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Today’s Reading

Devotional

ONCE THE TEMPLE HAS BEEN BUILT, the final step before the dedication of the temple is bringing up the ark of the covenant from the old tabernacle, now resting in Zion, the City of David (part of Jerusalem), to its new resting place in the Most Holy Place of the temple. Second Chronicles 5:1–6:11 not only records this transition, but Solomon’s opening remarks to the people before his prayer of dedication (see tomorrow’s meditation). Both the moving of the ark and Solomon’s opening remarks prove important.

The move itself follows the prescriptions of the Law: the Levites alone are permitted to handle the ark. But the move is nevertheless a national event. The elders of Israel and the heads of clans come together from all over Israel for this great celebration. The move is accompanied by such lavish sacrifices that the number of animals killed could not be recorded (2 Chron. 5:6). Finally the ark is lodged beneath the wings of the cherubim in the Most Holy Place. As an aside, the chronicler mentions that at this point only the tablets of the Law still rest in the ark of the covenant. Presumably the pot with manna and Aaron’s rod that had budded were removed when the ark was held by the Philistines. In any case, the orchestras and choirs cut loose, including a 120-piece trumpet section. The singers praise God in the well-known couplet, “He is good; his love endures forever” (2 Chron. 5:13).

Two details deserve special comment.

(1) In the past, the evidence of God’s presence in the tabernacle was a cloud. Now the same cloud fills the temple; indeed, the glory of the Lord so fills the temple that the priests are driven out and find themselves unable to enter and perform their duties (2 Chron. 5:13–14). This demonstrates that God is pleased with the temple; that he himself has sanctioned the move from tabernacle to temple; and above all that if the temple is his temple, it is not to be domesticated by mere rites, no matter how lavish. The glory of his presence is the important thing.

(2) Solomon’s opening remarks also contribute to the sense of continuity. Perhaps some purists were tempted to say that it would have been better to stick with the tabernacle: after all, that is what God ordained on Mount Sinai. So Solomon reviews the steps that have brought the narrative to this point: God’s promises to David, God’s choice of Jerusalem and of this temple site, God’s selection of Solomon over David to do the actual building, and so forth. Thus the temple, far from being a questionable innovation, is the next step in redemptive history and the fulfillment of God’s good promises (2 Chron. 6:10–11).

2 Chronicles 5:1–6:11

5:1 Thus all the work that Solomon did for the house of the LORD was finished. And Solomon brought in the things that David his father had dedicated, and stored the silver, the gold, and all the vessels in the treasuries of the house of God.

The Ark Brought to the Temple

Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the leaders of the fathers' houses of the people of Israel, in Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of the city of David, which is Zion. And all the men of Israel assembled before the king at the feast that is in the seventh month. And all the elders of Israel came, and the Levites took up the ark. And they brought up the ark, the tent of meeting, and all the holy vessels that were in the tent; the Levitical priests brought them up. And King Solomon and all the congregation of Israel, who had assembled before him, were before the ark, sacrificing so many sheep and oxen that they could not be counted or numbered. Then the priests brought the ark of the covenant of the LORD to its place, in the inner sanctuary of the house, in the Most Holy Place, underneath the wings of the cherubim. The cherubim spread out their wings over the place of the ark, so that the cherubim made a covering above the ark and its poles. And the poles were so long that the ends of the poles were seen from the Holy Place before the inner sanctuary, but they could not be seen from outside. And they are1 there to this day. 10 There was nothing in the ark except the two tablets that Moses put there at Horeb, where the LORD made a covenant with the people of Israel, when they came out of Egypt. 11 And when the priests came out of the Holy Place (for all the priests who were present had consecrated themselves, without regard to their divisions, 12 and all the Levitical singers, Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun, their sons and kinsmen, arrayed in fine linen, with cymbals, harps, and lyres, stood east of the altar with 120 priests who were trumpeters; 13 and it was the duty of the trumpeters and singers to make themselves heard in unison in praise and thanksgiving to the LORD), and when the song was raised, with trumpets and cymbals and other musical instruments, in praise to the LORD,

  “For he is good,
    for his steadfast love endures forever,”

the house, the house of the LORD, was filled with a cloud, 14 so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of God.

Solomon Blesses the People

6:1 Then Solomon said, “The LORD has said that he would dwell in thick darkness. But I have built you an exalted house, a place for you to dwell in forever.” Then the king turned around and blessed all the assembly of Israel, while all the assembly of Israel stood. And he said, “Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who with his hand has fulfilled what he promised with his mouth to David my father, saying, ‘Since the day that I brought my people out of the land of Egypt, I chose no city out of all the tribes of Israel in which to build a house, that my name might be there, and I chose no man as prince over my people Israel; but I have chosen Jerusalem that my name may be there, and I have chosen David to be over my people Israel.’ Now it was in the heart of David my father to build a house for the name of the LORD, the God of Israel. But the LORD said to David my father, ‘Whereas it was in your heart to build a house for my name, you did well that it was in your heart. Nevertheless, it is not you who shall build the house, but your son who shall be born to you shall build the house for my name.’ 10 Now the LORD has fulfilled his promise that he made. For I have risen in the place of David my father and sit on the throne of Israel, as the LORD promised, and I have built the house for the name of the LORD, the God of Israel. 11 And there I have set the ark, in which is the covenant of the LORD that he made with the people of Israel.”

Footnotes

[1] 5:9 Hebrew it is

(ESV)

1 John 4

Test the Spirits

4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

God Is Love

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot1 love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

Footnotes

[1] 4:20 Some manuscripts how can he

(ESV)

Nahum 3

Woe to Nineveh

3:1   Woe to the bloody city,
    all full of lies and plunder—
    no end to the prey!
  The crack of the whip, and rumble of the wheel,
    galloping horse and bounding chariot!
  Horsemen charging,
    flashing sword and glittering spear,
  hosts of slain,
    heaps of corpses,
  dead bodies without end—
    they stumble over the bodies!
  And all for the countless whorings of the prostitute,
    graceful and of deadly charms,
  who betrays nations with her whorings,
    and peoples with her charms.
  Behold, I am against you,
    declares the LORD of hosts,
    and will lift up your skirts over your face;
  and I will make nations look at your nakedness
    and kingdoms at your shame.
  I will throw filth at you
    and treat you with contempt
    and make you a spectacle.
  And all who look at you will shrink from you and say,
  “Wasted is Nineveh; who will grieve for her?”
    Where shall I seek comforters for you?
  Are you better than Thebes1
    that sat by the Nile,
  with water around her,
    her rampart a sea,
    and water her wall?
  Cush was her strength;
    Egypt too, and that without limit;
    Put and the Libyans were her2 helpers.
10   Yet she became an exile;
    she went into captivity;
  her infants were dashed in pieces
    at the head of every street;
  for her honored men lots were cast,
    and all her great men were bound in chains.
11   You also will be drunken;
    you will go into hiding;
  you will seek a refuge from the enemy.
12   All your fortresses are like fig trees
    with first-ripe figs—
  if shaken they fall
    into the mouth of the eater.
13   Behold, your troops
    are women in your midst.
  The gates of your land
    are wide open to your enemies;
    fire has devoured your bars.
14   Draw water for the siege;
    strengthen your forts;
  go into the clay;
    tread the mortar;
    take hold of the brick mold!
15   There will the fire devour you;
    the sword will cut you off.
    It will devour you like the locust.
  Multiply yourselves like the locust;
    multiply like the grasshopper!
16   You increased your merchants
    more than the stars of the heavens.
    The locust spreads its wings and flies away.
17   Your princes are like grasshoppers,
    your scribes3 like clouds of locusts
  settling on the fences
    in a day of cold—
  when the sun rises, they fly away;
    no one knows where they are.
18   Your shepherds are asleep,
    O king of Assyria;
    your nobles slumber.
  Your people are scattered on the mountains
    with none to gather them.
19   There is no easing your hurt;
    your wound is grievous.
  All who hear the news about you
    clap their hands over you.
  For upon whom has not come
    your unceasing evil?

Footnotes

[1] 3:8 Hebrew No-amon
[2] 3:9 Hebrew your
[3] 3:17 Or marshals

(ESV)

Luke 19

Jesus and Zacchaeus

19:1 He entered Jericho and was passing through. And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

The Parable of the Ten Minas

11 As they heard these things, he proceeded to tell a parable, because he was near to Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately. 12 He said therefore, “A nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and then return. 13 Calling ten of his servants,1 he gave them ten minas,2 and said to them, ‘Engage in business until I come.’ 14 But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’ 15 When he returned, having received the kingdom, he ordered these servants to whom he had given the money to be called to him, that he might know what they had gained by doing business. 16 The first came before him, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made ten minas more.’ 17 And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant!3 Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.’ 18 And the second came, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made five minas.’ 19 And he said to him, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’ 20 Then another came, saying, ‘Lord, here is your mina, which I kept laid away in a handkerchief; 21 for I was afraid of you, because you are a severe man. You take what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’ 22 He said to him, ‘I will condemn you with your own words, you wicked servant! You knew that I was a severe man, taking what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow? 23 Why then did you not put my money in the bank, and at my coming I might have collected it with interest?’ 24 And he said to those who stood by, ‘Take the mina from him, and give it to the one who has the ten minas.’ 25 And they said to him, ‘Lord, he has ten minas!’ 26 ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 27 But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me.’”

The Triumphal Entry

28 And when he had said these things, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 When he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, 30 saying, “Go into the village in front of you, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say this: ‘The Lord has need of it.’” 32 So those who were sent went away and found it just as he had told them. 33 And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 34 And they said, “The Lord has need of it.” 35 And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. 36 And as he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. 37 As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, 38 saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 39 And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” 40 He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”

Jesus Weeps over Jerusalem

41 And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, 42 saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side 44 and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”

Jesus Cleanses the Temple

45 And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold, 46 saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a den of robbers.”

47 And he was teaching daily in the temple. The chief priests and the scribes and the principal men of the people were seeking to destroy him, 48 but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people were hanging on his words.

Footnotes

[1] 19:13 Or bondservants; also verse 15
[2] 19:13 A mina was about three months' wages for a laborer
[3] 19:17 Or bondservant; also verse 22

(ESV)