RMM RoundUp November 25
1 Chronicles 21
David has accepted his role in preparing the temple and has secured the resources for the project. Now the location of the temple is to be determined. For the most part, David has been revealed by the Chronicler in a favorable light. But here, the site of the temple is established by God’s discipline upon David’s sin.
Immediately, we see the origin of temptation: Satan. In the parallel account in 2 Samuel 24, it appears that God incites David due to his anger upon Israel. But it is clear that God is not tempting David but rather using Satan as his agent to discipline, test, and further his purposes. This occurs explicitly two other times with Job and Zechariah. Even Jesus was taken into the wilderness by God to be tempted by Satan. God’s intention is for us to grow through exposure to temptation, the devil’s desire is for us to fail and to fall away from the Lord.
We do not know the exact nature of the census and why it was a sin for David to have it done. However, we do know that it was a census of those who could fight and therefore it was likely an act of trusting the military power of man over the providence of God. This is no insignificant error. God takes this very seriously in all of Scripture but especially in the Old Testament. Here, God showed his wrath through a plague by an angel of the Lord which killed 70,000 men. David was given three choices and it may seem like this shorter sentence would be better but it was obviously very costly even though David trusted that God would show mercy.
David’s eyes were able to see the sin against God and the suffering he had caused his people and quickly repented. He prayed with contrition and paid for the site of the altar both at great cost to himself. And as David turned back to fear God, God was merciful and established this as the Temple site.
This narrative gives us great insight into our nature as well as God’s nature. Brothers and sisters, see sin as the devastating evil that comes from the accuser who only desires to steal, kill, and destroy. And see God as the one who is merciful and lovingly disciplines because he desires repentance, restoration, faith and fellowship.
Assistant Pastor Evan Webster
1 Peter 2
Peter is writing to a variety of churches that are experiencing significant suffering. He reminds them of a much bigger picture than what they are experiencing in the difficulties of the moment (1 Peter 1:6-7).
They are chosen, elect and redeemed. They have been born again to an eternal hope but for now are sojourners and exiles in the world.
This letter is an encouragement for us to pull back and remember whose we are, to remember our calling, and to “stay in the game”. We are not to give in to the pull of the world or the passions of the flesh (1 Peter 2:11). We must not give up in the heat of the battle (1 Peter 1:13) and we mustn’t give up the great hope that is ours in Christ (1 Peter 1:4).
Every day we do battle with the world, the flesh and the devil. We need strength for the long and difficult journey to the “celestial city.” We need the Word of God to feed our hearts, fill our minds and fire our passions. Therefore Peter urges,
Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation—if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. (1 Peter 2:2-3 ESV)
We have tasted the amazing grace of God in Christ. How good is the Lord? He is the One who has loved and purchased us. He was rejected by his own, that we might be accepted. He died for sin that we might be freed from sin. He was wounded that we might be healed.
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. (1 Peter 2:24-25 ESV)
Knowing who we are in Christ (1 Peter 2:9-10) and where we are going (1 Peter 1:4), we are to conduct ourselves as servants of God, doing good for the glory of God. Our conduct before rulers, persecutors, the world, and the family of God is informed by our fear of the Lord and our secure future revealed in his Word.
For today, and every day the Lord grants us, as Jesus in his suffering entrusted himself to God (1 Peter 2:23), let us entrust ourselves to our living and faithful Saviour as exiles on our journey home.
Associate Pastor Jody Cross
Almost anyone who has spent any time in the church has this story of Jonah more or less memorized. Who wouldn’t be fascinated by the story of a man swallowed by a fish! That being said, let's take a look at what this chapter teaches us about the character of God and of our own character.
1. Jonah’s anger vs. God’s compassion.
This contrast seems to lie at the heart of the chapter. Jonah is angry at God for being the exact thing that Jonah praised in chapter 2: compassionate and merciful. Jonah doesn’t hide the fact that he knows that God is merciful. That is a consistent fact all throughout scripture. We often have this warped view of God. We tend to think that in the Old Testament God is wrathful and that He delights in smiting people, and the God of the New Testament is all mercy and compassion. But consistently and overwhelmingly, we see that God is a god of compassion and mercy all throughout scripture.
Remember your mercy, O LORD, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old. (Psalms 25:6 ESV)
God goes on to teach Jonah a little about himself. God creates then destroys the plant that gave Jonah shade so that Jonah could see how much he cared for himself and the plant but how little he cared for the people of Ninevah, people created just as much in the image of God as Jonah was.
There are times in our lives that we would have to be honest with ourselves about our attitudes towards other people. Other people are created in God’s image just as much as we are. I have had to eat a slice of humble pie as I read this passage this week. There are times that I see people on the news and I think that they don’t deserve Christ, and then I gasp and realize that in this story I am as Jonah. I have judged a people and that is not my right. Only Christ can judge people in that way. That is His right and not mine. Lord, forgive me for my presumptuousness, give me Your heart of compassion for the lost. Let me see them the way you do!
Associate Pastor Jonathan Welch
As we read through the Gospels, we are often struck by the cost of following Jesus. That striking feature is certainly prevalent in today’s text.
And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. (Luke 9:23 ESV)
One of the greatest threats to our relationship with Jesus is the ever-present temptation of self-indulgence. The life of selflessness that Jesus calls us to is the exact opposite of the life of comfort that our world so deeply desires. To take up our cross is to lay down the pleasures and luxuries of this life in order to obtain the pleasure and the luxury that awaits us in the next.
If verse 23 challenges our apathy, verses 57-62 wage a full on assault. Jesus explains the cost of being his disciple.
First we are reminded that Jesus was a wanderer with no earthly home. The Christian life is hard work. We should not live as if our ultimate rest and satisfaction could be found in this world.
Secondly, he tells a man to leave behind the burial process of his father. In first-century Palestine, second burial was a common practice. The deceased would be placed in a tomb for a year and the bones would then be buried with their ancestors.1 But the Christian mission is urgent. When Jesus calls, a Christian moves.
In the third scenario, a man is rebuked for wanting to run home to say goodbye to his family. This text reminds me of the calling of Elisha.
And he left the oxen and ran after Elijah and said, “Let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.” And he said to him, “Go back again, for what have I done to you?” (1 Kings 19:20 ESV)
While Elijah allowed Elisha to say goodbye to his family, Jesus will not. Why is that? Jesus is not just another prophet. He is God. It was an honor to follow Elijah, but it is life to follow Jesus.
Count the cost. Will you follow Jesus?
Assistant Pastor Levi denBok
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name! You are perfect in holiness and mercy! You are everything you are in everything you do and we give you praise! Blessed be the name of the Lord! You test us and try us, you strengthen us and equip us. As a Father, you are active and loving in your discipline. Grant that we may be a delight to raise and a credit to your goodness. Help us to live as we are - children of God through faith in Jesus Christ. Grant also that we may serve you by offering our lives as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God. May this be our reasonable service of worship. Accept it today as a token of our gratitude and thanks, O God, we ask in in Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Pastor Paul Carter
N.B. RMM Roundup assumes the Bible reading guide also known as “The M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan”. You can find a single page version of the 1 year plan here: http://www.edginet.org/mcheyne/year_classic_single_letter.pdf and a version of the 2 year plan here: http://www.edginet.org/mcheyne/year_carson_a4.pdf
1 Tremper Longman III and David E. Garland, eds., Expositor's Bible Commentary. Volume 10. Luke-Acts. Revised Edition (Expositor's Bible Commentary), Revised ed. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007), 190.