365 1 & 2 Chronicles

Good morning 365 Bible Challenge Readers.  Whew, 1 & 2 Kings was quite a disaster – we saw the destruction of the Northern Kingdom of Israel and a good explanation of why (2 Kings 17), and then we saw the fall of the Southern Kingdom/Jerusalem/Judah and its people sent into exile (2 Kings 25).  We will catch up with those in exile in a bit, but for now we start in the books of 1 & 2 Chronicles.

The Chronicles overlap quite a bit with 1 & 2 Samuel and 1 & 2 Kings… let me explain why.  The Chronicles were written for the exiles who were returning to Jerusalem.  The Chronicles explain “this is who we are and this is our heritage” to a bunch of scraggly displaced people who are trying to rebuild a nation in Jerusalem.  And so it looks like this:

1 Chronicles 1-9:  The family tree from Adam to Israel in exile

1 Chronicles 10-29: The reign and legacy of David, especially the organization of the kingdom (but leaving out Goliath and Bathsheba)

2 Chronicles:  Solomon, the temple, and the Southern Kingdom (especially the good kings of Judah).  Remember that the Northern Kingdom was completely destroyed and no remnant remained, so the Chronicler only tells the story of the Southern Kingdom of Judah (to which the returning exiles belonged).

As you read the Chronicles, note the theme that “worship of the true God had made Israel strong”.  Of the kings who did right, what made them successful?  What lessons of faith can we learn from them?

Also, keep your chart of the kings handy!

365 1 & 2 Kings

Good morning 365 Bible Challenge Readers!  I hope you have enjoyed the stories of Samuel, Saul, and David in the books of 1 & 2 Samuel… I always enjoy the passion and transparency we see in King David’s life.  Our reading plan starts 1 & 2 Kings today (4/8).  If you’re behind, try to catch up this weekend, or just start fresh in 1 Kings!

1 & 2 Kings were originally one long book – the story of Israel after King David, through the reign of Solomon (Israel’s glory days!), and then civil war, destruction, and exile (an ancient Game of Thrones!).

As you read about Solomon, ask yourself: “How did the liveliest, wealthiest, most contented nation of its day slide so disastrously in one generation?”  What character lessons can we learn from Solomon?  What character lessons can we learn from the other kings?

As you read of Elijah and Elisha (some of my favorites!), ask yourself what we can learn about God from their stories?

Kings is laid out documentary style, but after the kingdom divides it cuts back and forth between Israel/Northern Kingdom and Judah/Southern Kingdom quite a bit… and can become very confusing.  I am attaching a map of the divided kingdom with two capitols (Samaria in Israel/North and Jerusalem in Judah/South).  I am also attaching a list of the Kings, which I recommend you print out and keep handy so you don’t get lost.  It’s important to work at understanding the historical framework, as you’ll need it when we get to reading the various prophets later.

KingsofDividedKingdom

Keep reading!  There are some colorful and tragic characters in the coming chapters!

Are You Wearing Borrowed Clothes?

“So he took them off.” I Samuel 17:39

This past weekend our church hosted Hope For The Heart, a AllisonAllenone day women’s conference with Allison Allen as a guest speaker.  Allison shared many great things with us, and here is a thought I’d like to pass on to you:

You know the story of David and Goliath in I Samuel 17?  Remember when King Saul dresses David up in his armor, helmet, and sword?  And David “… tried walking around because he was not used to them.  “I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off.”

David going to battle in someone else’s clothes would have been a disaster.  David needed to be himself… the young man who knew God, who travelled lightly with only stones, a slingshot, and a history of being delivered by God.

Whose clothes are you wearing these days?  Are you clunking around town, trying to do your job and wage battles in the clothing of another?  How’s all the dressing up and masquerading going for you?

Would you consider taking off the mask you’re wearing?  Would you consider being authentic, real, and known as you really are?  Has it occurred to you that God doesn’t want you dressed up and pretending to be someone else, something other than yourself?

He knows you.  He loves you.  And He has a plan for you, a purpose in life.  But first, you have to take off the mask.

Unintended Consequences

“And that day Doeg the Edomite killed eighty-five men who wore the linen ephod. He also put to the sword Nob, the town of the priests, with its men and women, children and infants, and its cattle, donkeys, and sheep.” 1 Samuel 22:18-19

Have you ever done something that had unintended consequences?  And maybe it wasn’t something you wanted to do, or had even planned to do, but when the time came it had to be done that way?  And then things went from bad to worse… And you felt responsible, even though it maybe wasn’t your fault at all?

Yea, it’s been that kind of week.

Do you know what happened in the town of Nob in 1 Samuel 21?  David (not yet king, but commander of a big chunk of Saul’s army) and his soldiers were running away from King Saul.  They barged into town, met the head priest, and talked him out of some consecrated bread and a sword.  The priest was terrified, but I don’t think he had much choice.  Then a spy in the town went a told King Saul, who was furious and ordered his men to wipe out all the priests and the town of Nob.  His soldiers refused to touch the men of God.  So the spy killed everyone with the king’s blessing.

When the news got back to David, he claimed responsibility for their deaths.  He didn’t make any excuses, or blame the spy who totally caused the whole drama, or even blame King Saul who was acting crazy.

Leadership is rather tiresome sometimes.

It can be a great challenge to separate out in your mind what needs to be done from the behavior of others and unintended consequences.  I remain in awe of David’s ability to seek God, hear Him clearly, and carry on with the weight of leadership and its responsibilities clearly on his shoulders.