Reading #1 – Deuteronomy 26
Reading #2 – Psalms 119
Reading #3 – Proverbs 13
Reading #4 – Luke 14
Reading #5 – 1 Samuel 24
Deuteronomy 26 – The Profession of Faith with Fruits as Evidence. There is something about the words that come out of our mouth. The command to declare what G_d has done and bringing fruit to match that builds up our faith. Go to the priest in charge at that time and say to him, ‘With this gift I acknowledge to the LORD your God that I have entered the land he swore to our ancestors he would give us.’ The priest will then take the basket from your hand and set it before the altar of the LORD your G_d (3-4). When we are blessed by G_d, we owe it ourselves and our family to bless others with the same liberality that we were blessed as the parable of the debtor to the king brings out (Matthew 18:25-31). The LORD has declared today that you are his people, his special treasure, just as he promised, and that you must obey all his commands. 19 And if you do, he will set you high above all the other nations he has made. Then you will receive praise, honor, and renown. You will be a nation that is holy to the LORD your God, just as he promised (18-19).”
1 Samuel 24 – David Spares Saul’s Life. David was given a great opportunity to kill the person who was hunting him but he would not do it and would not allow his men to do it either. Warriors would contest this to be a mistake in judgment. By David’s action though, his kingdom would be an everlasting kingdom through to the time of Jesus. David understood that Saul, no matter how evil his actions were, was still the Lord’s anointed leader, and to kill him would bring condemnation on him and his kingdom. “May the LORD judge between us. Perhaps the LORD will punish you for what you are trying to do to me, but I will never harm you. As that old proverb says, ‘From evil people come evil deeds.’ So you can be sure I will never harm you (12-13).” Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the LORD. Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.” Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good (Romans 12:19-2). When G_d brings us to the verge of a great blessing, many things happen that can curtail it and it usually falls on our choices. David was promised the kingdom of Israel by prophecy and the laying on of hands by Samuel the Prophet but, he was not told when it would happen or under what circumstances. David never sought to take his place before the Lord opened the door for it. Yes, you have been amazingly kind to me today, for when the LORD put me in a place where you could have killed me, you didn’t do it. Who else would let his enemy get away when he had him in his power? May the LORD reward you well for the kindness you have shown me today. 20 And now I realize that you are surely going to be king and that the kingdom of Israel will flourish under your rule (18-20).”
Psalms 119: 73-128 – A Psalm for Life. In life, we have to choose the paths that we want to go down. To stay at the crossroads is not beneficial to our growth. The Psalmist understood that G_d’s word is not just a collection of stories, and commands it is a road map complete with mirrors. Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path. I’ve promised it once, and I’ll promise it again: I will obey your righteous regulations (105-106). The world will never laud our decision to follow the pathway to the Kingdom of G_d. “Resolution One: I will live for God. Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will (Johnathan Edwards).” Our relation with the G_d of the Universe must never be divided as to give part of the praise to the world and the other half to G_d. I hate those with divided loyalties, but I love your instructions. You are my refuge and my shield; your word is my source of hope (113-114). Each of your commandments is right. That is why I hate every false way (128). I will live for G_d in the face of the world’s decrees against it and will never turn my back on Him (Mike Krier).
Proverbs 13 – The Roads and People We follow. Along the roads of Life, there are multiple choices that we must make and one of them is “who will go with us”. When Abram was called from Ur of the Chaldeans, he was told to take his wife and servants and leave for the land promised to him. Abram did what he was commanded to do but he also took his nephew Lot (Genesis 12:1-10). While it may seem harmless and Abram might have had a logical reason for bringing Lot with him, it still violated the command. In time, this innocuous incident would lead to multiple problems for Abram’s lineage. Similarly, when Abram was promised a child through Sarai though she was quite old, he listened to Sarai’s suggestion to sleep with Hagar her servant, and that way G_d would provide the child which was not G_d’s plan and would eventually backfire on them (Genesis 16). What we allow into our lives and who invite in can either build us up or be our downfall. Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble (20).
Luke 14 – Jesus Heals on the Sabbath and Dinning at the Great Banquet. Of the things that brought about the ire of the Sanhedrin, “Healing on the Sabbath” was wrong according to the law because “Jesus was working”. Yet who wouldn’t help a family member any day of the week? Part of fasting and Sabbath was, “relieving other people of the burdens they were carrying” (Isaiah 58:4-7). Humility is a hallmark trait of the child of G_d. When Jesus noticed that all who had come to the dinner were trying to sit in the seats of honor near the head of the table, he gave them this advice: 8 “When you are invited to a wedding feast, don’t sit in the seat of honor. What if someone more distinguished than you has also been invited? 9 The host will come and say, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then you will be embarrassed, and you will have to take whatever seat is left at the foot of the table (7-9). Dining at the Great Banquet of the Lamb is the desire of all people who say Jesus is their Lord yet, it comes at a cost and some things get in the way and deter us from making it to the Banquet or to honor the invitation as the parable suggests (16-24). Following Jesus and ensuring we make it across the finish line comes at a price and it is something we always need to keep in mind.