1829.) 1 Chronicles 23

May 5, 2016

These next chapters give us a picture of the people of God organized for a life of service. They show us that God is central in all of life.

1 Chronicles 23 (New Living Translation)

Duties of the Levites

1 When David was an old man, he appointed his son Solomon to be king over Israel.

David had other sons who might also claim the throne of Israel after his death, especially Adonijah. 1 Kings 1:31-40 describes in greater detail how David made sure that Solomon and not Adonijah took the throne after his death.

2 David summoned all the leaders of Israel, together with the priests and Levites. 3 All the Levites who were thirty years old or older were counted,

Numbers 4:1-3 says a Levite takes his assigned responsibilities once he turns 30.

and the total came to 38,000. 4 Then David said, “From all the Levites, 24,000 will supervise the work at the Temple of the Lord. Another 6,000 will serve as officials and judges. 5 Another 4,000 will work as gatekeepers, and 4,000 will praise the Lord with the musical instruments I have made.”

1Chron23 levite_musicians

These 38,000 qualified Levites were divided into different duties.

To look after the work of the house of the Lord: The temple was a busy place constantly flowing with worshipers, sacrifice, and service unto God. It took many skilled people to take care of all the practical matters behind this activity.

 Officers and judges: The Levites were also the civil servants for the kingdom of Israel. Governmental records, decisions, and administration were all in the hands of the Levites.

 Gatekeepers: These had the responsibility for security, both in a practical and spiritual sense. They made sure that only those who were ready to serve and worship God could come to the temple and its associated building.

 Four thousand praised the Lord: These Levites had the job of worshiping God both with their voices and musical instruments. They did this both to honor God directly and also to encourage others to worship God.

–David Guzik

6Then David divided the Levites into divisions named after the clans descended from the three sons of Levi—Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.

The Gershonites

7 The Gershonite family units were defined by their lines of descent from Libni and Shimei, the sons of Gershon. 8 Three of the descendants of Libni were Jehiel (the family leader), Zetham, and Joel. 9 These were the leaders of the family of Libni.
Three of the descendants of Shimei were Shelomoth, Haziel, and Haran. 10 Four other descendants of Shimei were Jahath, Ziza, Jeush, and Beriah. 11Jahath was the family leader, and Ziza was next. Jeush and Beriah were counted as a single family because neither had many sons.

The Kohathites

Aaron was the first high priest of Israel.

12 Four of the descendants of Kohath were Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel.
13 The sons of Amram were Aaron and Moses. Aaron and his descendants were set apart to dedicate the most holy things, to offer sacrifices in the Lord’s presence, to serve the Lord, and to pronounce blessings in his name forever.

A priestly job description:

(from the King James Bible) 

to sanctify the most holy things,
to burn incense before the LORD,
to minister unto him,
and to bless in his name for ever.

14 As for Moses, the man of God, his sons were included with the tribe of Levi. 15 The sons of Moses were Gershom and Eliezer. 16 The descendants of Gershom included Shebuel, the family leader. 17 Eliezer had only one son, Rehabiah, the family leader. Rehabiah had numerous descendants.
18 The descendants of Izhar included Shelomith, the family leader.
19 The descendants of Hebron included Jeriah (the family leader), Amariah (the second), Jahaziel (the third), and Jekameam (the fourth).
20The descendants of Uzziel included Micah (the family leader) and Isshiah (the second).

The Merarites

21 The descendants of Merari included Mahli and Mushi.
The sons of Mahli were Eleazar and Kish. 22 Eleazar died with no sons, only daughters. His daughters married their cousins, the sons of Kish.
23Three of the descendants of Mushi were Mahli, Eder, and Jerimoth.

24 These were the descendants of Levi by clans, the leaders of their family groups, registered carefully by name. Each had to be twenty years old or older to qualify for service in the house of the Lord. 25 For David said, “The Lord, the God of Israel, has given us peace, and he will always live in Jerusalem. 26 Now the Levites will no longer need to carry the Tabernacle and its furnishings from place to place.”

David foresaw that the Temple which he was planning would require considerable personnel to maintain it it. The bringing of the ark to Jerusalem has inaugurated a new era in Levitical service, since the central Levitical duty presented in Numbers chapters 3-4 is the tending of the accoutrements of the now obsolete mobile sanctuary. David has divided the Levites on the one hand according to traditional family groupings (Gershom, Kohath, and Merari), and on the other according to their new functions, viz., officers and judges, gatekeepers and musicians.

–J. G. McConville

27 In accordance with David’s final instructions, all the Levites twenty years old or older were registered for service.

28 The work of the Levites was to assist the priests, the descendants of Aaron, as they served at the house of the Lord. They also took care of the courtyards and side rooms, helped perform the ceremonies of purification, and served in many other ways in the house of God. 29 They were in charge of the sacred bread that was set out on the table, the choice flour for the grain offerings, the wafers made without yeast, the cakes cooked in olive oil, and the other mixed breads. They were also responsible to check all the weights and measures. 30 And each morning and evening they stood before the Lord to sing songs of thanks and praise to him.

1Chron23 every morning

31 They assisted with the burnt offerings that were presented to the Lord on Sabbath days, at new moon celebrations, and at all the appointed festivals. The required number of Levites served in the Lord’s presence at all times, following all the procedures they had been given.

Some of these jobs assigned to the Levites were menial. Every undertaking conceals a vast amount of unseen and unrecognized work for it to be successful. But all that work being done around the Temple, great and small, was glorious in God’s eyes. How careful are we in noticing the seemingly mundane work done by faithful people of God for the sake of our own safety, comfort, and well-being?

32 And so, under the supervision of the priests, the Levites watched over the Tabernacle and the Temple and faithfully carried out their duties of service at the house of the Lord.

_________________________

Music:

Songs of thanks and praise to God every morning and evening! Don’t you want to join them?  HERE  is “Bless the Lord, oh, my soul!” — Andrae Crouch style!

_________________________

New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Serve one another.    http://southvalleychurch.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Serving.jpg
Levite musicians.   http://biblestudyoutlines.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/levite_musicians.jpg
Aaron.    http://www.edgarphillips.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/high-priest-1.jpg
Stand every morning.   https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/0d/f0/22/0df0227aea593b9d6884d8fe39bb0bcd.jpg

1828.) 1 Chronicles 22

May 4, 2016

David gives the plans for the Temple to Solomon.

1 Chronicles 22 (New Living Translation)

1 Then David said, “This will be the location for the Temple of the Lord God and the place of the altar for Israel’s burnt offerings!”

Preparations for the Temple

2 So David gave orders to call together the foreigners living in Israel,

1 Kings 5:15-18 describes how these were actually put to work in the building of the temple in Solomon’s day, some 70,000 slaves.

and he assigned them the task of preparing finished stone for building the Temple of God.

dressing stone

3 David provided large amounts of iron for the nails that would be needed for the doors in the gates and for the clamps,

hand made iron nails

Earlier in Israel’s history, iron had been under the control of the Philistines. But since David had brought them under Israelite rule, now the iron itself and the skills to work it were available.

and he gave more bronze than could be weighed. 4He also provided innumerable cedar logs, for the men of Tyre and Sidon had brought vast amounts of cedar to David.

cedar logs

5 David said, “My son Solomon is still young and inexperienced. And since the Temple to be built for the Lord must be a magnificent structure, famous and glorious throughout the world, I will begin making preparations for it now.” So David collected vast amounts of building materials before his death.


Just as David was not the man to build, Solomon was not the man to plan. The Temple will be a result of both men’s gifts and work. Truth to tell, all service to God is cooperative. That is why we are  called “the body of Christ” — many members working together. 

6 Then David sent for his son Solomon and instructed him to build a Temple for the Lord, the God of Israel.

David assures Solomon that the Lord and David both have chosen him to build the Temple:

7“My son, I wanted to build a Temple to honor the name of the Lord my God,” David told him. 8 “But the Lord said to me, ‘You have killed many men in the battles you have fought. And since you have shed so much blood in my sight, you will not be the one to build a Temple to honor my name. 9 But you will have a son who will be a man of peace. I will give him peace with his enemies in all the surrounding lands. His name will be Solomon, and I will give peace and quiet to Israel during his reign. 10 He is the one who will build a Temple to honor my name. He will be my son, and I will be his father. And I will secure the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever.’

David reminds Solomon of the requirement of obedience to God and prays for Solomon’s wisdom as he builds and as he rules:

11 “Now, my son, may the Lord be with you and give you success as you follow his directions in building the Temple of the Lord your God. 12 And may the Lord give you wisdom and understanding, that you may obey the Law of the Lord your God as you rule over Israel  13 For you will be successful if you carefully obey the decrees and regulations that the Lord gave to Israel through Moses. Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid or lose heart!

14 “I have worked hard to provide materials for building the Temple of the Lord—nearly 4,000 tons of gold, 40,000 tons of silver, and so much iron and bronze that it cannot be weighed. I have also gathered timber and stone for the walls, though you may need to add more. 15 You have a large number of skilled stonemasons and carpenters and craftsmen of every kind. 16 You have expert goldsmiths and silversmiths and workers of bronze and iron. Now begin the work, and may the Lord be with you!”

David is an example of someone who works in the background, who receives none or little credit for his work, but the job cannot be done without him.

· David gathered the materials for the temple

· David prepared some of those materials

· David won the peace with surrounding nations that Israel needed to build the temple

· David found and purchased the site to build the temple

· David established the plans for the temple

· David organized and commanded the administration and servants of the temple

Yet no one calls it “David’s temple.” It seems that all the credit, all the name, all the glory goes to Solomon. Even so, it doesn’t seem to have bothered David, because he was a man after God’s heart.

–David Guzik

17 Then David ordered all the leaders of Israel to assist Solomon in this project. 18 “The Lord your God is with you,” he declared. “He has given you peace with the surrounding nations. He has handed them over to me, and they are now subject to the Lord and his people. 19 Now seek the Lord your God with all your heart and soul. Build the sanctuary of the Lord God so that you can bring the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant and the holy vessels of God into the Temple built to honor the Lord’s name.”

The Temple also has a dimension of witness for David and Solomon and the people of Israel. Verse 5 says it is to be “exceedingly magnificent, of fame and glory throughout all lands.” An essential part of their raison d’etre as God’s people is to demonstrate before all the world that God alone is worthy of worship. The splendour of the Temple is not self-indulgent, nor dedicated to the greater glory of King Solomon—but a symbol, in a world in which such symbols were important, that the God of Israel was King over all the earth.

–J. D. McConville

_________________________

Music:

“You Are Worthy” is a phrase that has been on the lips of believers from David’s time till now.  We join  HERE  with the saints of all the ages, and the angels, and all creation in praising God’s name!

Any crown I’ve ever worn
I lay it down
Any praise I’ve ever gained
I give it all to You

For there’s nothing in this world
That can compare
For You alone are worthy
You alone are worthy

You are near to all who call
Upon Your name
Ever giving, ever loving
You remain the same

For You open up Your hand
And satisfy
I give You all the glory
Give You all the glory

You are worthy, oh Lord, of all honor
You are worthy to receive all praise
In Your presence I live and with all I have to give
I will worship You

I will worship you
Honor You

Glorify Your holy name
I will worship You
Honor You
Glorify Your holy name

_________________________

New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
David and Solomon.     http://www.ellenwhite.info/images/chapt-illus/PP/RH-DavidGivesTemplePlansToSolomon_DSC_0023.jpg
dressing stone.    http://i3.ytimg.com/vi/v_LAumupL2U/0.jpg
nails.     http://www.handfaste.se/cache/large/339.jpg
cedar logs.     http://www.easygreen.net/cedar_logs/cedar_log_boom.jpg
body of Christ.    http://elvishjesusfreak.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/body-of-christ.jpg
picture of Solomon’s temple from an old manuscript.   http://epochalnisvet.cz/wp-content/uploads/Takto-z%C5%99ejm%C4%9B-vypadal-p%C5%AFvodn%C3%AD-jeruzal%C3%A9msk%C3%BD-chr%C3%A1m.jpg

1827.) 1 Chronicles 21

May 3, 2016

“King David Purchasing the Threshing Floor” by William Brassey Hole

1 Chronicles 21 (New Living Translation)

The theme of the preparations for the building of the Temple continues.  We have seen the promise to David that Solomon would be the builder (ch. 17), and how David’s wars would contribute to the project (18-20).  Now, in chapter 21, the site of the Temple is located.  There is so much other important material in this chapter that its central purpose can be missed at first reading.  Yet the Chronicler has taken pains to show how all the events of the chapter serve that purpose.  And in the end we see that the discovery of the location of the Temple site is only won through a scenario of sin, in all its mysteriousness, judgment and mercy.

–J. G. McConville

David Takes a Census

Satan rose up against Israel and caused David to take a census of the people of Israel.

“When Satan incites, he is interested merely in his own ends. He neither cares for righteous punishment nor looks for possible repentance, since they are as foreign to his nature as temptation to sin is to God’s.”

–Martin J. Selman, British Old Testament professor and author (born 1947)

2So David said to Joab and the commanders of the army, “Take a census of all the people of Israel—from Beersheba in the south to Dan in the north—and bring me a report so I may know how many there are.”

3 But Joab replied, “May the Lord increase the number of his people a hundred times over! But why, my lord the king, do you want to do this? Are they not all your servants? Why must you cause Israel to sin?”

4 But the king insisted that they take the census, so Joab traveled throughout all Israel to count the people.

The question here, I think, seems to be motivation. A census in itself is no sin; Moses conducted two such counts in the wilderness. It cannot be a sin in that it is for a military purpose, since God has been with David and brought him military victories. So did Satan cause David to be overly proud of himself as a military leader and place his reliance, and perhaps his ideas for future military action, on his own numerical strength? Was he forgetting God in this arena?

Then he returned to Jerusalem 5 and reported the number of people to David. There were 1,100,000 warriors in all Israel who could handle a sword, and 470,000 in Judah. 6 But Joab did not include the tribes of Levi and Benjamin in the census because he was so distressed at what the king had made him do.

The Levites were priests and therefore not warriors. The Benjamites were a tiny tribe, having been decimated after the incident with the concubine of Gibea (Judges 19-21).

Judgment for David’s Sin

7 God was very displeased with the census, and he punished Israel for it. 8Then David said to God, “I have sinned greatly by taking this census. Please forgive my guilt for doing this foolish thing.”

“The chief interest of this chapter for us lies in the revelation of the true character of David. His sins were the lapses and accidents of his life. This is not to condone them. It is, however, to emphasize that the habitual set of his life was far otherwise than these sins suggest, and the deepest truth concerning him is revealed, not by the failures, but by his action afterwards.”

–G. Campbell Morgan, British evangelist, preacher, and a leading Biblical scholar (1863-1945)

9 Then the Lord spoke to Gad, David’s seer. This was the message: 10 “Go and say to David, ‘This is what the Lord says: I will give you three choices. Choose one of these punishments, and I will inflict it on you.’”

11 So Gad came to David and said, “These are the choices the Lord has given you. 12 You may choose three years of famine, three months of destruction by the sword of your enemies, or three days of severe plague as the angel of the Lord brings devastation throughout the land of Israel. Decide what answer I should give the Lord who sent me.”

I offer you three things: God used David’s sin and the resulting chastisement to reveal David’s heart and wisdom. His choice of the following three options would test David:

  • Three years of famine: This would surely be the death of some in Israel, but the wealthy and resourceful would survive. Israel would have to depend on neighboring nations for food
  • Three months to be defeated by your foes: This would be the death of some in Israel, but mostly only of soldiers. Israel would have to contend with enemies among neighboring nations
  • For three days . . . the plague in the land: This would be the death of some in Israel, but anyone could be struck by this plague — rich or poor, influential or anonymous, royalty or common

 –David Guzik

13 “I’m in a desperate situation!” David replied to Gad. “But let me fall into the hands of the Lord, for his mercy is very great. Do not let me fall into human hands.”

David chooses the shortest punishment. He also trusts God, who even at a time like this is still gracious and merciful.

14 So the Lord sent a plague upon Israel, and 70,000 people died as a result. 15 And God sent an angel to destroy Jerusalem. But just as the angel was preparing to destroy it, the Lord relented and said to the death angel, “Stop! That is enough!” At that moment the angel of the Lord was standing by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.

16 David looked up and saw the angel of the Lord standing between heaven and earth with his sword drawn, reaching out over Jerusalem. So David and the leaders of Israel put on burlap to show their deep distress and fell face down on the ground. 17 And David said to God, “I am the one who called for the census! I am the one who has sinned and done wrong! But these people are as innocent as sheep—what have they done? O Lord my God, let your anger fall against me and my family, but do not destroy your people.”

David Builds an Altar

18 Then the angel of the Lord told Gad to instruct David to go up and build an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.

“The decision of God to establish his altar and temple at Moriah in Jerusalem has affected all history (cf. Revelation 11:1); for this mountain became the focus of the Holy City, where His Son was crucified. And it will continue to affect history; for from this ‘city he loves’, he will some day rule the nations of the earth (Isaiah 2:2-4).”

–David F. Payne

19 So David went up to do what the Lord had commanded him through Gad. 20 Araunah, who was busy threshing wheat at the time, turned and saw the angel there. His four sons, who were with him, ran away and hid. 21When Araunah saw David approaching, he left his threshing floor and bowed before David with his face to the ground.

22 David said to Araunah, “Let me buy this threshing floor from you at its full price. Then I will build an altar to the Lord there, so that he will stop the plague.”

23 “Take it, my lord the king, and use it as you wish,” Araunah said to David. “I will give the oxen for the burnt offerings, and the threshing boards for wood to build a fire on the altar, and the wheat for the grain offering. I will give it all to you.”

24 But King David replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on buying it for the full price. I will not take what is yours and give it to the Lord. I will not present burnt offerings that have cost me nothing!” 25 So David gave Araunah 600 pieces of gold in payment for the threshing floor.

“Where there is true, strong love to Jesus, it will cost us something.
Love is the costliest of all undertakings . . .
But what shall we mind if we gain Christ?

You cannot give up for Him
without regaining everything you have renounced,

but purified and transfigured.”

–F. B. Meyer, contemporary and friend of D. L. Moody

_________________________

Music:

“All to Jesus I Surrender”  HERE  by Selah.

_________________________

26 David built an altar there to the Lord and sacrificed burnt offerings and peace offerings. And when David prayed, the Lord answered him by sending fire from heaven to burn up the offering on the altar. 27 Then the Lord spoke to the angel, who put the sword back into its sheath.

The sending of fire from heaven answered a question that had burned in the heart of David for a long time. For many years, he had wondered where God wanted the temple to be built, and he sought for that place, as shown in Psalm 132:1-5:

Lord, remember David
And all his afflictions;
How he swore to the Lord,
And vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob:
“Surely I will not go into the chamber of my house,
Or go up to the comfort of my bed;
I will not give sleep to my eyes
Or slumber to my eyelids,
Until I find a place for the Lord,
A dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.”

28 When David saw that the Lord had answered his prayer, he offered sacrifices there at Araunah’s threshing floor. 29 At that time the Tabernacle of the Lord and the altar of burnt offering that Moses had made in the wilderness were located at the place of worship in Gibeon. 30 But David was not able to go there to inquire of God, because he was terrified by the drawn sword of the angel of the Lord.

1 Then David said, “This will be the location for the Temple of the Lord God and the place of the altar for Israel’s burnt offerings!”

Exactly as Moses had told them!

Deuteronomy 12:10-11 (English Standard Version)

But when you go over the Jordan and live in the land that the LORD your God is giving you to inherit, and when he gives you rest from all your enemies around, so that you live in safety, then to the place that the LORD your God will choose, to make his name dwell there, there you shall bring all that I command you: your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes and the contribution that you present, and all your finest vow offerings that you vow to the LORD.

_________________________

New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Hole.     http://www.orientalism-in-art.org/King-David-purchasing-the-threshing-floor.html
question mark.     http://www.clker.com/cliparts/9/1/4/0/11954322131712176739question_mark_naught101_02.svg.med.png
1, 2, 3.     http://coachdawnwrites.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/123.jpg
threshing floor (near Nazareth).     https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/nazareth__threshing_floor-2.jpg
I surrender all.     http://www.popularhymns.com/images/i_surrender_all8.jpg

1826.) 2 Samuel 24

May 2, 2016

2Sam24 our God reigns

2 Samuel 24   (NRSV)

David’s Census of Israel and Judah

Again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, “Go, count the people of Israel and Judah.”

1 Chronicles 21:1 tells us, Now Satan stood up against Israel, and moved David to number Israel. Perhaps Satan moved David and is the “he” of 2 Samuel 24:1.  Yet the Lord expressly allowed it as a chastisement against David.

2So the king said to Joab and the commanders of the army, who were with him, “Go through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan to Beer-sheba, and take a census of the people, so that I may know how many there are.”

This was dangerous because of a principle stated in Exodus 30:12: When you take the census of the children of Israel for their number, then every man shall give a ransom for himself to the Lord, when you number them, that there may be no plague among them when you number them.

The principle of Exodus 30:12 speaks to God’s ownership of His people. In the thinking of these ancient cultures, a man only had the right to count or number what belonged to him. Israel didn’t belong to David; Israel belonged to God. It was up to the Lord to command a counting, and if David counted he should only do it at God’s command and receiving ransom money to “atone” for the counting.

–David Guzik

3But Joab said to the king, “May the Lord your God increase the number of the people a hundredfold, while the eyes of my lord the king can still see it! But why does my lord the king want to do this?”

4But the king’s word prevailed against Joab and the commanders of the army.

Joab and the commanders of the army objected to the taking of the census. Why didn’t David listen?

So Joab and the commanders of the army went out from the presence of the king to take a census of the people of Israel.

5They crossed the Jordan, and began from Aroer and from the city that is in the middle of the valley, toward Gad and on to Jazer. 6Then they came to Gilead, and to Kadesh in the land of the Hittites; and they came to Dan, and from Dan they went around to Sidon, 7and came to the fortress of Tyre and to all the cities of the Hivites and Canaanites; and they went out to the Negeb of Judah at Beer-sheba.

8So when they had gone through all the land, they came back to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and twenty days.

9Joab reported to the king the number of those who had been recorded: in Israel there were eight hundred thousand soldiers able to draw the sword, and those of Judah were five hundred thousand.

Judgment on David’s Sin

David’s remorse — illustration by Barbara Griffiths

10But afterward, David was stricken to the heart because he had numbered the people. David said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done. But now, O Lord, I pray you, take away the guilt of your servant; for I have done very foolishly.”

What prompted David to recognize his pride and realize his sin now?

11When David rose in the morning, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Gad, David’s seer, saying, 12“Go and say to David: Thus says the Lord: Three things I offer you; choose one of them, and I will do it to you.”

13So Gad came to David and told him; he asked him, “Shall three years of famine come to you on your land? Or will you flee three months before your foes while they pursue you? Or shall there be three days’ pestilence in your land? Now consider, and decide what answer I shall return to the one who sent me.”

14Then David said to Gad, “I am in great distress; let us fall into the hand of the Lord, for his mercy is great; but let me not fall into human hands.”

Here is one perspective on the choice David made:  Behind Door # 1, Famine would affect mostly the poor people of the land; the wealthier could pay high prices for food and ride it out. The people of Israel would be at the mercy of their neighbors. Behind Door # 2, War would affect mostly the soldiers. Enemies would attack the land.  Behind Door # 3, Pestilence would affect a broad section of the people, rich and poor alike. Since it would come from God and not from humans, David chose to rely on the mercy of God.

15So the Lord sent a pestilence on Israel from that morning until the appointed time; and seventy thousand of the people died, from Dan to Beer-sheba. 16But when the angel stretched out his hand toward Jerusalem to destroy it, the Lord relented concerning the evil, and said to the angel who was bringing destruction among the people, “It is enough; now stay your hand.” The angel of the Lord was then by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.

17When David saw the angel who was destroying the people, he said to the Lord, “I alone have sinned, and I alone have done wickedly; but these sheep, what have they done? Let your hand, I pray, be against me and against my father’s house.”

David’s Altar on the Threshing-Floor

threshing floor near Nazareth

18That day Gad came to David and said to him, “Go up and erect an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.” 19Following Gad’s instructions, David went up, as the Lord had commanded. 20When Araunah looked down, he saw the king and his servants coming toward him; and Araunah went out and prostrated himself before the king with his face to the ground.

21Araunah said, “Why has my lord the king come to his servant?”

David said, “To buy the threshing floor from you in order to build an altar to the Lord, so that the plague may be averted from the people.”

A close-up of tilework on the Dome of the Rock, the mosque which is now atop Mt. Moriah where Solomon’s Temple once stood.

The threshing floor of Araunah had both rich history and a rich future. 2 Chronicles 3:1 tells us that the threshing floor of Araunah was on Mount Moriah; the same hill where Abraham offered Isaac (Genesis 22:2), and where Solomon would build the temple (2 Chronicles 3:1). Many believe it is close to the same set of hills where Jesus died on the cross (Genesis 22:14).

22Then Araunah said to David, “Let my lord the king take and offer up what seems good to him; here are the oxen for the burnt offering, and the threshing sledges and the yokes of the oxen for the wood. 23All this, O king, Araunah gives to the king.” And Araunah said to the king, “May the Lord your God respond favorably to you.”

24But the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will buy them from you for a price; I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing.”

“He who has a religion that costs him nothing, has a religion that is worth nothing.

–Adam Clarke (1762-1832), British Methodist theologian and Biblical scholar

So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. 25David built there an altar to the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and offerings of well-being. So the Lord answered his supplication for the land, and the plague was averted from Israel.

THE END  of 2 Samuel.

_________________________

What are YOU taking away from 2 Samuel and the reign of David? Please share your ideas with us! Make a comment/reply below!

_________________________

Music:

A song of worship for those of us who, like David, find our life, with all its ups and downs, in God alone!  HERE   is “God Reigns”  by Todd Vaters.

_________________________

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
God reigns.    https://i.ytimg.com/vi/eInAYO-ELzM/maxresdefault.jpg
census hand.    http://www.thornton60476.com/vertical/Sites/%7B7433732F-5ACD-4203-AA8E-A8FB0769CB67%7D/uploads/%7B07818416-CD85-436C-9B2D-95B76052A574%7D.JPG
Griffiths.    http://www.barbaragriffiths.com/images/bod/griffiths_bod_22.jpg
3 doors.  http://dynamic.pixton.com/comic/j/7/q/p/j7qpb7n4aycg3vmt.jpg
threshing floor.    http://www.bibleplaces.com/newsletter/hr/Nazareth_Village_threshing_floor,_tb102704363.JPG
Dome of the Rock tile work.    http://www.linearconcepts.com/photos/2007-Israel/DSC_4262_tilework.JPG

1825.) 2 Samuel 23

April 29, 2016

Icon of King David, by Matthew D. Garrett

2 Samuel 23   (NRSV)

The Last Words of David

Now these are the last words of David:

Poems containing last words are also attributed to Jacob (Genesis 49) and Moses (Deuteronomy 33).

The oracle of David, son of Jesse,
the oracle of the man whom God exalted,
the anointed of the God of Jacob,
the favorite of the Strong One of Israel:

This remarkable relationship with God is the reason why David was Israel’s greatest king, and the most prominent ancestor of Jesus Christ. The New Testament begins with these words: The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David (Matthew 1:1).

2The spirit of the Lord speaks through me,
his word is upon my tongue.
3
The God of Israel has spoken,
the Rock of Israel has said to me:
One who rules over people justly,
ruling in the fear of God,
4is like the light of morning,
like the sun rising on a cloudless morning,
gleaming from the rain on the grassy land.

5Is not my house like this with God?
For he has made with me an everlasting covenant,
ordered in all things and secure.
Will he not cause to prosper
all my help and my desire?
6But the godless are all like thorns that are thrown away;
for they cannot be picked up with the hand;


7
to touch them one uses an iron bar or the shaft of a spear.
And they are entirely consumed in fire on the spot.

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is “What a Mighty God We Serve!”

_________________________

David’s Mighty Men

2Sam23 mighty men

The day for mighty men and women — heroic men and women for God — has not ended. “The triumph of the church as a whole depends upon the personal victory of every Christian. In other words, your victory, your life, your personal testimony, are important to the cause of God today. What happens out in New Guinea, down in the Amazon jungle, over in disturbed Congo, is not unrelated to what happens in your own personal relationship with God and your personal battle against the forces of darkness. Victory for the church on the whole world-front depends upon victory in your life and in mine; ‘home’ and ‘foreign’ situations cannot be detached.”

–Alan Redpath (1907-1989)

8These are the names of the warriors whom David had:

These remarkable men were used by God to be the foundation of the greatness of David’s reign.

Josheb-basshebeth a Tahchemonite; he was chief of the Three; he wielded his spear against eight hundred whom he killed at one time.

9Next to him among the three warriors was Eleazar son of Dodo son of Ahohi. He was with David when they defied the Philistines who were gathered there for battle. The Israelites withdrew, 10but he stood his ground. He struck down the Philistines until his arm grew weary, though his hand clung to the sword. The Lord brought about a great victory that day. Then the people came back to him—but only to strip the dead.

11Next to him was Shammah son of Agee, the Hararite. The Philistines gathered together at Lehi, where there was a plot of ground full of lentils; and the army fled from the Philistines. 12But he took his stand in the middle of the plot, defended it, and killed the Philistines; and the Lord brought about a great victory.

13Towards the beginning of harvest three of the thirty chiefs went down to join David at the cave of Adullam, while a band of Philistines was encamped in the valley of Rephaim. 14David was then in the stronghold; and the garrison of the Philistines was then at Bethlehem. 15David said longingly, “O that someone would give me water to drink from the well of Bethlehem that is by the gate!” 16Then the three warriors broke through the camp of the Philistines, drew water from the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate, and brought it to David. But he would not drink of it; he poured it out to the Lord, 17for he said, “The Lord forbid that I should do this. Can I drink the blood of the men who went at the risk of their lives?” Therefore he would not drink it.

These three warriors responded not to a command, or even to a suggestion, but to the longing of their king. When David saw the water, knowing the danger they faced to get it, he considered it too valuable for him, and poured it out on the ground as a sacrifice to the Lord.

The three warriors did these things.

18Now Abishai son of Zeruiah, the brother of Joab, was chief of the Thirty. With his spear he fought against three hundred men and killed them, and won a name beside the Three. 19He was the most renowned of the Thirty, and became their commander; but he did not attain to the Three.

20Benaiah son of Jehoiada was a valiant warrior from Kabzeel, a doer of great deeds; he struck down two sons of Ariel of Moab. He also went down and killed a lion in a pit on a day when snow had fallen.

from Whispers of His Power,
by Amy Carmichael

A lion fell into a pit. A man plunged in after him and slew him. And it was in the time of snow. I have always felt sorry for that lion. Lions detest snow, and that lion did not have a sporting chance. But his troubles are over now, and the man has something to teach us.

Benaiah must have been one who had trained himself by many and private disciplines to be ready for anything, even a lion in a pit of snow. The snow, of course, made it harder for him, too, but he did not hesitate. He went down and slew the lion.

Quite suddenly in the midst of our ordinary occupations any of us may be face to face with a lion in a pit. It may be in time of snow—in circumstances which make it harder than usual to withstand. But we can. The moment we are conscious of the lion (Peter speaks of the devil as a roaring lion in 1 Peter 5:8), the Spirit of God will put a sword into our hands. Some strong word of Scripture will be flashed across our minds. If we grasp that word, and thrust with all our might, there can be only one end to the fight. More than conquerors through Him that loved us will tell the end of that lion fight—even in time of snow.

21And he killed an Egyptian, a handsome man. The Egyptian had a spear in his hand; but Benaiah went against him with a staff, snatched the spear out of the Egyptian’s hand, and killed him with his own spear. 22Such were the things Benaiah son of Jehoiada did, and won a name beside the three warriors. 23He was renowned among the Thirty, but he did not attain to the Three. And David put him in charge of his bodyguard.

24Among the Thirty were:
Asahel brother of Joab;
Elhanan son of Dodo of Bethlehem;
25
Shammah of Harod;
Elika of Harod;
26
Helez the Paltite;
Ira son of Ikkesh of Tekoa;
27
Abiezer of Anathoth;
Mebunnai the Hushathite;
28Zalmon the Ahohite;
Maharai of Netophah;
29Heleb son of Baanah of Netophah;
Ittai son of Ribai of Gibeah of the Benjaminites;
30
Benaiah of Pirathon;
Hiddai of the torrents of Gaash;
31Abi-albon the Arbathite;
Azmaveth of Bahurim;
32Eliahba of Shaalbon;
the sons of Jashen:
Jonathan 33son of Shammah the Hararite;
Ahiam son of Sharar the Hararite;
34
Eliphelet son of Ahasbai of Maacah;
Eliam son of Ahithophel the Gilonite;
35Hezro of Carmel;
Paarai the Arbite;
36
Igal son of Nathan of Zobah;
Bani the Gadite;
37
Zelek the Ammonite;
Naharai of Beeroth, the armor-bearer of Joab son of Zeruiah;
38
Ira the Ithrite;
Gareb the Ithrite;
39
Uriah the Hittite—

thirty-seven in all.

“Names”  —  a poem by Dr. Calvin Miller

My mother, it is clear to see, was very fond of Bible names.
My brother’s Mordecaiah Nicodemus Zachariah James.
My mother named my little sis—
and this will surely hurt your head—
Ruth Bilpah Zippora Mary Sarah Jocabed.
I’m the first of triplets three,
and here’s the handle she gave me:
Jeremiah Isaachar Reuben bar Hilkiah.
The other two are:  Jonadab Amos Ben Milchaiah
and Hananeel Megiddo Joel Azariah.

My mother loved those Bible names, it’s really very true,
but I have always wondered why.  Her name is Cindy Sue.

_________________________

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
King David icon.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/david.jpg
“Sunrise”  stained glass.    http://www.holyfool.co.uk/glass/sunrise.jpg
thorns.    http://rowdyrodi.files.wordpress.com/2007/11/thorn1.jpg
Tissot.    http://www.keyway.ca/jpg/valiant.jpg
cup of water.  http://www.ucantalk2me.com/cooltalk/wp-content/media/cup-of-water.jpg
lion watching the snow fall at the Smithsonian National Zoo.    http://wannasmile.files.wordpress.com/2008/01/lion-snowing.jpg
name tag.    http://www.psdgraphics.com/file/hello-my-name-is-template.jpg

1824.) 2 Samuel 22

April 28, 2016

2 Samuel 22   (NRSV)

David’s Song of Thanksgiving

David spoke to the Lord the words of this song on the day when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul.

With minor variations, this psalm is the same as Psalm 18.  But haven’t we all found that the same words can have vastly different meanings at various points in our lives?  (That’s why I read Jane Eyre every year!)

I remember hearing this sermon illustration when I was only a child:

A little girl was asked this question in her Sunday School classroom:  “What do you know about God?”  She answered, “Jesus loves me, this I know.”

An elderly pastor was asked the same question on his deathbed:  “What do you know about God?”  And he gave the same answer.  “Jesus loves me, this I know.”

2He said: The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer,

David experienced the Lord’s deliverance:

  • God delivered David from Goliath
  • God delivered David from Saul
  • God delivered David from backsliding
  • God delivered David from Israel’s enemies
  • God delivered David from Absalom
  • God delivered David from David’s own sinful passions

–David Guzik

3my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield and the horn of my salvation,
my stronghold and my refuge, my savior;
you save me from violence.
4I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,
and I am saved from my enemies.

God is so big and so wonderful, it takes many words and titles to describe him! Let that be a lesson to me in my own prayers!

5For the waves of death encompassed me,
the torrents of perdition assailed me;
6the cords of Sheol entangled me,
the snares of death confronted me.
7In my distress I called upon the Lord;
to my God I called.
From his temple he heard my voice,
and my cry came to his ears.

8Then the earth reeled and rocked;
the foundations of the heavens trembled and quaked,
because he was angry.

No matter the catastrophe, God is near to his children, be it an earthquake (here in Sumatra) . . .

9Smoke went up from his nostrils,
and devouring fire from his mouth;
glowing coals flamed forth from him.

. . .  or volcanic eruption (all this smoke! — from an eruption in Chile) . . .

10He bowed the heavens, and came down;
thick darkness was under his feet.
11
He rode on a cherub, and flew;
he was seen upon the wings of the wind.
12
He made darkness around him a canopy,
thick clouds, a gathering of water.
13
Out of the brightness before him
coals of fire flamed forth.
14
The Lord thundered from heaven;
the Most High uttered his voice.
15
He sent out arrows, and scattered them—
lightning, and routed them.

. . . or thunderstorm . . .

16Then the channels of the sea were seen,
the foundations of the world were laid bare
at the rebuke of the Lord,
at the blast of the breath of his nostrils.

17He reached from on high, he took me,
he drew me out of mighty waters.
18He delivered me from my strong enemy,
from those who hated me; for they were too mighty for me.
19
They came upon me in the day of my calamity,
but the Lord was my stay.
20
He brought me out into a broad place;
he delivered me, because he delighted in me.

21The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness;
according to the cleanness of my hands he recompensed me.
22
For I have kept the ways of the Lord,
and have not wickedly departed from my God.
23For all his ordinances were before me,
and from his statutes I did not turn aside.
24I was blameless before him,
and I kept myself from guilt.
25
Therefore the Lord has recompensed me according to my righteousness,
according to my cleanness in his sight.

For years verses like these bothered me, for I knew that my hands were not clean before him, nor could the Lord count me blameless in his sight. I can’t keep myself from sin and guilt! It was while I was listening to a teaching from Joyce Meyer that I came to understand that I was reading these verses and relying on my feelings, rather than on God’s fact. 1 Corinthians 1:30-31 tells us the truth that God wants all of his children to know:

It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.  Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”

Now I can read and sing these verses with joy, for Christ’s death on the cross makes me clean! Thank you, Lord Jesus!

Watchman Nee, 20th century Chinese pastor and martyr, explains this further:

Outside of Christ, I am only a sinner, but in Christ, I am saved. Outside of Christ, I am empty; in Christ, I am full. Outside of Christ, I am weak; in Christ, I am strong. Outside of Christ, I cannot; in Christ, I am more than able. Outside of Christ, I have been defeated; in Christ, I am already victorious. How meaningful are the words, “in Christ.”

_________________________

Music:

“His blood can make the foulest clean,
His blood avails for me.”

HERE  is “O, For a Thousand Tongues to Sing,” a great hymn by Charles Wesley.

_________________________

26With the loyal you show yourself loyal;
with the blameless you show yourself blameless;
27
with the pure you show yourself pure,
and with the crooked you show yourself perverse.
28You deliver a humble people,
but your eyes are upon the haughty to bring them down.
29Indeed, you are my lamp, O Lord,
the Lord lightens my darkness.
30
By you I can crush a troop,
and by my God I can leap over a wall.

31This God—his way is perfect;
the promise of the Lord proves true;
he is a shield for all who take refuge in him.

from Edges of his Ways, by Amy Carmichael:

Psalm 18:30 — As for God, His way is perfect.

God is love, so we may change the word and say, As for Love, His way is perfect. This has been helping me.

One of the ways of Love is to prepare us beforehand for any hard thing that He knows is near. Perhaps this word will be His loving preparation to some heart for a disappointment, or for some trial of faith, something known to others, or some secret sorrow between the Father and His child. As for Love, His way is perfect.

32For who is God, but the Lord?
And who is a rock, except our God?
33The God who has girded me with strength
has opened wide my path.
34
He made my feet like the feet of deer,
and set me secure on the heights.
35He trains my hands for war,
so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
36You have given me the shield of your salvation,
and your help has made me great.
37You have made me stride freely,
and my feet do not slip.

38I pursued my enemies and destroyed them,
and did not turn back until they were consumed.
39
I consumed them; I struck them down, so that they did not rise;
they fell under my feet.
40For you girded me with strength for the battle;
you made my assailants sink under me.
41
You made my enemies turn their backs to me,
those who hated me, and I destroyed them.
42
They looked, but there was no one to save them;
they cried to the Lord, but he did not answer them.
43
I beat them fine like the dust of the earth,
I crushed them and stamped them down like the mire of the streets.

44You delivered me from strife with the peoples;
you kept me as the head of the nations;
people whom I had not known served me.
45Foreigners came cringing to me;
as soon as they heard of me, they obeyed me.
46
Foreigners lost heart,
and came trembling out of their strongholds.

47The Lord lives! Blessed be my rock,
and exalted be my God, the rock of my salvation,
48the God who gave me vengeance
and brought down peoples under me,
49
who brought me out from my enemies;
you exalted me above my adversaries,
you delivered me from the violent.
50
For this I will extol you, O Lord, among the nations,
and sing praises to your name.
51He is a tower of salvation for his king,
and shows steadfast love to his anointed,
to David and his descendants forever.

_________________________

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
hands lifted in praise.     http://media.photobucket.com/image/2%20Samuel%2022/perdasil/2Samuel22.jpg
Jesus loves me, this I know.    http://littlekiddotees.com/200-417-thickbox/jesus-loves-me-this-i-know-shirt.jpg
earthquake.    http://www.nomad4ever.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/destroyed-houses-in-sumatra-after-powerful-earthquake.jpg
volcano.    http://thegeogblog.edublogs.org/files/2008/05/volcanic-eruption.JPG
thunderstorm.   http://mypages.iit.edu/~ahutches/images/thunderstorm.jpg
washing hands.    http://www.topnews.in/health/files/washinghands.jpg
God is love.    http://biblicism.files.wordpress.com/2008/09/god-love.jpg
The Lord lives (inkwell greetings).    http://www.prestoimages.net/graphics03/5592_pd73358full.jpg

1823.) 2 Samuel 21

April 27, 2016
David's life surely shows that God sends the power of his spirit to those who follow him.

David’s life surely shows that God sends the power of his spirit to those who follow him.

2 Samuel 21   (NRSV)

David Avenges the Gibeonites

Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year; and David inquired of the Lord. The Lord said, “There is bloodguilt on Saul and on his house, because he put the Gibeonites to death.”

This act of Saul is not mentioned anywhere else in the Bible.

2So the king called the Gibeonites and spoke to them. (Now the Gibeonites were not of the people of Israel, but of the remnant of the Amorites; although the people of Israel had sworn to spare them, Saul had tried to wipe them out in his zeal for the people of Israel and Judah.)

The account of Israel promising not to harm the Gibeonites is found in Joshua 9. The nation was bound by that oath. As for Saul, good intentions do not excuse bad actions.

3David said to the Gibeonites, “What shall I do for you? How shall I make expiation, that you may bless the heritage of the Lord?”

4The Gibeonites said to him, “It is not a matter of silver or gold between us and Saul or his house; neither is it for us to put anyone to death in Israel.”

He said, “What do you say that I should do for you?”

5They said to the king, “The man who consumed us and planned to destroy us, so that we should have no place in all the territory of Israel— 6let seven of his sons (that is, male descendants) be handed over to us, and we will impale them before the Lord at Gibeon on the mountain of the Lord.”

The king said, “I will hand them over.”

David knew this was the right thing to do. Perhaps David knew that Saul’s descendants helped in or benefited directly from that massacre.

7But the king spared Mephibosheth, the son of Saul’s son Jonathan, because of the oath of the Lord that was between them, between David and Jonathan son of Saul.

But David protected Mephibosheth because of his own promise to him. David would not fulfill one oath at the expense of another.

8The king took the two sons of Rizpah daughter of Aiah, whom she bore to Saul, Armoni and Mephibosheth; and the five sons of Merab daughter of Saul, whom she bore to Adriel son of Barzillai the Meholathite; 9he gave them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they impaled them on the mountain before the Lord. The seven of them perished together. They were put to death in the first days of harvest, at the beginning of barley harvest.

10Then Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth, and spread it on a rock for herself, from the beginning of harvest until rain fell on them from the heavens (that is, all summer long); she did not allow the birds of the air to come on the bodies by day, or the wild animals by night.

11When David was told what Rizpah daughter of Aiah, the concubine of Saul, had done, 12David went and took the bones of Saul and the bones of his son Jonathan from the people of Jabesh-gilead, who had stolen them from the public square of Beth-shan, where the Philistines had hung them up, on the day the Philistines killed Saul on Gilboa. 13He brought up from there the bones of Saul and the bones of his son Jonathan; and they gathered the bones of those who had been impaled.

Rizpah, mother of two of the slain, holds a loving vigil over her sons. Her noble deed inspires David to his own act of charity.

14They buried the bones of Saul and of his son Jonathan in the land of Benjamin in Zela, in the tomb of his father Kish; they did all that the king commanded. After that, God heeded supplications for the land.

Which is to say, God put an end to the famine.

Exploits of David’s Men

15The Philistines went to war again with Israel, and David went down together with his servants. They fought against the Philistines, and David grew weary.

David is getting old; he cannot fight the same way he once did.

16Ishbi-benob, one of the descendants of the giants, whose spear weighed three hundred shekels of bronze, and who was fitted out with new weapons, said he would kill David. 17But Abishai son of Zeruiah came to his aid, and attacked the Philistine and killed him.

When David’s strength failed, God protected him through the strength of others.

–David Guzik

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up . . . Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.

Then David’s men swore to him, “You shall not go out with us to battle any longer, so that you do not quench the lamp of Israel.”

18After this a battle took place with the Philistines, at Gob; then Sibbecai the Hushathite killed Saph, who was one of the descendants of the giants.

19Then there was another battle with the Philistines at Gob; and Elhanan son of Jaare-oregim, the Bethlehemite, killed Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam.

20There was again war at Gath, where there was a man of great size, who had six fingers on each hand, and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in number; he too was descended from the giants.

Polydactyly — having extra fingers or toes — occurs about once in every 500 live births. Pictured is the hand of Devender Harne of Nagpur, India.

21When he taunted Israel, Jonathan son of David’s brother Shimei, killed him.

22These four were descended from the giants in Gath; they fell by the hands of David and his servants.

_________________________

Music:

I love the thought that we are God’s “mighty men” through the Lord Jesus and by the power of the Holy Spirit!  HERE  is The Maranatha! Singers and “I Am Persuaded (We Are More Than Conquerors)” by David J. Hadden.

Romans 8:37-39 (NIV)

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

_________________________

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
more than conquerors.    http://image.slidesharecdn.com/16-140215142114-phpapp02/95/jesus-the-son-of-god-16-638.jpg?cb=1392474279
Rizpah.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/rizpah1.png
Two are better than one.  http://www.doorposts.org/images/Old%20Test/Eccl%204.9-10.gif
Devender Harne.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/devender-harne.jpg?w=450

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