Spiritual Rants: July 15 “Just Walk Away” Readings to read through the Bible in a year: 1 Chronicles 19:1-21:30 Romans 2:25-3:8 Psalm 11:1-7 Proverbs 19:10-12

Old Testament:  1 Chronicles 19:1-21:30

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1 Chronicles 19:1-19   Cutting Up

If you are obsessive, like I am, here are the parallels to today’s passage.

1 Chron. 19:1-19 runs parallel to 2 Sam. 10:1-19.

1 Chron. 20:1a runs parallel to 2 Sam. 11:1.

1 Chron. 20:1b – 3 is basically the same as 2 Sam. 12:26-31.

1 Chron. 20:4-8 is identical to 2 Sam. 21:15-22 and

1 Chron. 21:1-22: 1 is smilar to 2 Sam. 24:1-25.

When I was a teenager, long sideburns were in.  So I grew mine a little bit.  My father was pretty strict and he didn’t like the new fad.  One night I came to dinner and he decided my burns to be too long so he sent me to the bathroom to shorten them.  I came out and he said, “OK, let me see them.”  So I turned one side of my face toward him so he could see better and judge the length accurately.  He said,”OK. Good.  Now let me see the other side.”  Really?  That would be a fad!  One long side-burn and the other one short?  I dutifully turned the other side of my face toward him.

The story in Chronicles 21 is somewhat like that.  The king of the Ammonites died, his son took over.  David sent emissaries to wish him well but the new king’s advisors convinced him that the Jewish men were spies.  The new king  had the ambassadors’ beards half shaved off (see the 2Sam. account chap. 10: 4) and their clothes cut off at the waist so that they were literally “butt” naked.

Then here’s what I wrote in the May 26th blog on 2Samuel, “Hanun realized he was in trouble for disgracing Israel and would have to go to war with Israel. But his army wasn’t large enough. So he made an alliance with the Arameans and the Syrians. They would attack Israel from the north while the Ammonites would attack from the south. David split his forces and attacked the northern forces first. After a great victory, the southern forces fled to Rabbah, the capital of Ammon.

A really bad thing happened between the the first victory agains the Syrians and Arameans and the fall of Rabbah . . .”

The story of Bathsheba follows in the account in Samuel but strangely is missing in the Chronicles account.  Why?  As we’ve said, Samuel and Kings is the recounting of the story of Israel from down on earth, Chronicles is the account from above.  It gives a slightly different perspective and adds some things that were omitted from Samuel and Kings. What Yahweh forgives he forgets (Heb. 8:12; 10:17, cf. Isa. 43:25; Jer. 31:34).   Yahweh has forgotten the sin of David and Bathsheba.

1 Chronicles 20:1-21:30   A Giant War

I wrote about this in June 3rd blog: A True Fish Story

1 Chronicles 21:1-30  David’s Biggest Sin

People may think that David’s worst sin was committing adultery with Bathsheba and then trying to cover it up by murdering her husband.  However, many believe that David’s biggest sin was the numbering of Israel because it was a sin of pride.  David’s sin here was inspired by Satan, the father of the sin of pride.  David’s sin with Bathsheba was “only” a sin of lust.

It turns out David ruled over a million more people than Moses (Num. 2:32 cf. 1 Chron. 21:5).  Even Joab, his commander of armed forces, not known for being spiritual, advised David not to do it.

I wrote on David’s blunder here (parallel 2 Sam. 24:1-25): Oops, Wrong Numbering

New Testament:  Romans 2:25-3:8

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Romans 2:25-29   Skin Deep

The purpose of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount was to show Jews that righteousness was not skin deep.  True righteousness is a matter of the heart.  No one who is not saved can have the right motives in doing right.  Only a believer can have the proper motive to please God.  Jesus tried to show the “righteous” Jews that their righteousness must exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees or they would not be able to go to Heaven.  That would have been a “mind-blowing” concept in its day.  The religious leaders would have been deemed the paragons of religious righteousness.

Paul elaborates on that idea by saying, “For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh.  But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God” (v. 28-29).  

It is not enough to appear holy to other people, we must be holy before God.

Romans 3:1-3:8    Dis-advantaged

Paul answers the question, “What advantage does being Jewish have anyway?”

Psalm  11:1-7   Target On Your Back?   A Psalm Of Trust By David

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Psalm 11:1-7  Target On Your Back?

Ps. 55: 6 says, ” . . . Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.”  Here, in Psalm 11, David exhorts the righteous to flee like a bird (v. 1).  But first he states that he is taking refuge in the Lord (v. 1).  That’s because it is a psalm of trust.   Did you know you can take flight and take refuge at the same time?

David will again vent a little bit and then end up trusting the Lord at the end  . . .  again.

David said that the wicked are out hunting for the righteous (“upright in heart,” v. 2; “righteous,” v. 3).  The “righteous” are the ones trusting the Lord.  Remember Abraham was counted as righteous because he trusted the Lord (cf. Rom. 4:9; Gen. 15:6).  Since Cain and Abel the wicked have been hunting down the righteous.

David could have written this at several points in his life.  He had been chased by Saul or when he was chased by his own son, Absalom (cf. 1 Sam. 18-31; 2 Sam. 15-18).  He had a target on his back.  Christians who are “upright in heart” and “righteous” in Christ will have a target on their back.

We used to sing verse 4 as a song in our church.  “The Lord is in His holy temple.”  Years ago when I was trying to get from Atlanta to Dallas to seminary, Charles Stanley, pastor of First Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, would see me in the hallway and ask me how things were going.  They usually were not going very well.  He would listen to my report and then say, “God is still on His throne.”  I was like, “Whaaaa?”  I didn’t say that but I thought it.  I knew God was on His throne.  He was telling me that things were not getting away from Almighty God.  He was right.  We should always realize that no matter how bad things get, God is still on His throne.

That doesn’t mean that believers won’t have hardships.  They will.  God allows them to be “tested” (v. 5).  He tests both the “wicked” and the “righteous.”  He favors the righteous, though.  Which is a good thing.  In fact, He hates the “wicked” who love violence (v. 5).  He rains down “coals of fire”* on them and brimstone and really, really bad weather like burning winds (v. 6).

Here’s the positive finish, as usual:  God is righteous, loves righteousness, and the righteous are going to see Him up close and personal (v. 7).  David always ends on a positive note.  Are you?

* NASB margin

 

Proverbs 19:10-12   Just Walk Away

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Paul said that as far as things depended on us, we should be at peace with one another (cf. Rom. 12:18).  James said we should be slow to speak and also be slow to anger (cf. James 1:19).  Solomon is telling us that we should be slow to anger (v. 11a) and we should “overlook” transgressions.  Love covers a multitude of sins is the way Peter put it (cf. 1 Pet. 4:8; also James 5:20).

Isn’t it amazing how consistent the Bible is with itself?  It is an honor to forget a person’s offense (v. 11b).  As my wife, would put it, “Just walk away.”

It doesn’t make sense for a fool to be in the place of governance (v. 10).  One of my daughter’s teachers had a saying, “This is why we can’t have nice things.” Fools don’t know how to take care of good things or leadership.  They just abuse privileges due to lack of maturity.  Slaves don’t have any experience in leadership either.  (Slaves in NT times included teachers, lawyers, doctors, nannies, etc. but they weren’t rulers.)

Kings were all-powerful in bible times.  You wouldn’t want to stir up Mother Nature or kings (v. 12a).  But if a king was happy with you, life was good (v. 12b).

First, he says, they were given the Bible (v. 2).

Second, Jewish unbelief shows the faithfulness of God (v. 3-4).

Third, Jewish sin shows God’s righteousness because He still judges sinners (v. 5-8).

 

Choose Life: Scripture: 1 Chronicles 21:24  NASB    “Free Stuff”

“But King David said to Ornan, ‘No, but I will surely buy it for the full price; for I will not take what is yours for the LORD, or offer a burnt offering which costs me nothing.'”    1 Chronicles 21:24

 

The Scripture said that Satan had inspired David to number his people (cf. 1 Chron. 21:1).  Perhaps, Satan found a place in David’s pride and roused his desire to know how strong an army he could have raised.  He was trusting in his numbers instead of just trusting in the Lord (cf. Prov. 3:5-6).  He only needed one stone to slaughter Goliath but now he had over a million men.  Maybe he really didn’t need the Lord for victory.  That is what Satan wanted him to think.

I have a church of around ten people and think it is not having much impact for the Lord.  But the Scripture says, ” . . .  Who has despised the day of small things?” (Zech. 4:10a).  Maybe you think your ministry is too small to honor the Lord.  Perhaps, the more important question is, “Are the large churches really serving the Lord these days?”  They are self-sufficient and often don’t need to trust the Lord.

So David had sinned in God’s eyes and had to make atonement by offerings.  The Lord told him to buy a threshing floor from a man named Ornan in Jerusalem so he could offering sacrifices.  It turned out that Ornan’s threshing floor was the same place that Abraham had attempted to sacrifice Isaac.  It was the same place that Christ was later crucified.

Ornan (aka Araunah, cf. 2 Sam. 24:24) offered it to David for free.  David refused to take the threshing floor for free.  He said that he would have to pay what was proper for it or he would be dishonoring God.  David was a very honorable man.  At one point in his life he was thirsty so his “mighty men” ventured into enemy lines to fetch him some water.  Though he was parched, David poured out the water rather than dishonor himself drinking water that others had risked their lives for (cf. 2 Sam. 23:16).  Here, David would not take something for free and “re-gift” it to the Lord.

Many people will spend $40 or more on a meal or $100 on a concert.  Yet, when they come to church, they will throw a few dollars in the basket.  Grace is free they reason.  They do not consider all the years the pastor spent putting a sermon together for their benefit or what it costs for lights and a mortgage.  They think the pastor only works an hour each week.  Others, in contrast, may contribute much to the church and then figure they own it and can run it.

There are two entire chapters devoted to giving in the New Testament.  Tithing is not mentioned once in those chapters.  Giving is to be by grace (cf. particularly, 2 Cor. 9:7).  Give what God wants you to give and that will be enough.  It is good to “stretch but not strain” in the matter of giving.

 

If you do, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!

Fun Application: 

When I was in college, many of the different organizations had cookie or bake sales to raise money for their groups.  To be different, I recommended that our Christian group give away cookies one day to illustrate grace.  Many area churches donated homemade cookies.  Though we had a ton of cookies, we were afraid that we wouldn’t have enough.  Actually, in fact, the situation turned out to be more like Jesus giving away the fish and bread.  There were stacks and stacks of cookies left over.  We were offering students free cookies between classes but to our amazement the students were refusing them.

“Arnie” was the most popular professor in the economics department at my college.  He observed this phenomena.  He approached me after a while and asked me if I knew why most people were not accepting the free cookies.  I told him I was completely puzzled.  So he gave me the answer.  People think that something that is free is not worth anything.  So they were passing up the “worthless” cookies.

Isn’t that like grace?  Many people want to “work” for their own salvation.  They cannot humble themselves enough to take God’s free gift (cf. Rom. 6:23).

In contrast, a lot of people will attend church and not give toward the ministry at all.  So what happens?  Since it isn’t worth anything to them, they don’t get anything out of the service.

Again, the key is to give what God wants you to give and to “stretch but don’t strain.”  Give sacrificially but don’t give so much that you can’t pay your bills or take care of your family.  And don’t forget, we live under grace in the New Testament and not law.

 

 

For more on giving, see blogs A Tithy Over Tithing, Legalism, Not Whiners, and The Book of Hezekiah.

 

 

The purpose of the “Choose Life” is to pick a positive help out of the One Year Bible (OYB) reading plan for the day. There is always something positive in the Word of God to cheer us and give us strength. For more on today’s reading, check out my One Year Bible blog:   Cutting Up

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