April 24 — Ps. 43-45, 49, 84, 85, 87 — Sons of Korah (about 1003 BC). Do you have a “black sheep” in your family history? Some people, through programs like Ancestry.com, have discovered outlaws in their past. The sons of Korah had a notorious ancestor named Korah, the Levite who rebelled against Moses and was swallowed into the ground with his family (Num. 16). In a later summary of this story, an interesting note was added: “But the sons of Korah did not die” (26:11). Why not? My guess is that while their father was rebelling, they were faithfully serving at the tabernacle, Israel’s worship center. Sons of Korah were appointed as “keepers of the thresholds of the tent” (1 Chron. 9:19) and “gatekeepers” (1 Chron. 26:1, 19). Korahites also served as worship leaders, being singers “with a very loud voice” (2 Chron. 20:19). We also know that they wrote 11 Psalms of praise to God and six of them are in our reading for today. These men were very different from their black-sheep ancestor who lived over 400 years earlier. In one of our psalms for today, they sang, “For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness” (Ps. 84:10).
April 25 — 1 Chron. 3-5 — Names (about 1003 BC). If you ever want to search for names for the birth of anticipated children or grandchildren, there are plenty of suggestions in these chapters! A few of the names are still used in our time, like David (3:1). I have two grandsons named Michael (5:13) and friends named Joel (4:30), Reuben (4:30), and Joseph (5:1), and a former student in the Philippines named Jotham (2:47). One of the ancient names that may stick out to us is Jabez (4:9) because of the book, “The Prayer of Jabez,” written by Bruce Wilkinson in 2000. Jabez was exemplary in these long lists of people. He “was more honorable than his brothers” and he “called upon the God of Israel” in his famous prayer (4:10). What will you be famous for? What quality will be most commonly mentioned at your memorial service? Hopefully, like Jabez, it will be a godly quality worth emulating.
April 26 — Ps. 73, 77, 78 — Historical Psalm (about 1003 BC). Today we read three of the 12 psalms of Asaph. He had been appointed by David to be the chief of Levites who served “as ministers before the ark of the LORD” (1 Chron. 16:4-5). Psalm 78 could be called a historical psalm because it surveys God’s involvement with Israel during their delivery from Egyptian slavery and their 40 years of desert wandering. It was said that these were stories “that our fathers have told us” (v. 3) and that God “commanded our fathers to teach to their children” (v. 5) “… so that they should set their hope in God and … keep his commandments” (v. 7). The history of God’s deeds in the past is important to our spiritual wellbeing in the present. Reading through the Bible this year is part of your historical training regarding what God has done in history. It is going to benefit you spiritually.
April 27 — 1 Chron. 6 — Genealogy and Geography (about 1003 BC). Wasn’t it fun reading this chapter?! Okay, it was a challenge. Genealogy and geography. The genealogy was important because it described the sons of Levi (Levites) who served in the tabernacle. The priests were also Levites, the descendants of Aaron, who ministered by offering sacrifices at the altar and incense inside the tent of meeting. I thought it was interesting that the three sons of Levi were named and listed by generations forward to the exile into Babylon (6:15) and later, the primary Levites in charge of worship during David’s time were named (vv. 33, 39, 44) and their genealogies traced backward to the three sons of Levi. Complete circle. The geography was also important because it described places allotted to the Levites throughout the whole land. The Levites were given only small centers of land within the boundaries of each of the other tribes. This says to me that God not only provides for those in charge of leading religious activities but He also wants them to live with the people. The Levites were “one” with the Israelites as our pastors today are “one” with their congregations, not living above on a higher plane but being called out of the midst of people just like us.
April 28 — Ps. 81, 88, 92, 93 — Calling and Listening (about 1003 BC). There is a mixture of statements in Ps. 81 and 88 about divine and human communication. Mankind is first ordered to “Sing aloud … [and] shout for joy” to God (81:1). That shows that we are to speak to God in praise. We should also call to Him when we are in need. The psalmist said that he cried out to God (88:1, 13) and that “I call upon you” (88:9). He begged God to “incline your ear to my cry!” (88:2). Did God listen? Yes. God said, “In distress you called, and I delivered you” (81:7). God responds to the desperate needs of His people. On the other hand, sometimes God’s people do not listen to Him. God declared, “Hear, O my people … if you would but listen to me!” (81:8, 13). What happens when we don’t listen to God? Here it is: “But my people did not listen to my voice … so I gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own counsels” (81:11-12). We are to talk to God but we are also to be sensitive to what He says to us in His Word. Pray that the Holy Spirit will make you sensitive and willing to obey as you read the Bible each day. Otherwise, we will head down our own destructive pathways.
April 29 — 1 Chron. 7-10 — Historical Summaries (about 1003 BC). Chapter 9 ends the long genealogies of this book. Chronologically, it stretches even beyond the time in our current reading, listing the descendants of Jews who came back from the Babylonian captivity (9:1) over 450 years later. Chapter 10 also reviews the death of Saul and Jonathan in battle with the Philistines that we already read about at the end of 1 Samuel. It is interesting that at first, the king of Israel was not given an elaborate burial in a prominent place. Saul was buried “under the oak in Jabesh” (1 Chron. 10:12) by the valiant men from Jabesh-gilead who risked their lives to rescue the bodies of Saul and his sons hanging from the public square of a Philistine city (2 Sam. 21:12). Later, as we already read in 2 Sam. 21:14, David had those bones dug up to be reburied in the tomb of Saul’s father.
April 30 — Ps. 102-104 — Bless the Lord (about 1003 BC). Both Ps. 103 and 104 begin and end with the exclamation, “Bless the LORD, O my soul!” To “bless” is to praise. Our soul (inner being) should be filled with praise to God. We should praise Him for the benefits He gives to us (103:2), for His justice (103:6), His mercy and patience (103:8), His forgiveness (103:10, 12), His greatness (104:1), His creation (104:5), His provision for our food (104:14), and for the sun and moon that mark time (104:19). We also recognize that “In wisdom have you made them all” (104:24). I like the way Ps. 104 closes this long list of God’s accomplishments: “…may the LORD rejoice in his works” (104:31). If God can rejoice in what He has made, so can His people: “I rejoice in the LORD” (104:34). Let’s dedicate this day to an exercise of blessing the Lord, praising Him for the things we notice throughout the day—His creation and His provision.