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Chinese1/20/2006English
經文:歷代志上廿三至廿四章
鑰節:「每日早晚,站立稱謝讚美耶和華。」(23:30)
提要

        寫歷代志的人,為保持其對祭司體制的關注,十分強調聖殿的功能和崇拜。關乎聖殿中崇拜的完整知識是重要的。這崇拜,是離散之民歸回後,歷代志最可能的作者以斯拉所領導的。

        大衛安排完畢建造主的居所(22章)一切事宜之後,便集中全力,敦促利未支派參與協助祭司的工作。第一步是數算他們中間三十歲及三十以上(23:3),可能一直到五十歲的人(參民4:3)。三十歲的人,通常視作完全成熟,且值得尊敬。耶穌在開始祂全時間事奉時,也是三十歲。後來大衛把要求的年齡降為二十(23:24,27),可能是為了招募更多有工作力的人;因為在耶路撒冷廣大集中敬拜的地方,有相當大的需要。或許,二十歲是登錄姓名的時候,自此便可接受數年的訓練或做學徒,到了三十歲,才能負起完全的責任。

        利未人分成四群,執行任務。最大的一群人有二萬四千,直接在上帝的居所中擔任不同的工作。另外六千人當法官或文官,在全以色列代表上帝和君王(參26:29~30)。四千人管理大門,包括管銀庫的司庫在內。另外四千人用歌唱服事主和百姓。大衛自己不僅是位天才的樂師,並會發明樂器來榮耀上帝。他的樂器由聖殿的樂師使用,稱頌上帝(23:5;參摩6:5)。這四群人以後又被大衛分成廿四組,藉著抽籤,輪流在主的居所中進行事奉。

        大衛是一位行政天才。他推動利未人的事奉,對後代來說,是一件顯赫的成就和偉大的貢獻。大衛的體制甚至原封不動地傳到新約時代。施洗約翰的父親撒迦利亞,便是亞比雅班裡的祭司(24:10;路1:5)。大衛的動機,是希望確保主的居所中,有真實敬拜讚美上帝的體制(23:5),事奉祂,並藉祂的名賜福百姓(23:13)。利未人的主要責任,是幫助祭司事奉上帝,伺候每一項需要(23:28、32),並且不斷地稱謝讚美主,特別是每天兩個重要時段,獻早祭和晚祭的時間(23:30~31;出20:38~39)。

        祭司的職責,是獻祭品給以色列的主上帝,一直到耶穌基督親臨人世,偉大、完全、最後犧牲自己為祭的時候。由是之故,今日不需再在聖殿獻祭,但仍有一些祭司與利未人的責任是我們該承擔的。我們既是耶穌的信徒,今日便是祂君尊的祭司(彼前2:9)。在心靈與誠實中敬拜上帝是我們的責任,且應每日頌讚感謝祂。羅馬書十二章一節,更進一步鼓勵我們獻祭給上帝,也就是用我們的身體當做「活祭,是聖潔的,是上帝所喜悅的。」

禱告

        主啊!您呼召我們「日復一日」感謝讚美您。保守我們讀您聖書時,信心全備。奉耶穌基督的名禱告,阿們。

English

Scriptures:Read 1 Chronicles 23 &24
Key Verse:"...to stand every morning to thank and praise the Lord, and likewise at evening."(1 Chronicles 23:30)
Overview

        In keeping with the chronicler's priestly interest, much emphasis is placed upon the organization of the Temple and temple worship. A thorough knowledge of it was important for the re-establishment of temple worship after the return from the Exile under the leadership of Ezra, the most likely author of Chronicles.

        After David had made the arrangements for the building of the Lord's House (chapter 22), he focussed his energies on organizing the priests and Levites. The first step was to number them "from the age of thirty years and above" (23:3), probably until age fifty (cf. Numbers 4:3). The age of thirty was considered one of full maturity and worthy of respect. Jesus was thirty years old when He began His full-time ministry. David later lowered the required age limit to twenty (23:24, 27), possibly to include more men in the work force because of the greater demands of the large centralized place of worship in Jerusalem; or possibly, twenty was the age of enlistment which was then followed by some years of training or apprenticeship before they took on full responsibilities at the age of thirty.

        The Levites were divided into four operational groups. The largest group of 24,000 was to work in various capacities directly involved in the service of the House of God. 6,000 were to be judges and officials, representing God and the king throughout Israel (cf. 26:29-32). 4,000 were to be gatekeepers, including the trusted keepers of the treasury, and another 4,000 were to minister unto the Lord and the people in song. David himself was not only a gifted musician, but an inventor of musical instruments for the glory of God. His instruments were used by the Temple musicians for praising God (23:5; cf. Amos 6:5). These four groups were then further divided by David into 24 groups which were assigned by lot to serve at the House of the Lord on a rotation basis.

        David was an administrative genius. His organization of Levit-ical ministry was a significant accomplishment and a great contribution for posterity. David's system was even intact in New Testament times. Zacharias, John the Baptist's father, was a priest of the division of Abijah (24:10; Luke 1:5). David's motivation was to ensure the continuation of true worship to God in the House of the Lord — in praise to Him (23:5), in ministering to Him, and in blessing the people in His Name (23:13). The Levites' main responsibilities were to help the priests in service to God, attend to every need (23:28, 32), and continually give thanks and praise to the Lord, especially at those two very important times of the day, morning and evening, when the daily sacrifices were offered (23:30-31); Exodus 29:38-39).

        The priest's role of offering sacrifices unto the Lord in Israel continued to be valid until the time of Jesus Christ's great, perfect, and final sacrifice of Himself. Henceforth, there was no need for the sacrifices of the Temple; yet several of the other responsibilities of the priests and Levites remain. We, as believers in Jesus, are now His royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9). It is our duty to worship Him in spirit and in truth, and we are to daily give praise and thanks to him. Romans 12:1 does, however, exhort us to offer a sacrifice to God — our bodies as a "living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto Him."

Prayer

        Lord, You call us to thank and praise You "day unto day." Keep us faithful also in reading Your Holy Word.


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