Reading #1 – Deuteronomy 32
Reading #2 – Psalms 123
Reading #3 – Proverbs 19
Reading #4 – Luke 20
Reading #5 – 1 Samuel 30
Deuteronomy 32 – The Song of Moses. This reflective song speaks to Israel’s history and its future. As with all words that come from G_d, it doesn’t present a “rosy picture” because G_d knew exactly what would happen in the years following Moses. Our actions are like seeds that grow in a set period. Our children learn from our behaviors and expand them to the point that we do not recognize our faults in them. Over some time, the people become content and then complacent. “But Israel soon became fat and unruly; the people grew heavy, plump, and stuffed! Then they abandoned the God who had made them; they made light of the Rock of their salvation. They stirred up his jealousy by worshiping foreign gods; they provoked his fury with detestable deeds. They offered sacrifices to demons, which are not God, to gods they had not known before, to new gods only recently arrived, to gods their ancestors had never feared. You neglected the Rock who had fathered you; you forgot the God who had given you birth (15-18). Sinful practices begin small and then grow to the point it breaks and then trouble befalls the nation.
1 Samuel 30 – David Destroys the Amalekites. While David and his army were out with the Philistine armies, their town was destroyed by the Amalekites, and all of their wives and kids, and stuff was taken. The men became bitter thinking about how bad it was that while David had them out on a lark, their treasures were taken which almost got David killed. Now David could have sat back and lamented his sour estate and become angry with G_d yet, he found strength in G_d by remembering all that He had done for him in his lifetime. So David stood up, assembled his men, and went after the raiding army. Once David had retrieved the stuff and decimated the Amalekites, he could have become proud of what he did and not shared the plunder with the 200 men who became exhausted. By being willing to share and return the possessions to the rightful owners, it showed his true character. But David said, “No, my brothers! Don’t be selfish with what the LORD has given us. He has kept us safe and helped us defeat the band of raiders that attacked us. Who will listen when you talk like this? We share and share alike—those who go to battle and those who guard the equipment.” b From then on David made this a decree and regulation for Israel, and it is still followed today (23-25).
Psalms 123 – Keep Looking to the Lord. For all of the mess we face in life, it becomes a struggle to turn away from human leanings like complacency, anger, and frustrations. The Devil eggs these issues through stage settings. Consider the setting of seeing Ziklag destroyed and your wife and kids were taken (1 Samuel 30:1-6). David could have rejected G_d and blamed him for the events that befell them. I lift my eyes to you, O God, enthroned in heaven. We keep looking to the LORD our God for his mercy, just as servants keep their eyes on their master, as a slave girl watches her mistress for the slightest signal. Have mercy on us, LORD, have mercy, for we have had our fill of contempt. We have had more than our fill of the scoffing of the proud and the contempt of the arrogant (Psalms 123).
Proverbs 19 – Our Choices in the Light. It is easy to do something wrong and then blame it on another person or thing. When we do this, we never grow nor do we learn. People ruin their lives by their foolishness and then are angry at the LORD (3). This does not solve the problem, it only enables the person who committed the act to not be held responsible for his or her actions.
Luke 20 – The Sanhedrin Gets Schooled. The religious leaders of the time made it no secret that Jesus was under their microscope. Before John the Baptist coming onto the scene, the religious had their way with the people and almost had carte’ Blanche. Ceasar was the Sanhedrin’s calling card. Jesus was a lightning rod that burned away any pretense. The parable of the wicked farmers pointed out the religious leaders’ duplicity and sin. No one likes to have their faults pointed out but to cross paths with the religious leaders was not wise yet, Jesus knowing how short his time was, spoke with great power and authority. “Then what does this Scripture mean? ‘The stone that the builders rejected
has now become the cornerstone.’ Everyone who stumbles over that stone will be broken to pieces, and it will crush anyone it falls on (17-18).”