Today’s Reading: Psalm 39, Genesis 36, 2 Chronicles 13, Acts 6:8‐7:60
Psalm 39 – Our lives are truly a mist. We are here for a little while, and then are gone. The psalmist reflects that truth in Psalm 39. This is another prayer of confession. He has sinned, and recognizes that his only hope in this life is the Lord.
I found verses 1-3 to be insightful. Not wanting to speak poorly about the Lord, David guarded his tongue in the presence of the wicked. Perhaps he was being goaded on by wicked people about the situation where he found himself. Perhaps it was something else, but he did not want to sin with his tongue.
In the end, he ends up speaking, worship and prayer to the Lord.
Genesis 36 – Isaac told his son Esau that he would be the father of a great nation. While Jacob was given the birthright and the blessing, Esau was blessed. This chapter details the line of Esau. His family would include many chiefs and kings. A note in my study Bible says that these kings probably ruled different cities. Even though they are listed in succession, they many probably ruled dynasties at the same time.
2 Chronicles 13 – The beginning of the reign of Abijah is chronicled in this chapter. Like his father, Rehoboam, Abijah was not wholly true to the Lord. He allowed for idolatrous worship. But, this chapter is clear to point out that the priests who were in the temple at Jerusalem were faithful to God. The chapter is a good reminder that we must be faithful to the Lord even when our leaders are not. The priests represented the remnant that was faithful to God in those days.
Acts 6:8‐7:60 – The story of the first Christian martyr, Stephen is an interesting one.
Stephen was being used greatly by God, as demonstrated in Acts 6:8. I believe that all of hell took notice at how God was using Stephen, and that Satan wanted to scare the believers by taking Stephen’s life. Seized and arrested, Stephen does not go quietly. Instead, he preaches one of the most insightful sermons ever. He paints a panoramic picture of the history of the nation of Israel’s relationship with Jehovah, ending with charges that the people had grown stiff-necked and crucified the Messiah.
When Stephen is stoned to death, he echoes the words of Christ from the cross; showing that he loved those who persecuted him.
Stephen’s death did not dissuade the growth of the church. Satan’s plan to persecute the church may have resulted in great difficulty for the believers, but it had the opposite effect when it came to church growth. The church flourished.
If you look around the world today, the church flourishes in areas where persecution exists. Our American church has been shrinking both in size and impact. Maybe some of that is because it is too easy to be a “Christian” in America today. I wonder how many of us would continue to stand for Christ if the heat were turned up.
The Bible tells us in multiple places that we will face persecution if we walk with Christ. May we pass the test and stand up for Him no matter the situation!