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Julie Ferwerda Christian Blog and Commentary

OYB June 5

  • Julie Ferwerda
    Are you ready for change in 2009? Grab a One Year Bible (NLT), commit to reading it daily, and join Julie Ferwerda on an extraordinary adventure that will transform your life as you experience its relevance in a fresh, understandable way. In addition to 20+ years in Bible teaching ministry, Julie is a professional speaker and writer. Her works have appeared in publications such as Focus on the Family, Discipleship Journal, Christianity Today, Marriage Partnership, Brio, and Revolve Biblezines & Devotional Bible (for teens). She's also the author of "The Perfect Fit: Piecing Together True Love," and also the upcoming book, "One Million Arrows for God: Raising Your Children to Change the World." Learn more at www.JulieFerwerda.com.
  • 2009 Jun 05
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Today's One Year Bible Reading

2 Samuel

23:24, 39 Other members of the Thirty included... Uriah the Hittite. How sad! One of his inner circle, protecting his life, that he so easily disposed of.

24:1 Once again the anger of the Lord burned against Israel, and he caused David to harm them by taking a census. "Go and count the people of Israel and Judah," the Lord told him.

The Census - David Guzik:

Why was it wrong to take a census? God desired that in Israel, a census should only be taken if it was commanded by God, because the concept was strong that you were only to count what you owned, and Israel belongs to God, not to David. Also, knowing the population of the Israel could be a source of pride and false confidence for David.

If it was wrong, why did God direct David to do it? Because the anger of the Lord was aroused against Israel. Why was God angry with David and Israel? Evidently, David and Israel had pride, vainglory and self-confidence in their hearts. God prompted David to make a census in order to publicly display the attitude of his and the nation's heart. God did not make David do something he did not want to do; God removed the roadblocks so David could do the sin his heart was desiring.

The parallel account of this in 1 Chronicles 21:1 points out something important, yet difficult to grasp: that Satan stood up against Israel, and moved David to number Israel. Julie adds: Note Young's Literal translates 2 Sam. 24:1 as: And the anger of Jehovah addeth to burn against Israel, and [an adversary] moveth David about them, saying, `Go, number Israel and Judah.'

Did God do it or did Satan do it? The answer is both; God allowed it for His purpose (to expose the sin of pride and self-reliance already in the heart of David and the nation at large), and Satan did what God allowed him to do for his purposes (to destroy David and Israel).

24:14 "I'm in a desperate situation!" David replied to Gad. "But let us fall into the hands of the Lord, for his mercy is great. Do not let me fall into human hands." David had enough history with God to trust in His mercy. What a terrible position to be in to choose your punishment. David chose wisely by letting God pick for him.

  • Do you trust God to choose your destiny? Do you believe His character is Good or do you doubt His intentions toward you? What experiences have led you to trust or to doubt?

24:24 But the king replied to Araunah, "No, I insist on buying it, for I will not present burnt offerings to the Lord my God that have cost me nothing." When we sacrifice to the Lord, it should always cost us something as well. Fasting is a great and costly sacrifice to the Lord. I used to be really faithful at regular fasting, but I sort of gave up (laziness and unbelief). But God has been putting it on my heart again strongly. I am resuming one day of a week of "fasting from flesh" for more focused "feasting on God." I have also noticed that all of the world-changers that I know of practiced a lot of fasting and prayer! Not to sound lofty or prideful, but I want to change the world for God! Big impacts start with little acts of faithfulness and obedience.

Acts

3:19-21 "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you [O unbelievers], whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.

This is such a beautiful passage. Here Peter is talking to unbelievers and he tells the people to repent so that their sins can be wiped away so they can experience times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord! And then, he tells them that Christ (Messiah) is appointed for them, the unbelievers! Let that sink in... "the Christ appointed for YOU." Then Jesus was received by heaven until the period (age) of the restoration of all things spoken by the prophets! I believe this restoration of all things kicks off with the soon coming Millennial Kingdom. How exciting.

3:25 "It is you who are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant which God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, `And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.' Peter reminds the Jews of the Abrahamic covenant with Israel that all families of the earth would be blessed through their lineage. So amazing!

3:26 "For you first, God raised up His Servant and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways." Jesus came to save the Jews first, to bless them, and turn them all from their wickedness! This is why Jesus did not typically speak to the Gentiles during His ministry.