Reading #1 – Leviticus 23
Reading #2 – Psalms 56
Reading #3 – Song of Solomon 2
Reading #4 – Zechariah 9
Reading #5 – Hebrews 13
Leviticus 23 – G_d Ordained Feast Days. The offerings on these days were in addition to vows that were made. The reaping of the harvest was done in such a way as to provide for the poor who would come behind to pick up the gleanings. In the book of Ruth, we read about the young Moabite who found herself in the field of Boaz. If Boaz had been stingy and cast the Moabite out, we would never read about the woman who would be listed in the lineage of King David. Our Lord Jesus arose during the festival of “First Fruits”. The First Fruits are proof of G_d’s blessing for the landowner. The day of Atonement or Yom Kippur is the culmination of a 10 period of celebration and introspection or “days of awe” which began at Rosh Hashanah which is the end of the old year and the beginning of a new one. During Rosh Hashanah, it was a time for the people to take stock of their lives that is, “how did you spend the time that was provided”. Then the books of life and death are opened and the days of judgment begin. At Yom Kippur, the books are sealed as to be “balanced” (https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/rosh-hashanah-101/). So what does this have to do with us? Everything! In our present-day, G_d provides time for us to live our lives and it is the fruit from our life that we are judged.
Psalms 56 – A Miktam of David when The Philistines seized Him at Gath. Having faith in G_d is a good thing, however, acting in faith is another subject. In this Psalm, David expresses his thankfulness after the Philistines had seized him or taken him as a prisoner. After David was taken prisoner, he pretended to be insane. This may sound like an act of faithlessness on David’s part but it was a ploy that would work. In the end, David would be accepted in Gath and a bodyguard to King Achish (1 Samuel 21). 3 When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise— in God, I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me (3-4)? When our heart is right before G_d, he will make even our enemies be at peace with us (Proverbs 16:7).
Song of Solomon 2 – In a true love relationship, there is a common spirit that binds us together (Ecclesiastes 4:12). When sin has no hold on the people in that relationship, there is freedom and joy. Just a little sin can upend that pageant leading to problems and separation. In the same way, in our relationship with Jesus when sin has no foot-hold on our life, the relationship flourishes. When space is given for sin, the plot of the ground or our relationship is ruined in time. Understand this, sin does not bring destruction “immediately”, it occurs over time. For this reason, “Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom (15).
Zechariah 9 – Judgement on Israel’s Enemies. This was a prophecy that spoke to the events that would culminate with the exile being ended and a new season of the rebuilding of Jerusalem. Daniel’s prophecies echoed Zechariah’s (Daniel 12:1). The prophecy of the Messiah of G_d, the “branch” a reference to the Davidic line. The LORD their God will save his people on that day as a shepherd saves his flock. They will sparkle in his land like jewels in a crown. How attractive and beautiful they will be! Grain will make the young men thrive, and new wine the young women (16-17).
Hebrews 13 – Concluding Exhortations. This book was written at a time when being a “Christian” would mean being “sentenced to death”. This time, like the time of the exile, there were many problems as the governing bodies were being shaken by stronger forces. Rome held power over Jerusalem until around 70AD in which the first Roman war began. Jerusalem was sacked in 70 AD and many artifacts were taken from the temple. For the church, it was also a time of growth and expansion. Despite all of this, the writer exhorted the people to live G_dly lives in the face of trouble. Today, the trouble we face is COVID19 which is threatening the world at large; we are called to live out our faith despite the troubles that shake our world.