Reading #1 – Deuteronomy 10
Reading #2 – Psalms 105
Reading #3 – Lamentations 2
Reading #4 – Mark 13
Reading #5 – 1 Samuel 6
Deuteronomy 10 – A New Copy of the Covenant. Moses had broken the previous copy of the covenant in anger because of the rebellion. So he was tasked with chiseling out another set of stones and had to carry them up on the mountain as directed by G_d. The new set of stones were placed in the ark of the covenant and would be carried by the tribe of Levi. Aaron had died and Phineas, his son, succeeded him as the High Priest. For the nation, it was a time of change both for the leadership and for the direction of the heart of Israel. The days to come would be extremely challenging as the nation prepared to cross the Jordan. In the same way, when we cross our Jordan into a new life post the salvation experience, we face many trials and tribulations as G_d leads us along with the requirements of G_d in our possession. What we do with the commands of G_d and how we live our lives will greatly determine how long we will stay in the new land. “And now, Israel, what does the LORD your G_d require of you? He requires only that you fear the LORD your G_d, and live in a way that pleases him, and love him and serve him with all your heart and soul. And you must always obey the LORD’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your good (12-13).”
1 Samuel 6 – The Philistines Return the Ark. For seven long months, the Philistines had been treated to a never-ending cycle of problems before they considered how to get rid of the ark. Someone recounted the events of Egypt how the nation was destroyed to the point of no return before sending the nation Israel on its way. Getting rid of the ark required sending it along with a gift so they put models of the tumors and the rats that had infected the nation. The ark was placed on a new cart with two cows pulling it. The oxen pulled the ark to Beth Shemesh where it stopped at a rock. After some nosey people decided to look into the ark and died as a consequence, the ark was taken to the home of Abinadab where it would remain until the time of David.
Psalm 105 = Israel’s Story From Exile to Salvation. Give thanks to the LORD and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done (1). Our salvation story is never meant to be hidden. Because Israel’s story was known, the Philistines were able to get rid of the ark (1 Samuel 6). Knowing our story confirms what G_d has done in and through our life. When we forget about what G_d has done in our life, we become conceited and think about “how great we are” and then problems befall us to humble us and to test us. He is the LORD our God. His justice is seen throughout the land. He always stands by his covenant—the commitment he made to a thousand generations. This is the covenant he made with Abraham and the oath he swore to Isaac. He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree, and to the people of Israel as a never-ending covenant: “I will give you the land of Canaan as your special possession (7-11).”
Lamentations 2 – G_d’s Anger at Sin. Sin destroys relationships, families, and nations many times to the point of no return. For Israel and Judah, it had removed G_d’s protective covering which exposed the nation to destruction. Jeremiah and prophets had tried to warn the nation but the people, priests, and kings would not listen nor would they even consider the implications of their actions. All the strength of Israel
vanishes beneath his fierce anger. The Lord has withdrawn his protection as the enemy attacks. He consumes the whole land of Israel like a raging fire (3). As much as we want to believe that we will always have the blessings of G_d, we will find out when we least expect it how easily it can be removed. We cannot live ½ way in the Kingdom of G_d or just enough to feel “blessed” and ½ way in the world or just enough to avoid being excluded because of our beliefs. He has broken down his Temple as though it were merely a garden shelter. The LORD has blotted out all memory of the holy festivals and Sabbath days. Kings and priests fall together before his fierce anger (6).
Mark 13 – Jesus Speaks About the Future. To me, this is a puzzle of sorts. The puzzle contains many pieces, the temple, the principal players, and the kingdom of the time would all be intertwined in the days to follow. The temple was rebuilt in the time of Nehemiah and repaired in the time of Herod and it was beautiful to look at. The problem was that the inside of the temple, the place where only the priests could go, was filled with corruption. The most important part of this puzzle, as with any puzzle, is the framework “be prepared and stay prepared”. “However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows. 33 And since you don’t know when that time will come, be on guard! Stay alert (32-33)!”