Reading #1 – Numbers 28
Reading #2 – Psalms 87
Reading #3 – Proverbs 27
Reading #4 – Matthew 23
Reading #5 – Revelations 10
Numbers 28 – The Prescribed Offerings. When reading through this chapter, it might cross your mind “why be so strict about offerings”? After all, isn’t the offering yours and shouldn’t you have the choice? The answer to the question is that in the Kingdom of G_d, there is divine order and discipline. Each offering had to be given at the set time and in the set method. If the people could not do the things they had control over, how would they do the things that required faith? The offerings were holy not because they were in line with the requirement but that they represented the person offering the gift(s) work and labor of love. So when the priest offered the gift on the altar, it was treated with great respect. When the giver or the receiver does not treat the gift as “holy”, it is mistreated. For this reason, I believe we have such a struggle with social instability. When everything is “unholy”, it becomes “fodder for destruction”.
Psalms 87 – Song for the Descendents of Korah. Remember, Korah and his direct family and all of those who followed him were killed because of the sin of “rebellion”. What remained of the family turned to G_d with all of their heart, mind, soul, and body. On the holy mountain stands the city founded by the LORD. He loves the city of Jerusalem
more than any other city in Israel. O city of God, what glorious things are said of you (1-3). The sons of Korah were responsible for guarding the doors to the temple. Because of the sacrifice of time and talent, the temple was kept safe. When the LORD registers the nations, he will say, “They have all become citizens of Jerusalem (6).” Because of righteousness, many peoples and nations would come to Jerusalem by adoption or “engrafting into the vine” (Romans 11:11-31). The people will play flutes and sing,
“The source of my life springs from Jerusalem (7)!”
Proverbs 27 – The Flow of Praise. Praise and accolades are a good thing only if it does not come from our mouth (2). When we tell others about the “good that we did”, it comes across like fingernails on the back of a chalkboard. Now the words we speak about ourselves might agree with the words of others but, one is seemingly patting ourselves on the back while the same words from others are uplifting. As a friend, we might have to wound others by being honest. The enemy flatters you with false praise because he or she after something and usually it is your demise. Flattery is a salesman’s tool that sells products. The problem is that once the sale is complete, the flattery stops and the true character comes out. The Devil uses flattery to get you to take down your wall of protection. A person who strays from home is like a bird that strays from its nest (8).
Matthew 23 – Jesus Criticizes the Religious Leaders. The religious leaders of the time were the noblemen. In the marketplaces, the leaders were greeted warmly and respectfully. These men would always be in character. In times of fasting, they were gaunt to show how well they fasted. The problem is that in their actions, they were being deceptive. “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you cross land and sea to make one convert, and then you turn that person into twice the child of hell you yourselves are (15). In seeing through these men, Jesus was attacked to silence him. In essence, Jesus was pulling the cover off of the temple and exposing the leaders for what they truly were and this is a dangerous business especially when it is handled without prayer. “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore the more important aspects of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things. 24 Blind guides! You strain your water so you won’t accidentally swallow a gnat, but you swallow a camel (23-24).” Zondervan’s commentary says, “Jesus was not attacking their teachings in general but the way they applied to their lives.”
Revelations 10 – The Angel and the Small Scroll. The voice of the Seven Waters or the voice of the “Head Waters” or “Completion”. For years the city of Jerusalem had been under attack inwardly. So, as the waters of trouble had boiled to the point of no return, the angels say “He swore an oath in the name of the one who lives forever and ever, who created the heavens and everything in them, the earth and everything in it, and the sea and everything in it. He said, “There will be no more delay. 7 When the seventh angel blows his trumpet, God’s mysterious plan will be fulfilled. It will happen just as he announced it to his servants the prophets (6-7).” The prophecy John was given as represented by the small scroll was “sweet as honey but then bitter to the stomach”. When we are given prophecy, it is not just a matter of “opening mouth” we have to ingest it first as to put the pieces together. We think by our words that we’ll bring many people to the Lord but when we minister and give the prophecy, it turns people off and we are attacked for a word that should have encouraged. The churches the message would be read to might be encouraged if it were just uplifting but to add in the “critique and warning” and it would turn the churches off and many would walk away. Then I was told, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages, and kings (11).”