November 9, 2018

Today you should read: 1 Chronicles 24

In preparation of God’s Holy Temple, David divides the Levites into their future official duties. Notice, though, how he goes about this task. He follows the pattern and tradition of God’s Word. Aaron was Moses’ brother, and the first anointed high priest of Israel. David is following God’s initial placement of the Levitical priests as he establishes those who will serve in the temple.

David took the descendants in a direct line from Aaron and divided them by lot. These people, uniquely, would serve as “officials of the sanctuary and officials of God.” That is, they serve in a spiritual, rather than secular capacity. The rest of the responsibilities of the Levites were also divided by lot.   

While this chapter may not be the most riveting that the Old Testament has to offer, there are some valuable lessons. First, I hope you are noticing the care and concern (fussing over details) associated with God’s Temple. The question that we must ask is, does God deserve our best? The only appropriate answer has to be, “Yes.” However, is that how we really live? The answer to that is unfortunately, “No.” When is the last time you stopped to ask yourself what areas of your life God is not getting your best?

The second lesson is how David went about making his decisions. As mentioned earlier he followed the pattern and tradition of God’s Word. He didn’t just pick Aaron’s descendants because he liked them. Twice the use of lots were mentioned for the purpose of impartiality. Lots are like chucking dice, and while that’s not necessarily the New Testament’s prescribed way to discern God’s will (see Romans 12:1–2 and Ephesians 5:17), it served to prohibit favoritism.

Most Christians want to do things God’s way, but deciding what way is God’s way can be tough. Sometimes, like in David’s instance, there is a clear example from Scripture. Many times, for us when making decisions, the Bible doesn’t say, “Go, therefore, and buy that car.” Instead, we have to pursue biblical wisdom. The Bible has plenty to say about possessions, stewardship, and many other factors that go into the decisions we make on a regular basis.

Likewise, notice that David got help from Zadok (3). If you’re in the middle of making a big decision and your connect group doesn’t know about it, or you haven’t offered the opportunity for them to speak into it, you’re doing life wrong. Especially, if the reason you haven’t asked is because, “I’m afraid they’ll say I shouldn’t do it.” As I repeatedly tell my daughter when she says, “I do it,” I say, “Independence is not the goal.” God has given us several tools to make decisions—His Word, His people, His Spirit, access to His throne in prayer, and a conscious by which we experience His Peace. We get into trouble when we say things like, “Jesus wants me to be happy right?” Yes, but not at the expense of obedience.

The last lesson I’d like to point out is the diversity of roles. Yes, some people were set apart for God’s sanctuary. However, there is no value associated with that responsibility. God uses people in a variety of ways. Sometimes it’s hard to see how your work shapes the landscape of eternity. Yet, if you live in an ongoing, dynamic relationship with the Lord in obedience to His Word, you will be amazed as you look back and realize how God was at work.

By: Tyler Short — Connections Ministry Associate

November 8, 2018

Today you should read: 1 Chronicles 23

In today’s passage, we read about David appointing his son, Solomon, to be king over Israel, and then assigning tasks to the Levites.

Up until this point, the Levites had carried “the Tabernacle and its furnishings from place to place” (v.26), but now they no longer needed to do that. David divides the Levites into three family units and gives them instructions for their service in the Temple.

We see that the construction of the Temple was a big deal! 24,000 Levites were assigned to supervise the work at the Temple of the Lord! The Levites have a large role in serving the Lord in His house once the building is completed.

So what can we take from today’s reading?

First, notice the great leadership David displays. He assigns teams to do the work of the Lord in the coming years. He knows that he is older, and that Solomon will soon be king. Even in his old age, David is exercising great leadership by preparing the people of Israel to worship God in the Temple, by preparing the Levites to serve God in the Temple, and preparing his son to lead the people of God while building the Temple.

For us, I think we must take a look at our lives and ask ourselves, “How are we preparing those who will come after us for the work of the Lord?” Are you teaching your kids to love God and serve Him? Are you discipling someone and showing them how to disciple someone else? We have been called by God to prepare those who come after us to worship God and do “good works” (Ephesians 2:10) for Him.

Second, see that the Levites “faithfully carried out their duties of service at the house of the Lord” (v.32). We are all in a position to lead someone else whether that be at work, at home, at church, or in discipleship, but we are all also supposed under someone else’s leadership. We must take a look at our lives and ask ourselves, “are we faithfully carrying out what God has called us to do under the leadership of someone else?” The Levites trusted David’s leadership and served faithfully. Are we being obedient to God by following others’ wise leadership?

Take some time to thank God for wise leaders in our church, and ask God to give you a passion to serve faithfully.  

By: Lucas Taylor — West Campus Pastoral Ministry Apprentice

November 7, 2018

Today you should read: 1 Chronicles 22

When reading this passage, one verse stands out as a good summary of the chapter:
Now set your mind and heart to seek the Lord your God. Arise and build the sanctuary of the Lord God, so that the ark of the covenant of the Lord and the holy vessels of God may be brought into a house built for the name of the Lord. (22:19, ESV)
This verse is David giving instructions to Solomon about building the temple. The building of the temple was of huge importance because it represented God to the people. David was originally going to manage the project himself, but God said otherwise (v. 8) . So David instructed Solomon and gathered support for Solomon in his quest to build the temple.
How does this apply to us? While none of us have been given the assignment to build a temple for God, all of us have been given a commission by God to love Him and love people, and to be on mission for Him by advancing the gospel and discipling others. From verse 19, we must take the command to seek the Lord with our mind and heart seriously. Are you seeking God this week? Or are you allowing other things to distract you from Him? Is your life being lived for the glory of God alone?

By: Graham Withers — Pastoral Ministry Apprentice

November 6, 2018

Today you should read: 1 Chronicles 21:18-30

As a child, I didn’t necessarily get into too much trouble. I was pretty much a rule follower, and I still am to this day. However, in the rare occasion that I did break the rules, I was a hider. If I knew that I did something wrong and was going to pay the price for it, I would run to my room and hide in the closet or go and hide behind the living room couch. I essentially did not want to deal with the implications of the things I had done wrong. Unfortunately, I would react in exactly the same way with God. Instead of running to God and pleading for restoration in our fellowship, I would often draw away and “hide” from God (as if that was possible). I would shirk away from time in the Word, time in prayer, and definitely time in praise.
To elaborate on this further, whenever I committed a sin that my humanity determined was greater than other “regular” sins, the things I did in response only furthered the distance in my fellowship with God. David shows us the correct response in this passage. While his sins of numbering the people of Israel earlier in chapter 21 ultimately bring calamity upon Israel, David’s immediate response in seeing the error of his ways was to run to God, not away from him. His response was to humble himself and worship.
When we hide, when we resist, what are we are gaining by this resistance? The same God who sent the angel to consume the land of Israel is the same God who wants nothing more than to make your relationship with him right again. When we have committed “greater sins” than usual or when we have damaged our fellowship with God, let our response be to fall more fully and humbly in worship of the only one who deserves our praise. In the bad times and the good (verses 26 and 28, respectively), let us always run to God, for he will always welcome us with open arms. Resisting grace does not fix the problem, so let us be like David in this passage and be humble enough to worship to our King.

By: Tyler Monroe — Worship Ministries Intern