Reading #1 – Numbers 5
Reading #2 – Psalms 65
Reading #3 – Proverbs 3
Reading #4 – Malachai 4
Reading #5 – 1 Peter 4
Numbers 5 – Purity in the Camp. To G_d purity in the camp of Israel, like in the camp of our life, is and was and will always be important. First of all, G_d will never inhabit a den of sin nor will he put up with conflicting forces in our lives. Second of all, impurity in the camp affects our relationships with each other and leads to fights amid families. When fights break out in families, as Paul and James addressed, it casts a black mark and gives room for the Devil to pull at our hearts.
Psalms 65 – A Psalm of David. What mighty praise, O God, belongs to you in Zion. We will fulfill our vows to you, for you answer our prayers. All of us must come to you (1-2). “Zion” means, “unblemished” which I believe is befitting. When G_d inhabits our lives, everything in it becomes full. Consider the fruits from our fields that we work so hard to develop, during the heat of summer the bugs cause us unending problems but when it comes time for harvest we are blessed by the outcome. Though we are overwhelmed by our sins, you forgive them all. What joy for those you choose to bring near, those who live in your holy courts. What festivities await us inside your holy Temple (3-4).
Proverbs 3 – Trusting in the Lord. Trusting in the Lord G_d that we cannot see is very difficult because what we do see overwhelms our lives. In the time of the OT Priesthood, the High Priest would cast the “Ummim and Thummim” to make decisions basically, “casting the dice”. Today, we do not cast the dice for important decisions but, we do seek wisdom in all matters. The problem is, eventually we do have to make a decision and move on a course of action. Like most of us, many make decisions and then greatly fret over them. Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take (5-6).
Malachi 4 – The Coming Day of Judgement. According to commentary, the concluding comments of Malachi are also the conclusion of the “book of the 12 minor prophets. The nation was about to endure 400 years of silence before the coming of the Messiah of G_d predicated by the coming of Elijah. “Remember to obey the Law of Moses, my servant—all the decrees and regulations that I gave him on Mount Sinai for all Israel. “Look, I am sending you the prophet Elijah before the great and dreadful day of the LORD arrives. 6 His preaching will turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers. Otherwise I will come and strike the land with a curse (4-6). According to research, the “turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the children to their fathers” is a bridging statement that is, it connects both like a bow on a present. Malachi was completed but it was simply the end of the chapter not the end of the book. In the same way, as our time ends, it is not the end of the story simply a bridge that connects generations and gives hope for the future.
1 Peter 4 – Living for G_d. So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude he had, and be ready to suffer, too. For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin. 2 You won’t spend the rest of your lives chasing your desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God. 3 You have had enough in the past of the evil things that godless people enjoy—their immorality and lust, their feasting and drunkenness and wild parties, and their terrible worship of idols (1-3). The bridging of the time of Jesus, his suffering on the cross, and the pathway that is now open for anyone who comes to Him is outlined in the first three sentences. First of all, because Jesus’ blood atones for sin, we can let go of the things that hold us hostage to our past and reach out to the future despite the painful reminder of our past actions and behaviors. In our future, we can see how we lived our lives and know the pitfalls that we fell for and side-step them. Third, letting go of yesterday’s hurts helps us to have more room for future blessings and the ability to deal with the struggles that may come about.