Spiritual Rants: July 6 “Paul Left To Fester” Readings to read through the Bible in a year: 1 Chronicles 2:18-4:4 Acts 24:1-27 Psalm 4:1-8 Proverbs 18:16-18

Old Testament: 1 Chronicles 2:18-4:4

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1 Chronicles 2:18-4:4    A Coney Dog

In chapter 2, verse 15 the genealogy of David begins.  What is interesting is that we learn the names of sons that weren’t mentioned in Samuel.  One is named Nathan. Nathan is in the lineage of Mary (Luke 3:31).  However, if one traces Jesus through Solomon, there is a glitch.

In Jeremiah 22:30, Jeremiah says, “Thus says the LORD, ‘Write this man [Coniah aka Jeconiah] down childless, A man who will not prosper in his days; For no man of his descendants will prosper sitting on the throne of David or ruling again in Judah’” (cf. 2 Kings 24:17).  The reference is to Jeconiah, aka Coniah aka Jehoiachin, the second to last king of Judah (cf. 3:16).  He was the last surviving king since he lived past the time Zedekiah died (see Wiersbe on Jer. 22:24-30).  Jehoiachim, his mother and relatives were taken to Babylon where they died.  He had no heirs.  But the genealogy of Mary is traced in the book of Luke and comes through this man mentioned here, Nathan.  It is blood lineage of Jesus.  In the book of Matthew, Joseph’s lineage is traced and proceeds through Solomon showing Jesus’ right to rule by the royal line (see Matt. 1:12 through Jeconiah and Shealtiel).  God’s Word is amazing!  God knows what He’s doing and everything is Kosher!

McGee says, “This one man [Coniah aka Jeconiah] produced a short circuit in the line leading to the Messiah, which is further proof that Joseph could not be the father of the Lord Jesus and that Jesus must be virgin born.”

New Testament:  Acts 24:1-27

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Acts 24:1-27    Paul Left To Fester

The Jews showed up in Antipatris with their lawyers to bring charges against Paul.

Tertullus, the lawyer, made his case.

1)  Paul was a pain in the neck who stirred up trouble wherever he went

2)  Paul was leader of a Nazarene sect

3)  Paul desecrated the Temple and that is why he was arrested

4)  The Jews said they wanted to prosecute him but the commander of the Roman guard forcefully took him away

Paul responded

1)  He said he had been in the Temple as long as twelve days earlier to worship and no one had reported any trouble

2)  Paul said it was true that he did believe everything written in the Old Testament and that there would be a resurrection and an afterlife for everyone

3)  Because of this belief, Paul tried to maintain a clear conscience, behaving in a righteous manner regarding humans and God

4)  Paul said he was minding his own business in the Temple when some Jews from the province of Asia in Turkey stirred things up

5)  Paul said the Jewish Council should tell the governor what they think he did wrong except for proclaiming that there is a resurrection from the dead

 

The Governor, Felix, said he would think about things and render a verdict.  In the meantime, he ordered Paul locked up for his own safety and allowed his friends to come and see him.

Several days later, Felix sent for Paul to meet with himself and his Jewish wife, Drusilla.  He wanted to hear about Jesus.  Paul scared Felix when he told him about “righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come” (v. 25).  Felix sent Paul away and said he would listen to him another time.  He sent for Paul to speak to him quite a few times because he was hoping for a bribe.  So much time went by, two years, that Felix was replaced by Porcius Festus.  Felix tried to ingratiate himself to the Jews by leaving Paul in prison the whole time.

Psalm 4:1-8   A Psalm of Trust By David

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Psalm 4:1-8  Chill

Paul quotes verse 4 in Ephesians 4:26 as “Be angry” (NIV84 ESV RSV).  He was using a Greek translation called the Septuagint.  Your version may say, “Tremble” (NIV11 NASB).  David was saying it’s OK to be agitated when it seems God is silent.

Unanswered prayer is a recurrent theme in Scripture.  Habakkuk was particularly incensed because He didn’t think Yahweh was paying attention (Hab. 1:2).  He twisted himself into a knot when God would’t answer him.  The Psalmist expresses impatience with God a number of times.  Just do a search in Psalms for “how long” (Ps. 13:1-2, 35:17, 62:3, 79:5, 80:4, 82:2, 89:46, 90:13, 94:3).

It’s OK to be upset but by bedtime we should be reconciled with God (v. 4b, “be still”) and trust Him (v. 5).

We should trust God so much that we have more joy (NIV11 ESV) than the rich have from their prosperity.  God is bigger than anyone’s wealth!

Peace out (v. 8)!

Proverbs 18:16-18   Tell Me, Sell Me

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Proverbs is a book of warnings from a father to a son.  Solomon collected them from around the world as well as writing some of the aphorisms himself.

Today we are warning once again about bribes.  The most recent one was in Proverbs 17:23 (also see A Good Oily Smelly Prayer, Prov. 6:34-35; 15:27; 17:8 and we shall see more in future commentaries).

It would seem that if you want to meet with someone important, you could effect the meeting by sending a gift ahead of your visit (v. 16). The overtones of this proverb might imply that making that kind of move is kind of seedy.  But on the other hand, there may be some wisdom in giving that kind of gift.  I was taught to take a client to lunch to discuss sales prospects.  I enjoyed paying for the lunch.  Why not set a good environment for the negotiations?

You might not think I’m right in this.  That’s OK.  I get the last say.  No one was obligated to buy from me and I would always warn of the downsides of the sale.  I wasn’t just trying to schmooze the client, I was showing care and kindness.  See what I did there?  I just illustrated verse 17.

I liked to use a  “tell-me, sell-me” approach in sales.  I genuinely enjoyed hearing about people and listen to them intently  as they told me their needs.  Afterward, I knew how to serve them best.  This approach works very well in funeral situations.  Find out about the family and you can serve them best.  They will love you for it because they know you are concerned about them.

Another good, ethical way to persuade someone is to do a “Ben Franklin” approach.  It also works when trying to decide what God wants you to do or how He’s guiding you.  On a piece of paper, draw a couple of columns.  On one side, write the advantages of doing whatever is under consideration.  In the other column, write the disadvantages of the same action.  Which one stands out as the wise thing to do?

You can use that method to settle differences between people, too.  If that doesn’t work, you could flip a coin or throw some dice (v. 18).

 

Choose Life: Scripture: Acts 24:16    NASB    “A Clear Conscience”

“In view of this, I also do my best to maintain always a blameless conscience both before God and before men.”    Acts 24:16

 

In the previous verse, Paul states that he is motivated by the fact that someday he will have to stand before God and give an account (cf. the bema seat judgment for believers see Rom. 14:10, 1 Cor. 3:10-15, 2 Cor. 5:10 and blog Bema Me Up Scotty).  His death is what keeps him honest, on track, along with the idea that he’ll have to give an account to God (cf. Rom. 14:12).

Our conscience can betray us but John tells us God is greater than our hearts (“We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before Him  in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things.  Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God,” 1 John 3:19-21).  If our conscience is clear we can be sure we’re on the right track since the Holy Spirit works in conjunction with our spirit (cf. Rom. 8:16).  But if we have doubts about anything, we shouldn’t proceed (cf. Rom. 14:23).  Don’t forget that the Scripture is our invaluable guide.  When it is clear, it always trumps everything else (cf. 2 Tim. 3:16; Heb. 4: 12).  James 1:5 promises that we can always ask God for wisdom if we’re confused.

Did you get all that?  Here it all is again.

1)  The bema judgment and our own mortality keep us honest (Acts 24:15)

2)  Our conscience can betray us but a clear conscience is an accurate guide (1 John 3:19-21; Rom. 8:16)

3)  If we have sincere doubts, we shouldn’t do anything (Rom. 14:23)

4)  The Scripture, when clear, trumps all other considerations (2 Tim. 3:16; Heb. 4:12)

5)  James 1:5 is an unqualified promise of wisdom

Don’t forget that you are responsible to God for following the Scripture and nothing else.  Are you following the Scripture with a clear conscience?

 

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

Fun Application:  

One of the nastiest things I have encountered in the decades since I’ve trusted Christ is legalism.  I always get confused if the majority of Christians do not hold to a certain doctrine.  I have been horribly confused about the “baptism of the Spirit,” “tithing,” “gifts and tongues,” music and other things.  I have not been able to reconcile other groups’ doctrines sometimes with Scripture.  It has been painful but I have had to finally side with what Scripture seems to be clearly saying.  My writings are my conclusions that I am trying to communicate to others to save them the same pain that I have been enduring on these subjects.  You can read what I have written and then go back to the Scriptures (like the Bereans!, Acts 17:11) and see what you think.  Then you will have to keep in mind that you will have to stand before God someday with your beliefs and actions.

Is there some topic that has confused you?  Do you need to make a study of that topic in Scipture and study it until you come to a conclusion you can defend in your conscience and before God?

 

 

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:   A Coney Dog

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