Reading #1 – Deuteronomy 31
Reading #2 – Psalms 122
Reading #3 – Proverbs 18
Reading #4 – Luke 19
Reading #5 – 1 Samuel 29
Deuteronomy 31 – The Passing of the Baton. For over 40 years Moses had been the nation’s unelected leader who was commissioned by G_d. The people looked up to Moses and Aaron for their spiritual and moral direction. Now the nation was on the precipice and Moses would not be going with them due to his actions at Meribah (Psalms 102:32-48). Moses used his final moments to encourage Joshua to take up the mantle of leadership with courage and conviction. Then Moses called for Joshua, and as all Israel watched, he said to him, “Be strong and courageous! For you will lead these people into the land that the LORD swore to their ancestors he would give them. You are the one who will divide it among them as their grants of land. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you (7-8).” By doing this, Moses transferred his spirit and authority onto the man chosen by G_d as the next leader. Moses could have been very bitter to lose out on something he worked so hard for but, he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt was that the most important thing he could for Joshua was to build him up and set the course of Joshua’s leadership. It is unfortunate that no matter what Joshua would do in his lifetime, the nation would go the way of the other nations to their demise. The Israel of today is not the same nation it once was.
1 Samuel 29 – The Philistines Reject David. David and his small band had been at Ziklag in the land of Philistia and served King Achish. When it came time to battle the Hebrew nation under Saul, David and his men were ready and willing to fight the enemies of his Lord King Achish. This does raise a concern that David might turn and fight against the Philistines especially when it came to Jonathan. David and his band were sent back from battle something that David never had to do.
Psalms 122 – Pray for the Peace of the Nation. OF all the prayers we need to pray, it should be, “Pray for peace in Jerusalem. May all who love this city prosper. O Jerusalem may there be peace within your walls and prosperity in your palaces. For the sake of my family and friends, I will say, ‘May you have peace.’ For the sake of the house of the LORD our God, I will seek what is best for you, O Jerusalem (6-9).’” While this prayer names Jerusalem and Israel, you can change that out with the name of your nation. We are admonished to always seek the best for our nation because if we do not, we are telling G_d “I could care less what you do to the nation and the world around us”. “I looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap in the wall so I wouldn’t have to destroy the land, but I found no one. 31 So now I will pour out my fury on them, consuming them with the fire of my anger. I will heap on their heads the full penalty for all their sins. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken (Ezekiel 22:30-31).
Proverbs 18 – The Wise and the Foolish. Without a doubt, listening to advice that runs counter to our modicum of life is difficult. When we are not feeling well, we go to the Doctor and are told what we need to do to correct our pains. If chose to ignore the advice, then we deal with the hurts of our life. If in life all we had to do was swallow a pill or take a day off, we would gladly accept the prescription but, when the doctor tels us we need to lose weight or exercise a little more or even, G_d forbid, give up our bad habits. Intelligent people are always ready to learn. Their ears are open for knowledge (15).
Luke 19 – The Kingdom of G_d. The nation had been taught about the coming of the Kingdom since the time of the prophets so Jesus’ presence brought on the notion that the Kingdom was coming right away. Yet, what they did not understand was that the Kingdom was not an earthly Kingdom and the religious leaders would not be given a place of honor. There were people even in that time who did not want G_d involved in the matters of the earth especially when His representative was teaching the truth and was drawing larger numbers than even the most skilled speaker. The people that gathered around Jesus were not all his disciples many were looking for the same thing the religious were looking “the coming of the Kingdom” and they didn’t want to be left out. In the time of Jonah Ninevah heard about “the coming destruction” so they turned from their ways until the destruction did not come about. In the same way, people would turn back. Zaccheus was the most sinful man in the community in the eyes of the community because he collected taxes. By rights, he should have been frowned on by Jesus; instead, he dined with Zaccheus. Jesus did not demand anything of the evil tax collector. Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!” Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. The Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost (8-10).