1 Chronicles 24:1-26:11, Romans 4:1-12, Psalms 13:1-6, Proverbs 19:15-16
Today is the 17th day of July welcome to the Daily Audio Bible I’m Brian it is an honor and a joy as it is every day to just come around this Global Campfire together and allow the word of God, the Scriptures to be spoken into our lives and lead us further and deeper into the story of the Bible as we take this journey together. So, today we’ll be going back into the story of King David as we continue our journey through first Chronicles before getting back into Paul’s letter to the Romans. We’re reading from the Lexham English Bible this week. First Chronicles 24 verse 1 through 26:11.
Okay. So, as we continue deeper and deeper into Paul’s letter to the Romans we’re seeing him kind of systematically begin to lay the groundwork for all of his argument, which is essentially his way of kind of dismantling, for the sake of a better word, kind of deconstructing all the pieces of his training as a Pharisee and all his understanding and adherence to the Mosaic law, not so that it can be disassembled and thrown in the dumpster, but rather to lay down the component parts and go, “what do we have here? How does this all line up? Has this all lined up correctly? Have we missed something?” Because for Paul, as a Pharisee and for the Hebrew people, adherence, so open obedience to the law was paramount, like the essential component, the way toward salvation, as it were. And in…in their worldview and in their understanding, Moses is the great prophet God used to bring them out of Egypt and to establish their identity as a people. It was through Moses leadership that this law came to be. And, so, their reverence for him is obvious and is important. And I mean, we read the story of Moses and…and we traveled through all things together as we moved through the Bible this year so we can see why he’s that important of a figure. And Paul’s not trying to diminish Moses. It’s just that Paul had adhered to the law as best as he possibly could and so had the millions and millions of people who went before him and everyone…like it was this common understanding that you’re supposed to obey the law, but it’s also this common understanding that it’s not possible, that nobody had been able to do it until Jesus, but we’ll get to that in the course of time. Nobody had been able to do it, and everybody understood that. And, so, where does that leave you? It leaves you on a treadmill that you can never get off, right? It leads you chasing something you can never achieve. And, so, at a foundational level after Paul had this encounter with Christ, questions like, “is this really what’s going on…like…is this really how it works, that we will always try but never ever actually achieve, is that how the whole thing is set up? Is that what God wants, to be available if you could get yourself perfect enough?” So, what Paul did, whether this was a revelation from Jesus or something that he really thought about during the time where he was…where after he met Christ, he was very discombobulated and had to figure out what had happened? Whatever he did, whenever he did it, he started back at the beginning, the beginning of the Hebrew story. The first person that originates the story was a man named Abram. And again, we followed his whole story as we went through the Bible and God changed his name to Abraham and told him he would be the father of many nations. Well, Abraham…like this ethnicity called Hebrew is the offspring of Abraham, but was Abraham a Hebrew? This hasn’t even been a term coined yet. And did Abraham obey the law? He didn’t because it didn’t exist yet. And was Abraham made righteous before God because he got circumcised as a sign of the covenant with God? No. According to Paul, quoting the Hebrew Scriptures, “if Abraham was justified by works, then he has something to boast about, but not before God. What does the Scripture say? And Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him for righteousness.” So, the argument is pretty technical, pretty thick with long run-on type sentences for sure. But the argument is, “God was doing things before the Mosaic law, and before Moses. It didn’t all start there. Moses was a continuation of a story as, for them, as we all know from our own Scriptures. Abraham didn’t do anything, didn’t obey any law to become righteous before God. What he did do was believe God, put his faith in God and follow this God to a land he didn’t know and believed in his old age, that a child of promise would be born. And this would be the first child of this new thing, this new kingdom of priests that would introduce the world to the one Creator, Father God. So, even though we can read this now, look at his argument, go back to the Hebrew Scriptures, the Old Testament, read and see that, “yeah that’s what it says”, and see that the theological understanding that’s being argued here has merit. This is a big shift for Paul’s hearers. It is complicated and could have incredible implications for their understanding of…of the culture that had been being built for all the centuries. It was polarizing, it was divisive, not on purpose…not for the sake of just stirring up trouble, but it caused people to reconsider. And some, most for that matter, couldn’t get on board and branded Paul a heretic because it was breaking down some very, very serious things in their culture, like exclusivity. What Paul is saying is that Abraham believed before there were any Jewish people and that’s what made him righteous, not following any law. The law was there to lead people and everything that they did to remind them who God is and who their allegiance is to. But it wasn’t the thing that was going to save them. It was their faith. That’s what happened with Abraham, which opens up a can of worms because then anybody who believes…anybody who believes can be made righteous. And, so, here we…we see a battle that has been going on and continues until this day, “who gets to be in?” Paul says it like this, “is this a blessing for those who are circumcised, or also for those who are uncircumcised?” Of course, we understand that male circumcision was a sign of the covenant, something that happened at eight days old for male children, a symbol and a sign that would follow them their entire lives in their most intimate moments that they are in covenant with God and that they are this specific, set apart, exclusive people. So, Paul’s like, “is the blessing for those who are circumcised, or also for those who are uncircumcised? For we say”, and he’s quoting the Scriptures again, “faith was credited to Abraham for righteousness. How was it credited then, while he was circumcised or while he was uncircumcised?” And then he tells them, “certainly not while he was circumcised. He was made righteous before God while he was uncircumcised, and circumcision came after as a seal of a covenant. His faith, his belief in God and what God told him even before the rituals were invented is what worked. And, so, Paul’s essentially trying to say, “it’s got to still be that way. Everyone who believes, everyone who puts their faith in God who calls upon His name can enter in.” So, we’re like mostly Gentiles in this community, the Christian faith is mostly a Gentile religion at this point. And, so, we can read this stuff and just go, “okay…well…there's…there’s the theology of my faith. This is why it works and it’s in the Bible. And, so, that’s that.” And we don’t understand how unsettling the message of Paul was to his fellow Hebrew people. We do understand that there was a lot of antagonism toward him and assassination plots toward him and imprisonment and all of that. We understand that the mob would form everywhere he went practically, but we don’t always understand like, “why? What’s the big deal? He’s just saying really nice good things that…that God the Father of all welcomes you, you can come to him. You can be welcomed.” Like, we don’t see the problem with the message. This is kind of the deal though. Paul is going back beyond Moses and trying to tell the story from the beginning and it really, really messes with rituals and traditions that have been embedded for centuries inviting the people forward, like inviting and pulling them forward into freedom but they can’t get their minds around it, and it feels like heresy. And, so, they brand him a heretic and do everything that they can to take him out. So, what do we do with that? Well, number one we rejoice. We rejoice that, by faith we can be made righteous before God and invited into an intimate friendship with the most-high God, like a being we can’t even possibly comprehend with our minds alone. That’s what the good news is. But then we also have to examine our lives. Like are we just living in the good news by faith or do we have our own version of the rules that we’re like really trying to manage and manage everyone around us? And do we brand people and go after people who don’t see it the same way that we do? Or are we confident in our own faith and our eyes are focused on our own life knowing that the Holy Spirit, knowing that the most-high God is all powerful? And as much as we think we might be defending Him. He is all powerful. He is most high. He is that He is, and He will do what he chooses. Like, we do this because we’re scared to get it wrong and we do this because we need to be right. But according to Paul, the way you get it right is that you believe.
Father we believe and…and help our unbelief. And help us God to not lose the plot of this story because we’re watching people over generations, over millennia in the Scriptures lose the plot of the story. And we confess, we lose it all the time, big and small, lose it all the time. What we have to do is rest in the fact that there’s nothing we can do but put our faith in You, and that’s what is required. And that in turn transforms us from within and our actions and convictions follow suit because of the transformation that You are doing within us. All we have to do is believe. All we have to do is stay open. But we close ourselves down all the time. Come Holy Spirit, we open ourselves to You, trusting that You will lead us into all truth, and that all we have to do is believe that You have rescued us and remain in fellowship with You. Jesus, make this real for us. Click it into place. Let it not be a theological formula. Transform it into our reality. There is so much freedom there. We don’t have to figure it out for everybody anymore. We don’t manage anything anymore. It’s all a gift and we are lucky to be here. We carry this in our hearts today. How fortunate we are that You would even know who we are, much less adopt us into Your family as Your children. May we live like that today. Come Holy Spirit we ask. In the name of Jesus. Amen.
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