While you’re reading this, I’m sitting on a houseboat (or water-skiing) at Lake Powell in southern Utah. This is my sixth year in a row that my wife and I have enjoyed a week in one of the most picturesque settings in the world.
If you haven’t heard of Lake Powell, imagine a slightly smaller version of the Grand Canyon with a dam at one end that backs up the Colorado River for miles and miles. And that’s what it is: more coastline than all of California (2000 miles!), 200 narrow canyons branching in every direction, and dramatic cliff walls rising 2000 feet from the water. The Grand Canyon gets all the publicity, but Lake Powell (situated in Glen Canyon) plays the role of its equally talented, but overlooked younger brother.
Scenic vistas like the one I’m enjoying right stir deep within us a greater understanding of who God is, and who we are too.
Please join me in this weekend’s daily Bible conversation!
INSIGHTS AND EXPLANATIONS
1 Chronicles 9:1-12:18. Verse 1 in chapter 12 gives us some context about when 1 Chronicles was written: “The people of Judah were taken captive to Babylon because of their unfaithfulness.” The people of Judah had just returned from their captivity in Babylon. First Chronicles, then, is a study of when and how Israel followed God, and then drifted astray.
Incidentally, chapter 9 offers the list of people who resettled in Israel, which runs parallel to the list that appears in Nehemiah 11.
You’ll notice that the historical part of the book begins with the end of Saul’s life. The Chronicler obviously considered Saul’s reign as inconsequential to Israel’s history. He then offers a summary of Saul’s life: “Saul died because he was unfaithful to the Lord; he did not keep the word of the Lord and even consulted a medium for guidance, and did not inquire of the Lord” (1 Chronicles 10:13–14).
Acts 27:21-28:31. It’s amazing how Paul’s natural leadership gifts rose to the surface while the men on the ship were in distress. The New Bible Commentary offers an interesting perspective on the shipwreck:
It is clear that the storm and shipwreck were not interpreted by Paul as divine judgment upon his captors but rather as the result of circumstances. It was not that God was tracking them down with storms and they could not hide. It was not that they could have avoided the storm if they had had a different attitude towards the Christians.
Assuredly, Paul’s gifts saved his life when the Roman soldiers on the boat were considering killing their prisoners to prevent them from escaping. Had the prisoners escaped, their captors would have been held liable for their punishment.
The book of Acts concludes with Paul awaiting trial in Rome, but also preaching the gospel to anyone who would listen.
What a great set up for us to begin reading the book of Romans, which commences tomorrow!
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THE WORD MADE FRESH
The awesome beauty of Glen Canyon and Lake Powell inspires me to respond with words similar to the Psalmist’s words in Psalm 8:
O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
Looking up at the majestic canyon walls, in some ways, makes me feel so small.
When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?
But it also reminds me that I’m not so small. God’s beauty astounds me—and the fact that he shares his beauty with me helps me realize how much I mean to him.
You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You made him ruler over the works of your hands;
you put everything under his feet:
all flocks and herds,
and the beasts of the field,
the birds of the air,
and the fish of the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas.
The beauty of Psalm 8 is that it reminds us of who God is—and who we are, too.
We are not accidents of nature, nor are we civilized animals. God created us in his image and crowned us a little lower than the heavenly beings, crowning us with glory and honor.
That’s how much you mean to God!
- What spoke to your heart in today’s reading?
- What does Psalm 8 tell you about you?
- What does it tell you about God?
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Michael co-pastors The Neighborhood Church in Littleton, Colorado.