Thursday, May 1, 2014

1 Chronicles 1-4

We begin the book of 1 Chronicles (chapters 1-4) today.  It is believed that this book is written by Ezra, the priest.  It covers the history of Israel from the death of King Saul to the death of King David.  So, I think it's important to point out that we are taking some steps back in time, after just reading about the Babylonian take-over in Israel in 2 Kings.  1 Chronicles reiterates God's promises for His people.  

As I read through Israel's giant family tree, I easily become lost in the sea of complicated names and dynamics.  I had to take several moments today to stop and ask for God's help in figuring out "what to pull" from all of this.

One word kept coming to mind again and again- generations. 

God loves us, generation after generation.  He works in individuals and transforms families.

And as I sat here, staring at the pages and the many names, I know I just can't keep up with the lineage detailed before me.  But I also know, God does.  He knows each one of His children by name for eternity.  

And then, the parable of the fig tree kept vying for my attention.  So, I looked it up (and had some help from my Sunday school class discussing it)...

12 The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. 13 Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. 14 Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it

Jesus tells this parable after he enters Jerusalem on a donkey as King of God's people during Holy Week, just days before He suffers and dies for our sins.  

The first time I read this parable I didn't get it all.  But I think this parable is for us, all generations of believers.  

As God's people, each of us is a fig tree in a sense, with lots of potential to bear fruit.  Jesus hopes, prays, and even needs our fruit in the world.  He's "hungry" for us to live in His purpose for our lives.  

As believers in our culture, it's easy to say "we believe" and have the strong branches with the pretty leaves that belong to a fig tree.  It's not so hard to "look" like Christ followers.  

But the undeniable truth of God's saving grace in our lives comes from the fruit we produce, how we act as Christ's hands and feet in the world, sharing God's transforming love with others.

So today, I am thinking about figs, growing fruit for Christ for generations to come.

Knowing Jesus is with me, giving me life, how will He find me living it today?

A prayer for today-

Dear God,

I thank You for Jesus in my life.  I thank You for His example and indwelling Holy Spirit.  Guide me in both my words and my actions, Lord.  Help me be the hands of feet of Christ in the world.

I know I get scared at times.  I hesitate and question sometimes.  I have a tendency to feel inadequate or act in selfishness.  I pray for the courage, strength, and humility to do what You need me to do each day.

In the name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit I pray,


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