The Family Line and the Coat of Arms (‘armour of light’)

29 05 2012

DAY TWO HUNDRED AND ELEVEN : 1 Chronicles 7 v. 1 – 9 v. 1a; Romans 13 v. 1 – 14; Psalm 89 v. 38 – 45

Issachar – Issachar’s sons are listed: Tola, Puah, Jashub and Shimron. Their descendants are listed – altogether 87,ooo fighting men (counted during King David’s reign)

Benjamin – Benjamin’s sons are listed: Bela, Beker and Jediael. Their descendants are listed – totalling nearly 60,000 fighting men.

 Naphtali – Naphtali’s sons are listed: Jahziel, Guni, Jezer and Shillem.
‘The Shuppites and Huppites were the descendants of Ir, and the Hushites the descendants of Aher’
(I don’t know why this verse amused me…I need to find out more about the Shuppites, Huppites and Hushites….)

Manasseh – Manasseh’s sons are listed:
Asriel (through his Aramean concubine, who gave birth to Makir, Gilead’s father). Makir’s wife was from the tribe of Huppites and Shuppites. Makir’s sister was called Maacah. There is another descendant, Zelophehad, who only had daughters.
Makir and his wife had two sons, Peresh and Sheresh. Their descendants are listed.

It is noteworthy where there is a family line which is a little out of the ordinary…even some of the female family members are mentioned here (not always by name, though).

Ephraim –
Ephraim’s sons and descendants are listed. There is a painful episode recalled here, where two of Ephraim’s sons (Ezer and Elead) are killed by .natives of Gath. Ephraim mourned his sons, and was comforted. A further son was born to Ephraim and his wife, Beriah (whose name represents the family’s ‘misfortune’). It was Beriah’s daughter, Sheerah, who ‘built Lower and Upper Beth Horon, and Uzzen Sheerah’ – an inspiring granddaughter for Ephraim.
Ephraim’s descendants occupied Bethel, Naaran, Gezer, Shechem.
Also, the towns which Joseph and his descendants will occcupy are mentioned: Beth Shan, Taanach, Megiddo, Dor.

Asher – Asher’s sons are listed: Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi and Beriah, along with their sister, Serah.
Their descendants, through Beriah’s line are listed.
‘these were…choice men, brave warriors and outstanding leaders’ and they would number up to 26,000 fighting men.

The Genealogy of Saul the Benjaminite –
Benjamin’s sons are listed: Bela, Ashbel, Aharah, Nohah and Rapha. Then the descendants of the sons are listed. Noteworthy amongst those listed is Shaharaim (in Moab) who divorded two wives, named as Hushim and Baara. With his next wife, Hodesh, he has seven sons.
The descendants of Jeiel and his son, Gibeon, are listed. Through his family, living near Jerusalem, Saul is born, and his sons, Jonathan, Malki-Shua, Abinadab and Esh-Baal are listed.
Jonathan’s descendants are listed.
‘All Israel was listed in the genealogies in the book of the kings of Israel’.

Submission to the Authorities – Paul’s understanding of government authorities is that ‘everyone must submit’ to them, as their authority is ‘God established’. Whereas we may wish to question whether or not certain regimes or governments can really be authorised by God (and some very nasty regimes come to mind), Paul is addressing the need for people to win others over by doing right, not doing wrong.
‘Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you.’
Ultimately, we are to
‘give everyone what you owe him; if you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honour, then honour’.
and be good citizens (surely until acting rightly will bring us into conflict with those in authority…)

It’s sobering to think of all the uprisings, the oppositions to regimes we’ve seen in recent years, to rejoice in the downfall of dictators (and to experience the anxiety of what may fill the vacuum); yet in other places, to reflect upon what it means to be a good citizen, to pay our dues, and to do good to those in authority. It is certainly good to be praying regularly for our leaders.

Love, for the Day is Near – the only debt Paul urges us to be outstanding, ongoing, is the debt to ‘love one another’ – ‘for he who loves others has fulfilled the law’. Paul chooses the later commandments and sums them up with the Jesus commandment ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’, showing how this rule fulfils the law.
The Romans need to ‘understand the present time’ (and so do we)
it’s time to wake up (stop snoozing, dozing off)
our salvation is nearer now to when we first believed (every day that comes is a day closer to the end of time (ours or this world’s))
the night is nearly over, the day is almost here (God’s kingdom advances daily, ‘nearer and nearer draws the time…when the earth will be filled with the glory of God)
we should put aside deeds of darkness and put on the armour of light (love the notion of ‘armour of light’, putting on the spiritual garments, spiritual armour daily)
deeds of darkness are equated with sexual immorality, drunkenness, debauchery, dissension and jealousy
– clothing ourselves ‘with the Lord Jesus Christ’ is the alternative lifestyle, rejecting the impetus, the drives and desires of our sinful natures

Lord Jesus, clothe me today with Yourself
with honour, truth, grace and peace
with the armour of light.

‘O my Lord, my God,

see how You have rejected Your chosen, anointed one, in Your anger;
see how You have cancelled Your covenant and trampled Your servant’s crown in the dirt;
see how You have breached his defences, brought his strongholds tumbling down.

He has been completely plundered, scorned.
His enemies have been completely exalted – they are enjoying their celebrations.

See how You have rendered him useless in battle, his sword is made ineffective
You’ve left him to fight his battles unsupported, alone.
His splendour is gone, his throne is utterly defeated.
His days are numbered, his life is covered with a ‘mantle of shame’.

(pause for reflection, to catch breath)’


To God be the glory

25 05 2012

DAY TWO HUNDRED AND TEN : 1 Chronicles 6 v. 1 – 81; Romans 11 v. 33 – 12 v. 21; Psalm 89 v. 30 – 37

Levi – The chronicler moves on to record the sons of Levi, through Kohath, Amram (father to Aaron, Moses and Miriam), Aaron, Eleazar, Phinehas…Zadok, Ahimaaz, Azariah (who served as priest in Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem)….Hilkiah, Seraiah, Jehozadak (who was deported at the time when Judah and Jerusalem were exiled by Nebuchadnezzar).

It was important to trace the line of direct descendants of Aaron (gt. grandson of Levi), to identify who could serve as priests in the temple. Levi’s line is also traced through his other sons, Gershon (who had Libni and Shimei) and Merari (who had Mahli and Mushi).

Through Kohath’s line, we find Amminadab, Korah, Elkanah…eventually to Samuel, who had Joel and Abijah. Merari’s line includes Shimei, Uzzah, Haggiah and Asaiah.

The Temple Musicians – once the ark of the covenant had been brought to rest in the house of the Lord, David appointed musicians to perform. They are listed:
Kohathites – Heman and Asaph (and their family lines are traces back to Levi, ‘the son of Israel’)
Merarites – Ethan (whose family line is traced back to Levi)
There were various tabernacle duties assigned to the other Levites, ‘but Aaron and his descendants were the ones who presented offerings on the altar of incense…making atonement for Israel’.
Aaron’s descendants are listed : Eleazor, Phinehas, Abishua, Bukki, Uzzi, Zerahiah, Meraioth, Amariah, Ahitub, Zadok and Ahimaaz.

Sharing out the land – the geography of their settlements is chronicled –
they are given Hebron in Judah (but not the fields and villages around the city – those belong to Caleb)
Aaron’s descendants have Hebron, and Libnah, Jattir…Beth Shemesh
Benjamin’s tribe was given Gibeon, Geba, Alemeth, Anathoth.
The rest of Kohath’s descendants were given ten towns from the half-tribe of Manasseh.
Gershon’s descendants were given thirteen towns from Issachar, Asher and Naphtali’s land.
Merari’s descendants were given twelve towns from Reuben, Gad and Zebulun’s land.
Israel gave the Levites these towns ‘and their pasture-lands’, including Shechem in the hill country, Gezer…and Gath Rimmon (from Judah, Simeon and Benjamin’s land), and Aner and Bileam (from the other half-tribe of Manasseh’s land).

The land allocated to the Gershonites is listed :
Golan, Ashtaroth (from the half-tribe of Manasseh); Kedesh, Dabernath, Ramoth, Anem (from Issachar); Mashal, Abdon, Hukok, Rehob (from Asher); Kedesh (Galilee), Hammon, Kiriathaim (from Naphtali).

The land allocated to the Merarites is listed :
Jokneam, Kartah, Rimmono, Tabor (from Zebulun); Bezer, Jahzah, Kedemoth, Mephaath (from Reuben); Ramoth Gilead, Mahanaim, Heshbon, Jazer (from Gad).

Doxology – Paul breaks off, with this beautiful piece of poetry, hymnody.
‘How deep, how rich God’s wisdom and knowledge!
How unsearchable, unfathomable God’s judgments and pathways!
Who can ever fully understand the mind of the Lord?
Whose advise has He ever needed?
Who has He ever needed anything from?
Who has God ever been indebted to?
Everything, yes absolutely everything comes from Him,
is made available through Him,
and belongs to Him.
To God be the glory – for ever and ever!

Living Sacrifices – The only true response to all God’s mercy is to ‘offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God’.
No longer seeking for blood to be shed, for the laying down of life, a dead sacrifice, but rather we are to offer all we have and all we are as our ‘spiritual act of worship’.
In offering our all, we are to turn from the ways of this world, not conforming to its stereotypes, but rather being constantly ‘transformed by the renewing of your mind’. In seeking to love God with all our heart, MIND, soul and strength, we offer Him our minds, to be continually renewed. He is able to change our mind, to purify our mind, to give us the mind of Christ.

‘Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is –
His good, pleasing and perfect

The key to discerning God’s perfect will is to have a mind which is constantly being renewed by the Spirit.

The life lived as a sacrifice, with a renewed mind, conscious of God’s good will, Paul goes on to say, will look like this :
~ not thinking more highly of self than we ought
~ thinking of self with sober judgment, according to our measure of God-given faith
~ finding our place within the varied body of Christ (one body, each member belonging to the others)
~ honouring the grace given to each part of the body (prophesying, serving, teaching, encouraging, contributing to needs, leadership, showing mercy)
~ doing what we’ve been called / gifted to do ‘in proportion to our faith’, generously, diligently, cheerfully

Love – love must be completely sincere, unmasked, real. It will involve rejecting outright all forms of evil, and clinging on to what is good.
‘Be devoted to one another in brotherly love’ – could there be any better way of expressing the deepest love, honour, appreciation and respect within the community of faith, one marked by true devotion.
Paul’s instructions ring as true for today:
~ never lack zeal, enthusiasm, commitment, passion
~ keep spiritually fired-up as you serve the Lord
~ ‘be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer’ – in every circumstance, practice deep devotion and sincere faith
~ be generous and hospitable
~ ‘bless those who persecute you (do not curse)’ – there’s an expectation in these verses that there will be persecution, and our response must be to bless, to want the best for that person who is making our life so difficult
~ rejoice and mourn with others
~ seek for harmonious relationships, putting aside all pride, putting on humility, lowliness
~ don’t do wrong to those who wrong you, but rather ‘be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody….live at peace with everyone’ as much as is possible
~ let God deal with revenge (leave room for God’s wrath) : ‘“I will repay”, says the Lord’.
~ feed your enemy when he’s hungry, give him a drink when he’s thirsty, show him up by your goodness.
~ don’t let evil get the better of you, but outdo evil with goodness.

I read those words today, and receive them as wise direction for my life-choices, my decisions throughout the next 24 hours.
What sound advice, what high aspirations for right-living.
Lord, help me – may Your goodness in me outdo all evil today.

‘There will be harsh consequences for those who laugh at my law,
ignore my instructions,
disobey my decrees,
counter my commands –
it will feel like they are flogged, beaten,

BUT I will never ever, stop loving them;
never, ever be unfaithful to them.

I will keep my covenant promises.
I will honour my word.
Every word.
My word is my holy bond. Always.
I do not lie – I cannot lie to David, or to anyone.
David’s line will go on and on and on, for ever.
David’s kingdom will exist forever, enduring, like the sun established, like the moon.
Look to the sky – there my faithful witnesses testify.

(pause for silent reflection – selah).