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Woe to China. In this century she has butchered fifty million of her own people in the name of equality. Proud and haughty, she maintains an officially atheistic stance, persecuting the church while that church, nurtured by the blood of the martyrs, has in half a century multiplied fifty times.
Woe to Russia. In the second decade of this century she embarked on a massive social experiment that resulted in the deaths of more than forty million people. She subjugated nation after nation, so certain was she that the tide of history was on her side. She became excellent at producing the “revolutionary man,” but could not produce the promised “new man” of Marxist thought, and so hid behind illusions and lies until her economic incompetence brought her down.
Woe to Germany. Privileged to serve as home to some of the greatest Reformers, she became extraordinarily arrogant intellectually, and in this century started two world wars that wreaked death and havoc, including the horrors of the Nazis, on countless millions. Today she builds excellent BMWs but has a materialist soul, worshiping nothing greater than the deutsche mark.
Woe to Great Britain. At one time ruler of one-quarter of the world’s population; inheritor of some of the greatest Christian thought and literature ever produced, she became ever more proud and condescending to the nations she colonized and the people she enslaved. Having repeatedly squandered a heritage of the knowledge of God, she thrashes around directionless and degraded.
Woe to Canada. She likes to think of herself as morally superior to her nearest neighbor, while hiding under the U.S. military umbrella. Sliding toward a moral abyss, her Supreme Court issues decisions that are as morally corrosive as any in the Western world, while the English-French factionalism drives toward enmity and breakup for want of courtesy and respect from both sides.
Woe to the United States. She prides herself on being the only world power left, but never reflects on how God has brought low every world power in history. Her cherished freedoms, so great a heritage, have increasingly become a facade to hide and then defend the grossest immorality and selfishness. To the nation at large, no issue, absolutely none, is more important than the state of the economy.
This is the reasoning of Amos. In Amos 1, he circles around the pagan neighbors, articulating the judgment of God. Here in Amos 2, he moves to Moab, Judah (“Canada”), and finally brings it home to Israel. Israelite audiences would begin with smug contentment during the early parts: how would they end up? And understand: the sequence of my “Woes,” above, could have been rearranged to end with any country—with your country.
There is a thematic link between today’s two primary readings.
First Chronicles 1–2 begins long chapters of annotated genealogical information. This is not the sort of material to which we are instantly drawn. Yet biblical genealogies accomplish many things besides the obvious one of recording genealogical descent. If one were reading the Bible through, at this point the lists of names would serve, in part, as a review: the beginnings up to David, with 1 and 2 Chronicles taking the reader to the end of the active Davidic dynasty. The genealogy also sets out in brief compass some of the branches that can easily be lost to view in the tangle of reading the narratives themselves. How are Abraham’s descendants tied to Noah? Abraham himself had children by three women: Hagar, Keturah, and Sarah. Where did they end up?
Of course, the genealogy does not aim to be comprehensive. It is heading toward Judah, toward the Davidic dynasty. And this is the point: There is movement and change, there are developments and fresh covenants, but from the beginning the Bible’s storyline has been a unified account heading toward the Davidic line, and ultimately toward “great David’s greater Son” (see the meditations for May 17 and September 10).
In genre and emphasis, Hebrews 8 is very different from the genealogies of the opening chapters of 1 Chronicles. Yet part of the argument in this chapter overlaps with lessons from 1 Chronicles. At this point in Hebrews, the author is arguing that the tabernacle (and, in principle, the temple) established by the covenant at Sinai must not be taken as the final expression of God’s will for the worship of his people. That is to misunderstand its purpose in the sweep of redemptive history. The author has already argued at length for the superiority of Jesus’ priesthood over the Levitical priesthood (Heb. 5–7)—indeed, that this superior priesthood was announced by the Old Testament Scriptures themselves. Now he draws attention to the fact that the “sanctuary” constructed in the desert followed exactly the “pattern” shown Moses on the mountain (Heb. 8:5). The reason for this, the author argues, is that it was only a shadow of the reality. To make it the ultimate reality is to misconstrue it. Moreover, readers of the Hebrew canon should know this. That tabernacle was tied to the Mosaic Covenant. But centuries later, at the time of Jeremiah, God promised the coming of a new covenant (Heb. 8:7–12). “By calling this covenant ‘new,’ he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear” (Heb. 8:13). The dawning of the new covenant not only relegates the old covenant’s tabernacle to the past, but displays the unity of the Bible’s storyline, however diverse the streams—for the varied streams converge in Jesus.
1:1 Adam, Seth, Enosh; 2 Kenan, Mahalalel, Jared; 3 Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech; 4 Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
5 The sons of Japheth: Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras. 6 The sons of Gomer: Ashkenaz, Riphath,1 and Togarmah. 7 The sons of Javan: Elishah, Tarshish, Kittim, and Rodanim.
8 The sons of Ham: Cush, Egypt, Put, and Canaan. 9 The sons of Cush: Seba, Havilah, Sabta, Raamah, and Sabteca. The sons of Raamah: Sheba and Dedan. 10 Cush fathered Nimrod. He was the first on earth to be a mighty man.2
11 Egypt fathered Ludim, Anamim, Lehabim, Naphtuhim, 12 Pathrusim, Casluhim (from whom the Philistines came), and Caphtorim.
13 Canaan fathered Sidon his firstborn and Heth, 14 and the Jebusites, the Amorites, the Girgashites, 15 the Hivites, the Arkites, the Sinites, 16 the Arvadites, the Zemarites, and the Hamathites.
17 The sons of Shem: Elam, Asshur, Arpachshad, Lud, and Aram. And the sons of Aram:3 Uz, Hul, Gether, and Meshech. 18 Arpachshad fathered Shelah, and Shelah fathered Eber. 19 To Eber were born two sons: the name of the one was Peleg4 (for in his days the earth was divided), and his brother's name was Joktan. 20 Joktan fathered Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, 21 Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, 22 Obal,5 Abimael, Sheba, 23 Ophir, Havilah, and Jobab; all these were the sons of Joktan.
24 Shem, Arpachshad, Shelah; 25 Eber, Peleg, Reu; 26 Serug, Nahor, Terah; 27 Abram, that is, Abraham.
28 The sons of Abraham: Isaac and Ishmael. 29 These are their genealogies: the firstborn of Ishmael, Nebaioth, and Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, 30 Mishma, Dumah, Massa, Hadad, Tema, 31 Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah. These are the sons of Ishmael. 32 The sons of Keturah, Abraham's concubine: she bore Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah. The sons of Jokshan: Sheba and Dedan. 33 The sons of Midian: Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abida, and Eldaah. All these were the descendants of Keturah.
34 Abraham fathered Isaac. The sons of Isaac: Esau and Israel. 35 The sons of Esau: Eliphaz, Reuel, Jeush, Jalam, and Korah. 36 The sons of Eliphaz: Teman, Omar, Zepho, Gatam, Kenaz, and of Timna,6 Amalek. 37 The sons of Reuel: Nahath, Zerah, Shammah, and Mizzah.
38 The sons of Seir: Lotan, Shobal, Zibeon, Anah, Dishon, Ezer, and Dishan. 39 The sons of Lotan: Hori and Hemam;7 and Lotan's sister was Timna. 40 The sons of Shobal: Alvan,8 Manahath, Ebal, Shepho,9 and Onam. The sons of Zibeon: Aiah and Anah. 41 The son10 of Anah: Dishon. The sons of Dishon: Hemdan,11 Eshban, Ithran, and Cheran. 42 The sons of Ezer: Bilhan, Zaavan, and Akan.12 The sons of Dishan: Uz and Aran.
43 These are the kings who reigned in the land of Edom before any king reigned over the people of Israel: Bela the son of Beor, the name of his city being Dinhabah. 44 Bela died, and Jobab the son of Zerah of Bozrah reigned in his place. 45 Jobab died, and Husham of the land of the Temanites reigned in his place. 46 Husham died, and Hadad the son of Bedad, who defeated Midian in the country of Moab, reigned in his place, the name of his city being Avith. 47 Hadad died, and Samlah of Masrekah reigned in his place. 48 Samlah died, and Shaul of Rehoboth on the Euphrates13 reigned in his place. 49 Shaul died, and Baal-hanan, the son of Achbor, reigned in his place. 50 Baal-hanan died, and Hadad reigned in his place, the name of his city being Pai; and his wife's name was Mehetabel, the daughter of Matred, the daughter of Mezahab. 51 And Hadad died.
The chiefs of Edom were: chiefs Timna, Alvah, Jetheth, 52 Oholibamah, Elah, Pinon, 53 Kenaz, Teman, Mibzar, 54 Magdiel, and Iram; these are the chiefs of Edom.
2:1 These are the sons of Israel: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, 2 Dan, Joseph, Benjamin, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher. 3 The sons of Judah: Er, Onan and Shelah; these three Bath-shua the Canaanite bore to him. Now Er, Judah's firstborn, was evil in the sight of the LORD, and he put him to death. 4 His daughter-in-law Tamar also bore him Perez and Zerah. Judah had five sons in all.
5 The sons of Perez: Hezron and Hamul. 6 The sons of Zerah: Zimri, Ethan, Heman, Calcol, and Dara, five in all. 7 The son14 of Carmi: Achan, the troubler of Israel, who broke faith in the matter of the devoted thing; 8 and Ethan's son was Azariah.
9 The sons of Hezron that were born to him: Jerahmeel, Ram, and Chelubai. 10 Ram fathered Amminadab, and Amminadab fathered Nahshon, prince of the sons of Judah. 11 Nahshon fathered Salmon,15 Salmon fathered Boaz, 12 Boaz fathered Obed, Obed fathered Jesse. 13 Jesse fathered Eliab his firstborn, Abinadab the second, Shimea the third, 14 Nethanel the fourth, Raddai the fifth, 15 Ozem the sixth, David the seventh. 16 And their sisters were Zeruiah and Abigail. The sons of Zeruiah: Abishai, Joab, and Asahel, three. 17 Abigail bore Amasa, and the father of Amasa was Jether the Ishmaelite.
18 Caleb the son of Hezron fathered children by his wife Azubah, and by Jerioth; and these were her sons: Jesher, Shobab, and Ardon. 19 When Azubah died, Caleb married Ephrath, who bore him Hur. 20 Hur fathered Uri, and Uri fathered Bezalel.
21 Afterward Hezron went in to the daughter of Machir the father of Gilead, whom he married when he was sixty years old, and she bore him Segub. 22 And Segub fathered Jair, who had twenty-three cities in the land of Gilead. 23 But Geshur and Aram took from them Havvoth-jair, Kenath, and its villages, sixty towns. All these were descendants of Machir, the father of Gilead. 24 After the death of Hezron, Caleb went in to Ephrathah,16 the wife of Hezron his father, and she bore him Ashhur, the father of Tekoa.
25 The sons of Jerahmeel, the firstborn of Hezron: Ram, his firstborn, Bunah, Oren, Ozem, and Ahijah. 26 Jerahmeel also had another wife, whose name was Atarah; she was the mother of Onam. 27 The sons of Ram, the firstborn of Jerahmeel: Maaz, Jamin, and Eker. 28 The sons of Onam: Shammai and Jada. The sons of Shammai: Nadab and Abishur. 29 The name of Abishur's wife was Abihail, and she bore him Ahban and Molid. 30 The sons of Nadab: Seled and Appaim; and Seled died childless. 31 The son17 of Appaim: Ishi. The son of Ishi: Sheshan. The son of Sheshan: Ahlai. 32 The sons of Jada, Shammai's brother: Jether and Jonathan; and Jether died childless. 33 The sons of Jonathan: Peleth and Zaza. These were the descendants of Jerahmeel. 34 Now Sheshan had no sons, only daughters, but Sheshan had an Egyptian slave whose name was Jarha. 35 So Sheshan gave his daughter in marriage to Jarha his slave, and she bore him Attai. 36 Attai fathered Nathan, and Nathan fathered Zabad. 37 Zabad fathered Ephlal, and Ephlal fathered Obed. 38 Obed fathered Jehu, and Jehu fathered Azariah. 39 Azariah fathered Helez, and Helez fathered Eleasah. 40 Eleasah fathered Sismai, and Sismai fathered Shallum. 41 Shallum fathered Jekamiah, and Jekamiah fathered Elishama.
42 The sons of Caleb the brother of Jerahmeel: Mareshah18 his firstborn, who fathered Ziph. The son19 of Mareshah: Hebron.20 43 The sons of Hebron: Korah, Tappuah, Rekem and Shema. 44 Shema fathered Raham, the father of Jorkeam; and Rekem fathered Shammai. 45 The son of Shammai: Maon; and Maon fathered Beth-zur. 46 Ephah also, Caleb's concubine, bore Haran, Moza, and Gazez; and Haran fathered Gazez. 47 The sons of Jahdai: Regem, Jotham, Geshan, Pelet, Ephah, and Shaaph. 48 Maacah, Caleb's concubine, bore Sheber and Tirhanah. 49 She also bore Shaaph the father of Madmannah, Sheva the father of Machbenah and the father of Gibea; and the daughter of Caleb was Achsah. 50 These were the descendants of Caleb.
The sons21 of Hur the firstborn of Ephrathah: Shobal the father of Kiriath-jearim, 51 Salma, the father of Bethlehem, and Hareph the father of Beth-gader. 52 Shobal the father of Kiriath-jearim had other sons: Haroeh, half of the Menuhoth. 53 And the clans of Kiriath-jearim: the Ithrites, the Puthites, the Shumathites, and the Mishraites; from these came the Zorathites and the Eshtaolites. 54 The sons of Salma: Bethlehem, the Netophathites, Atroth-beth-joab and half of the Manahathites, the Zorites. 55 The clans also of the scribes who lived at Jabez: the Tirathites, the Shimeathites and the Sucathites. These are the Kenites who came from Hammath, the father of the house of Rechab.
8:1 Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2 a minister in the holy places, in the true tent1 that the Lord set up, not man. 3 For every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; thus it is necessary for this priest also to have something to offer. 4 Now if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, since there are priests who offer gifts according to the law. 5 They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things. For when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, “See that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown you on the mountain.” 6 But as it is, Christ2 has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. 7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second.
8 For he finds fault with them when he says:3
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord,
when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel
and with the house of Judah,
9 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers
on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt.
For they did not continue in my covenant,
and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord.
10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel
after those days, declares the Lord:
I will put my laws into their minds,
and write them on their hearts,
and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.
11 And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor
and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’
for they shall all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest.
12 For I will be merciful toward their iniquities,
and I will remember their sins no more.”
13 In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
2:1 Thus says the LORD:
“For three transgressions of Moab,
and for four, I will not revoke the punishment,1
because he burned to lime
the bones of the king of Edom.
2 So I will send a fire upon Moab,
and it shall devour the strongholds of Kerioth,
and Moab shall die amid uproar,
amid shouting and the sound of the trumpet;
3 I will cut off the ruler from its midst,
and will kill all its princes2 with him,”
says the LORD.
4 Thus says the LORD:
“For three transgressions of Judah,
and for four, I will not revoke the punishment,
because they have rejected the law of the LORD,
and have not kept his statutes,
but their lies have led them astray,
those after which their fathers walked.
5 So I will send a fire upon Judah,
and it shall devour the strongholds of Jerusalem.”
6 Thus says the LORD:
“For three transgressions of Israel,
and for four, I will not revoke the punishment,
because they sell the righteous for silver,
and the needy for a pair of sandals—
7 those who trample the head of the poor into the dust of the earth
and turn aside the way of the afflicted;
a man and his father go in to the same girl,
so that my holy name is profaned;
8 they lay themselves down beside every altar
on garments taken in pledge,
and in the house of their God they drink
the wine of those who have been fined.
9 “Yet it was I who destroyed the Amorite before them,
whose height was like the height of the cedars
and who was as strong as the oaks;
I destroyed his fruit above
and his roots beneath.
10 Also it was I who brought you up out of the land of Egypt
and led you forty years in the wilderness,
to possess the land of the Amorite.
11 And I raised up some of your sons for prophets,
and some of your young men for Nazirites.
Is it not indeed so, O people of Israel?”
declares the LORD.
12 “But you made the Nazirites drink wine,
and commanded the prophets,
saying, ‘You shall not prophesy.’
13 “Behold, I will press you down in your place,
as a cart full of sheaves presses down.
14 Flight shall perish from the swift,
and the strong shall not retain his strength,
nor shall the mighty save his life;
15 he who handles the bow shall not stand,
and he who is swift of foot shall not save himself,
nor shall he who rides the horse save his life;
16 and he who is stout of heart among the mighty
shall flee away naked in that day,”
declares the LORD.
145:1 I will extol you, my God and King,
and bless your name forever and ever.
2 Every day I will bless you
and praise your name forever and ever.
3 Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised,
and his greatness is unsearchable.
4 One generation shall commend your works to another,
and shall declare your mighty acts.
5 On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
6 They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds,
and I will declare your greatness.
7 They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness
and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.
8 The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9 The LORD is good to all,
and his mercy is over all that he has made.
10 All your works shall give thanks to you, O LORD,
and all your saints shall bless you!
11 They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom
and tell of your power,
12 to make known to the children of man your2 mighty deeds,
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures throughout all generations.
[The LORD is faithful in all his words
and kind in all his works.]3
14 The LORD upholds all who are falling
and raises up all who are bowed down.
15 The eyes of all look to you,
and you give them their food in due season.
16 You open your hand;
you satisfy the desire of every living thing.
17 The LORD is righteous in all his ways
and kind in all his works.
18 The LORD is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
19 He fulfills the desire of those who fear him;
he also hears their cry and saves them.
20 The LORD preserves all who love him,
but all the wicked he will destroy.
21 My mouth will speak the praise of the LORD,
and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.