My Bible reading today:
1 Chronicles 7-8; Hebrews 11; Amos 5; Luke 1:1-38
Oh, 1 Chronicles...how I love to read your geneologies! Not really. I find these things a bit of a drudgery but here they are and as a part of God's word I am determined to make it through. Every once in awhile you get a little tidbit of something/someone interesting and today as I read through all of those unpronounceable names I came across: " Nun his son, Joshua his son." One of the heroes of the faith is a descendant of Ephraim, one of Joseph's sons. It just gives me a little thrill when I actually recognize a name in these long lists of names.
Then on to Hebrews and we have another list- a more interesting list-the heroes of the faith. But it is not the people mentioned that catches my attention this morning-it is the focus of the entire chapter on that word "faith." We use it all the time, but here the author of Hebrews gives us a very clear definition. "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible." -Hebrews 11: 1-3, ESV
The faith God gave these people was in something yet to come-a future promise, a future hope-something they could not see but believed to be true. And so we continue on in that same faith, believing what God has told us in His word. And we can be assured of that future hope because of who it is that has made the promise-God. When we look at creation we see the visible was made from the invisible (interesting to note that it does not say it was made out of nothing, only that it was not visible.) That is what the author wants us to understand-our future is not based on what we can see today, rather it is based on what we cannot yet see, and that is God. God, the creator of our world is also the author of our faith. Verse 6 states, "And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him." We must believe in what we cannot see. After reading this chapter my heart cries out to God-"Oh, that You would increase my faith!"
One other passage caught my attention in this chapter: "These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth...they desire a better country, that is a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared for them a city." -Hebrews 11:13-16, ESV
Two things got me-they acknowledged they were strangers and exiles on the earth-this is not our home, as much as it can feel like it sometimes-and God was not ashamed to be called their God. Oh, to grace how great a debtor I am that this can even be said of me!
I will miss ending my daily readings with the Psalms as the readings switch to the Gospel accounts now. (Not to say that the Gospels are not a good place to end my daily reading, but the Psalms have been a sweet balm to a hurting heart these past few months-my daily reminder that the steadfast love of the LORD never ceases will just continue in a new vein.)
Luke begins his account with this opening to Theophilus to explain why he is writing. "Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilis, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught." -Luke 1:1-4. ESV Luke sums up pretty well why it is important for us to read our Bibles-that we may have certainty concerning the things we have been taught. This is God's word for us-this God who is invisible, whose promises we do not yet see, but the one in whom we place our faith for He indeed is faithful. And as the angel tells Mary in verse 37, this is God for whom nothing is impossible. May my response to God's word be evidence of my faith and with Mary may I say, "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to Your word." -Luke 1:37-38
Grace, Peace, and Mercy,