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Today’s Reading

Devotional

THE CHRONICLER’S ACCOUNT OF David’s death is preceded by the story of the wealthy gifts that would finance temple construction after David’s demise and the prayer David offered in this connection (1 Chron. 29). It is not so much the quantity of money given by David and the others that is striking, as the theology of David’s prayer. The highlights include the following points:

(1) In the opening doxology (1 Chron. 29:10–13), David acknowledges that everything is God’s (1 Chron. 29:11). If we human beings “own” anything, we must frankly confess, “Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things” (1 Chron. 29:12). Hence in the body of the prayer, David says, “Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand” (1 Chron. 29:14); again, as for all this wealth that is being collected, “it comes from your hand, and all of it belongs to you” (1 Chron. 29:16). Such a stance utterly destroys any notion of us “giving” something to God in any absolute terms. It becomes a pleasure to give to God, not only because we love him, but because we happily recognize that all we “own” is his anyway.

(2) Small wonder, then, that the prayer begins with exuberant expressions of praise (1 Chron. 29:10).

(3) David recognizes that all human existence is transient. God himself is to be praised “from everlasting to everlasting” (1 Chron. 29:10), but as for us, “we are aliens and strangers in your sight, as were all our forefathers. Our days on earth are like a shadow, without hope” (1 Chron. 29:15). This passage is extraordinary. The Israelites are in the Promised Land, at “rest”; yet, as in Psalm 95 and Hebrews 3:6–4:11; 11:13, this cannot be the ultimate rest, for they are still “aliens and strangers.” David is king, the head of a powerful and enduring dynasty. Individually, however, monarch and peasant alike must confess that their “days on earth are like a shadow” (1 Chron. 29:15). Here is a man of faith who knows he must be grounded in the One who inhabits eternity, or else he amounts to nothing.

(4) David lays formidable stress on integrity: “I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity.… And now I have seen with joy how willingly your people who are here have given to you” (1 Chron. 29:17). The success of this fundraising is not measured in monetary value, but in the integrity with which the wealth was given.

(5) In the final analysis, David frankly recognizes that continued devotion and integrity of life are impossible apart from the intervening grace of God (1 Chron. 29:18). Thus any possibility of personal hubris based on the amount of money donated is dissolved in grateful recognition of God’s gracious sovereignty.

1 Chronicles 29

Offerings for the Temple

29:1 And David the king said to all the assembly, “Solomon my son, whom alone God has chosen, is young and inexperienced, and the work is great, for the palace will not be for man but for the LORD God. So I have provided for the house of my God, so far as I was able, the gold for the things of gold, the silver for the things of silver, and the bronze for the things of bronze, the iron for the things of iron, and wood for the things of wood, besides great quantities of onyx and stones for setting, antimony, colored stones, all sorts of precious stones and marble. Moreover, in addition to all that I have provided for the holy house, I have a treasure of my own of gold and silver, and because of my devotion to the house of my God I give it to the house of my God: 3,000 talents1 of gold, of the gold of Ophir, and 7,000 talents of refined silver, for overlaying the walls of the house,2 and for all the work to be done by craftsmen, gold for the things of gold and silver for the things of silver. Who then will offer willingly, consecrating himself3 today to the LORD?”

Then the leaders of fathers' houses made their freewill offerings, as did also the leaders of the tribes, the commanders of thousands and of hundreds, and the officers over the king's work. They gave for the service of the house of God 5,000 talents and 10,000 darics4 of gold, 10,000 talents of silver, 18,000 talents of bronze and 100,000 talents of iron. And whoever had precious stones gave them to the treasury of the house of the LORD, in the care of Jehiel the Gershonite. Then the people rejoiced because they had given willingly, for with a whole heart they had offered freely to the LORD. David the king also rejoiced greatly.

David Prays in the Assembly

10 Therefore David blessed the LORD in the presence of all the assembly. And David said: “Blessed are you, O LORD, the God of Israel our father, forever and ever. 11 Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all. 12 Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. 13 And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.

14 “But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you. 15 For we are strangers before you and sojourners, as all our fathers were. Our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no abiding.5 16 O LORD our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a house for your holy name comes from your hand and is all your own. 17 I know, my God, that you test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness. In the uprightness of my heart I have freely offered all these things, and now I have seen your people, who are present here, offering freely and joyously to you. 18 O LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, our fathers, keep forever such purposes and thoughts in the hearts of your people, and direct their hearts toward you. 19 Grant to Solomon my son a whole heart that he may keep your commandments, your testimonies, and your statutes, performing all, and that he may build the palace for which I have made provision.”

20 Then David said to all the assembly, “Bless the LORD your God.” And all the assembly blessed the LORD, the God of their fathers, and bowed their heads and paid homage to the LORD and to the king. 21 And they offered sacrifices to the LORD, and on the next day offered burnt offerings to the LORD, 1,000 bulls, 1,000 rams, and 1,000 lambs, with their drink offerings, and sacrifices in abundance for all Israel. 22 And they ate and drank before the LORD on that day with great gladness.

Solomon Anointed King

And they made Solomon the son of David king the second time, and they anointed him as prince for the LORD, and Zadok as priest.

23 Then Solomon sat on the throne of the LORD as king in place of David his father. And he prospered, and all Israel obeyed him. 24 All the leaders and the mighty men, and also all the sons of King David, pledged their allegiance to King Solomon. 25 And the LORD made Solomon very great in the sight of all Israel and bestowed on him such royal majesty as had not been on any king before him in Israel.

The Death of David

26 Thus David the son of Jesse reigned over all Israel. 27 The time that he reigned over Israel was forty years. He reigned seven years in Hebron and thirty-three years in Jerusalem. 28 Then he died at a good age, full of days, riches, and honor. And Solomon his son reigned in his place. 29 Now the acts of King David, from first to last, are written in the Chronicles of Samuel the seer, and in the Chronicles of Nathan the prophet, and in the Chronicles of Gad the seer, 30 with accounts of all his rule and his might and of the circumstances that came upon him and upon Israel and upon all the kingdoms of the countries.

Footnotes

[1] 29:4 A talent was about 75 pounds or 34 kilograms
[2] 29:4 Septuagint; Hebrew houses
[3] 29:5 Or ordaining himself; Hebrew filling his hand
[4] 29:7 A daric was a coin weighing about 1/4 ounce or 8.5 grams
[5] 29:15 Septuagint, Vulgate; Hebrew hope, or prospect

(ESV)

2 Peter 3

The Day of the Lord Will Come

3:1 This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you,1 not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies2 will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.3

11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! 13 But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

Final Words

14 Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. 15 And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16 as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. 17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

Footnotes

[1] 3:9 Some manuscripts on your account
[2] 3:10 Or elements; also verse 12
[3] 3:10 Greek found; some manuscripts will be burned up

(ESV)

Micah 6

The Indictment of the Lord

6:1   Hear what the LORD says:
  Arise, plead your case before the mountains,
    and let the hills hear your voice.
  Hear, you mountains, the indictment of the LORD,
    and you enduring foundations of the earth,
  for the LORD has an indictment against his people,
    and he will contend with Israel.
  “O my people, what have I done to you?
    How have I wearied you? Answer me!
  For I brought you up from the land of Egypt
    and redeemed you from the house of slavery,
  and I sent before you Moses,
    Aaron, and Miriam.
  O my people, remember what Balak king of Moab devised,
    and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him,
  and what happened from Shittim to Gilgal,
    that you may know the righteous acts of the LORD.”

What Does the Lord Require?

  “With what shall I come before the LORD,
    and bow myself before God on high?
  Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
    with calves a year old?
  Will the LORD be pleased with1 thousands of rams,
    with ten thousands of rivers of oil?
  Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
    the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”
  He has told you, O man, what is good;
    and what does the LORD require of you
  but to do justice, and to love kindness,2
    and to walk humbly with your God?

Destruction of the Wicked

  The voice of the LORD cries to the city—
    and it is sound wisdom to fear your name:
  “Hear of the rod and of him who appointed it!3
10     Can I forget any longer the treasures4 of wickedness in the house of the wicked,
    and the scant measure that is accursed?
11   Shall I acquit the man with wicked scales
    and with a bag of deceitful weights?
12   Your5 rich men are full of violence;
    your inhabitants speak lies,
    and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth.
13   Therefore I strike you with a grievous blow,
    making you desolate because of your sins.
14   You shall eat, but not be satisfied,
    and there shall be hunger within you;
  you shall put away, but not preserve,
    and what you preserve I will give to the sword.
15   You shall sow, but not reap;
    you shall tread olives, but not anoint yourselves with oil;
    you shall tread grapes, but not drink wine.
16   For you have kept the statutes of Omri,6
    and all the works of the house of Ahab;
    and you have walked in their counsels,
  that I may make you a desolation, and your7 inhabitants a hissing;
    so you shall bear the scorn of my people.”

Footnotes

[1] 6:7 Or Will the Lord accept
[2] 6:8 Or steadfast love
[3] 6:9 The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain
[4] 6:10 Or Are there still treasures
[5] 6:12 Hebrew whose
[6] 6:16 Hebrew For the statutes of Omri are kept
[7] 6:16 Hebrew its

(ESV)

Luke 15

The Parable of the Lost Sheep

15:1 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

So he told them this parable: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

The Parable of the Lost Coin

“Or what woman, having ten silver coins,1 if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ 10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

The Parable of the Prodigal Son

11 And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. 13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. 14 And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to2 one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16 And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.

17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father's hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ 20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’3 22 But the father said to his servants,4 ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.

25 “Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’ 28 But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, 29 but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ 31 And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’”

Footnotes

[1] 15:8 Greek ten drachmas; a drachma was a Greek coin approximately equal in value to a Roman denarius, worth about a day's wage for a laborer
[2] 15:15 Greek joined himself to
[3] 15:21 Some manuscripts add treat me as one of your hired servants
[4] 15:22 Or bondservants

(ESV)