Reading #1 – Deuteronomy 13
Reading #2 – Psalms 108
Reading #3 – Lamentations 5
Reading #4 – Mark 16
Reading #5 – 1 Samuel 9
Deuteronomy 13 – Warning Against Idolatry. Idolatry was a common practice in the Old Testament. The enemy of our soul will always present opportunities for us to abandon our faith in Yahweh G_d by the power of magic. The way the enemy attacks is by appealing to our senses then, by the enticement of those in our familiar circles. Normally when an enemy attacks, they come at our weak points first and then our strong points. Our weak points are the things that tempt us the most. Suppose there are prophets among you or those who dream dreams about the future, and they promise you signs or miracles, and the predicted signs or miracles occur. If they then say, ‘Come, let us worship other gods’—gods you have not known before do not listen to them (1-3).
1 Samuel 9 – Samuel Meets Saul. Saul the son of Kish was looking for his father’s donkeys who gone missing which set up the meeting with Samuel. Israel was being defeated by the Philistines and wanted a king to lead them onto victory. The problem was, Saul had no desire to lead the nation much less be their king. And I am here to tell you that you and your family are the focus of all Israel’s hopes.” Saul replied, “But I’m only from the tribe of Benjamin, the smallest tribe in Israel, and my family is the least important of all the families of that tribe! Why are you talking like this to me (20-21)?” We are not told why G_d chose this reluctant leader maybe because He knew that a man named David would come along and that man would be the king of Israel. What is important to note for everybody that is listening is, G_d will always provide what you need for every journey He sends you on so you never need to be afraid.
Psalms 108 – Psalm of Praise. My heart is confident in you, O God; no wonder I can sing your praises with all my heart (1). When we truly praise G_d, it is not scripted and our heart is moved by His Spirit. When we sing praise to G_d the enemy shudders because he knows that victory is just one word away and he doesn’t like it so he will do anything possible to stop it. Who will bring me into the fortified city? Who will bring me victory over Edom? Have you rejected us, O God? Will you no longer march with our armies? Oh, please help us against our enemies, for all human help is useless. With God’s help, we will do mighty things, for he will trample down our foes (10-13). The foes we face are not just the people who attack us but the very things that hold us back from worship like, “fear”, “doubt”, and “despair”.
Lamentations 5 – Prayer for Restoration. Israel had received what they in truth asked for all along, “Let us be like all of the other nations that surround us” (1 Samuel 8:5). While the verse states that the people were “asking for a king”, the unspoken request included the phrase “we want to be like everybody else” was also said and I will get into this in future writings. The Devil will always play the part of the “kind and understanding benefactor” and will use it to get us to let our guard down. Canaan was a beautiful land that provided everything necessary for life. When Babylon came into town it destroyed everything in its path. The raping of the women was to humiliate them. The killing of the elders was to stop the flow of wisdom. To kill the young men was to kill those who would war against them. In wartime, famine and pestilence are not far behind. Despite all of this, G_d is still able to bring back to life the most beaten, bruised, and defeated person if he and/or she will simply come to their senses. LORD, you remain the same forever! Your throne continues from generation to generation. Why do you continue to forget us? Why have you abandoned us for so long? Restore us, O LORD, and bring us back to you again! Give us back the joys we once had! Or have you utterly rejected us? Are you angry with us still (19-22)?
Mark 16 – The Resurrection – After three very long and difficult days, Jesus rose from the dead. The cross was not the end of the matter simply, the end of the chapter. On the third day, a new chapter was opened in which the disciples would go on to do great things for Judah. The Sanhedrin had thought their problems were over only to find out that they were just beginning. “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned. These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages. They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed (15-18).”