Day 209: The Substitute

1 Chronicles 20-22

Key Verses

1 Chronicles 21:17
Was it not I who gave command to number the people? It is I who have sinned and done great evil. But these sheep, what have they done? Please let your hand, O Lord my God, be against me and against my father’s house. But do not let the plague be on your people.

1 Chronicles 21:26-27
And David built there an altar to the Lord and presented burnt offerings and peace offerings and called on the Lord, and the Lord answered him with fire from heaven upon the altar of burnt offering. Then the Lord commanded the angel, and he put his sword back into its sheath.

1 Chronicles 20 continues from the previous two chapters to show how David’s military victories prepared the way for Solomon’s peace and prosperity.

Chapter 21 recounts events from 2 Samuel 24… It’s a powerful story of sin, repentance, and redemption. David sinned by demanding a census and God sent a great plague on Israel as punishment for David’s sin. Then God sent an angel to destroy Jerusalem.

Let’s think about this… Didn’t God just promise David that his son would build Him a house and He would establish his rule forever??!! Now God is about to destroy the “City of David.” It seems as if God’s covenant promise is in jeopardy because of David’s pride. 

God gave David the ability to see the angel “standing between heaven and earth and in his hand a sword stretched out over Jerusalem.” David realized that his sin had put all the promises of God at risk. He fell to his face and cried out to God…

Was it not I who gave command to number the people? It is I who have sinned and done great evil. But these sheep, what have they done? Please let your hand, O Lord my God, be against me and against my father’s house. But do not let the plague be on your people (1 Chronicles 21:17).

God did relent and spare Jerusalem…But – there had to be a substitute – something to receive the punishment intended for Jerusalem.

This story harkens back to Abraham lifting the knife over the body of Isaac – just in time, God provided a ram.

In this case, God commanded David to build an altar and offer a sacrifice at a specific place. The sacrifice would be the substitute.

And David built there an altar to the Lord and presented burnt offerings and peace offerings and called on the Lord, and the Lord answered him with fire from heaven upon the altar of burnt offering. Then the Lord commanded the angel, and he put his sword back into its sheath (1 Chronicles 21:26-27).

David’s repentance led to God’s relentance (yes, I just made up that word :)

But consider this detail in the text… In order to build that altar, David had to buy the land on which to build it. This piece of land would be the site of Solomon’s temple. Because of David’s repentance, God orchestrated the circumstances by which David bought the plot of land on which the future temple would be built.

Somehow, God redeemed a genuinely repentant heart and brought about a greater and more powerful good.

This story not only points back to Abraham and Isaac but points forward to God’s only Son. There must be a substitute. Our sin demands it. But thankfully… God’s goodness overrules our sinfulness!

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Day 11: A Royal Family

Genesis 25-28

Key Verses

Genesis 28:15
“Behold, I am with you [Jacob] and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

It was God’s plan from the beginning to preserve a family from which the promised savior would come. The entire world’s survival depended on this family’s survival… All seemed lost when Cain killed Abel – but God knew that the promise would continue through Seth. We follow this family, the royal family line, through Seth and then 10 generations to Noah. It goes through Noah’s son, Shem, and then 10 generations to Abraham. And the drama heightens as we see the very family that God had chosen to carry the blessed seed – threaten God’s plan with their faithlessness. Yet, God’s faithfulness overruled.

God’s promise passed from Abraham to Isaac:

“I will be with you and will bless you, for to you and to your offspring I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath that I swore to Abraham your father. I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and will give to your offspring all these lands. And in your offspring all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws” (Genesis 26:3-5).

Then Isaac and Rebekah had twin boys, Esau and Jacob. Which son would carry the promised seed? Isaac wanted Esau, but God’s choice was Jacob. Family dysfunction took center-stage as Rebekah manipulated, and Jacob deceived so that Isaac’s blessing was passed to Jacob instead of Esau.

It’s always been a mystery to me how God uses imperfect people to carry out his good plan. God had always planned for Jacob to receive the blessing from Isaac. And God carried out his good plan in spite of Jacob and Rebekah’s deceit and manipulation.

Jacob, whose name meant “heel-grabber” or “cheater” had spent his life striving to receive this blessing. Nancy Guthrie writes in her book The Promised One, “Jacob wanted the right things. His desire was for the blessing of being in the line of the Promised One. But there was no sign he wanted God. There was no reaching out for God but only grabbing for God’s blessings.” God, because of His faithfulness (not because of Jacob’s faith), extended His original promise that He gave to Abraham – to Jacob:

“I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring. Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you” (Genesis 28:13-15).

What do I learn from these chapters?

  1. God is faithful and good.
  2. Man… not so much.

Just like Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob, and Esau, we are in desperate need of God’s grace. Thankfully, this family’s faithlessness could not thwart God’s plan to bring the promised savior. That’s good news to me…. because it teaches me that my faithlessness will not hinder God’s plans in my life – just like your faithlessness will not hinder His work in yours. He is the Lord.

Day 209: The Substitute

1 Chronicles 20-22

1 Chronicles 20 continues from the previous two chapters to show how David’s military victories prepared the way for Solomon’s peace and prosperity.

Chapter 21 recounts events from 2 Samuel 24… It’s a powerful story of sin, repentance and redemption. David sinned by demanding a census and God sent a great plague on Israel as punishment for David’s sin. And then God sent an angel to destroy Jerusalem!

Now let’s think about this… Didn’t God just promise David that his son would build Him a house and He would establish his rule forever??!! And now God is about to destroy the “City of David.” It seems as if God’s covenant promise is in jeopardy because of David’s pride. 

God gave David the ability to see the angel “standing between heaven and earth and in his hand a sword stretched out over Jerusalem.” And David realized that his sin had put all the promises of God at risk. He fell to his face and cried out to God…

Was it not I who gave command to number the people? It is I who have sinned and done great evil. But these sheep, what have they done? Please let your hand, O Lord my God, be against me and against my father’s house. But do not let the plague be on your people (1 Chronicles 21:17).

God did relent and spare Jerusalem…But – there had to be a substitute – something to receive the punishment intended for Jerusalem.

This story harkens back to Abraham lifting the knife over the body of Isaac – and just in time, God provided a ram.

In this case, God commanded David to build an altar and offer a sacrifice at a specific place. The sacrifice would be the substitute.

And David built there an altar to the Lord and presented burnt offerings and peace offerings and called on the Lord, and the Lord answered him with fire from heaven upon the altar of burnt offering. Then the Lord commanded the angel, and he put his sword back into its sheath (1 Chronicles 21:26-27).

David’s repentance led to God’s relentance (yes, I just made up that word :)

But consider this detail in the text… In order to build that altar, David had to buy the land on which to build it. And this piece of land would be the site of Solomon’s temple. Because of David’s repentance, God orchestrated the circumstances by which David bought the plot of land on which the future temple would be built.

Somehow, God redeemed a genuine repentant heart and brought about a greater and more powerful good.

This story not only points back to Abraham and Isaac but points forward to God’s only Son. There must be a substitute. Our sin demands it. But thankfully… God’s goodness overrules our sinfulness!

Day 11: A Royal family

Genesis 25-28

It was God’s plan from the beginning to preserve a family from which the promised savior would come. The entire world’s survival depended on this family’s survival… All seemed lost when Cain killed Abel – but God knew that the promise would continue through Seth. We follow this family, the royal family line, through Seth and then 10 generations to Noah. It goes through Noah’s son, Shem, and then 10 generations to Abraham. And the drama heightens as we see the very family that God had chosen to carry the blessed seed – threaten God’s plan with their faithlessness. Yet, God’s faithfulness overruled.

God’s promise passed from Abraham to Isaac:

“I will be with you and will bless you, for to you and to your offspring I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath that I swore to Abraham your father. I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and will give to your offspring all these lands. And in your offspring all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws” (Genesis 26:3-5).

Then Isaac and Rebekah had twin boys, Esau and Jacob. Which son would carry the promised seed? Isaac wanted Esau, but God’s choice was Jacob. Family dysfunction took center-stage as Rebekah manipulated, and Jacob deceived so that Isaac’s blessing was passed to Jacob instead of Esau.

It’s always been a mystery to me how God uses imperfect people to carry out his good plan. God had always planned for Jacob to receive the blessing from Isaac. And God carried out his good plan in spite of Jacob and Rebekah’s deceit and manipulation.

Jacob, whose name meant “heel-grabber” or “cheater” had spent his life striving to receive this blessing. Nancy Guthrie writes in her book The Promised One, “Jacob wanted the right things. His desire was for the blessing of being in the line of the Promised One. But there was no sign he wanted God. There was no reaching out for God but only grabbing for God’s blessings.” God, because of His faithfulness (not because of Jacob’s faith), extended His original promise that He gave to Abraham – to Jacob:

“I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring. Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you” (Genesis 28:13-15).

What do I learn from these chapters?

  1. God is faithful and good.
  2. Man… not so much.

Just like Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob and Esau, we are in desperate need of God’s grace. Thankfully, this family’s faithlessness could not thwart God’s plan to bring the promised savior. That’s good news to me…. because it teaches me that my faithlessness will not hinder God’s plans in my life – just like your faithlessness will not hinder His work in yours. He is the Lord.