Reading #1 – Deuteronomy 28
Reading #2 – Psalms 119:161-176
Reading #3 – Proverbs 15
Reading #4 – Luke 16
Reading #5 – 1 Samuel 26
Deuteronomy 28 – Blessings of Obedience. There is a problem with our choices in that we are held responsible for what we do. When we are obedient, we prosper and grow. “If you obey the commands of the LORD your God and walk in his ways, the LORD will establish you as his holy people as he swore he would do. Then all the nations of the world will see that you are a people claimed by the LORD, and they will stand in awe of you (9-10). If the people had remembered this warning, the exile of 586 would have never happened but, because the people became disobedient, all of the good things G_d had given them were taken away. “The LORD will exile you and your king to a nation unknown to you and your ancestors. There in exile, you will worship gods of wood and stone! You will become an object of horror, ridicule, and mockery among all the nations to which the LORD sends you (36-37).
1 Samuel 26 – David Spares Saul’s Life Again. Once again David is presented with the temptation to kill Saul but he refrains. David understood that Saul was the Lord’s anointed and that killing him would not bode well for his future. “God has surely handed your enemy over to you this time!” Abishai whispered to David. “Let me pin him to the ground with one thrust of the spear; I won’t need to strike twice!” “No!” David said. “Don’t kill him. For who can remain innocent after attacking the LORD’s anointed one? 10 Surely the LORD will strike Saul down someday, or he will die of old age or in battle. 11 The LORD forbid that I should kill the one he has anointed! But take his spear and that jug of water beside his head, and then let’s get out of here (8-11)!”
Psalms 119:161-176 – A Psalm for Life. We have a choice of how we want to live. We can live following the worldly ways and live in fear or walk securely in the Kingdom of G_d. This sounds very easy but it is not an easy choice. It requires us to restate Joshua’s claim “as for me and my house, we shall serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15). Powerful people harass me without cause, but my heart trembles only at your word. I rejoice in your word like one who discovers a great treasure. I hate and abhor all falsehood, but I love your instructions (161-163).
Proverbs 15 – The Words We Speak. Gentle words, like soft breezes, build people up and give them the desire to grow. Conversely, harsh words are like poison to the soul and stop growth. A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare (1). We can fool people by hiding our intentions and for a while, our plans go undetected. Yet, there is a quiet voice in every heart that convicts us of our crimes and indiscretions. Should we chose to ignore that voice, our indiscretions are brought out into the open when we least expect it. ven Death and Destruction hold no secrets from the LORD. How much more does he know the human heart (11)! We must be careful of our responses because they can either encourage or discourage without us even knowing it. Everyone enjoys a fitting reply; it is wonderful to say the right thing at the right time (23)!
Luke 16 – Parable of the Shrewd Manager. When it comes to our resources, we have the power to give and the power to withhold. The shrewd manager contrived a plan to develop friendships so that he would have a place to go when he could no longer stay in his opulent property. Here’s the lesson: Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. Then, when your possessions are gone, they will welcome you to an eternal home (9). The religious leaders were ardent supporters of the “law” and felt threatened by Jesus because he wasn’t one of them. Jesus was teaching in such a way as to make living for G_d appealing and providing taste to a tasteless harsh thing like the “law”. No matter how tasteful he made things, the one glaring issue is that he did not change the writing of the law. Until John the Baptist, the law of Moses and the messages of the prophets were your guides. But now the Good News of the Kingdom of God is preached, and everyone is eager to get in. 17 But that doesn’t mean that the law has lost its force. It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the smallest point of God’s law to be overturned (16-17).