Reading #1 – Deuteronomy 11
Reading #2 – Psalms 106
Reading #3 – Lamentations 3
Reading #4 – Mark 14
Reading #5 – 1 Samuel 7
Deuteronomy 11 – Warning to the Parents. It was a new day for the nation. The children that were about to enter the new land had not seen the rebellion of the nation, the destruction of Egypt, and Dathan and Ibram’s rebellious acts so all they could rely on were stories. For this reason, the parents were tasked with retelling the stories so that the children would learn to obey the Lord G_d. Therefore, be careful to obey every command I am giving you today, so you may have the strength to go in and take over the land you are about to enter (8). If the parents failed in their mission, the children would not be able to retain the land and would quickly fail. But be careful. Don’t let your heart be deceived so that you turn away from the LORD and serve and worship other gods. If you do, the LORD’s anger will burn against you. He will shut up the sky and hold back the rain, and the ground will fail to produce its harvests. Then you will quickly die in that good land the LORD is giving you (16-17).
1 Samuel 7 – Samuel Leads the Way to Victory. The nation had endured a time without G_d’s blessing and they missed it. Samuel called the people together to Mizpah to pray for them and to encourage them. The Philistines used this event to attack them. The people became frightened but Samuel said, “don’t stop calling on the name of the Lord”. It is uncanny that in times like the attack of the Philistines that the first thought of mankind is to “return to human reasoning” instead of holding fast to the hand of G_d. When the Philistine rulers heard that Israel had gathered at Mizpah, they mobilized their army and advanced. The Israelites were badly frightened when they learned that the Philistines were approaching. “Don’t stop pleading with the LORD our G_d to save us from the Philistines!” they begged Samuel. So Samuel took a young lamb and offered it to the LORD as a whole burnt offering. He pleaded with the LORD to help Israel, and the LORD answered him (7-9).
Psalm 106 – Praise in the Face of Sin. Sins of the past, present, and future should never stop us from praising the Lord. The enemy will always throw our failures in our face to stop us from going to the Lord G_d. His words are “you are too worthless” and “your sin will never be forgiven”. When we recount our past how G_d always got us through every battle, got us out of every trap, and when we asked for things that would cause us trouble, we received it along with a plague. The only thing that should every quell our praise is death itself. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. Who can list the glorious miracles of the LORD? Who can ever praise him enough? There is a joy for those who deal justly with others and always do what is right (1-3). No one is capable of doing right and not failing at one point or another along the way. We can say that “our past has doomed us to failure all of the days of our life” yet, the Lord says, “instead of shame and dishonor, you will enjoy a double share of honor. You will possess a double portion of prosperity in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours (Isaiah 61:7).
Lamentations 3 – Hope in the Lord’s Faithfulness. In this word, we will have trouble and we may go days, months, and sometimes years without hearing from G_d. The nation was going into exile and their land was destroyed; yet, Jeremiah still had hope in the Lord G_d. When we refuse to let go of G_d’s hand and firmly rely on His word, there is no storm we can go through, no trial that is too long, nor adversity that will steal our faith. But I called on your name, LORD, from deep within the pit. You heard me when I cried, “Listen to my pleading! Hear my cry for help!” Yes, you came when I called; you told me, “Do not fear (55-57).”
Mark 14 – Jesus and the Kangeroo Court. The time was drawing close to Jesus’ death on the cross. Judas had to make his move because sin had held captive despite the many attempts of Jesus to reach out to him. The religious leaders, elders, and priests had to do something to stop Jesus’ church from making them obsolete. The only way to stop was to kill Jesus. The Devil held the city captive by the hands of Rome and the religious leaders and he was not willing to yield control. Peter was a tool in the hands of the Devil because no matter how proudly he spoke, he still was frightened and so he denied being with Jesus just as Jesus had predicted. Jesus stood alone in the court of Caiphus. The charge against Jesus was not true.