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

CHRONICLES
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).

ROMANS
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!
AMEN.’

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
will’.

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.
AMEN.

PSALM
‘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).

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