The key of the door, and a lifestyle which ‘unlocks’ others…

2 06 2012

DAY TWO HUNDRED AND TWELVE : 1 Chronicles 9 v. 1b – 10 v. 14; Romans 14 v. 1 – 18; Proverbs 18 v. 17 – 19 v. 2

1 CHRONICLES
The People in Jerusalem – ‘The people of Judah were taken captive to Babylon because of their unfaithfulness.’
The first re-settlers were some Israelites, priests, Levites and temple servants.
The Benjaminites, and those from Ephraim and Manasseh (who lived in Jerusalem) are listed.
690 from Judah, 956 from Benjamin,  1760 priests (‘responsible for ministering in the house of God’).
212 gatekeepers (including Zechariah, who ‘was the gatekeeper at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting’) – each entrusted to their positions by David and Samuel.

‘The four principal gatekeepers…were entrusted with the responsibility for the rooms and treasuries in the house of God. They would spend the night stationed round the house of God, because they had to guard it; and they had charge of the key for opening it each morning’

Various gatekeepers had different responsibilities: counting the artifacts, looking after the furnishings, the oils and spices.
Mattithiah was the offering-bread baker.
‘Those who were musicians, heads of Levite families, stayed in the rooms of the temple and were exempt from other duties…’

The Genealogy of Saul – Once again, Saul’s family line is traced.
Jeiel…Gibeon (with his wife, Maacah)…Ner…Kish…Saul…Jonathan…Merib-Baal…Micah…Ahaz…Jadah…Zimri…Moza…Binea…Rephaiah…Eleasah…Azel.
Azel’s sons are listed: Azikram, Bokeru, Ishmael, Sheariah, Obadiah, Hanan.

Saul Takes His Life – In the battle between the Israelites and the Philistines, many Israelites were killed on Mt Gilboa, including Saul’s sons Jonathan, Abinadab and Malki-Shua. Saul himself is wounded, too. He urges his armour-bearer to finish him off, but he won’t. ‘So Saul took his own sword and fell on it…the armour-bearer…too…fell on his sword and died.’ All Saul’s household fell on that day.
The Philistines celebrated a great victory and took many towns.
The Philistines took Saul’s body, decapitated him, and took his armour in the temple of their gods. His head was hung up in Dagon’s temple.
Saul’s body (and those of his sons) is retrieved by those who lived in Jabesh Gilead, and there is a proper burial and period of fasting / mourning, ‘under the great tree in Jabesh’).
‘Saul died because he was unfaithful to the Lord; he did not keep the word of the Lord, and even consulted a medium for guidance…so the Lord put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse.’

In contrast to the faithful gatekeepers, Saul lets his kingdom slip through his fingers. Time to hand the keys of that kingdom to a new king, David.

ROMANS
The Weak and the Strong – Paul has advice for accepting those with weak faith, without being quick to judge on ‘disputable matters’. The issue he picks out is vegetarianism, pointing out it is a principled issue for some, but not all. Neither view should look down on, or condemn the other.
‘Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls.’
God is judge.
Other disputes might include ‘one day is more sacred than another’ – ‘He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord’.
If we have surrendered our lives to the Lord, then
‘none of us lives to himself alone….if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.’
Jesus, having passed through life and death, and returning to life, is ‘Lord of both the dead and the living’.
God is judge, so we should not find ourselves judging our brothers.
‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘Every knee will bow before me; every tongue confess to God’.

There is a day coming when we shall all stand before God and account for our lives.

So:
– no more judging one another
– don’t put stumbling blocks in the way of others (e.g. the dilemma over clean / unclean foods)
– ‘if your brother is distressed by what you eat, you are no longer acting in love’
– don’t allow what is good to be spoken of as evil

‘For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,
because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.’


PROVERBS
‘The first witness is plausible, until others come and testify differently, and question him;

Casting lots can be used to settle difficult disputes.
Offense and disputes create strongholds, stronger than fortified cities and padlocked citadels.
Just as the mouth is the vehicle for food for the stomach, so the words that flow from a person’s mouth can satisfy.

THE TONGUE HAS THE POWER OF LIFE AND DEATH…and those who take care over it benefit from its fruit.

Wives are a good idea…a God idea…His blessing.
Listen…to the merciful cry of the poor…and the cold harshness of the rich.
You will always find out who your friends are…many may contribute to your downfall,
BUT THERE IS A FRIEND WHO STICKS CLOSER THAN A BROTHER.

Better to be poor and right-living, than to have mouths filled with a lot of foolish nonsense.
Best not to be zealously ignorant, or to be in such a hurry that you miss the right path.’

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