Bad News, Good News

Day 197

1 Chronicles 22:1‐23:32; Romans 3:9‐31; Psalm 12:1‐8; Proverbs 19:13‐14

Bad News, Good News

Our passage today in Romans 3 is a vital one to understanding our condition without Christ and our position in Christ as believers.

Paul points out (using selected verses from the Hebrew Scriptures) that both those who know the Law (Jews) and those outside the covenant of the Law (Gentiles) are equally guilty before God and estranged from Him, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (v.23). That’s the bad news––and we’re all in it together. Then comes the good news: those who have faith in Jesus and put their total trust in Him are redeemed. They are forgiven for the sins which made them guilty before a Holy God, and they are no longer estranged from their Creator because the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah allowed God in His righteousness to “be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (v.26). Furthermore, we have no reason to feel proud or brag about our redemption and our new standing as children of God. We did nothing to earn this new position; it is entirely a “gift of grace” (v.24), received by faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Thanks be to God for His glorious gift of grace!

Laura Madison
Summit Church
Lake Mary, FL

Leave the Results to the Lord

Day 196

1 Chronicles 19:1‐21:30; Romans 2:25‐3:8; Psalm 11:1‐7; Proverbs 19:10‐12

Leave the Results to the Lord

King David is seemingly on a roll! He has come against formidable foes and defeated them in rapid succession. He has defeated the Amorites, the Syrians, and even the Philistines with their giants! Through his military might, his training, and his leadership, he successfully led the armies of Israel against their adversaries. He seems to have a tried and true battle strategy: he gathers his troops, he is prepared, he is strong and has studied his opponent. He has assessed their strength and his strength, their weaknesses,  and I am sure, his own weakness. Then he leaves the results to the Lord: “May the Lord do what seems good to him” (1 Chr. 19:13).

However in Chapter 22, the adversary changes. This time the leader of the opposing army is Satan himself! David fails miserably and then, to add insult to injury, is then called upon to select one of three punishments for the nation for his offenses. He chooses pestilence and some 70,000 men die as a result.

In the very next chapter David gathers materials to build the House for the Lord in Jerusalem, a task that will ultimately be passed on to his son, Solomon. He took his eyes off of his successful strategy and that is when the problems appeared.

Seek to find a plan that the Lord blesses and refine it, practice it, honor God through it, and yet leave the results to God. Often when we try to start tweaking successes, it is then that we shift our attention to “what seems good to us.” It is then that troubles are surely just around the corner, Satan shows up, and pestilence can’t be far behind!

The Rev. Scott T. Holcombe
St. David’s by the Sea Episcopal Church

For You Know Your Servant, Lord

Day 195

1 Chronicles 16:37‐18:17; Romans 2:1‐24; Psalm 10:16‐18; Proverbs 19:8‐9

For You Know Your Servant, Lord

In today’s reading from Romans, we see God’s righteous judgment and the power He has given to us – to all of us as believers – in our ability to accept His will for our lives. Our acceptance affects the lives of those He has entrusted to us and our own lives, both here on earth and in the afterlife, as we strive toward salvation and eternal life.

As I was reviewing today’s readings, I was reminded of the cyclical nature of these exhortations, and how our scriptures are riddled with cycles of blessings and judgment.  We find a similar exhortation by Moses to God’s people in Deuteronomy 4:9, “Only guard yourself and guard your soul carefully, lest you forget the things your eyes saw, and lest these things depart your heart all the days of your life. And you shall make them known to your children, and to your children’s children.”

Perhaps this could be relegated to the ancient past, were it not for the fact that this verse above is found inscribed in stone, at the Hall of Remembrance in the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. May we never forget this painful modern-day example of our cyclical and sinful humanity.

Today, God is once again and eternally calling us to lean into His righteous judgment, so that as part of His body, we may once-and-for-all break the cycle by living His will for our lives, and by making this known to our children and our children’s children.

Amen.

The Rev. Din Bissoondial
St. Peter the Fisherman