For I Am Not Ashamed of the Gospel

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1 CHRONICLES 12:19-14:17 | ROMANS 1:1-17 | PSALM 9:13-20 | PROVERBS 19:4-5

Continuing in our reading in the first book of Chronicles, we find a detailed list of the number of fighting men from all the many tribes of Israel who supported David to make him the new king after the death of Saul.  There is also a somewhat elaborate account of the bringing of the Ark, an event that David was committed to carrying out. 

This is all quite fascinating in how this inanimate object that contained the tablets whereupon the finger of God had written out the ten commandments was the most revered object to the people.  Next, there is mention of David’s family– his many wives and children are mentioned by name. 

The impression one gets is that of a king becoming well-established and well-loved, and even feared among the region.  In fact, the chapter ends with these lines, 17 So David’s fame spread throughout every land, and the LORD made all the nations fear him.

Turning next to our reading in the New Testament, we have now commenced a brand new book titled Romans, or more accurately, the Letter to the Romans. 

The previous book of Acts ends with an account of Paul being held as prisoner even as he awaits a trial, but beyond stating that he lived there under house-arrest albeit with some personal liberties intact, we do not know what exactly happened at the trial, if there was ever one.  It is speculated, therefore, that Nero, the Roman Emperor would have been the one to have had Paul executed.

But today, we begin one of the most famous letters ever written by Paul to the early churches in Rome.  These new bodies of believers scattered throughout the city of Rome needed guidance and clarity in what it meant to have become a believer of Jesus Christ.  Many were of Jewish origin, but still many were non-Jews, i.e., Gentiles, with whom Paul had an active preaching ministry.  Paul begins his letter introducing himself and identifying his audience as follows:

1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— 2 the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures 3 regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David, 4 and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. 5 Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name’s sake. 6 And you also are among those Gentiles who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.

And he ends this first chapter with one of the more memorable lines oft-quoted, 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

Next, we turn to our psalm for the day, and find one in which the warrior-king, David, affirms his great faith in God’s provision and protection in this verse:

18 But God will never forget the needy;
the hope of the afflicted will never perish.

Finally, we have two verses from the book of Proverbs, each unrelated, and yet worthy of record and rumination.  One can only hope that the first one is not so frequent a phenomenon, i.e., that true friendship lasts even in the face of poverty.

4 Wealth attracts many friends,
but even the closest friend of the poor person deserts them.

5 A false witness will not go unpunished,
   and whoever pours out lies will not go free.

May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word.

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