May 18, 2015

God’s blessings

1 Chronicles 6:1–81; 1 Timothy 4:6–16; Psalm 78:13–29

My late Aunt Edna would have loved reading the many genealogies in the Old Testament. Her letters often contained names of family members, what they were doing and where they had been. She did this because she was deeply interested in them.

God included pages of genealogies in His Word for several reasons, but I am certain that one of them is His interest in His people. In today’s reading, He the sons of Aaron were repeated two times. Aunt Edna often repeated herself, but God does not have dementia as she did.

“The children of Amram: Aaron, Moses, and Miriam. The sons of Aaron: Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.... These are the sons of Aaron: Eleazar his son, Phinehas his son, Abishua his son, Bukki his son, Uzzi his son, Zerahiah his son, Meraioth his son, Amariah his son, Ahitub his son, Zadok his son, Ahimaaz his son. These are their dwelling places according to their settlements within their borders: to the sons of Aaron of the clans of Kohathites, for theirs was the first lot, to them they gave Hebron in the land of Judah and its surrounding pasturelands, but the fields of the city and its villages they gave to Caleb the son of Jephunneh. To the sons of Aaron they gave the cities of refuge: Hebron, Libnah with its pasturelands, Jattir, Eshtemoa with its pasturelands....” (1 Chronicles 6:3, 50–57)

Perhaps saying it twice means double-honor?

The NT reading is far more personal. Just over a week ago, my hubby and daughter watched me receive a Master’s degree in Arts: Biblical and Theological Studies. Many have asked me “What next?” but I don’t have an answer for that. One of my professors says that the purpose of a seminary education is not to teach you to get a job in ministry, but to transform your life! That is my answer. My life has changed. I thought I took God seriously before, but now realize how far short I fell. These few lines fall into rhythm with what that professor said...

“Train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value (as is seminary training), godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.... Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.” (1 Timothy 4:7-8, 15–16)

I’m content to become a godly person, realizing that calling is far more difficult than just about anything else God asks of me. Jesus is my sanctification, yet abiding in Him requires paying attention which, for one thing, is difficult for those of us who are so easily distracted. I relate to the children of Israel who were constantly wandering off and doing their own thing. I also know what it is like to fall short and yet still experience His blessings.

“Therefore, when the Lord heard, he was full of wrath; a fire was kindled against Jacob; his anger rose against Israel, because they did not believe in God and did not trust his saving power. Yet he commanded the skies above and opened the doors of heaven, and he rained down on them manna to eat and gave them the grain of heaven. Man ate of the bread of the angels; he sent them food in abundance.” (Psalm 78:21–25)

I also know that others don’t see me as I see myself. God doesn’t either; He sees me in Christ, sanctified and blessed beyond imagination. I’m told that the closer I am to Him, the worse I look in my own estimate of myself. I do not know if that is true or not. However, for His vision of grace I am eternally grateful!

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