Read I Chronicles 8 -- 10
The Israelites were carried away to Babylon for their transgression (I Chronicles 9:1) as slaves in a heathen land. Jeremiah foretold that after 70 years . . . at captivity that God would make it possible for them to return to their land (Jeremiah 29:10). More than 100 years before it took place, Isaiah the prophet foretold that King Cyrus would defeat the Babylonians and offer freedom to the Israelite descendants to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple of God (Isaiah 44:28; Jeremiah 29:10-14). However, by this time most of them were born in Babylon and had never seen Jerusalem. They were now free to remain and pursue financial opportunities and securities. To return to Jerusalem would be a dangerous journey of 600-900 miles and would take at least 4 months on foot. At the end of the long journey, they could only anticipate an uncertain means of survival. Volunteer physical labor would be required to rebuild the Temple out of the ruins left by the Babylonian destruction. Consequently, only a small minority was willing to leave the comforts of Persia, and fulfill the will of God.
The first inhabitants that dwelt in their possessions in their cities (around Jerusalem) were the Israelites, the priests, Levites, and the Nethinims. In Jerusalem dwelt the children of Judah . . . of Benjamin . . . of Ephraim, and Manasseh (I Chronicles 9:2-3; Nehemiah 11:3). The work of the Nethinims (Temple servants) may seem rather insignificant, but it was essential work that needed to be done for the Lord. Loyalty to their Heavenly King made them willing to work and to serve wherever needed. Of the Levites, some had charge of the ministering (serving) vessels (I Chronicles 9:28), which does not appear to be of little importance; others were overseers of the fine flour, and the wine, and the oil, and the frankincense, and the spices (9:29-30), which perhaps required a little more skill; and some were responsible for the things that were made in the pans (9:31). All were ordinary laborers and may seem hardly worth mentioning. But God esteemed each responsibility as indispensable and worthy of recording.
There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit . . . dividing to every one . . . as He will, and not necessarily as we prefer (I Corinthians 12:4,11). Regardless of the seeming prominence or insignificance of our abilities, they are a sacred trust from God. Although some are given higher positions than others, the Lord does not expect the person who is given one talent to fulfill the responsibility of the person who has been given five talents (Matthew 25:24-28). The person who is faithful and responds to his opportunities for the Lord to be glorified, may later be given greater gifts; but the person who fails to do what he can accomplish will hear on Judgment Day: You wicked and slothful servant! (25:26). We are required to be faithful stewards (managers) of our life and the abilities and opportunities that have been entrusted to us.
Awards will be given, not according to the prominence of the position, but according to how faithfully we performed it. Let us do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men (Colossians 3:23).
Christ Revealed: By Jerusalem, which means "foundation of peace" (I Chronicles 9:3). Christ is the only foundation of peace upon which man can stand before God (II Cor. 5:18; Eph. 2:14).
Word Studies: 8:33 Esh-baal is another name for Ish-bosheth; 9:23 by wards means as guards; 9:28 bring them in and out by tale means count them when they bring them in and take them out; 10:2 followed hard after means closely pursued and overtook.
Government Officials: Sen. Byron Dorgan (ND) and Rep. Alan Mollohan (WV) · BPM Staff: Ken Sharp · Pray for Rev. & Mrs. Mike Hall, Directors, Washington DC Bible Reading Marathon · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio broadcast sponsored by Bruce and Jean Rothenbuhler · Country: Haiti (7 million) in the West Indies · Major languages: French and Creole · Religious freedom · 75% Roman Catholic; 17% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Read, study, and listen to the Word of God so that your prayers will be answered (Proverbs 28:9).
Optional Reading: I Corinthians 1
Memory Verse for the Week: Revelation 20:12