Today our passages are 2 Chronicles 4:1–6:11; Romans 7:1-13; Psalm 17:1-15; and Proverbs 19:22-23. The readings are from the Contemporary English Version. If you find these readings helpful, please consider sending an offering directly to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Steet, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal by using the link below.
2 Chronicles 4-6:11 (Contemporary English Version)
2 Chronicles 4
The Furnishings for the Temple
(1 Kings 7.23-51)1Solomon had a bronze altar made that was thirty feet square and fifteen feet high.
2He also gave orders to make a large metal bowl called the Sea. It was fifteen feet across, about seven and a half feet deep, and forty-five feet around.
3Its outer edge was decorated with two rows of carvings of bulls, ten bulls to every eighteen inches, all made from the same piece of metal as the bowl.
4The bowl itself sat on top of twelve bronze bulls, with three bulls facing outward in each of four directions.
5The sides of the bowl were four inches thick, and its rim was in the shape of a cup that curved outward like flower petals. The bowl held about fifteen thousand gallons.
6He also made ten small bowls and put five on each side of the large bowl. The small bowls were used to wash the animals that were burned on the altar as sacrifices, and the priests used the water in the large bowl to wash their hands.
7Ten gold lampstands were also made according to the plans. Solomon placed these lampstands inside the temple, five on each side of the main room.
8He also made ten tables and placed them in the main room, five on each side. And he made a hundred small gold sprinkling bowls.
9Solomon gave orders to build two courtyards: a smaller one that only priests could use and a larger one. The doors to these courtyards were covered with bronze.
10The large bowl called the Sea was placed near the southeast corner of the temple.
11Huram made shovels, sprinkling bowls, and pans for hot ashes. Here is a list of the other furnishings he made for God's temple:
12two columns, two bowl-shaped caps for the tops of these columns, two chain designs on the caps,
13four hundred pomegranates [a] for the chain designs,
14the stands and the small bowls,
15the large bowl and the twelve bulls that held it up,
16pans for hot ashes, as well as shovels and meat forks. Huram made all these things out of polished bronze
17by pouring melted bronze into the clay molds he had set up near the Jordan River, between Succoth and Zeredah.
18There were so many bronze furnishings that no one ever knew how much bronze it took to make them.
19Solomon also gave orders to make the following temple furnishings out of gold: the altar, the tables that held the sacred loaves of bread, [b]
20the lampstands and the lamps that burned in front of the most holy place,
21flower designs, lamps and tongs,
22lamp snuffers, small sprinkling bowls, ladles, fire pans, and the doors to the most holy place and the main room of the temple.
2 Chronicles 51After the LORD's temple was finished, Solomon put in its storage rooms everything that his father David had dedicated to the LORD, including the gold and silver, and the objects used in worship.
Solomon Brings the Sacred Chest to the Temple
(1 Kings 8.1-13)2-3The sacred chest had been kept on Mount Zion, also known as the city of David. But Solomon decided to have the chest moved to the temple while everyone was in Jerusalem to celebrate the Festival of Shelters during the seventh month. [c] Solomon called together all the important leaders of Israel.
4-5Then the priests and the Levites picked up the sacred chest, the sacred tent, and the objects used for worship, and they carried them to the temple.
6Solomon and a crowd of people walked in front of the chest, and along the way they sacrificed more sheep and cattle than could be counted.
7The priests carried the chest into the most holy place and put it under the winged creatures,
8whose wings covered the chest and the poles used for carrying it.
9The poles were so long that they could be seen from just outside the most holy place, but not from anywhere else. And they stayed there from then on.
10The only things kept in the chest were the two flat stones Moses had put there when the LORD made his agreement with the people of Israel at Mount Sinai, [d] after bringing them out of Egypt.
11-13The priests of every group had gone through the ceremony to make themselves clean and acceptable to the LORD. The Levite musicians, including Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun, and their sons and relatives, were wearing robes of fine linen. They were standing on the east side of the altar, playing cymbals, small harps, and other stringed instruments. One hundred twenty priests were with these musicians, and they were blowing trumpets.
They were praising the LORD by playing music and singing:
"The LORD is good,
and his love never ends."
Suddenly a cloud filled the temple as the priests were leaving the holy place.
14The LORD's glory was in that cloud, and the light from it was so bright that the priests could not stay inside to do their work.
2 Chronicles 61Solomon prayed:
"Our LORD, you said that you
would live in a dark cloud.
2Now I've built a glorious temple
where you can live forever."
Solomon Speaks to the People
(1 Kings 8.14-21)3Solomon turned toward the people standing there. Then he blessed them
Praise the LORD God of Israel! He brought his people out of Egypt long ago and later kept his promise to make my father David the king of Israel. The LORD also promised him that Jerusalem would be the city where his temple will be built, and now that promise has come true.
7When my father wanted to build a temple for the LORD God of Israel,
8the LORD said, "It's good that you want to build a temple where I can be worshiped.
9But you're not the one to do it. Your son will build the temple to honor me."
10The LORD has done what he promised. I am now the king of Israel, and I've built a temple for the LORD our God.
11I've also put the sacred chest in the temple. And in that chest are the two flat stones on which is written the solemn agreement the LORD made with our ancestors when he rescued them from Egypt.
- 2 Chronicles 4:13 pomegranates: See the note at 3.16.
- 2 Chronicles 4:19 sacred loaves of bread: This bread was offered to the LORD and was a symbol of the LORD's presence in the temple. It was put out on special tables, and was replaced with fresh bread every week (see Leviticus 24.5-9).
- 2 Chronicles 5:2 seventh month: Tishri (also called Ethanim), the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar, from about mid-September to mid-October.
- 2 Chronicles 5:10 Sinai: Hebrew "Horeb."
Romans 7:1-13 (Contemporary English Version)
An Example from Marriage1My friends, you surely understand enough about law to know that laws only have power over people who are alive. 2For example, the Law says that a man's wife must remain his wife as long as he lives. But once her husband is dead, she is free 3to marry someone else. However, if she goes off with another man while her husband is still alive, she is said to be unfaithful.
4That is how it is with you, my friends. You are now part of the body of Christ and are dead to the power of the Law. You are free to belong to Christ, who was raised to life so that we could serve God. 5When we thought only of ourselves, the Law made us have sinful desires. It made every part of our bodies into slaves who are doomed to die. 6But the Law no longer rules over us. We are like dead people, and it cannot have any power over us. Now we can serve God in a new way by obeying his Spirit, and not in the old way by obeying the written Law.
The Battle with Sin7Does this mean that the Law is sinful? Certainly not! But if it had not been for the Law, I would not have known what sin is really like. For example, I would not have known what it means to want something that belongs to someone else, unless the Law had told me not to do that. 8It was sin that used this command as a way of making me have all kinds of desires. But without the Law, sin is dead.
9Before I knew about the Law, I was alive. But as soon as I heard that command, sin came to life, 10and I died. The very command that was supposed to bring life to me, instead brought death. 11Sin used this command to trick me, and because of it I died. 12Still, the Law and its commands are holy and correct and good.
13Am I saying that something good caused my death? Certainly not! It was sin that killed me by using something good. Now we can see how terrible and evil sin really is.
Psalm 17:1-15 (Contemporary English Version)
(A prayer by David.)
The Prayer of an Innocent Person1I am innocent, LORD!
Won't you listen as I pray
and beg for help?
I am honest!
Please hear my prayer.
2Only you can say
that I am innocent,
because only your eyes
can see the truth.
3You know my heart,
and even during the night
you have tested me
and found me innocent.
I have made up my mind
never to tell a lie.
4I don't do like others.
I obey your teachings
and am not cruel.
5I have followed you,
without ever stumbling.
6I pray to you, God,
because you will help me.
Listen and answer my prayer!
7Show your wonderful love.
Your mighty arm protects those
who run to you
from their enemies.
8Protect me as you would
your very own eyes;
hide me in the shadow
of your wings.
9Don't let my brutal enemies
attack from all sides
and kill me.
10They refuse to show mercy,
and they keep bragging.
11They have caught up with me!
My enemies are everywhere,
eagerly hoping to smear me
in the dirt.
12They are like hungry lions
hunting for food,
or like young lions
hiding in ambush.
13Do something, LORD!
Attack and defeat them.
Take your sword and save me
from those evil people.
14Use your powerful arm
and rescue me
from the hands of mere humans
whose world won't last. [a] You provide food
for those you love.
Their children have plenty,
and their grandchildren
will have more than enough.
15I am innocent, LORD,
and I will see your face!
When I awake, all I want
is to see you as you are.
- Psalm 17:14 last: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 14.
Proverbs 19:22-23 (Contemporary English Version)
22What matters most is loyalty.
It's better to be poor
than to be a liar.
23Showing respect to the LORD
brings true life--
if you do it, you can relax
without fear of danger.
“I am determined to be faithful and to respect your laws.” - Psalm 119:30
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.
Thought for the Day
American novelist, critic, public speaker, essayist, and columnist, Orson Scott Card wrote, “Metaphors have a way of holding the most truth in the least space.”
A Joke for Today
A man once spent days looking for his new hat. Finally, he decided that he'd go to church on Sunday and sit at the back. During the service he would sneak out and grab a hat from the rack at the front door.
On Sunday, he went to church and sat at the back. The sermon was about the 10 commandments. He sat through the whole sermon and instead of sneaking out he waited until the sermon was over and went to talk to the minister.
"I came here today to steal a hat to replace the one I lost. But after hearing your sermon on the 10 Commandments, I changed my mind."
The minister said, "That’s wonderful. Was it when I started to preach 'Thou shall not steal,' that changed your heart?"
The man responded, "No, it was the one on adultery. When you started to preach on that, I remembered where I left my hat."