The Temple of God

2 Chronicles 7

This chapter records three things of particular importance.

First, it records the coming of the presence of God to the Temple which David had planned and which Solomon built. This was like the coming of the glory of God to the wilderness tabernacle recorded in Exodus 40:34-35.

Next, it was the place where repentant Israel was to come to experience God’s renewed mercy and forgiveness.

Finally, its ruin would become and appalling witness to God’s departure from his people if they worshipped and served other gods.

There is no account of a similar coming of the glory of God on the second temple built by the exiles returning from Babylon. But God’s presence did in fact come to that Temple enhanced by Herod in Jerusalem when God, the Son came to that complex and to the people of God.

Though rejected by many, those who welcome Him become His temple (1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19; 2 Corinthians 6:16). It is we who believe in Him who are the location where His Spirit dwells

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:17-18)

Who Are the Truly Happy?

Matthew 5:1-12

Here is the Lord’s summary of those who are truly happy. Some observers may think the very opposite but these are they who look to God and in so looking are blessed indeed. There is a sharp contrast between the values of God’s Kingdom and those of our surrounding culture.

Prayer and the Whole of Life

2Chronicles 6:12-42

This magnificent prayer makes life before God a whole-of-life affair. These people were the people of God and God was to be their first and final resort in all aspects of their life..

Solomon reckons on God as a promise keeping God and so we find Him to be also. We live by and upon His promises.

The great and prayerful George Mueller wrote: “… the first thing I did, after having asked in a few words the Lord’s blessing upon His precious word, was, to begin to meditate on the word of God, searching, as it were, into every verse to get blessing out of it. … The result I have found to be almost invariably this, that after a few minutes my soul has been led to confession, or tho thanksgiving, or to intercession, or to supplication; so that, though I did not, as it were, give myself to prayer, but to meditation, yet it turned almost immediately more or less to prayer. When thus I have been for awhile making confession, or intercession, or supplication, or have given thanks, I go on to the next words or verse, turning all, as I go on, into prayer for myself or others, as the Word may lead to it.”

The Sovereign Lord of all listens to our prayers and we are shaped as we pray.

Jesus Begins His Public Ministry

Matthew 4:23-25

The Kingdom that Jesus proclaimed and whose powers he demonstrated has come, not yet in its fullness, but it has come. The final rule of God has broken into our fallen world and it is being peopled by those who become new creations through faith in Jesus.

We who look to Jesus wait expectantly for that final day knowing that as Paul wrote: “… we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

Don’t Turn Aside from the Lord

Don’t Turn Aside from the Lord

1 Samuel 12

The appointment of a king was in some sense an expression of a lack of appreciation that God himself was their King. However, God endorsed the appointment but warned, through Samuel, that they should not turn aside from the Lord but serve him with their whole heart.

Whatever the situations may be in which we find ourselves, even though they may not be ideal, our first duty is to be faithful to God. An older author wrote: “in the ancient world a king kept a register of his citizens. If a man committed a crime against the state, or when he died, his name was erased from the book of citizens. To have one’s name written in the book of life is to be numbered amongst the faithful citizens of the Kingdom of God; it is to be included with those who belong to God. Jesus will confess their names before His Father and the angels.”

The Church in Philadelphia – Little Strength but Faithfully Obedient

Revelation 3:7-13

In a city with a significant Jewish population but a relatively small church where was God and his purposes for the world to be found? One has written, “the unbelieving synagogue will realize that Jesus, their own Messiah, has loved this little group that believes in him”. These are the ones who will bear the new name. They are to hold fast to what they have so that no one can take away their crown.

Note the personal interaction the Lord Jesus has with this church. “I know your works”, “I have set before you and open door”, “I will give you those who belong to the synagogue of Satan”, “I will make them come and kneel before your feet”, “I have loved you”, “I will keep you safe”, “I am coming quickly”, “I will make him who overcomes a pillar in the temple of my God”, “I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God … and my new name”.

Truly, let him who has ears, hear.

The First of the Kings

The First of the Kings

1 Samuel 10-11

This is the beginning of kingship in the life of Israel. Not that they were without a king before: God himself was their king and ruled through Judges. But the people wanted to be like those nations around them and Saul was the man appointed by God for the task.

As you continue to read you will see he made a good beginning,yet in time he would prove to be a failure. Let us pray that He who began a good work in us will, in His great mercy, bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ (Phil., 1:6)

To the Church in Sardis – Repent

Revelation 3:1-6

This church had a reputation that was not being matched in reality. One modern commentator has written: “what was the precise problem in Sardis? Although their malady can be understood as some kind of general unfaithfulness, a number of features in vv1-5 indicate that a particular expression of their spiritual lethargy was in not witnessing to their faith before the unbelieving culture. When opposition threatens there will always be pressure to ‘lie low’ and be silent. In our changing culture what will we do? “When a church has lost its vital force, it is no longer worth attacking; it is so ineffective that it has ceased to matter in the life of the community”.

It is important however to note that God had not forgotten the few in Sardis who were faithful.

Read, Mark, Learn, and Inwardly Digest

Read, Mark, Learn, and Inwardly Digest

Proverbs 29:1-14

As I said yesterday, these words are to be a regular diet for reflection and meditation. So I encourage you to do that with these 14 verses.

 

No Condemnation for Those in Christ.

Romans 8:1-17

By the grace and mercy of God, Christ and God’s Spirit are the answer to the problem of our sin. In Christ, there is now no condemnation.

Sinful flesh cannot lead us into life with God. Our calling is to accept what God freely offers us in Christ and to live subsequently by His word and life-giving Spirit.

That means we no longer seek to live out of the desires and energies of our old self but look to God and his Spirit for a life of love and obedience. We call upon God as “Father” whose heirs we are, and thus we are “fellow heirs with Christ”, and as such, we suffer with him in this world looking to share with him in his glory in God’s new age.

Who are the Wise?

“Who are the Wise?”

Proverbs 28:12-28

To select any one of these statements about wise and appropriate behaviour would be to ignore the others and do a disservice to the reader.

The whole passage is to be read, and each expression of wisdom and proper behaviour to be considered thoughtfully.

For those of us who live in a reasonably affluent society verse 27 needs to be taken seriously.

“Saved by The Lord Jesus Christ and not by The Law”

Romans 7:1-25

Go through any reasonable theological library’s collect of commentaries on Romans, or any list of Christian Convention addresses, and you will find a virtual mountain of material on this chapter. So the following comments are inevitably sketchy. I apologise.

Here are some thoughts on this important chapter.

1. The chapter focus on The Law, the Torah, the OT Law, not just law in general.

2. Verses 4-6, express the situation of the believer. In Christ, that person has passed beyond the Law for his or her relationship with God. They are in Christ and have God’s Spirit.

3. In what follows I am impressed with the idea that the “I” of these verses does not refer so much just to Paul as and individual, but, in a fashion not uncommon at the time, the singular “I” was a way of saying something more general. This is what a sensitive and conscientious Jew would experience.

4. The Law, though given by God and good, was not the problem, “sin” was, and is, the problem. The Law, in the end, was not a saving instrument for the sons and daughters of Israel because they were the children of Adam and sinners. Before The Law they all became helpless and guilty.

5. Salvation, and new life, however is God’s gift to fallen humans in and through Jesus: see verse 25 and the contents of chapter 8.

6. The believers use of The Law can be seen in Romans 13:8ff

More Wisdom to be Pondered

Proverbs 17:1-16

These expressions of practical wisdom are for meditation and incorporation in daily living. There is no substitute for quiet and prayerful reflection over each verse viewed in the light of the revelation given us in the person of the Lord Jesus.

Perhaps verse 6 needs to be seen as an encouragement for us who may be older to pray for our children and grandchildren.

Life in the Fellowship of the Redeemed

James 5:13-20

Prayer and praise are the warp and woof of living as the people of God. Neither is life in the fellowship a solitary existence. It is to be lived out in the embrace of a warm and sympathetic fellowship which can hear, help, and assist in healing. Prayer, both with others and alone, is a wonderful access to our Heavenly Father. Elijah’s experience is a great encouragement.

Verses 19 and 20 are a reminder of the obligation of love we all have to one another and particularly to any who may appear to be wandering from the truth. The need to care for one another in this regard is serious but can have wonderful consequences