1 Chronicles 24:1-26:11, Romans 4:1-12, Psalms 13:1-6, Proverbs 19:15-16
Today’s the 17th day of July. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I am Brian and it’s wonderful, as it is every day, a joy that we can come together like this isn’t it? That we can come together and step away from things for a few minutes and be together in God’s word. That is a joy. So, it’s a joy to be here with you as we take the next step through our week and next step forward in the Scriptures. We’re reading from the New Living Translation this week and we’re nearing the end of our journey through first Chronicles. Today we’ll read chapter 24 verse 1 through 26 verse 11.
Okay. So, in the book of Romans, the letter that Paul wrote to the Romans, we’re seeing Paul do some deconstruction about certain aspects of his Jewish faith. And, I mean, it may not seem that way now but the stuff that he’s saying in the book of Romans at the time is very controversial stuff, but he wasn’t trying to like dismantle or just like do away with his reverence for Judaism. He wasn’t actually trying to get anybody’s reverence for Judaism obliterated or anything like that. He was trying to reframe the story and bring Jesus into the store and show how this has always been there. And this is why Paul was in the hotseat all the time. This stuff that we’re reading, this is like a very like outlawed kind of book for the Hebrew people at the time. And what Paul is trying to reframe at its essence was about whether a person could earn their way into God’s favor by their own obedience to the Mosaic law, which is an idea that was deeply embedded into the Hebrew culture, or whether there was another way. So, Paul was kinda saying out loud what they had been wrestling with for a long time because nobody could obey the law perfectly. And, so, what to do? And this is pretty big reframe indeed what Paul is saying because the Jews believed that their adherence to the law wasn’t just about an exclusive Hebrew religion, but also this was the path that would save them. So, Paul’s message is pretty disruptive if that’s what…if that’s what you believe. And what we’re seeing Paul start to do is make a distinction between Abraham and Moses. The law came through Moses, but Abraham came way before Moses and he was the one who received the promise in the first place. So, Paul’s saying, “you’re kind of worshiping and revering Moses and the Mosaic law and that’s fine and dandy but things happened before that that we cannot forget because they are foundational.” So, Paul made reference to two people in today’s reading, that all Hebrew people would understand - Abraham and David. And he said this, “Abraham was, humanly speaking, the founder of our Jewish nation. What did he discover about being made right with God? If his good deeds had made him acceptable to God, he would’ve had something to boast about, but that wasn’t God’s way for the Scriptures tell us Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” So, Paul’s saying like, “you’re like going nuts on this Mosaic law thing right down to circumcision. All these things are important, but let’s remember that our father Abraham was not circumcised when he put his faith in God.” So, for every man that was a Hebrew like circumcision is and irreplaceable outward sign of obedience to the law. And, so, Paul’s saying like, “when Abraham met God, he wasn’t obeying the law because there was no law to obey and he wasn’t circumcised because there was no law to tell him he should be. So, we’re trying to obey these rules and regulations and we’re overlooking the thing, like the centerpiece, the one thing that’s required in the story, faith. It was faith that Abraham had that started the story, not some attempt to obey some kind of rule as behaviors are modified. And the reason this is revolutionary is because it was revealing that righteousness before God is not something that can be achieved by like adhering to the moral code or some kind of ethic or some kind of rule. Paul’s claiming that righteous…righteousness before God is a gift from God and it can only be received by faith. In other words, it’s a gift that’s given by God and the only way to receive it is to believe that you have it, right? Like it’s not something that you’re going to end up deserving. Paul said it like this, “when people work their wages aren’t a gift. They earned those wages. But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sin.” And then he referenced Psalm 132. So, he’s referencing David showing that forgiveness is something to be experienced as a gift. It’s something to be experienced with joy. And, so, then Paul asks whether God might be merciful to people who were not Hebrew and were not practicing the Jewish faith. And he asks, “is this blessing only for the Jews, or is it for uncircumcised Gentiles.” And he says, “we’ve been saying that Abraham was counted as righteous by God because of his faith but how did that happen? Was he counted as righteous only after he was circumcised or was it before he was circumcised? Clearly”…I’m quoting Paul here…”God accepted Abraham before he was circumcised.” So, we’ve got a lot of conversation about circumcision, which is probably not the topic that you choose over lunch every day. But here we are, and it’s actually a really really important piece of the Hebrew faith. And Paul’s saying, “I mean circumcision yes or no has nothing to do with whether or not you can be made righteous before God. That is a faith matter.” Now where we sit now these things, we don’t hardly even pay attention to. We just take them for granted, the idea or the awareness of an inclusive gospel that is open to everyone who believes in salvation through faith. These are like embedded into our faith, into the Christian faith, just as embedded as obedience to the Mosaic law was for the Jewish people of Paul’s time, which is why this is so controversial and disruptive. And that’s where we leave off today and if we’ll take some time to just kind of meditate, just appreciate what Paul is doing here as he tries to navigate between Jew and Gentile, basically walking the middle way here and revealing Jesus in all of it we then begin to understand how the faith came to be and was handed down to us.
Father, we invite Your Holy Spirit into all that we’re reading in the book of Romans, because we base so much of our faith from the things that are said here. So, come Holy Spirit, reveal these things to us and allow them to sink deeper into our understanding and lead us into all truth. This is what we seek, and this is what You have promised. So, we open ourselves to You. Come Jesus we pray. In Your mighty and holy name, we ask. Amen.
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