Reading for Today:
1 Chronicles 26:1–27:34
1 Chronicles 26:1–19 The temple gatekeepers or guards had other duties, such as checking out equipment and utensils; storing, ordering, and maintaining food for the priests and sacrifices; caring for the temple furniture; mixing the incense daily burned; and accounting for gifts brought. Their “duties” (v. 12) are given in 1 Chronicles 9:17–27.
1 Chronicles 26:20 treasuries. The Levites watched over the store of valuables given to the Lord. This is a general reference to all the precious things committed to their trust, including contributions from David and the people, as well as war spoils given by triumphant soldiers (vv. 26, 27).
1 Chronicles 26:29–32 officials and judges. There were 6,000 magistrates exercising judicial functions throughout the land.
1 Chronicles 27:1–15 This section enumerates the standing army of Israel (288,000 men), which had responsibility to guard the nation and temple. They were divided into 12 divisions, each of which served for one month during the year. When full war occurred, a larger force could be called into action.
Psalm 78:60 tabernacle of Shiloh. Shiloh was an early location of Yahweh worship in the Promised Land. The capture and removal of the ark from Shiloh by the Philistines symbolized God’s judgment.
Proverbs 20:5 deep water. The wise man has keen discernment reaching to the deepest intentions of the heart to grasp wise counsel (18:4; Heb. 4:12).
DAY 1: Who was Cornelius, and why was he so important?
In Acts 10:1, it states that Cornelius was a centurion—one of 60 officers in a Roman legion, each of whom commanded 100 men. He was of the “Italian Regiment” or “Italian Cohort.” Ten cohorts of 600 men each made up a legion.
Cornelius was a “devout man and one who feared God” (v. 2). This is a technical term used by Jews to refer to Gentiles who had abandoned their pagan religion in favor of worshiping the Lord God. Such a person, while following the ethics of the Old Testament, had not become a full proselyte to Judaism through circumcision. Cornelius was a Gentile who was about to receive the saving knowledge of God in Christ. Cornelius was told in a vision that his prayers, devotion, faith, and goodness were like a fragrant offering rising up to God, “a memorial” (v. 4). He was even given specific directions on how to reach Peter.
The next day “Peter went up on the housetop to pray” (v. 9). All kinds of worship occurred on the flat roofs of Jewish homes (2 Kin. 23:12; Jer. 19:13; 32:29). In a trance Peter sees a great sheet descending from heaven, and “in it were all kinds of four-footed animals,” both clean and unclean animals (v. 12). To keep the Israelites separate from their idolatrous neighbors, God set specific dietary restrictions regarding the consumption of such animals (Lev. 11:25,26). But a voice speaks to him and says, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat” (v. 13). With the coming of the New Covenant and the calling of the church, God ended the dietary restrictions (Mark 7:19).“What God has cleansed you must not call common” (v. 15).More than just abolishing the Old Testament dietary restrictions, God made unity possible in the church of both Jews, symbolized by the clean animals, and Gentiles, symbolized by the unclean animals, through the comprehensive sacrificial death of Christ (Eph. 2:14).
The vision and the confirmation by the Holy Spirit (v. 19) made it crystal clear to Peter that the gospel was for all people. The proof is that when the men from Cornelius arrived, he “invited them in” (v. 23). Self-respecting Jews did not invite any Gentiles into their home, especially soldiers of the hated Roman army.