Reading #1 – Deuteronomy 30
Reading #2 – Psalms 121
Reading #3 – Proverbs 17
Reading #4 – Luke 18
Reading #5 – 1 Samuel 28
Deuteronomy 30 – A Choice to Live or to Die. Of all the things that cause me to wonder, the greatest is that G_d is never concerned about our riches. The reason is, he is concerned mainly about the soul of mankind. The nation was on the precipice of entering the land they had been dreaming of, preparing for, and now they are a stone’s throw from the good land. For as great as the “new land” will be, the greatest danger is that they will face an enemy no battle bow, sling, or arrow can pierce and that is, “complacency”. G_d’s message is clear “live for me all of your life or you will die one piece at a time”. “This command I am giving you today is not too difficult for you, and it is not beyond your reach. It is not kept in heaven, so distant that you must ask, ‘Who will go up to heaven and bring it down so we can hear it and obey?’ It is not kept beyond the sea, so far away that you must ask, ‘Who will cross the sea to bring it to us so we can hear it and obey?’ No, the message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart so that you can obey it (11-14).
1 Samuel 28 – Saul and the Medium. Now Saul had banned all mediums from the land. The Philistine armies were surrounding him and needed some kind of guidance yet, none could be found not even casting lots or getting word from the Prophets. So, Saul was on his own and this frightened him. Saul asked a medium to bring up Samuel who had passed away. Samuel’s message was ominous because Saul and his sons would die in battle. But Samuel replied, “Why ask me since the LORD has left you and has become your enemy? The LORD has done just as he said he would. He has torn the kingdom from you and given it to your rival, David. 18 The LORD has done this to you today because you refused to carry out his fierce anger against the Amalekites. What’s more, the LORD will hand you and the army of Israel over to the Philistines tomorrow, and you and your sons will be here with me. The LORD will bring down the entire army of Israel in defeat (16-19). This should have spurned Saul to confess and turn away from his sins even with the knowledge that his son would never ascend to the throne.
Psalms 121 – Song of Ascents. In our struggle against sin and its influence upon our lives, our strength should never be on our physical abilities, possession, or knowledge, it is our connection with the G_d of the Universe. I look up to the mountains— does my help come from there? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth (1-2). By G_d’s help, we can conquer the issues of our life and find solace in Him. Our physical abilities, possessions, and knowledge will disappear yet, He is from all eternity. The LORD himself watches over you! The LORD stands beside you as your protective shade. The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night (5-6).
Proverbs 17 – Peace In Our Borders. We have a choice to cave into evil or beat back its hold on our life. If this evil were mean and grabbed hold of us, we’d fight it and win yet, it is more diabolical than one can imagine. It comes in like a friend, it is compassionate in our hurts and empathizes with us in our pain yet, it has ulterior motives and that is “your obedience to it”. The person who presents a bribe to another person generally has a reason for it. A bribe is like a lucky charm; whoever gives one will prosper (8). The Devil is very clever and can cover his tracks by making you his “patsy”. Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends (9). When we are alone, we are vulnerable to the enemy’s attack on our lives. When there is peace in our life, we are healthy and become strong. Every person who comes to G_d is hurting, wounded, and sad. Through a process of time, he or she becomes strong and healthy and that is where we think we can make it on our own (Luke 11:25).
Luke 18 – Parable of the Persistent Widow. Persistence is a key element to our success. When we want something, we will keep at it until we obtain that item. Sometimes, though, we ask for things but when the battle reaches our border, we give in to the demands and bow before the conquerer. 8 I tell you, he will grant justice to them quickly! But when the Son of Man returns, how many will he find on the earth who have faith (8)? When the battles begin, we pray in Ernst but as time goes on, we become beaten and discouraged and then we become immune. The Devil uses this to pull us down. As children of G_d, we can either remain humble like Moses or become proud of our “spirituality” and look down on people. “But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ 14 I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted (13-14).