July 1: Hope
July 1, 2016
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: 1 Chronicles 1-2, Psalm 123-124, Luke 7:11-17, Colossians 1:1-14 1 Chronicles 1-2: These two chapters are unlikely to furnish the bestseller portions of Scripture (if such were allowed to be), and they seem to be hard work even for the most dedicated student of the Bible. But they are here for a reason—not purposelessly preserved for us—and it is our task to discern that reason. It is evident that these genealogies, filling in some gaps even in the genealogy of Christ, were written to encourage and assure those who might think that God’s work in them would fail after the experience of the exile. God had preserved his seed, and there would be a shoot that would arise again from the stump of Jesse, of the seed of David—Christ the Messiah. But what is the purpose for us? It tells us that even when it seems as if God’s work has been ground into the dust by dictators or the unwarranted viciousness of apparently random fate, God has a plan and a purpose behind it all—and God’s people will once again flourish, even if in a way we could not predict or would ourselves not have planned. Church history, as well as Scripture, is well furnished with illustrations of this truth; it is good that Christian men and women fill their minds and hearts with this so they are prepared to stand tall in the day of adversity. Perhaps most famously in recent centuries was the plentiful, and entirely understandable, hand wringing and despair at the expulsion of the missionaries from China. Surely, it was felt, God’s work would be destroyed. And yet, when the doors opened again, it was found that the church had not only not perished, but it had greatly multiplied and taken on the identity of being an indigenous church, for which missionaries had long worked. Read then this great long list of names (1 Chron. 1-2). Imagine yourself in the shoes of some of them—of those suffering and looking back on past glories, unaware of how future history would fulfill to an even greater purpose the dreams of their forebears, more than they could have imagined. Then take heart when you are facing extreme situations yourself today. God is not finished with you; he is not finished with his church. And what to us may seem to be a disaster could well be the paving of a thoroughfare for the gospel to move with greater speed and effectiveness than we could have ever hoped for in our own frail weakness. History is a great teacher. It tells us how not to repeat the mistakes of the past, and sacred history such as this shows that God is weaving the present and future to his own purposes and our good. To receive God Centered Bible devotionals directly in your inbox, sign up here.]]>
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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