July 8

1 Chronicles 5:18–6:81

We begin this section of the genealogy with the account of an alliance of the 2 1/2 tribes located on the east side of the Jordan. When the children of Israel entered the land in their inception, they went to war and won. The reason for their victory is given in:

1 Chronicles 5:20 (NKJV) “And they were helped against them, and the Hagrites were delivered into their hand, and all who were with them, for they cried out to God in the battle. He heeded their prayer, because they put their trust in Him.”

These 2 1/2 tribes of Israel cried out to God in battle – they put their trust in Him, so He heeded their prayer and helped them. It’s as simple as that, a lesson for us all…that we would do the same in our every day “battles.”

Fast forward a few centuries, and these same 2 1/2 tribes – who once trusted the LORD, turned away from Him. God therefore allowed the Assyrians to come, conquer, and carry them away captive. Such a tragedy.

We all have that choice, to serve God or not. Here we see the clear contrast – the diametrically different results – victory or captivity, life or death? The choice is ours (Deuteronomy 30:19).

Chapter 6 begins with the sons of Levi.

Bible Knowledge Commentary, “Levi’s genealogy begins by referring to the line of which Moses and Aaron were a part because of their obvious importance.”

This chapter goes on to trace the lineage of the High Priests until the time of the captivity (1 Chronicles 6:14).

Levi was the priestly tribe, and just as Jacob (Israel) is known for his twelve sons, Levi is known for his three sons, Gershon, Kohath, and Merrari. Here we have the priest’s families and cities saturated throughout the nation of Israel. The priests were not allowed to own the land (for the LORD was their portion), but they were granted land to live on from each tribe, along with its common-lands (pasture).

Chronicles is written by a priest (Ezra) with a priestly perspective. It’s for that reason the priests are given a little more attention at this point, with an emphasis upon the musicians appointed by David (another musician). These musicians would lead worship at the Tabernacle and eventually the Temple (1 Chronicles 6:31-32).

Acts 26:1-32

For the third time in the book of Acts we hear the story of Paul’s conversion; this time he’s testifying to King Herod Agrippa II, his sister Bernice, Governor Festus, and many others (more than likely this is in the Amphitheater in Caesarea). I’ve been there during our visits to Israel (see pic below).

Amphitheater in Caesarea

Testimonies are powerful. Sometimes we don’t know what to say when we want to share with others, but all we need to do is tell the truth. How has Jesus changed your life? What has He delivered your from?

Paul was raised with an exceptional Jewish upbringing. Everyone knew he was a strict Pharisee. Paul was so zealous for the law and Jewish religion that he hated Christians. Paul persecuted them in Jerusalem and even to foreign cities (plural). Paul compelled them to deny their faith, he imprisoned them, and even had them put to death!

In the middle of all the madness, Jesus appeared to him (brighter than the sun) on the road to Damascus.

I’m always amazed at the question Jesus asked him, “WHY are you persecuting Me?” Paul was a young man filled with rage, but I have a hunch there was a lot of pain deep down inside – and here he is taking it out on Christians. There are so many people “out there” doing scandalous things – we’re inclined to immediately judge them, but it might be wise to ask them, “Why? Why are you doing these things?”

For some it was life without a dad (Paul’s father may have been killed in the war) – it’s not an excuse for sin, but in one sense there are reasons why, explanations that are the root of rebellion. Jesus asked Saul “Why?” He even commented on how difficult it was. He entered Paul’s world compassionately, “…it is hard for you…” isn’t it?

Plenty of food for thought. Even the fact that when Paul was persecuting the church, He was persecuting Christ. Jesus asked Him, “Why are you persecuting ME?” (Acts 26:14). We discover that the church is the body of Christ, even the bride of Christ. Whenever anyone opposes us, they oppose Him.

That was Paul (Saul), but there on the road to Damascus, on the road to do evil, he was completely set free. When Paul was saved, he was immediately commissioned to ministry, to both Jews and Gentiles, “…to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins…” God not only saved him, but wanted to use him as a minister on His behalf. Talk about grace! Did you ever consider the fact that God wants to use you to help others?

Warren Wiersbe wrote, “When Paul met Jesus on the road to Damascus, he made some important, life-changing discoveries: his religion was out-of-date; his zeal for God was only hurting God; Jesus was alive; and Jesus had a job for Paul to do. Talk about a rude awakening!”

I love what Paul said in:

Acts 26:9a (NKJV) “Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision…” 

God help us NOT to be disobedient to the calling He has upon our lives.

Paul shared the Gospel brilliantly – the cross and resurrection (Acts 26:23) and the words of Jesus in

Acts 26:18 (NKJV) “…that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.”

Governor Festus thought Paul was crazy, but King Agrippa may have been touched by the testimony of the Apostle. We read their exchange in:

Acts 26:28 (NKJV) “Then Agrippa said to Paul, ‘You almost persuade me to become a Christian.’

Almost? Almost a Christian?

Sandy Adams warns us, “Agrippa admitted he had almost become a Christian. I wonder how many of hell’s inhabitants will say the same.”

Charles Spurgeon said, “Almost persuaded to be a Christian is like the man who was almost pardoned, but he was hanged; like the man who was almost rescued, but he was burned in the house. A man that is almost saved is damned.”

After his testimony, Paul could have been let go, but he had already appealed to Caesar. No worries, it’s all part of God’s plan!

Psalm 6:1-10

In Psalm 6 David is severely ill, on the brink of death. He sees it as a combination of God’s discipline (God allowing it) and the enemy coming against him. So he prays…and he’s confident, God will hear and God will heal (Psalm 6:9).

I believe that when people get hit physically, financially, and emotionally, they also enter into a battle spiritually. The enemy tries to capitalize on it and discourage us. David even writes and questions:

Psalm 6:3 (NKJV) “My soul also is greatly troubled; but You, O LORD—how long?”

It wasn’t just a physical thing. It never is. It’s for that reason we need to look up and do what David did – have faith, pray, and stay focused on the Lord.

Proverbs 18:20-21

It’s not just allegorical, it’s actual. Our words are seeds sown in the soil of the soul. If we speak good seeds, we’ll be blessed and others will as well. It’ll produce good fruit for a good life. But if we plant bad seed, poison, un-loving, things that are untrue, it’s a diet of death.

Charles Bridges, “Who does not take care about what seeds he sows? The farmer knows that his harvest is dependent on which seeds he scatters. The fruit of our lips, the power of our tongue, can give one of two harvests. It can be poisonous or wholesome. It can lead to life or death. Evil words tend to death, good words to life. Good words bring comfort to the speaker as well as to the listener. There is no middle path. There are only extremes. It is either the worst of evils or the best of blessings.”

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

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