Bible Readers

With Pastor Dave Roussel

“Will God Really Dwell With Men?”

December 13 – Today’s Readings – 2Chronicles 4-6 and Proverbs 13

Read the following four short passages and follow the theme:

2 Chronicles 6:18 “But will God really dwell on earth with men? The heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!”
Matthew 1:20-23 “But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.’ All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’ —which means, ‘God with us.”
Revelation 21:3 “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.”
Colossians 1:26-27 “the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
The distinguishing mark of Christians is not that we have “a god” – or that we “worship” – or that we recognize a certain “code of ethics”. All religious people and a lot of “good” folks have this. No, we are distinguished because OUR GOD lives IN US! The miracle of Christ’s coming, sacrifice and resurrection is that God might live in us and that human beings would become His Temple.

There is no other way for us – Jesus became a sacrifice for us so that we might become a living sacrifice for Him. Christ in us is what makes us children of God. Christ in us is what makes us “saints” – holy unto the Lord. What separates us from all other peoples on earth is that we have an intimate spiritual union with God Almighty. This affects every aspect of our lives – we were bought with a price – we belong to Him as His dwelling place. The only possible outcome to this awesome truth is that we should glorify God in our bodies. Did you notice the great detail Solomon went to when he built the temple? He never left a single thing there that was “unclean”. Everything was carefully worked on so that this place could be “God’s House”. He placed great emphasis on things being right. You are no doubt seeing where this analogy ends. This life of ours needs to be watched over so that “unclean” things are not allowed in. This is not a difficult task however because the resident manager of the temple, God Himself – The Holy Spirit, is in constant communication with us – telling us how to keep ourselves pure and untainted by the world. Our only job is to listen to Him and do what He says!

Questions:

1. Tell of a time that the Holy Spirit told you to clean something up in your life because you were His Temple.
2. Give an example of a New Testament character who deliberately kept God’s dwelling place cleaned up.

In His Early Years

December 12 – Today’s Readings – 2Chronicles 1-3 and Proverbs 12

“Solomon son of David established himself firmly over his kingdom, for the LORD his God was with him and made him exceedingly great.” [2Chronicles 1:1]

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” [Matthew 6:33]

In his early years, King Solomon did seek God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness. He sought God with all his heart and set about building the house of the Lord to glorify God. His prayers were simple and sincere. He wasn’t focused on himself, but chose rather to be “God centered” – building the Kingdom and wanting to bless the people. God was so excited about this guy, who possessed a “kingdom mentality” that He began to pour out blessings on him. I’m quite sure that Solomon rolled up his sleeves and did his bit but it really wasn’t too hard – the blessings chased him down and ambushed him. He couldn’t get away from the Lord’s help and approval.

Now we’re talking New Testament stuff! God calls us to be sons and daughters – children bornt into the family can’t help but get blessed unless they walk away from the Father. I’ve worked all of my life thus far in order to provide for my loved ones and to bless the Kingdom of God. Unless one of my loved ones runs away and I can’t find them anymore – they will be blessed! This is the heart of Father-God. All we will ever need is found in Him. He provides for our eternal security but His blessings extend far beyond that.

As we walk with Jesus, He leads us in all the paths of righteousness – we have righteousness, peace and joy! What more could a human being want? What about all the other riches that pursue us? Well, God redeems people who have nothing and blesses them progressively – as they walk with Him and apply the financial principles laid out in His Word. All we have is His, but all He has is ours! The great wonder of all of this is that even though earthly riches can be used for healing people, worshipping God and speaking life to a lost world, these riches are really worthless in the light of eternity. Nonetheless God will continue to pour out His blessing upon you so that you can be a conduit of His love. Think of yourself as a cup that is running over – so is your saucer!

“God said to Solomon, ‘Since this is your heart’s desire and you have not asked for wealth, riches or honor, nor for the death of your enemies, and since you have not asked for a long life but for wisdom and knowledge to govern my people over whom I have made you king, therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. And I will also give you wealth, riches and honor, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have.” [2Chronicles 1:11-12]

Father, Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.

Questions:

1. Name and tell of other Bible characters who were blessed by God in order to be a blessing.
2. Tell of a blessing God has given you so that you can bless others. [Think – parable of talents or light being hid under a bowl – Matthew 5:14-16]

Great But Tragic

 

December 11 – Today’s Readings – 1Chronicles 28-29 and Proverbs 11

In these passages we find the second and “official” coronation of a new King. King David was old and Solomon young, yet he was selected by David and by the “word of the Lord” to be the next ruler of Israel. As we will soon learn – this new king faced difficulties he wasn’t prepared for. Yes, God would bless Solomon financially in a manner not yet known to mankind. He would eventually be the envy of the entire then-know world. The “spotlight” would shine on him in such a way that our secular society still refers to his grandeur today. Herein lies a great problem. Whenever a human being is “investigated”, flaws will be discovered sooner or later. It wouldn’t take long for a good investigative team of scientists and “snoops” to turn up some “dirt” on any and every human being alive or dead. This is no surprise – but when “the man” in question is touted to be above all moral failure, the news of his misdeeds becomes as famous as the legend of his grandure.

This sadly was to be Solomon’s legacy – “the bigger they are, the harder they fall”. Solomon however is no different than you and I. Humanly speaking, we all “fall short of the glory of God”. Deep down, none of us would like to be the subject of a critical investigative television documentary. When God chose us, it was not because we were beautiful, talented, educated, wealthy, or sinless. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) Christ’s death did something miraculous for the world. It enabled ordinary people to become extraordinary we were deemed to be holy because of a “holy” relationship with God.

It no longer matters what others may think of me. I’ve been forgiven – I am holy in the eyes of God – I am “made perfect” by being “in Christ”, and I will never be ashamed again! Now that’s freedom – moral freedom – freedom from the enemy of our souls. If only Solomon would have remained “free” in the grace of God, we would have been reading an altered story in 2 Chronicles. As it was, Solomon slipped into a “serving other gods” mode and lost the glory of the Lord. He would have been far better off without any of the riches, wives and kingdom greatness and instead had simply stayed faithful to the Lord.

It was the people Solomon hung around with that turned him away. For others it’s the things or the money or the fame or the pride. No matter what, we need to Love God first – serve God first – humble ourselves before Him first. If our hearts are steadfast toward God, then riches, people, fame, or anything else God blesses us with will take their proper place in our lives. The blessings are meant for the furtherance of the Kingdom of God. This is a true saying – God wants you to prosper in every way. As we prosper however, we desperately need to stay humble and submissive to the Holy Spirit or we too will end up like Solomon – a great, but tragic character.

Questions:

1. Name and describe another Bible character who had great potential but lost spiritual focus and finished poorly.
2. Name a modern day “great” who did the same.

Fountain Of Life

December 10 – Today’s Readings – 1Chronicles 25-27 and Proverbs 10

Let me take a quick break from Chronicles this morning and look at a fairly obscure verse from Proverbs 10:11; “The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life”.

As I was reading this verse, it struck me that people who have grown wise in the Lord are outstanding in many ways. Having a tongue that ministers life is certainly a telltale sign of a mature and Godly person. Now, before we go too far down this road, let me say that anyone – be they unbeliever or believer – can use their tongues for good or evil. Some even make a living out of making people feel positive or happy or successful. It’s not how they present themselves when they are “on stage” that tells the truth about them however – it’s how their tongues function around family and “normal” people that tells all. If the camera is on you, it’s easy to smile and say nice things. Politicians learned this long ago. It’s very rare to see a young, newly infatuated dating couple who are aren’t smiling and speaking kindly to each other. When they are in the presence of the new “special someone”, they are all positive and cheery. The real test of that positive attitude comes several months down the road when the “glow” wears off.

This is not the case when a believer has submitted their heart (and their tongue) to the Holy Spirit. Out of their mouth comes healing, encouragement, strength for the weak, peaceful words, joyous words…. How do we know the Holy Spirit is at work in someone’s life? They just keep getting easier to live with! We want to be around them because they minister life to us – AND – even when they “blow it” and say something all wrong, they are quick to repent as the Holy Spirit corrects them.

The Apostle James said, “no man can tame the tongue” [James 3:8], but he continued on and asserted that our tongues should bring forth good, pure “drinking water”. [James 3:11-12]

James 1:26 reads, “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.”

The only way I know to rein in my tongue is to be filled continually with the Spirit of God. Then, words of life will flow out of me and people will receive “life” from my lips. When I “trip up” and say something unedifying, the Holy Spirit will correct me and I will apologize to Him and others. As you well know, this tongue of ours will be a challenge for us to tame as long as we live. All I can ask of you is to consider the good and healing words that bring salvation – these words can and should be on our lips every day of our lives. Let’s start with the people we know best – our spouses – our children – our parents – those who work for us. This, after all, is where “the rubber hits the road”.

“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. [James 3:13]

Questions:

1. Give a Bible example of a person who used their tongue to bless and build.
2. Give an example of how God has used your tongue to bring blessing, healing, or life to a bad situation.

Passing It On

December 9 – Today’s Readings – 1Chronicles 22-24 and Proverbs 9

1Chronicles 22:5-8 reads, “David said, ‘My son Solomon is young and inexperienced, and the house to be built for the LORD should be of great magnificence and fame and splendor in the sight of all the nations. Therefore I will make preparations for it.’ So David made extensive preparations before his death. Then he called for his son Solomon and charged him to build a house for the LORD, the God of Israel. David said to Solomon: ‘My son, I had it in my heart to build a house for the Name of the LORD my God. But this word of the LORD came to me: ‘You have shed much blood and have fought many wars. You are not to build a house for my Name, because you have shed much blood on the earth in my sight.”

David had it right. There are some things that only future generations of God’s people will accomplish on this earth. Each successive generation of believers has jobs to do. It is our generation’s “task” to do the best we can with what we have been given – the foundations or building materials come mostly from the “stuff” previous generations laid up for us. They served the Lord and had certain victories over the enemy. They established truths to live by and saw renewal and revival of certain Biblical patterns. Churches and great institutions were established and influenced by these hard-working, sincere Christians. In our generation, we will hopefully take what we have been given and further the work of the Gospel on the Earth. It follows that we must live in an even greater revelation of what the Bible teaches – Will we evangelize even more people groups? – Will we leave the Church in a more holy and sanctified state? – Will we be a stronger witness to our nation?

It will be up to the generation that follows us to receive “the baton” from us and run the race set before them. The question is – are we providing good building materials for them. Are we providing a good example of sound Christian living? Are we leaving the next generation with some funds to work with? Are we leaving them with a vibrant worshipping atmosphere as a heritage? Are we giving them a good example as to how a Church community should look? One thing is sure; good or bad, we will leave something to the next generation. Life is never just about us. Younger people do watch older people and see sincerity, faith, Godly standards, Godly relationships – etc.

David piled up supplies for Solomon to use. He set things in order and subdued Israel’s enemies so that Solomon could have a peaceful Kingdom and get the job done. He realized his own limitations but didn’t quit working towards what the next generation could do. We must live strong – we must build with all our might – we must push back the enemy – we must bring unity to the Church – we must learn to worship in such a way as to bring the Glory of God into the house of the Lord. We must do these things because God expects it of us, but we also must do our utmost for the Lord because an entire future generation depends on it!

Questions:

1. What habits and resources have you set in motion or set aside so that the next generation of God’s people is able to fulfill God’s will.
2. What experiences are we having with the Lord today as a result of the faith of previous generations of God’s people?

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