Imagine turning a $45 garage sale purchase into $200 million. That’s what happened to Rick Norsigian not long ago. In 2000, he purchased a set of 65 black and white glass negatives. Suspecting they were worth more than $45, Norsigian spent parts of the next ten years researching famous photographers. To his astonishment, the glass negatives in his possession once belonged to the uber-famous nature photographer Ansel Adams.
“When I heard that [my purchase was worth] $200 million, I got a little weak,” the commercial painter from Fresno, California told CNN.com. Turning $45 into $200,000 is a rate of return of 444,444,334!
At times, a humble investment can reap enormous returns.
Join us for today’s Bible conversation as we discuss how.
Believe it or not, we’ve past the halfway point of our yearling journey through the Bible. Think about it: we are now almost 60% through reading the Bible in a year.
INSIGHTS AND EXPLANATIONS
2 Chronicles 29:1-31:21. After the evil reign of his father King Ahaz, Hezekiah was a welcome contrast—and an able leader. Within a month of coming to power, Hezekiah immediately began his religious reform in Judah. The New Bible Commentary evaluates his reign:
Where Jotham was compared to Uzziah, and Uzziah to Amaziah (2 Chronicles 27:2; 26:4), Hezekiah is compared to David thirteen generations earlier (2), and from v 3 onwards his work plainly resembles Solomon’s.
After cleansing and then rededicating the temple, an enormous number of sacrifices were made. The sin offerings were intended to cleanse Judah from their past while the burnt offerings were intended to consecrate them in the future.
Then, Hezekiah invited their cousins in the northern kingdom of Israel to join them in worshiping God by celebrating the Passover. But notice: after their transgressions of the past, the people didn’t grovel before God. They celebrated the forgiveness he had given them. In fact, their celebration was so great that they decided to extend their celebration for another week!
The spiritual impact of Hezekiah—who wasn’t a priest—on Judah cannot be understated.
The message of today’s reading is this: it’s never too late to repent and start over in our relationship with God. The depths of his forgiveness are never exhausted.
And the Lord heard Hezekiah and healed the people (2 Chronicles 30:20).
Romans 14:1-15:22. The beginning of chapter 14 addresses matters of conscience regarding beliefs and practices that aren’t necessarily addressed in Scripture. The message for all of us? Don’t be judgmental. This applies not only to how we act, but I would venture to say that it applies to how we feel toward people as well. The degree of liberty by which we live is a matter of conscience between us and God.
Some people think it’s okay to drink alcohol. Some don’t. Some people choose to homeschool their children. Others don’t. Some people prefer hymns, others prefer singing worship choruses in church. In this respect, God calls us to not only coexist, but accept one another without judgment.
Paul’s point is that we must be careful to avoid causing weak believers to stumble. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t at times offend the “sensibilities” of “strong” believers who are stuck in their ways and beliefs—especially if they push away the weak. Jesus was an equal opportunity offender of the Pharisee, Sadducees, and teachers of the Law. The same applies to Paul. But the plight of weak believers is different.
Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification (Romans 14:19).
Psalm 24. This psalm was written to celebrate the return of the ark into the hands of Israel (see 1 Samuel 5-6 and 2 Samuel 6).
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THE WORD MADE FRESH
In Psalm 25, David offers us some great insights into hearing from God. Two phrases in the psalm particularly spoke to me:
[God] guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way (verse 9).
When we’re bull-headed, defensive, or convinced that we’re right—which are really expressions of pride—we limit God’s willingness to guide us and teach us his way.
The Lord confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them (verse 14).
We looked at this at the beginning of the year but it bears repeating: To fear God means (according to my definition) to take God seriously. God isn’t going to waste his breath on people who won’t respond to him. He loves them, but why speak to them if they reserve the right to obey.
When we come to God with a humble heart, willing to accept whatever he tells us, and willing to respond in any way he requires, he will speak to us—even more so now, because he has given us his Holy Spirit.
An investment of a little humility reaps us enormous, even eternal, returns.
- What spoke to you in today’s reading.
- Why would humility turn up the volume of God’s voice?
- Do you struggle with the idea of God speaking to you? Why or why not?
- Describe a time when you believe God spoke to you. What do you think contributed to your unique experience?
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Michael co-pastors The Neighborhood Church with Eugene Scott in Littleton, Colorado.