Reading #1 – Numbers 29
Reading #2 – Psalms 88
Reading #3 – Proverbs 28
Reading #4 – Matthew 24
Reading #5 – Revelations 11
Numbers 29 – Offerings for the Temple. There are three sacred feasts that start in September/October Roshhashana, Day of Atonement, and the Festival of Tabernacles. These feasts were established by the Lord and are still celebrated today. What is important to note is that these parts of a community help to define them, they are not political, and nor are they stopped simply because someone is “offended”. Rosh Hashana marks their new year. Ten days later the Day of Atonement is a Sabbath day. The feasts end with the Festival of Trumpets.
Psalms 88 – A Psalm for the Decendents of Korah. As I have said in previous days readings, Korah had banded against the Lord and Moses. For his efforts, he was destroyed alongside his colleagues which left his descendants in the lurch. The cries of the defendants were for “forgiveness” and “restoration”. O LORD, God of my salvation, I cry out to you by day. I come to you at night. Now hear my prayer; listen to my cry.
For my life is full of troubles, and death draws near. I am as good as dead, like a strong man with no strength left (1-4). The words of the Psalms are a reflection of the spirit of Korah’s descendants. If his descendants had become very angry about their family being swallowed up, While we live, we can be forgiven and restored; after we die, we are remembered by our descendants for the good, the bad, and the “Boy oh Boy”. Can those in the grave declare your unfailing love? Can they proclaim your faithfulness in the place of destruction? Can the darkness speak of your wonderful deeds? Can anyone in the land of forgetfulness talk about your righteousness? O LORD, I cry out to you. I will keep on pleading day by day. O LORD, why do you reject me? Why do you turn your face from me (11-14)? Sometimes, depending on the gravity of the sin and how unbending we are, we may endure a great struggle before coming to our senses sort of like Nebuchadnezzar.
Proverbs 28 – Consequences in Light of Our Actions. When we sin, we open the door to troubles and trials for which there may not be a cure. Sin will cause us to hide so as not to face what we did. 1 The wicked run away when no one is chasing them, but the godly are as bold as lions (1). Mold begins in dark places where no one trods. Once the mold takes root, it will grow quickly and destroys everything in its pathway. In the same way, moral starts in dark places where no one is looking once it has a strong footing, it destroys every vestige of righteousness one person at a time. To reject the law is to praise the wicked; to obey the law is to fight them (4). Although people in power may present unrighteous laws, it doesn’t mean we have to obey them. If we look in the other direction when sin is being done, at to say “I see nothing”, we become complicit. When our eyes are on the Lord and we are listening to him, the traps that are set for us will not work. In the time of Jesus, the religious leaders tried to trap him in his words and he was able to catch them in their duplicity.
Matthew 24 – Jesus Speaks About the Future. Eschatology, or the study of End Times, has enthralled people for years. The problem is that Jesus was speaking to the disciples about the coming destruction of Jerusalem which would occur about 70-90 AD. The Temple called “Beautiful” was built after the exile in 586 and rebuilt during the time of the Hasmonean dynasty. The part that caught the Sanhedrin’s attention was “tear it down and I will rebuild it in three days.” The new Temple period, after Jesus, was one that could only be torn down by the believer. “Do you see all these buildings? I tell you the truth, they will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another (2). All of man’s very best efforts to build an earthly temple always come to a dismal end.
Revelations 11 – The two witnesses. For three and a half years these two witnesses ministered to the people a healthy dose of the truth. This was likened to someone turning on the lights and blinding everybody in the room.