Read I Chronicles 8 -- 10
In Today's Reading:
Descendants of Benjamin; priests and Levites in Jerusalem and their responsibilities; genealogy of Saul; tragic deaths of Saul and his sons
Only a small minority of Israelites were willing to leave the comforts of the new Persian kingdom and return to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple.
The first Israelite exiles to return to their property in their former towns included Israelite laymen, priests, Levites, and the Temple servants (Nethinims). The work of the 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. Some of the Levites were in charge of the utensils that were used in worship. This responsibility appears to be of little importance. Others were overseers in charge of the items in the Temple, such as the select flour, wine, oil, incense, and spices. Still others were responsible for making the bread-wafers which perhaps required a little more skill. All were ordinary laborers and, to us, may seem hardly worth mentioning. But God esteemed each responsibility as indispensable and worthy of recording and, collectively, all tasks were necessary to fulfill the service to the Lord in the Temple.
In a similar way, God has given each of us different gifts. He decides what gift each person should have and not necessarily what we prefer. Regardless of the seeming importance or insignificance of our abilities, they are a sacred trust from God. The Lord does not expect the person who is given one talent to fulfill the responsibility of the person who has five talents. But, the person who fails to respond to his opportunities will hear on judgment day that, because he was an unfaithful servant, he shall be thrown into outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
We are required to be faithful stewards (managers) of our lives and the abilities and opportunities that God has entrusted to us. Because of this, we should work with enthusiasm, since we are working for the Lord and not for people.
Devotional commentary also refers to: Nehemiah 11:3; I Corinthians 12:4,11; Matthew 25:24-30; Colossians 3:23.
By Jerusalem, which means "possession of peace" (see I Chronicles 9:3). Christ provides us with peace within to stand before God (see John 14:27; II Corinthians 5:18; Ephesians 2:14).
8:31 Zacher = Zechariah; 8:33 Esh-baal is another name for Ish-bosheth; 9:21 porter = gatekeeper of the entrance way; 9:22 set office = trustworthy position; 9:23 by wards = as guards; 9:28 bring them in and out by tale = count them when they bring them in and take them out; 10:2 followed hard after = closely pursued and overtook; 10:3 went sore = was fierce; 10:4 uncircumcised = those without a covenant with God.
Staff: Karen Hawkins · Michael Adams and the Bible Pathway Radio Broadcasts on WOOW-AM, Greenville NC · Government Officials: Sen. Byron Dorgan (ND) and Rep. Alan Mollohan (WV) · Country: Burundi (6 million) in east-central Africa · Major languages: Kirundi and French · Losing religious freedom · 51% Roman Catholic; 12% animist; 11% Protestant; 1% Muslim· Prayer Suggestion: Fast, sanctify yourself, and unite in prayer with others as you cry unto the Lord (see Joel 1:14).
Optional Reading: I Corinthians 1
Memory Verse for the Week: Colossians 3:16