Many Members – One Body
Today’s Reading – 1 Chronicles 26 – 27 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
(Second Milers Read – John 21, Psalms 71 – 75; Proverbs 15)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 89:1
Read the “0515 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
“Among these were the divisions of the porters, even among the chief men, having wards one against another, to minister in the house of the LORD.“ (1 Chronicles 26:12)
In today’s passage we see the list of countless names of people who labored behind the scenes in the temple, and in the kingdom during the reign of David. When we think of the temple, we think of Solomon primarily, because it was he whom God chose to assemble it; or we may think of David, because he was the one who made most of the preparations for it. However, we can see from these passages that there were literally thousands of people laboring behind the scenes that made the ministry that went on in the temple possible, as well as in the rest of the kingdom.
In a local church, we sometimes think that it is primarily the pastor who makes everything happen. While the office of the pastor is an important position, he is just one member of a body made up of many. He may be the most visible, but there are so many other people whose participation is necessary in order to accomplish the work of God. Our church is small in number, but even in a church our size, there are many people laboring, some completely behind the scenes, who are vital parts of the ministry. Think with me for a moment about all of the different duties that must be performed in order for our church to function as it should. There are soul winners who get the message of the gospel to the community; disciplers who mentor and instruct those who have trusted Christ; there are Sunday School teachers, ushers, greeters, audio/vidio people, choir members, song leaders, musicians, bus drivers and workers, maintenance people, and administrators. These people and the work that they do are all important to the cause of Christ.
Romans 12 talks about some of the gifts given to us by the Lord that are to be used by us in His service:
“For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.” (Romans 12:4-8)
1 Corinthians 12 also instructs regarding the different members of the body, though many of the individual gifts spoken of in this chapter were sign gifts that were given to believers during the transitional period in the first century, and are no longer available today:
“Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.” (1 Corinthians 12:4-6)
”For the body is not one member, but many.” (1 Corinthians 12:14)
“But now are they many members, yet but one body.” (1 Corinthians 12:20)
“Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” (1 Corinthians 12:27)
God has something to do for everyone in the local church. I was recently criticized for preaching too much about what we need to do for the Lord, but as I see it, there is a lot that needs to be done. Yes, it is God which works in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure, but we still need to be submissive and obedient to His plan for our life. We often quote from Ephesians 2:8 & 9 regarding the fact that it is solely through the grace of God that we are saved, but the next verse teaches us that we are saved and equipped to work.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)
Christian, let me encourage you to find out what your unique gifts are, and also admonish you to use those gifts for the glory of the Lord Jesus, in the service of the local church.
“Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;” (Philippians 1:27)
Posted in Thoughts from 1 Chronicles by Phil Erickson with 4 comments.
Preparing for the Next Generation
Today’s Reading – 1 Chronicles 16 – 18 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
(Second Milers Read – John 15 – 16; Psalms 56 – 60; Proverbs 12)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 51
Read the “0512 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Read previous posts from this passage – “Check With God First;” and “Taking Time to Rejoice.”
“Go and tell David my servant, Thus saith the LORD, Thou shalt not build me an house to dwell in:” (1 Chronicles 17:4)
The thought for this morning’s devotion was derived from the today’s reading as well as what is discussed in chapter twenty-two. It was David’s desire to build a permanent structure to house the Ark of the Covenant and all of the other items that were previously part of the worship of the Lord in the Tabernacle. David had already moved the ark into Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 16:1), but the rest of the Tabernacle was still at Gibeon (1 Chronicles 16:39). God did not permit David to build Him a Temple, however (1 Chronicles 17:4), but that didn’t stop David from doing everything that He could in order to make sure his son Solomon and all of the others in that next generation would have everything that they needed in order for them to build a place to worship the Lord. Even though David would not personally experience and enjoy the final product, he worked tirelessly so that his children would.
There are three thoughts that I would like to consider regarding this passage:
- David had a good attitude when God told him “No.”
“(16) And David the king came and sat before the LORD, and said, Who am I, O LORD God, and what is mine house, that thou hast brought me hitherto? (17) And yet this was a small thing in thine eyes, O God; for thou hast also spoken of thy servant’s house for a great while to come, and hast regarded me according to the estate of a man of high degree, O LORD God.” (1 Chronicles 17:16-17)
In fact, though David could not personally build God the house that he wanted to for the Lord, God tells David that He is going to build David a house. Not a physical place to live, but a lineage of children and grandchildren that were going to sit on the throne in Jerusalem forever. The Lord Jesus Himself would physically descend from David through His mother Mary (Luke 3), and legally through His earthly guardian Joseph (Matthew 1).
2. David continued to fight the Lord’s battles so that the next generation would not have to.
Chapter eighteen is all about David conquering the enemy nations that posed a threat to the peace and safety of Israel. And, as David won these victories, he collected the spoils of war: gold, silver, and more, which would be put in the treasury in Jerusalem and then could be used as building materials in the future Temple.
3. David continued to plan and prepare for the Temple.
We are not there yet in the reading, but if you skip ahead to chapter twenty-two, you will see that David got everything ready, including his son Solomon, so that when he passed off the scene, the Temple could be built.
David worked very hard so that the next generation could have what he would never have. I find that type of sacrifice is missing in our culture today. It seems that many today are just interested in taking what they can today, often at the expense of the next generation. Our government is continually multiplying our national debt, which will have to be paid back by our children and grandchildren. What a shame. We ought to be working to pay off that debt and then build up a surplus as David did so that the next generation could enjoy it and then also build upon it for their children.
How about you? What are you doing today that will make the world a better place for your children and grandchildren? Let’s strive to leave behind something that will help the future generations fulfill God’s will for their lives.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 3 comments.
When the Going Get’s Tough …
Today’s Reading – 1 Chronicles 13 – 15 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
(Second Milers Read – John 13 – 14; Psalms 51 – 55; Proverbs 11)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 48:1 & 2
Read the “0511 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Read previous posts from this passage – “God’s Will – God’s Way;” and “Obededom – A Doorkeeper for the Lord.”
“Thus all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the LORD with shouting, and with sound of the cornet, and with trumpets, and with cymbals, making a noise with psalteries and harps.” (1 Chronicles 15:28)
It is never easy to pick up the pieces and keep moving forward after blowing it “big time.” The natural reaction to failure is to just go hide under a rock somewhere and quit. That is exactly what David probably wanted to do after failing to bring the ark of God to Jerusalem the first time; a failure by the way which resulted in the death of an innocent man – Uzza.
The background to the story is complicated, but basically what had happened was that the ark of God had been taken in previous years by the Philistines in a battle they fought with Israel. The Philistines received the judgment of God because of it, so they returned it to Israel. For years the ark remained in Kirjath-jearim, but when David became king he wanted to bring the ark to Jerusalem (See 1 Samuel 4 & 5). David’s first attempt to bring the ark to Jerusalem is recorded in 1 Chronicles 13. There we see David with all good intentions and excitement because he believes that he is doing something that the Lord would be pleased with. David may have been doing what God wanted done; the problem was, however, he was not doing it the way that God had instructed. The ark of God was supposed to be transported by the Levites in a very specific way:
“ This shall be the service of the sons of Kohath in the tabernacle of the congregation, about the most holy things:  And when the camp setteth forward, Aaron shall come, and his sons, and they shall take down the covering vail, and cover the ark of testimony with it:  And shall put thereon the covering of badgers’ skins, and shall spread over it a cloth wholly of blue, and shall put in the staves thereof. …  And when Aaron and his sons have made an end of covering the sanctuary, and all the vessels of the sanctuary, as the camp is to set forward; after that, the sons of Kohath shall come to bear it: but they shall not touch any holy thing, lest they die. These things are the burden of the sons of Kohath in the tabernacle of the congregation.” (Numbers 4:4-6, 15)
When David moved the ark in 1 Chronicles 13, he placed the ark on a “new cart,” which may at first sound like a great way to honor the Lord and His ark, but it was not the way that God wanted it done. It was supposed to be carried by the Levites. When the oxen that were pulling the cart stumbled and the cart wobbled, Uzza did what any of us would probably do, he put his hands on the ark to keep it from falling off of the cart. God was very upset because nobody was supposed to touch the ark. Even the Levites were forbidden to actually put their hands on the ark itself; they were only permitted to touch the staves (or rods) that were inserted into the loops on the ark. The result of Uzza’s (and David’s) error was that Uzza was killed by God. The fault for Uzza’s death, however, lay more with David and the Levites who should have known better. They blew it.
David failed, and his failure resulted in the death of a good man. That would have been enough to cause many a good man to quit trying to serve God at all, but David took some time to recover, and got back up and tried again to get it right, and this time He was successful. He instructs the Levites to carry the ark as prescribed by Moses in the Law, and they get the ark to Jerusalem where it belongs:
“ And David made him houses in the city of David, and prepared a place for the ark of God, and pitched for it a tent.  Then David said, None ought to carry the ark of God but the Levites: for them hath the LORD chosen to carry the ark of God, and to minister unto him for ever. …  For because ye did it not at the first, the LORD our God made a breach upon us, for that we sought him not after the due order.  So the priests and the Levites sanctified themselves to bring up the ark of the LORD God of Israel.  And the children of the Levites bare the ark of God upon their shoulders with the staves thereon, as Moses commanded according to the word of the LORD.” (1 Chronicles 15:1-2, 13-15)
The point of this article is simple: don’t quit. You are going to fail and will probably do so often. The only people that do not fail are people who do not do anything. Also, your failure may hurt other people who are completely innocent. Bad decisions often have horrible consequences. You will want to run and hide, but you must eventually get back up and keep doing what you need to do. Take some time to prayerfully reevaluate what went wrong, but if you know that what you are trying to do is the will of God, try again, but this time be sure to do it God’s way. “The tough keep going.” Good leaders are not people who do not ever fail, they just do not allow their failures to keep them from trying to succeed again.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 2 comments.
Just a Cup of Cold Water
Today’s Reading – 1 Chronicles 11 – 12 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
(Second Milers Read – John 11 – 12; Psalms 46 – 50; Proverbs 10)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 47:1
Read the “0510 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Read previous posts from this passage – “God Spotted Him First“ and “Double Heart.”
“And David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, that is at the gate! And the three brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: but David would not drink of it, but poured it out to the LORD,” (1 Chronicles 11:17-18)
Today’s passage reveals all of the mighty men that labored and served alongside of David, both before and after he became king. These men were with him as he was on the run and hiding from King Saul, and they continued to serve with him as he was given the kingdom of Judah, and then later when he became king over all of Israel. These men were faithful to David and to the Lord, and because they were in the will of God fighting the Lord’s battles, God blessed them mightily. It is amazing to see what these men were able to do in God’s strength.
Verses fifteen through nineteen tell a strange story regarding when David and his men were fighting against the Philistines. The likely account of this battle is found in 2 Samuel 5:17 – 21 and is the first victory David had after being made king over all of Israel. David was “in the hold,” the cave of Adullam, and he had enemy forces entrenched around him in the Valley of Rephaim. He makes a strange request, probably to no-one particularly; he was likely just thinking out loud. He expressed his wish for some of the water from the well back home in Bethlehem. He wasn’t asking or expecting that somebody would actually do it, he was just longing for some of that good water back home. Maybe there was no fresh or good water where he was, who knows.
Three of his faithful men, however, hear David’s request, and risk their lives to make it happen. David is doubtless shocked that these men would do this for him, but he is also very appreciative of their love for him. He does not accept the gift, but rather “poured it out to the Lord,” as an offering. I often wondered why David would not take the gift, especially after his men risk their lives to give it to him. However, David wasn’t about to enjoy that good water while the rest of his men were thirsty. He recognized his unworthiness for the gift, and he offered it instead to the Lord. This is reminiscent of Uriah the Hittite, who would not go to enjoy the company of his wife while the rest of Israel’s army was out fighting a battle (See 2 Samuel 11:11 – 13).
There are two thoughts from this passage that I would like to share. First, I appreciate these men who took great risks to express their love and devotion to their king. David was their leader, and he was the one whom God had chosen to be the king. And he was a good king. He loved his people, and served right alongside of his men. Our King is the Lord Jesus Christ, and we ought to be willing to do anything to please Him. But, we also ought to get better at expressing our appreciation for the people who are important to us. During this COVID-19 pandemic, many are finding creative ways to express their thanks to all of the necessary workers, especially those health care workers who are at the highest risk of contracting the virus. It is interesting that Jesus actually used the illustration of giving a cup of cold water as being deserving of a reward (See Matthew 10:42).
My second thought concerns David’s reluctance to take the gift. There are many leaders of men who would have selfishly demanded a lot more than just a drink of water. They see themselves as better than other men, deserving of more honor. They expect others to serve them, but are reluctant to be “servant leaders” themselves. David didn’t see himself this way. He considered himself completely unworthy of all that God had done for him. You and I are completely unworthy of all of the blessings that God has bestowed upon us as well.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 1 comment.
Too Big For His Britches
Today’s Reading – 1 Chronicles 9 – 10 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
(Second Milers Read – John 9 – 10; Psalm 41 – 45; Proverbs 9)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 34:6
Read the “0509 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Read a previous post from this passage – “Who are the Nethinims?“
“So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the LORD, even against the word of the LORD, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to enquire of it; And enquired not of the LORD: therefore he slew him, and turned the kingdom unto David the son of Jesse.” – (1 Chronicles 10:13-14)
“And Samuel said, When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the LORD anointed thee king over Israel?” – (1 Samuel 15:17)
In 1 Chronicles, chapter 10, God tells us about the death of King Saul and his sons. God also tells us here the reasons that He took His hand of protection and blessing from the life of Saul; and when we compare this passage to some of the other passages in 1 Samuel that reveal the events of Saul’s life and reign as king, the picture gets a little bit clearer. Saul simply became “too big for his britches”. You’ve heard that expression before, haven’t you? My grandmother used to say that about me when I was a young boy. It simply means that your opinion of yourself is greater than the reality.
King Saul started out very well. He was always insecure, but in the early days he was a very humble man. When chosen by God to be the king of Israel, Saul’s life was dramatically changed, and though he was head and shoulders above the rest, he did not see himself as anything special. He was right to think that way because he really wasn’t special, and neither are we. However, in these early years of his reign as king, Saul trusted in God. As time went on, however, Saul became concerned with the opinion polls, and he was especially nervous about a young man in his kingdom by the name of David that was gaining popularity. Saul’s insecurity and pride caused him to make a lot of decisions completely independent of God; and he eventually got to the point where he was doing everything he could just to hold on to his power and throne: everything except humble himself before God.
The story of Saul serves as a good example to all of us who are in God’s service. God chooses us to serve Him, not because of anything we have to offer him. We have no intrinsic value, but God chooses to use us for his glory. The danger comes when we start wanting to steal a little bit of that glory for ourselves. We get too big for our britches just like Saul did. It is really a vicious cycle: we start out humbling depending on God to use us; God begins to use us and bless us in tremendous ways; we then begin to subconsciously think that those blessings were due to our own merit; then we begin to openly display our pride; then God has to pull away those blessings; and finally we fall on our faces back to the place of humility again.
Would to God we could just stay humble, realizing ”it is God which worketh in[us] both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” – (Philippians 2:13) God is the One who butters our bread, and we had better not forget it. Is God using you? – Praise God! But don’t get cocky, because God can pull away His hand of blessing from your life whenever He chooses.
Posted in Thoughts from 1 Chronicles by Phil Erickson with 1 comment.
Today’s Reading – 1 Chronicles 7 – 8 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
(Second Milers Read – John 7 – 8; Psalms 36 – 40; Proverbs 8)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 34:1 – 4
Read the “0508 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
“And the sons of Tola; Uzzi, and Rephaiah, and Jeriel, and Jahmai, and Jibsam, and Shemuel, heads of their father’s house, to wit, of Tola: they were valiant men of might in their generations; whose number was in the days of David two and twenty thousand and six hundred.” – (1 Chronicles 7:2)
1 Chronicles 7 contains the genealogies of several of the tribes of Israel and lists many of the heads of the families that were alive when the Israelites were moving into the Promised Land during and after the time of Joshua. As you will recall, this land was full of the enemies of God’s people and they all had to be removed from the land. In addition to the above verse, four times in this passage of Scripture the phrase “men of valour” is used to describe these men. I looked up the word “valour” in the dictionary and it defines it as great courage in the face of danger. Some of the synonyms listed in the thesaurus for the word “valour” are bravery, courage, pluck, nerve, and fearlessness. I admire men who rise to the challenge and are willing to risk their lives for a greater cause than their own personal safety. God raised up these “men of valour” in Israel at a time when the people of God were facing incredible obstacles while claiming the inheritance that God had given them.
I remember the daring assault by the US Navy Seals in Pakistan which resulted in the removal of Usama bin Laden. These Seals are incredibly brave men, who are often asked to put their lives in great danger for the cause of liberty. I am very thankful for men who will lay their own safety on the line so that my family is kept safe. In a few weeks we will be observing Memorial Day. For many years this holiday meant little to me. For the most part it was a day for hamburgers, hot dogs, and potato salad; and a time to have barbecues or picnics with friends and family. But as I get older and I look at my children and the opportunities they have here in this great nation, my mind is forced to think about the brave men and women who made it all possible for us. I would like to thank all of you who might be reading this thought this morning who may have served our nation in the armed forces. You are truly men and women of valour.
As I was reflecting on my admiration of the men from this passage, and my appreciation for the men and women in America who keep us free, I was also challenged to consider what my contributions have been to make our country a better place. What sacrifices have I been willing to make so that life could be better for my family and neighbors? I want my life to make a difference as well. I don’t think that I will ever be called upon to go into a physical battle against some opposing army, but perhaps I can do some spiritual battle with the forces of darkness. I can also sacrifice some of my time, talent, and treasures to help people in a tangible way. Maybe there is something that you can do as well.
Posted in Thoughts from 1 Chronicles by Phil Erickson with 3 comments.
The Levites – God’s Ministers
Today’s Reading – 1 Chronicles 6 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
(Second Milers Read – John 5 – 6; Psalms 31 – 35; Proverbs 7)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 25
Read the “0507 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
“Now these are their dwelling places throughout their castles in their coasts, of the sons of Aaron, of the families of the Kohathites: for theirs was the lot. And they gave them Hebron in the land of Judah, and the suburbs thereof round about it.” – (1 Chronicles 6:54-55)
In 1 Chronicles, chapter six, we have the genealogy, and the land distribution of the families of the Levites. Remember, the Levites were the folks ordained by God to minister for Him in the Tabernacle, and they were not given their own portion of land like the rest of the 11 tribes were. According to this chapter the Levitical families were given cities within the borders of each of the other tribes. This was no small number of cities either: they were given literally dozens of cities to live in. I often wondered why God didn’t just give them a region surrounding the place where the tabernacle (and later the temple) would rest. It would seem that it would be more convenient to live near where they primarily ministered. Perhaps the reason God set it up this way was because that the needs of the Levites were to be met by the other tribes. The other tribes supplied them with their food and other needs, and it was certainly more convenient for them to have some of the Levites nearby. Apparently the families of the Levites did not all have to report to the tabernacle every day, because the distance that some of them would have to travel would render that impossible. They must have taken turns travelling to the tabernacle to serve the Lord. It is also evident that the tabernacle was not in Jerusalem early on. The tabernacle started out in Gilgal, then was moved to Shiloh, and then to Nob. It was finally placed in Jerusalem by David; and then was replaced by Solomon’s Temple.
This portion of Scripture gives us a more accurate picture of what reality was for these servants of God. I always thought that the entire ministry team for the tabernacle was perhaps a few dozen people who all lived right outside the entrance. I never realized that it was a huge number of people (perhaps several hundred thousand). Think of the logistics of organizing this team of workers. Think of the planning required to make sure that all of their physical needs were met.
As our church grows in number, we will also have to expand our ability to administrate all of the people and logistics required to facilitate that growth. God will have to give us wisdom as to how to best accomplish this. However, we must be prepared to change the way we do things. Growth is a natural part of life. We are expected to grow; but along with numerical growth will also have to be an expansion of ability and administration so that the needs of the increasing numbers of people can be met. You can help, by asking God what he would have you do to help in this awesome task. I believe the reason that many churches stop growing is not because they are off in doctrine, and not because they don’t love the Lord or His people, but simply because they never expand their abilities in order to administrate a larger work. They are trying to run a large church in the same way they did when the church was small. Don’t misunderstand, many things should stay exactly the same; but unfortunately many things will by necessity have to change.
Posted in Thoughts from 1 Chronicles by Phil Erickson with 4 comments.
His Name Is “Mudd”
Today’s Reading – 1 Chronicles 1 – 2 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
(Second Milers Read – John 1 – 2; Psalms 21 – 25; Proverbs 5)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 18:3 & 46
Read the “0505 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
“And the sons of Carmi; Achar, the troubler of Israel, who transgressed in the thing accursed.” (1 Chronicles 2:7 )
I must be completely honest with you and state that it was a little challenging finding a thought to write about from today’s Scripture reading. The first few chapters of 1 Chronicles contain some very important and necessary, but also somewhat tedious information regarding the genealogical record of Israel. We really should not skip over passages of Scripture such as these because there is always a great nugget of truth hidden inside somewhere. So hang in there. By the way, eventually 1 Chronicles will become a very exciting book to read.
My thought this morning comes from chapter 2, and verse 7. In the middle of the genealogical record there is a comment made about one of the listed men, Achar. He is called here “the troubler of Israel’s.”8 The story behind this man can be found in Johsua 7. He is called Achan there and we find that he is the man that stole some gold and silver and a “goodly Babylonish garment” from the city of Jericho during Israel’s invasion of that city. The problem was that God told the Israelites that they were not supposed to touch anything in that city, but Achan could not resist. As a result, God’s judgment fell upon the whole nation of Israel and they lost the next military battle with many innocent men being killed in the battle. Later, when Achan’s sin was discovered, he and his family were all put to death. The bottom line to this whole story is that Achan was probably a good man who yielded to a temptation and the result was death and sorrow for a lot of people, and a reputation that will follow him for all eternity. His name will forever be “Mudd”.
I want to challenge all of us to consider for a moment our own reputation, and the affect that our reputation will have on our family members. I understand that none of us is without sin and I am certainly not trying to rub salt on old wounds, but I am trying to get us to carefully consider the affect that some future sin will have on our reputations. When people hear your name in the future what will they say about you? Will they say that you were a moral, honest, hard-working individual? Or, will there be negative thoughts that surround your reputation? By the way, if your reputation is less than perfect today, you still have time to change it.
Interesting side note on the expression “His Name is Mudd.” It seems to have become popular as a result of a doctor named Samuel Mudd (pictured above) who treated and helped John Wilkes Booth after he broke his leg jumping down from the balcony in the Ford’s Theater, after his assassination of President Lincoln. Mudd was convicted and sentenced to life in prison, though he was later paroled by President Andrew Johnson.
Posted in Thoughts from 1 Chronicles by Phil Erickson with 1 comment.
A Space of Grace
Today’s Reading – 2 Kings 20 – 22 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
(Second Milers Read – Luke 21 – 22; Psalms 11 – 15; Proverbs 3)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Joshua 1:8
Read the “0503 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Read previous posts from this passage – “He Should Have Quit While He Was Ahead;” and “Have You Found the Book?”
“Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof, even all the words of the book which the king of Judah hath read: Because they have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the works of their hands; therefore my wrath shall be kindled against this place, and shall not be quenched. But to the king of Judah which sent you to enquire of the LORD, thus shall ye say to him, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, As touching the words which thou hast heard; Because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before the LORD, when thou heardest what I spake against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before me; I also have heard thee, saith the LORD. Behold therefore, I will gather thee unto thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered into thy grave in peace; and thine eyes shall not see all the evil which I will bring upon this place. And they brought the king word again.” (2 Kings 22:16-20)
After the Word of God was discovered in the Temple while renovations were being made, King Josiah realized that the southern kingdom of Judah was far away from where she once was, and where she should have been. The king is a great man and desperately wants to get things right with the Lord, so he goes to a woman, named Huldah, a prophetess, who explained to him that judgment was certainly in store for Judah for the sins of her past. However, the good news is that the coming judgment would be postponed until after the days of King Josiah. Why? Because his heart was tender, and he was greatly humbled before God. He was determined to do what was right and lead the people of God to submit to whatever God commanded them to do.
Fast forward a couple of hundred years, way past the time of Josiah, and also past the horrible judgment that was prophesied by the prophetess as well as by others. Jerusalem had been completely destroyed, including the Temple, and the people of God had been living in captivity for seventy years, first in Babylon and then in Persia. God now opens up a window for the people of God to go back into the land of Judah, rebuild the Temple and the City of Jerusalem, and worship and serve the Lord as God had commanded them through Moses. Ezra the priest was leading a remnant of the people of God in worship, and explained to them that God had given them grace for a “little space.”
“And said, O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens. Since the days of our fathers have we been in a great trespass unto this day; and for our iniquities have we, our kings, and our priests, been delivered into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, and to a spoil, and to confusion of face, as it is this day. And now for a little space grace hath been shewed from the LORD our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a nail in his holy place, that our God may lighten our eyes, and give us a little reviving in our bondage. For we were bondmen; yet our God hath not forsaken us in our bondage, but hath extended mercy unto us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us a reviving, to set up the house of our God, and to repair the desolations thereof, and to give us a wall in Judah and in Jerusalem.” (Ezra 9:6-9)
I believe that God will give America a space of grace as well, even though judgment is certainly warranted for our sins as a nation. We have forsaken God; we have tolerated, condoned and even promoted all kinds of vile immorality, and we have murdered the unborn by the millions. Our country certainly has judgment in its future, and it may be that we are experiencing some of that right now through the pandemic and all the hatred and division. But, we can also get that space of grace if we will simply humble ourselves and submit to the will of the Lord.
“If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:13-14)
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 5 comments.
Spread It Before the Lord
Today’s Reading – 2 Kings 18 – 19 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
(Second Milers Read – Luke 19 – 20; Psalms 6 – 10; Proverbs 2)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Deuteronomy 32:4
Read the “0502 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Read a previous post from this passage – “Now You’ve Crossed the Line”
“And it came to pass, when king Hezekiah heard it, that he rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the LORD.” – (2 Kings 19:1)
“And Hezekiah received the letter of the hand of the messengers, and read it: and Hezekiah went up into the house of the LORD, and spread it before the LORD.” – (2 Kings 19:14)
In our passage this morning in 2 Kings. we see the city of Jerusalem surrounded by the army from Assyria. Assyria had already conquered much of the known world at that time, including the northern kingdom of Israel, and Jerusalem in Judah certainly did not have the military strength to repel such a powerful force. Hezekiah, the King of Judah did what we all should do when we are faced with problems far bigger than our own human ability to solve: he went to the Lord. Notice in verse 1 above that Hezekiah went into the house of the Lord. That’s a good place to go to find answers, isn’t it. He then sent for the man of God, Isaiah. In this passage we can see a recipe that will help us in time of trouble. Go to God; go to God’s house; seek counsel from the man of God.
Notice in verse 14 above, the Assyrian’s are threatening again, and Hezekiah does the same thing that he did the first time. Why wouldn’t he? By the way, both times God delivers Jerusalem from the mighty Assyrians. The first time, God just lures them away from Jerusalem, but the second time He actually kills 185,000 of them. They should have quit while they were ahead.
So, what can we learn from this passage? When you are faced with questions and problems that are bigger than yourself, go to God. Look into the Bible for answers to your questions. Seek counsel from the men and women that God has placed in your life to help you. And whatever you do, do not forsake the house of God, when you are faced with problems. It very well may be that God will solve your problem there. The older I get, the more I realize that my life is bigger than my ability to live it right, and I often find myself not knowing what to do. I need God’s help. I need God’s wisdom. Our church is always facing decisions that drive us to our knees. My family is facing decisions regarding the future. We need God’s wisdom; God’s help. We need to spread these things before the Lord.
“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” – (James 1:5 )
Posted in Thoughts from 2 Kings by Phil Erickson with 6 comments.