Reading #1 – Deuteronomy 29
Reading #2 – Psalms 120
Reading #3 – Proverbs 16
Reading #4 – Luke 17
Reading #5 – 1 Samuel 27
Deuteronomy 29 – The Requirements of the Covenant. This covenant between G_d and the nation Israel was binding not only to the present generation but to the ones that would follow (15). The nation was a progenitor of the work of others. When the nation entered the promised land, it wasn’t because of their prowess for military conquest but because of G_d going before them. This covenant says, “Therefore, obey the terms of this covenant so that you will prosper in everything you do. 10 All of you—tribal leaders, elders, officers, all the men of Israel—are standing today in the presence of the LORD your God. 11 Your little ones and your wives are with you, as well as the foreigners living among you who chop your wood and carry your water. 12 You are standing here today to enter into the covenant of the LORD your God. The LORD is making this covenant, including the curses. 13 By entering into the covenant today, he will establish you as his people and confirm that he is your God, just as he promised you and as he swore to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (9-13).” Part of the covenant was the understanding of where the nation came from and what choices they could make about their future (16-18).
Psalms 120 – Song of Ascending to Jerusalem. To understand this series of Psalms, you have to have come from a place of utter brokenness. I took my troubles to the LORD; I cried out to him, and he answered my prayer (1). When we come to G_d with our broken lives, he brings back to him, and through this series, the nation is coming home. I search for peace; but when I speak of peace, they want war (7). The catastrophes of the world should never be a course to discourage us rather propel further towards the Kingdom of G_d.
Proverbs 16 – Life In the Balance of Our Choices. Everything we do in life either brings us closer to the Kingdom of G_d or drives us further away. When Moses reviewed the covenant law with the nation, he reminded them of where they came from and how G_d carried them like a baby in his arms. In Egypt, they dealt with idol worship, famine, disease, planting much but gathering little, and bending their backs to serve the horrid nation. When they entered Canaan, it was a new day and a new time. The scourge of Egypt was behind them. In Psalms 103:12, the writer exclaims “As far as the east is from the west so far has he cast our sins”. While this is good news, we must understand that it doesn’t mean we are so far from our sins as to never repeat them because all we have to do is turn around 180 degrees.
1 Samuel 27 – David Among the Philistines. Because he was always one step from Saul’s hand, David chose to live in Philistia. During that time, David would raid cities just outside of Philistia and claim to the king that he was raiding cities in Judah. By not leaving anything or anyone alive to tell on him, David was able to carry out the attacks unattended. This rouse worked for David and it kept him from being captured by Saul the enemy of the Philistines. No one was left alive to come to Gath and tell where he had been. This happened again and again while he was living among the Philistines. 12 Achish believed David and thought to himself, “By now the people of Israel must hate him bitterly. Now he will have to stay here and serve me forever (11-12)!”
Luke 17 – Teachings on Faith and Forgiveness. Faith and forgiveness go hand in hand. If we don’t believe we can be forgiven for ____ we will never ask for it and so the sin remains. This concept applies not only to our relationship with G_d but with each other. Being wronged by someone is nothing new to the human experiment. When we refuse to forgive, this is remembered by the people who ask us for forgiveness. “If another believer sins, rebuke that person; then if there is repentance, forgive. 4 Even if that person wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, you must forgive (3-4).” Being healed by G_d is also a matter of faith on our part. In the time of Naaman, the commander of the army of Syria had leprosy and so the king of Aram had heard about this person Elisha who was able to heal. So, he sent Naaman to go see him. When Elisha told him to go bathe himself in the river of Jordan Naaman scoffed at the idea. But Naaman became angry and stalked away. “I thought he would certainly come out to meet me!” he said. “I expected him to wave his hand over leprosy and call on the name of the LORD his God and heal me! 12 Aren’t the rivers of Damascus, the Abana and the Pharpar, better than any of the rivers of Israel? Why shouldn’t I wash in them and be healed?” So Naaman turned and went away in a rage. But his officers tried to reason with him and said, “Sir, if the prophet had told you to do something very difficult, wouldn’t you have done it? So you should certainly obey him when he says simply, ‘Go and wash and be cured!’” So Naaman went down to the Jordan River and dipped himself seven times, as the man of God had instructed him. And his skin became as healthy as the skin of a young child, and he was healed (11-14)!