Monday, July 24, 2017

July 24

2 Chronicles 11:1-13:22; Romans 8:26-39; Psalm 18:37-50; Proverbs 19:27-29

Our reading in Romans today is such a beautiful reminder of the power and fullness of God's love for us.  It can be summed up in this simple rhetorical question: "If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Rom. 8:32)

If God is for us, what does it matter if our own sin and weakness accuses us (see Rom. 8:1-4)?  "He did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all" (vs. 32).  Jesus covers our sin and weakness; his wholeness is so much more complete than our brokenness.

If God is for us, can we be pulled away from him by "trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword" (Rom. 8:35)?  Though the men and women to whom Paul wrote this book of Romans were experiencing some (or many) of these difficulties, God was still present and involved and near.  And for us, in our trouble or hardship or persecution, "who can separate us from the love of Christ?"  All that could wedge us apart from God is God himself, and he is utterly, devotedly committed to us.

If God is for us, then "neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom. 8:38-39).  

Well.  That just about covers everything, doesn't it?  NOTHING.  

Not my own inadequacies, not my own failures, not the life that I have lived or should have lived, not the death that awaits me - NOTHING.  
Not the powers of the enemy, not his accusations, not my present circumstances, and not the uncertain days and weeks that will come against me unexpectedly - NOTHING.
Not laws or politics or terrorists or cultural norms, not a big event or a little moment - NOTHING.
And just to make sure, Paul throws in the kitchen sink: "nor anything else in all creation" (Rom. 8:39, emphasis mine).  NOTHING.

If God is for us, who can be against us?  


- Sarah Marsh

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Sunday, July 23, 2017

July 23

2 Chronicles 8:11-10:19; Romans 8:9-21; Psalm 18:16-36; Proverbs 19:26

“King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth. All the kings of the earth sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart” (2 Ch. 9:22-23). These two chapters are a summary of Solomon’s life and kingship. He reigned in Jerusalem for forty years (vs. 30). And he did many good, and even great, things. He was very rich and he was exceedingly wise. He had a long and peaceful reign over the nation of Israel.

I find myself wishing that these chapters were the entire truth about his life. But they aren’t. Though every word of these chapters are true, there was another, more sinister streak running through Solomon that we read about in 1 Kings 11 on June 13. And on June 11, I wrote about Solomon’s coming failures. I seem to see his life marked more by failure than by all the good he did.

His son, Rehoboam, succeeded him as king. All should have gone well. David had reigned for forty years; Solomon had reigned for forty years. It should have been an easy transition for the Nation.

But it wasn’t.

Rehoboam listened to the wrong counselors. He listened to unwise young men who urged him to get even more for himself and his kingdom than he already had (2 Ch. 10:13-14). The result was that ten of the tribes rebelled and broke away from the house of David. The kingdoms of David and Solomon come to an inglorious end (vs. 19). Rehoboam will continue to reign in Jerusalem but only over the tribes of Judah and Benjamin.

The lesson is that obedience to God brings great rewards, but disobedience to Him brings sad and tragic results. In this case, an entire nation was affected by the disobedience of their kings.

And though you and I don’t rule nations, we have a sphere of influence that will be affected by our obedience to God or our disobedience to Him. May we learn from Solomon’s life and choices, and Rehoboam’s life and choices, and may we choose to follow our God and His counsel always. “It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights. He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze” (Ps. 18:32-34).

- Nell Sunukjian

How did God speak to you in Scripture today? Click here to share your reflections on God's word or read past posts. We'd love to hear from you.