). Solomon’s legacy was weakened by his personal immorality. God desires a true holiness that is as beautiful as the original Temple.

II Chronicles 7

“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (v14). God’s covenant with His people was not based on their perfection, but on their humble response to His mercy and grace. God had rescued Israel and established them in the land, and He promised to stay with them if they continued to “seek His face.”

We – Jew and Gentile – are God’s redeemed people in Christ, “called by His name.” When we seek Him humbly, with all our hearts, He never turns us away.

II Chronicles 6

“Whatever prayer, whatever plea is made by any man or by all your people Israel … then hear from heaven your dwelling place and forgive and render to each whose heart you know …” (v29-30). As the Temple was dedicated, Solomon prayed that it would become a place where men and women, Jews and even foreigners (v32) would come and pour out their hearts to God. Solomon acknowledged that every individual carries their own “affliction and sorrow” (v29), yet our infinite God can hear each one and answer each one.

“Teach them the good way in which they should walk” (v27). God cares deeply about our “affliction and sorrow,” and He desires to show us the “good way.”

II Chronicles 5

“And when the song was raised …” (v13). The placing of the ark of the covenant in the Holiest Place was the high point of the Temple’s dedication, and the musicians “with trumpets and cymbals and other musical instruments” led the people in singing, "For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever" (v13). When their voices and instruments joined in praise, God’s house “was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of God” (v14).

Like that great moment in the Temple, when we gather together to “declare the wonders of God” (Acts 2:11), He is powerfully present among us.

Psalm 89

“How long, O LORD? Will you hide yourself forever? How long will your wrath burn like fire?” (v46). During a time of trouble that seemed unending, the psalmist remembered the truth about God: “The heavens are yours; the earth also is yours; the world and all that is in it, you have founded them” (v1). This infinite Creator rules by righteousness and justice, steadfast love and faithfulness (v14), and He never changes. His good promises to His people are “forever,” just as the Messiah’s throne is forever (v19-37).

“You have a mighty arm” (v13). No matter how dark our circumstances, our God brings life from death and “calls things into existence that do not exist” (Rom 4:17).

Romans 9:9-33

"Those who were not my people I will call 'my people,' and her who was not beloved I will call 'beloved'” (v25).  Paul explained that non-Jews could be “beloved,” part of God’s family by faith, because this was consistent with God’s ways.  In the Old Testament, many Israelites missed out on fellowship with God because instead of responding to His miracles and gifts by trusting Him, they relied on their own righteousness.  “They did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works” (v32).

“They will be called, ‘sons of the living God’” (v26).  We are God’s beloved children when we trust Him, receiving His gift of salvation by faith (John 1:12).    

Romans 9:1-8

“They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises …” (v4).  Paul anguished over the fact that his fellow Jews, receivers of a great spiritual inheritance, rejected God’s Messiah.  However, God’s word, His gifts and promises had not failed (v6), because “not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel … it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring” (v7-8). 

God’s promises and good gifts belong to us, Jew and Gentile together -- not because of bloodline or our own goodness, but through faith in Jesus our Savior.    

II Chronicles 4

“So Solomon made all the vessels that were in the house of God: the golden altar, the tables for the bread of the Presence, the lampstands and their lamps of pure gold …
the snuffers, basins, dishes for incense, and fire pans, of pure gold …”.  The objects used in worship were pure gold, and they were also ritually cleansed and declared holy.  The entire Temple was cleansed and anointed so that the Israelites, being sinners, could approach their holy God.

As beautiful as the gold was, Zechariah declared that one day “living water” would flow, and then even ordinary cooking pots would become holy (Zech 14).  Cleansed by Christ, our entire ordinary lives become holy, dedicated to Him.

II Chronicles 3

“He set up the pillars in front of the temple … that on the south he called Jachin, and that on the north Boaz” (v17).  The Message translates these names as “Security” and “Stability,” which was what the Temple represented for the Israelites.  The lavish wood, gold, silver, and richly dyed linens engraved with palms and pomegranates spoke of God’s creation and infinite provision for His people, while the structure of the Holy Places invited them to worship in thanksgiving, awe, and humility. 

“He adorned the house with settings of precious stones …” (v6).  We are God’s Temple, precious in His sight.  Jesus, who lives in us by His Spirit, is our security and our stability (Eph 2:21-22).

II Chronicles 2

“Huram-abi …is trained to work in gold, silver, bronze, iron, stone, and wood, and in purple, blue, and crimson fabrics and fine linen … and execute any design …” (v13-14).  To build the Temple, Solomon reached out internationally. He requested resources and an expert craftsman from Tyre to lead the “skilled workers” in Jerusalem.  Huram-abi was culturally mixed, extremely talented, and well-trained (v13).  He added his expertise to Solomon’s Temple, though “highest heaven” could never contain God (v6).    

“For our God is greater than all gods” (v5).  The Temple – full of the earth’s most precious materials, made by Jews and Gentiles - pointed to the God who was “the hope of all the ends of the earth” (Ps 65:5).

II Chronicles 1

“Give me now wisdom and knowledge to go out and come in before this people, for who can govern this people of yours, which is so great?" (v10).  This was probably the true high point of King Solomon’s life: the moment in which he turned to God in humility.  Solomon had inherited a united kingdom from his father and was stepping into leadership over God’s people, and he realized that he needed God’s wisdom and knowledge in order to be a good king. 

“Because this was in your heart …” (v11).  God is always pleased when we confess our limitations and ask for His help.  He is more than ready to give us what we need to fulfill our callings (Eph 2:10).

Psalm 88

“LORD, you are the God who saves me; day and night I cry out to you” (v1).  After declaring the truth about who God is, the psalmist expressed his deep pain. “I am overwhelmed with troubles and my life draws near to death” (v3).  He was “without strength … in the darkest depths …confined and cannot escape” (v4-8).  The psalmist did not hold back with God; he was completely honest. “You have taken from me friend and neighbor-- darkness is my closest friend” (v18). 

“But I cry to you for help, Lord …” (v13).  We don’t have to pretend anything with the Lord.  We can freely pour out our hearts and expect help from “the God who saves.”

Romans 8:14-39

“The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (v16).  No longer under the law or slaves of sin, we now are “children of God,” and “fellow heirs” with Christ.  Our spirits have been reborn, and we look forward to the resurrection of our bodies so that we can enjoy a future life in God’s renewed world (v21-23). For now, Paul says, we follow Christ’s example: “we suffer with him so that we may be glorified with him” (v17).  

Being God’s beloved sons and daughters means, like Jesus himself, accepting that suffering may precede resurrection. “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (v37).

Romans 8:1-13

“For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace” (v6).  Paul said that there is no condemnation for those who are “in Christ Jesus” (v1); we’ve been set free from guilt (v2).  We don’t have to fear God’s punishment, and, even more, we have the Spirit’s power to live a new life.  We no longer are controlled by our sinful natures; instead, we can cooperate with God’s own Spirit living in us, bringing us victory (v7-9).

“But if Christ is in you …” (v8).  Every moment, Jesus is with us by His Spirit.  We can ask Him for wisdom, strength against temptation, and courage to live righteously.

I Chronicles 29

“O LORD our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a house for your holy name comes from your hand and is all your own” (v16).  As King David and the people collected and gave resources for the building of the Temple, they were overwhelmed with a sense of thanksgiving.  They realized that their own generosity was a sign of God’s abundance; He made it possible for them to give (v14).  They were “strangers … and sojourners” (v15) on the earth, yet God had blessed them so much they were able to give back to Him. 

Secure in God’s care and convinced of His generosity to us, we can give “willingly … with a whole heart” (v9).

I Chronicles 28

“I had it in my heart to build a house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the LORD …” (v2).  King David had a vision of God’s beauty and how to honor our awesome Creator.  He “had it in his heart” to gather gold and silver, bronze and timber, skilled people and a detailed plan for building the Temple.  Because he was “a man of war” (v3), God told David to give the plan over to his son Solomon who reigned in peace.

“Be strong and courageous and do it” (v20).  David honored God as Israel’s Redeemer and Lord, worthy of the people’s best efforts and courageous sacrifice.  Our vision of God determines how we serve Him. 

I Chronicles 27

“David did not count those below twenty years of age, for the LORD had promised to make Israel as many as the stars of heaven” (v23).  The Lord had given King David plenty of men for military service.  There were famous “mighty men” like Benaiah and thousands of others who gave one month a year (v1) for national service.  Some took charge of the king’s fields, flocks, and properties (v25-34).  God did not want David to obsessively count this great, blessed people (a disaster – v24), but simply to be thankful.

“This is the number of the people of Israel …” (v1).  Everything in our world, including us, belongs to God.  We can trust Him to abundantly supply what we need.