I Chronicles 18

“And the LORD gave victory to David wherever he went” (v6).  Israel prospered under King David’s rule, because he had united the tribes and placed God at the center of Israel’s life.  With God’s help, David defeated the Philistines, Moabites, and Syrians (v1-6), and he dedicated their gold, silver, and bronze to the Lord’s use.  While David led the people in obedience and worship, the kingdom was secure. “So David reigned over all Israel, and he administered justice and equity to all his people” (v14).

The brief peace of David’s reign points to God’s desire for us.  Conflict, oppression, and suffering won’t go on forever, because His kingdom of peace, righteousness, and abundant life will win.

I Chronicles 17

“Moreover, I declare to you that the LORD will build you a house …” (v10).  When King David wanted to build a Temple for God in Jerusalem, God said that, instead, He would build David “a house.”  He meant that just as He had taken David from being a shepherd to a king, He would continue to bless David’s descendants far beyond their expectations (v7-8).  God would have a special relationship with David’s descendant, the Messiah, who would rule the kingdom forever (v11-13). 

“There is none like you, O Lord …” (v20). Unlike idols which take and destroy, God is the Giver, pouring out blessing and love – even sending Jesus – when we least deserve it.

I Chronicles 16

“So David left Asaph and his brothers there before the ark of the covenant of the LORD to minister regularly before the ark as each day required” (v37).  Chronicles recounts how King David made music and worship to God central to Israel’s life, eventually producing the Psalms (Psalm 105 is repeated here, v8-34).  As well as guarding the tabernacle and presiding over sacrifices, many priests and Levites could play instruments and “were chosen and expressly named to give thanks to the LORD” (v41).

“Sing to the Lord, all the earth! Tell of his salvation from day to day” (v23).  Worship, which gives God glory and speaks truth and comfort to our hearts, is central to the life of God’s people.

I Chronicles 15

“So the priests and the Levites consecrated themselves to bring up the ark of the LORD” (v14). Having learned that God’s presence in the ark was not to be taken lightly or used for human glory, King David called the priests and Levites to prepare themselves to carry it properly to Jerusalem (v2).  They dressed in fine clothes and sacrificed along the way.  “So all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the LORD with shouting, to the sound of the horn, trumpets, and cymbals …” (v28).

“We did not seek Him according to the rule …” (v13).  God isn’t a tool to be consulted when we need something; He is holy, awesome, worthy of worship and respect. 

Psalm 84

“My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God” (v2).  The psalmist expressed his deep conviction that living in God’s presence, walking in close fellowship with our Creator, is better than any other kind of life.  The psalmist had tasted the beauty and peace (“lovely”, v1) of knowing God, and he had found strength even in weakness (v5).  He found God to be the source of all good things: favor and honor, protection and true life (v11).

“Even the sparrow has found a home … near your altar” (v3).  God created every one of us, everything in creation, to find our true home in His presence.

I Chronicles 14

“And David inquired of God, "Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will you give them into my hand?" (v12). During King David’s most successful years of reign, he was eagerly pursuing Israel’s enemies while asking for God’s guidance and help. Even though his wealth and status increased, he remained connected to the Lord as he had been as a young man. He attacked when and how God directed (v10, 15), and he attributed his victories to the Lord’s intervention (v11).  Tragically, years later, he allowed his own desires to control him.

“And David did as God commanded him …” (v16).  Our energies, resources, and gifts are blessings, not temptations, when we submit them for the Lord’s use. 

I Chronicles 13:7-14

“Uzzah put out his hand to take hold of the ark …” (v9).  King David’s good intention to bring the ark of God into Jerusalem ended in Uzzah’s death. I Samuel 6 explains that God was angry because of Uzzah’s “error” (or irreverence) in reaching out to steady the ark, which was carried in a cart rather than on poles as instructed in Exodus 25.  Uzzah’s shocking death made it clear that God’s awesome power and presence were not things to take lightly.

“How can I bring the ark of God home to me?" (v12). As David realized, no one can stand in God’s presence, except through mercy.  Jesus opened the way for us to confidently approach the Father’s throne. 

I Chronicles 13:1-6

“Then let us bring again the ark of our God to us, for we did not seek it in the days of Saul" (v3).  Chronicles presents King David as a leader who, despite his faults, knew that Israel’s strength was in the Lord (while Saul did not).  The ark of the covenant had been residing in a town of Judah (v6), and as David consolidated control of Israel, one of his first acts was to bring the ark to Jerusalem.  He consulted “with every leader” (v1), and “all the assembly” agreed (v4).

“If it seems good to you and from the Lord our God …” (v2).  Godly leadership teaches us to depend not on ourselves, but on the Creator who dwells among us.

I Chronicles 12

"We are yours, O David, and with you, O son of Jesse! Peace, peace to you, and peace to your helpers! For your God helps you" (v18).  The “mighty men” who came to join David’s band were crucial in his rise to the throne.  God sent David bowmen who could shoot right or left-handed, as well as “mighty and experienced warriors, expert with shield and spear, whose faces were like the faces of lions and who were swift as gazelles” (v8).  United under David, these men formed “an army of God” (v22).

Not even the shepherd-warrior David could accomplish God’s purposes alone (v23).  Only together, using all our gifts, can we “stand firm” against the enemy (Eph 6). 

Psalm 83

“O God, do not keep silence; do not hold your peace or be still, O God!” (v1).  Threatened by their enemies, God’s people called out to Him for direct, miraculous intervention.  They knew from history that their ancestors (like Deborah and Barak against Sisera,v9-10) had faced terrible battles and been victorious through God’s power.  In this new challenge – many nations allied together against Israel, v6-8 – they asked again for God to make their enemies “like chaff before the wind” (v13).

Though our spiritual enemy wants to “take possession” of what belongs to God (v12), we can trust that He is powerfully able to protect our lives, our families, and our future.

Romans 4:15-24

“That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring …” (v16).  If the promise of blessing (all the good that flows from a relationship with God) rested on the law, we would have no hope, because “the law brings wrath” (v15).  A contract based on our obedience would certainly end in our punishment.  Instead, our faith rests on grace, the freely-given love of God, “who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist” (v17).

Abraham’s faith meant a decision to put his life in God’s hands, “fully convinced that God was able to do what He had promised” (v21).

Romans 4:1-14

“For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith” (v13).  After explaining that faith in Jesus covers our sins, Paul made it clear that Abraham and his descendants, the Israelites, were also justified by faith and not law.  God’s promises of blessing were made to Abraham before he was circumcised (a symbol of the law, v10), simply on the basis of Abraham’s faith. 

King David also declared (v6-18), “Blessed is the one whose lawless deeds are forgiven.”  Obedience to the law does not earn us anything; we obey God because we have already trusted Him and received mercy. 

I Chronicles 11

“Shall I drink the lifeblood of these men? For at the risk of their lives they brought it” (v19).  God appointed David as a “shepherd” king for Israel (v2), which meant that along with power came the responsibility to care for the people.  The relationship between the king and his loyal “mighty men” demonstrated this best; he highly valued the warriors who risked their lives to serve and support him.  Instead of drinking the precious water they brought him, he “poured it out to the Lord” (v18).

“And David became greater and greater …” (v9).  David was greatest when he was most aware of the needs of his people.  God-honoring leadership – like Jesus himself – seeks the good of others.

I Chronicles 10

“So Saul died for his breach of faith. He broke faith with the LORD in that he did not keep the command of the LORD, and also consulted a medium, seeking guidance” (v13).  Saul’s “breach of faith” cost him the kingdom.  God chose Saul as a leader (just as God chose Israel as a people) and wanted Saul to trust Him for strength, wisdom, and deliverance.  But Saul “did not seek guidance from the Lord” (v14); instead, he turned to a witch/medium for help in leading the nation.

“Seeking guidance” (what Saul failed to do) is more than asking God to direct our choices.  It is trusting that He is all-powerful and truly loves us; therefore, we gladly follow Him.

I Chronicles 7-9

“Now the first to dwell again in their possessions in their cities were Israel, the priests, the Levites, and the temple servants …” (9:2).  Reviewing Israel’s history, Chronicles reminds us that “Judah was taken exile into Babylon because of their breach of faith” (9:1).   However, God brought a remnant out of Babylon, back to the Promised Land – at first, priestly families – and the genealogies of these families were testimonies to God’s faithfulness.   Some returned exiles lived in Jerusalem (v3), which had been conquered and destroyed.

Like the Israelites, our own “breach of faith” may bring pain and destruction.  But God is compassionate, quick to forgive, and able to repair what is broken.  

I Chronicles 6

“So the people of Israel gave the Levites the cities with their pasturelands. They gave by lot out of the tribes of Judah, Simeon, and Benjamin these cities …” (v64-65).  Unique among all the tribes, the Levites were not given an entire parcel of land for themselves.  Instead, their villages and farms were scattered all throughout the other tribal territories.  The priests lived among the people, and when they took their turn at Temple service, they also represented all the people before the Lord in worship and sacrifice.  

God’s people no longer need human priests to “make atonement” for us (v49); our High Priest, Jesus the Messiah, made atonement for our sins and represents us constantly before the Father. 

Romans 3:19-31

“For by the works of the law no human being will be justified in His sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin” (v20).  Knowing the rules and attempting to follow them isn’t enough to save Jews or Gentiles, since we inevitably fail.  “For there is no distinction” (v22).  All humans everywhere are the same; we all have sinned, and forgiveness and restoration is made possible only “through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe” (v22).

“Boasting” (v27) in our own goodness is impossible when we realize how far we are from God’s holiness.  But through Jesus, we are “justified by his grace as a gift” (v24).

Romans 3:1-18

“Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God” (v1-2).  Because Paul declared that being Jewish didn’t save anyone, he then had to explain what “advantage” there was in God’s covenant with them.  The answer was “the oracles of God”: God had graciously given the Jews His law, shining a light on the path toward a good life under His rule.  Their unfaithfulness did not erase this great gift (v3).

“Let God be true though everyone were a liar” (v4).  We often fail and need forgiveness, but God is totally faithful and true, the unshakeable foundation of our lives.   

Psalm 82

“Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute” (v3).  The psalmist depicts God judging other “gods” (human rulers, who were given divine titles in the ancient world) in light of how they treat the weak and vulnerable.  He condemns them for using their power unfairly: “How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked?” (v2).  God announces the responsibility of those with power and money: “Rescue the weak and needy” (v4).

“They have neither knowledge or understanding …” (v5).  Power, money, and influence are worthless in God’s eyes unless we submit them to His good purposes on behalf of “the weak and needy.” 

I Chronicles 5

“But they broke faith with the God of their fathers and whored after the gods of the peoples of the land …” (v25).  While nothing could stop God’s plan to bless the nations through Israel by sending Jesus, each generation had a choice whether to cooperate with God.  Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn, lost his birthright because of sin (v10).  Some of his descendants were “valiant men” (v18) who fought courageously, but later generations turned their backs on God and were conquered by the Assyrians (v25-26). 

“They cried out to God in the battle” (v20).  Each of us faces our own battle in our own generation. Rather than run after idols, we can call out to the God who saves.