Still Can Not Contain Him

1 Kings 5-6 and 2 Chronicles 2-3

2 Chronicles 2 5b NIV sgl

I never much cared for reading the descriptions of the temple preparations or building. That is, until I had an open-ended project in school to study an ancient culture and create artifacts from that time.  My group picked the Hebrew culture, and one of the items we chose to create was a to-scale replica of Solomon’s temple.  That section of reading got a whole lot more interesting for me as I took notes on the dimensions, did the math to scale it down (probably the most fun part for me!), and found objects to use to build it.

I still struggle reading the descriptions, but when I stop and picture what our group made, it makes it easier!  So if you are a visual learner, go look up a drawing of Solomon’s temple.  I think it will help.

I don’t know why such an elaborate description of the temple is included for future generations to read, but if you can picture it, it really is an impressive work.  It took 7 years to build!  I know they didn’t have the technology we have today (and didn’t use iron tools at the site – take some time to look that up – some interesting theories), but that is still a long time to build something.  2 Chronicles 2:5-7 says:

5 “The temple I am going to build will be great, because our God is greater than all other gods. 6 But who is able to build a temple for him, since the heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain him? Who then am I to build a temple for him, except as a place to burn sacrifices before him? 7 “Send me, therefore, a man skilled to work in gold and silver, bronze and iron, and in purple, crimson and blue yarn, and experienced in the art of engraving, to work in Judah and Jerusalem with my skilled workers, whom my father David provided.

Solomon, recognized that though this temple would be great, it couldn’t contain God.  But they would build it to offer sacrifices which was the best option at the time.

One thing that stood out to me in this section is the relationship between Hiram & Solomon – I found it interesting in the 1 Kings account, Hiram reached out first to establish the good relationship with Solomon that he had with David.  Even though God didn’t allow David to build the temple, He worked through him to provide the materials and skilled laborers that Solomon would need by way of a relationship.  Do you ever think about how the relationships you establish could affect the future generations?  I always enjoy hearing about connections.  How someone’s grandparent established a church which lead to another group of people coming into the faith, and their family, and now today I know their descendants because of that.  The connections we make today can have a lasting impact.

 

~Stephanie Fletcher

 

Today’s Bible reading can be read or listened to at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Kings+5-6%2C+2+Chronicles+2-3&version=NIV

Tomorrow’s reading will be 1 Kings 7 & 2 Chronicles 4 as we continue the 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan

 

His Perfect Power

2 Corinthians 12

2 corinthians 12 9

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

 

For when I am weak, then I am strong. Let this verse pour over your heart today. How encouraging is it to know that no matter what circumstance we walk through, we can stand firm in the grace of God. His power is made PERFECT in our weakness. All of our fears, worries, troubles, sorrows, and pain may be put to rest. We can lay them all down and know that our God is greater. I’ve said it many times while writing this week, and i’ll continue to say it over and over again, our God is so very good. May we cling to Him, not only as we continue our Bible reading plan, but cling to him throughout the entirety of our lives. Wishing you all the best and I hope to see you this summer at FUEL!

-Kayla Tullis

Life Gets Better

job 40_6-9

When You Break Down the Barriers

 

For the longest time, I never thought I would see the other side of my depression. Especially when I was in deepest. During that time, my girlfriend of 3 years dumped me, my pastor I’d grown up listening to and adored passed away, I was failing college, and I was in a job that made me so miserable the only way I felt better was writing lyrics about how I felt. It got so bad, I started thinking about how people in my life would feel if I’d never existed, or just faded away. Around that time though, those lyrics I had written finally came to have a purpose because God helped me find a band to join. It may have been a short lived adventure, but I cherish those days as the therapy it was for me. I bled out the unhealthy emotions that had begun to dwell within my heart through those lyrics until it wasn’t helping anymore.

 

In today’s devotional, we will conclude the book of Job. The story of Job is complex, beautiful, and I await to reread this book again to uncover more wisdom hidden within this book. We have reached Job 32, and are now meeting Elihu. I heavily encourage you take the time to read from Chapter 32 to the end, but I will hit the key verses that stuck out to me in understanding this story better. Elihu arrives to rebuke Job for his missteps in his arguments and intentions within the debate between Job and the three men of understanding. Elihu waited up until this point out of respect of age, and because the three friends had become discouraged in debating any further.

Elihu’s first acknowledgement of faultiness in Job’s mourning is shown in Job 33: 8-22.

Job 33: 8-22 NASB: “8 Surely you have spoken in my hearing, And I have heard the sound of your words: 9 ‘I am pure, without transgression; I am innocent and there is no guilt in me. 10 ‘Behold, He invents pretexts against me; He counts me as His enemy. 11 ‘He puts my feet in the stocks; He watches all my paths.’ 12 “Behold, let me tell you, you are not right in this, For God is greater than man. 13 “Why do you complain against Him That He does not give an account of all His doings? 14 “Indeed God speaks once, Or twice, yet no one notices it. 15 “In a dream, a vision of the night, When sound sleep falls on men, While they slumber in their beds, 16 Then He opens the ears of men, And seals their instruction, 17 That He may turn man aside from his conduct, And keep man from pride; 18 He keeps back his soul from the pit, And his life from passing over into Sheol. 19 “Man is also chastened with pain on his bed, And with unceasing complaint in his bones; 20 So that his life loathes bread, And his soul favorite food. 21 “His flesh wastes away from sight, And his bones which were not seen stick out. 22 “Then his soul draws near to the pit, And his life to those who bring death.”

Job may be a faithful follower of God, but he did make accusations that God was not on his side. Elihu points out these flaws on Job’s logic so Job may understand where he has faltered in his discussion. It is a great detail to point out because how often do we get paranoid, and start to wonder whether what God is planning is for our benefit? This is a common problem I ran into in my thought process while depressed.

If you aren’t convinced when reading through here that Elihu cares about Job, I have a couple verses to show his intent was for Job’s benefit. Job 33: 31-33 NASB: “Pay attention, O Job, listen to me; Then if you have anything to say, answer me; Speak for I desire to justify you. If not, listen to me; Keep silent, and I will teach you wisdom.” I didn’t notice his intentions as good to start out because all his other friends we read the speeches of are jaded and convinced Job is wicked. In further delving though, I found Elihu to be a great friend to Job. “Speak for I desire to justify you” is the phrase that opened my eyes once I looked into the Hebrew word justify originates from in this context. The Hebrew word is Tsadaq. In this context, it means “turn to righteousness.” Elihu cares deeply enough about Job to help him turn to righteousness.

 

Elihu next points out that Job’s pride has become a barrier between himself and God. This happens in Job 35. Job’s pride has caused him a lack of understanding towards man, especially ones he deems to be wicked. We see this iterated in Job 24. Elihu gives proof that God doesn’t ignore wrongs, and doesn’t just allow the wicked to roam free. You can find the evidence in Job 36: 5-33. An important detail we can take from this is to not generalize and judge our fellow man. We are to help them understand why we ask repentance of our sins. Sin separates us from YHWH, and YHWH doesn’t want to be separated from His creation.

 

In Job 37, Elihu concludes his speech by bringing the voice of God back into the attention of Job. Then, in Job 38-39, God asks Job if he knows all the grand, minute details that were put into this life. To make His point to Job, God then asks Job a question in Job 40:2 NASB: “‘Will the faultfinder contend with the Almighty? Let Him who reproves God answer it.’” Job’s passion and wisdom are clear throughout this book, but along the way, Job began to question God. Asking God a question and questioning God are different beasts. Job 40:4-5 NASB: “Behold, I am insignificant; what can I reply to Thee? I lay my hand on my mouth. Once I have spoken, and I will not answer; Even twice, and I will add no more.” This is how Job responds after YHWH shows Job the error of his ways. God then further speaks of His power, asking Job if he too, can do all these things. Job confesses that he is incapable of doing these things, admitting he didn’t understand the gravity of his proclamations, and repented. God is even merciful enough to extend forgiveness to Bildad, Zophar, and Eliphaz, if they choose to repent of the words they spoke against The Lord.

 

After all of this was completed, God restored Job’s fortunes. Job lived a blessed life with many children, and got to see his grandchildren. Job got through a time of trial and tribulation that I cannot begin to fathom the pain he must have gone through. He did not make it through by his own doing, but God’s doing. Personally, my spiritual depression did not cease until I repented. I may not have started the depression outright, but I set up barriers between myself and God over time. It was through repentance that God helped me tear down those walls, and help me rebuild my life. My challenge for you today is to take some time to look inward, and find what barriers you may have built up between yourself and God. Repent of them, and start to see how your perspective on life begins to be built on love.

My song suggestion for today is “Redeemed” by Big Daddy Weave.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSyLqbP8Z4I  

 

-Andrew Cheatwood