Reading #1 – Numbers 31
Reading #2 – Psalms 90
Reading #3 – Proverbs 30
Reading #4 – Matthew 26
Reading #5 – Revelations 13
Numbers 31 – Revenge on the Midianites. The Midianites had followed Balaam’s advice and had set a trap for the nation by offering them some fun. Balak knew there was no way to defeat the nation unless it all started inside of the camp. The plan had worked well and Midian was defeated. Where the problem came into play was when the army captured women and children and brought them into the camp along with all of the gold and precious metals. What is at stake in the whole incident is that Israel, just like their ancestors looted the nation, and Israel would be seen as “just another invading army”.
Psalms 90 – A Prayer of Moses. My father in law once said after the unexpected passing of his brother in law, “Life is short and unpredictable”. This Psalm is a reflection prayer because it looks back on life as one would speak to a child. Lord, through all the generations you have been our home! Before the mountains were born, before you gave birth to the earth and the world, from beginning to end, you are God (1-2). We are given control of one area and that is, our soul. You turn people back to dust, saying, “Return to dust, you mortals!” For you, a thousand years are as a passing day, as brief as a few night hours (3-4). On earth, everything we do is measured by time so we must treat it as a valuable gift by not squandering it. Seventy years are given to us! Some even live to eighty. But even the best years are filled with pain and trouble; soon they disappear, and we fly away (10).
Proverbs 30 – The Sayings of Agur. This is an epiphany because the writer sees from his spiritual eyes that everything belongs to G_d only he can do all things. I am weary, O God; I am weary and worn out, O God. I am too stupid to be human, and I lack common sense. I have not mastered human wisdom, nor do I know the Holy One (1-3). When we realize that we do know this G_d of the universe or when we are at the end of life, we wonder just how much of life we are missing. From nature, the pendulum of time, and the seasons we see G_d at work and we have the choice to follow him or stay where we are. When the disciples were invited to come along on the journey, they could have said no and avoided any issues that would occur but in walking in step with Jesus provided more than sitting home would ever do. O God, I beg two favors from you;
let me have them before I die. First, help me never to tell a lie. Second, give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, “Who is the LORD?”And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name (7-9).
Matthew 26 – Jesus is Arrested. The religious leaders had to do away with Jesus by whatever means possible. For 3.5 years, they had been jilted, made to be the jerk in the community. People were being healed, families restored, and there as a new spirit in the community all of which caused problems. The easy part was arresting Jesus because he wasn’t going to run away. The hard part was going to be the justification for handing him over to be crucified. Jesus knew what was going through Judas’ heart and he knew what Judas had been up to during the previous years. During that time Judas had every opportunity to come clean but at that point, there was no turning around. 3 He replied, “One of you who has just eaten from this bowl with me will betray me. For the Son of Man must die, as the Scriptures declared long ago. But how terrible it will be for the one who betrays him. It would be far better for that man if he had never been born!” Judas, the one who would betray him, also asked, “Rabbi, am I the one?” And Jesus told him, “You have said it (23-25).”
Revelations 13 – The Beast of the Sea. The depiction was the kings that would rule the nation in the coming years. The beast can perform miracles that convince unbelievers to sin.