Sunday, July 10, 2016

July 10 - 1 Chronicles 10

Today's reading in our daily plan is 1 Chronicles 10. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • Chronicles was written after the Israelites returned from being captive in Babylon. There was a concern that they might have lost their sense of identity and history as God's people, so the author is reminding them of who they are and what God has done in and through them. The first 9 chapters cover all the way from creation to the return from exile. In chapter 10 we go back to the beginning of Israel's history as a Kingdom. If you've been doing the Verve reading plan on weekends, much of this will sound familiar as mostly it is the same history as covered in 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings and 2 Kings.
  • To learn more about the life of Saul and how he became king, check out the book of 1 Samuel.
  • The Philistines put Saul's head on the temple of "Dagon" (verse 10). Dagon was one of the gods the Philistines believed in. They thought of him as overseeing rain and harvests.
  • The mighty warriors (verses 11-12) risk their lives to show respect to their (dead) leaders. They would have had many reasons to think and speak badly about Saul and his sons, but God tells us that we are to respect our leaders (see Romans 13:1ff and 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13).
  • To read the entire story of when Saul consulted a medium, see 1 Samuel 28.
  • Verse 14 says "the Lord killed" Saul, but we saw that Saul killed himself by falling on his sword. Partly, saying the Lord killed him is a recognition of God's ultimate sovereignty over everything that happens. God gives us freedom to make our own choices (which Saul used to kill himself) but ultimately God is in control. It also shows (and we see this quite often in the Bible) that with Hebrew thinking and writing, the issue of causation can be tricky. For instance, if God gives someone the freedom to ... harden his heart towards God, or kill himself ... we might read that God hardened his heart or God killed him, but it would be speaking more of the freedom God gave to make that choice, then God making that choice for the person.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • Saul was the first king of Israel and was in position to do great things and be remembered as a hero of the Israelites. Instead, his life is a cautionary tale. Perhaps Saul's core problem was a lack of trust in God. He was not willing to fully trust God, as we see in his disobedience and in his looking for wisdom and guidance from a medium instead of God.
  • Saul was unfaithful to God in what he did wrong, and also in not doing what was right. He did wrong things, like trying to murder David and seeking direction from a medium, but he also failed to do right things, like not asking God for guidance.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)

  • How is your trust in God? Do you fully trust Him, that He is in control and that He has your best interests in mind? Where is trust an issue for you? What do you think might help you to grow your trust for God?
  • Where, in your life recently, have you seen some unfaithfulness to God because you did what was wrong? Where have you seen some unfaithfulness to God because you failed to do what is right? Confess those sins to God and gratefully receive His forgiveness. Ask God to show you how you can start living a more faithful life.