Reading #1 – Deuteronomy 12
Reading #2 – Psalms 107
Reading #3 – Lamentations 4
Reading #4 – Mark 15
Reading #5 – 1 Samuel 8
Deuteronomy 12 – The Lord’s Chosen Place of Worship. One of the most important commands given was “the place of worship”. The current occupants built alters just about everywhere they were just about every group had their god. The nation Israel must be “The difference”. If Israel had simply routed the people from G_d’s land and acted just like the other occupants, “where is the difference”? The same is said about the church today, if we call ourselves by G_d’s name but walk in step with the world, “where is the difference”? You must not worship the LORD your God the way the other nations worship their gods, for they perform for their gods every detestable act that the LORD hates. They even burn their sons and daughters as sacrifices to their gods (31). Notice the word is “Must not” which implies that each person has the choice but there are consequences for disobedience. What the nation allowed to coexist in their communities would eventually infect the community and people would forget G_d’s commands and would be cast from the good land (Jeremiah 16:13).
1 Samuel 8 – Israel Asks for a King. While this request of Samuel displeased him, one needs to consider the background. Samuel’s sons were no better than Eli’s sons and Samuel was old and would not be around much longer. The people had foreboding feelings about what would happen when Samuel died so it was a reasonable request. The problem was that the situation with the two sons set the stage for another Ebenezar incident (1 Samuel 4). The people were put on notice about what “this king” would be like and what the consequences of having a king would be. When that day comes, you will beg for relief from this king you are demanding, but then the LORD will not help you.” But the people refused to listen to Samuel’s warning. “Even so, we still want a king,” they said. “We want to be like the nations around us. Our king will judge us and lead us into battle.” So Samuel repeated to the LORD what the people had said, and the LORD replied, “Do as they say, and give them a king.” Then Samuel agreed and sent the people home (18-22). Once a course of action is taken, it is too late to second guess our decisions and for Israel, the next 40 years would also be difficult.
Psalm 107 – The Lord Our Victory – G_d is faithful in all that he does. We do things to our detriment but when we turn back, G_d receives us and brings us home. There is no pit that we can get into that G_d is not able to come to our rescue. We are not victorious because of our strength, stamina, nor finances only by humility before G_d. Those who are wise will take all this to heart; they will see in our history the faithful love of the LORD (43). Every incident, situation, and event that occurs in our life needs to be weighed in the balance of our actions in light of G_d’s grace. Failure is a common malady of mankind and is something that occurs whether we like it or not. When we fall short of G_d’s grace, it does not mean the “end of the world as we know it” rather, it means that we have choices to make.
Lamentations 4 – G_d’s Anger Satisfied. Israel’s collapse and ultimate exile would have been considered “impossible” before it happened. Yet, the collapse did happen and the king was captured. It was not enough that the king was taken or that the people lost their autonomy the Devil wanted Israel in hell and the beautiful place of worship destroyed so that the people would have no place to worship at his feet. This is the kind of destruction the Devil has in mind for America. The first thing that happens is that the rules change and then certain frills are taken away then the pressure continues to mount until our freedoms are taken away and harsh laws imposed. In the end, the once-powerful nation will be destroyed in retribution. Not a king in all the earth—no one in all the world—
would have believed that an enemy could march through the gates of Jerusalem. Yet it happened because of the sins of her prophets and the sins of her priests, who defiled the city by shedding innocent blood (12-13). When our world is changed one thing at a time, we do not always take the bad things seriously; we simply adapt and change to the new environment. The Devil uses our willingness to adapt and change to get us to walk into his trap as willing as a sheep to the slaughter. The nation’s destruction was a slow premeditated end. In the same way, even to this very day, the Devil does the same thing.
Mark 15 – Jesus in Pilate’s Court. How is it even possible that the same people who followed Jesus from one end of Judea to another would turn on him? The answer is, “mob rule”. For the religious leaders to get the populace behind them, they had to put pressure on them, by pointing out from their law what would happen legally if the people or person turned against them. We see this same ideology at play today. Evil never takes a break, it may go into remission but it will always come back when we least expect it. For Jesus, it meant his life which he willingly gave. Jesus was clothed in a purple robe and a crown of thorns was placed on his head to mock the “king of Israel”. It was the same thing Shalmanezar did to Israel’s King Hoshea (2 Kings 17). Rome was asserting its authority over the people and anybody who followed Jesus was put on notice. It was for this reason that Peter was so afraid. The religious leaders used the power of Rome to quell a rebellion among the parishioners. What the leadership did not understand is that help from any world government comes at a price.