Reading #1 – Deuteronomy 7
Reading #2 – Psalms 102
Reading #3 – Ecclesiastes 11
Reading #4 – Mark 10
Reading #5 – 1 Samuel 3
Deuteronomy 7 – The Privilege of Holiness. When we are obedient to G_d’s commands, he blesses all that have. The nation was about to enter the promised land and there is a need to set the law before entering so that they would remember the law after entering. In the same way, as we raise our children we discipline them so that they would know what is required of them. IF we wait until they are grown to discipline them, they will ignore what we have to say and will fall into traps that could have been avoided. If you listen to these regulations and faithfully obey them, the LORD your God will keep his covenant of unfailing love with you, as he promised with an oath to your ancestors (12).
Psalms 102 – Prayer for the Overwhelmed. Each one of us has been overwhelmed at one time or another. These times are not pleasant and they don’t come at regular intervals and it discourages us and brings us to our knees. Unfortunately, during these times that we also the times when we have the sweetest communion with the G_d of the Universe. Then the nations will tremble before the LORD. The kings of the earth will tremble before his glory. For the LORD will rebuild Jerusalem. He will appear in his glory. He will listen to the prayers of the destitute. He will not reject their pleas (15-17). Troubles come for various reasons: to challenge our resolve, due to actions we have taken, or because of the actions of others.
Ecclesiastes 11 – The Uncertainties of Life. There is a truth about life and that is, “it is unpredictable”. For this reason, we must be bold and courageous no matter what happens or what the other person does. We are to invest our income even in precarious times. Send your grain across the seas, and in time, profits will flow back to you. But divide your investments among many places, for you do not know what risks might lie ahead (1-2). When people live to be very old, let them rejoice in every day of life. But let them also remember there will be many dark days. Everything still to come is meaningless (8).
1 Samuel 3 – The Calling of Samuel. During the early years of Samuel’s life, messages from G_d were rare because of the “Spiritual condition” of Israel. Since the time of Joshua, the nation had endured a continual cycle of holiness to unholiness, righteousness to unrighteousness. Eli’s word to Samuel was, “the next time you hear a voice say, ‘speak Lord for your servant is listening’” (9). When we listen to G_d, he speaks to our hearts what he would have us to know. Unfortunately, we may not always like what we are told especially when it pertains to those who are leading us. But, if we are obedient and share the information, G_d will make a way through the storm. What did the LORD say to you? Tell me everything. And may God strike you and even kill you if you hide anything from me!” 18 So Samuel told Eli everything; he didn’t hold anything back. “It is the LORD’s will,” Eli replied. “Let him do what he thinks best (17-18).”
Mark 10 – G_d’s Laws in Light of Our Heart. From our hearts come the problems that we face. Divorce from the very beginning was wrong but so is getting into a marriage that is not right. Abortion is wrong but so is conceiving a child that you do not want nor can take care of. In Jeremiah 29 the nation is encouraged to settle into the new land despite how unpleasant it may be. G_d intended the time to be valuable but if the people chose to be disobedient problems would ensue. We are given the choice to live righteously or unrighteously in both cases G_d loves us. The rich man who came to Jesus was sincere about his desire to live a righteous life and followed all of the laws until it came to the finances. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this, the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!” 24 This amazed them. But Jesus said again, “Dear children, it is very hard to enter the Kingdom of God. 25 In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God (21-25).” This does not imply that the rich will not get into Heaven nor that G_d loves them any less than the poor but, that money will stop us short of moving in the direction G_d has for us.