Reading #1 – Deuteronomy 34
Reading #2 – Psalms 125
Reading #3 – Proverbs 21
Reading #4 – Luke 22
Reading #5 – 2 Samuel 1
Deuteronomy 34 – The Death of Moses. Now Moses was over 120 years old when he died on the mountain of Pisgah. Nobody knows the exact place of his death and this is by design. If a spot were left, it would turn to be a shrine. Moses was a powerful man in the Spirit of the Lord and at that time, there was never a man like him yet, he would not be the last one (10=12). Joshua was now in full command of the tribes of Israel. Now Joshua son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him. So the people of Israel obeyed him, doing just as the LORD had commanded Moses (9).
2 Samuel 1 – David Learns of Saul and Jonathan’s death. The battle at Gilboa had been a tragic loss for the nation as their anointed King and the crown prince had been killed in battle. An Amalekite ran with a story to gain respect from David who had just annihilated the nation Ameleka and this might have been a reason for telling such a whopper of a story. For his efforts, the young man was put to death for claiming that he killed the “Lord’s anointed”. Saul had treated David with great contempt and sought at great lengths to kill him but, Saul’s death was not a reason to rejoice. O mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew or rain upon you, nor fruitful fields producing offerings of grain. For there the shield of the mighty heroes was defiled; the shield of Saul will no longer be anointed with oil (21). David did not claim the kingship, it was given to him by the Lord in His timing, not David’s; this is important because an inheritance claimed too soon will not be blessed at the end (Proverbs 20:21).
Psalms 125 – The Lord Our Strength. When we let the Lord G_d into our life, we develop strength of character, personal fortitude, and trust that cannot be broken. Those who trust in the LORD are as secure as Mount Zion; they will not be defeated but will endure forever (1). To say “he or she will never be defeated doesn’t imply that they will never have defeats or those bad things will never occur but that the defeats and failures would never defeat the Lord of their life. It is for this reason that the Devil works so hard and cuts so deep in our life. If he is unsuccessful in beating us in one weak area, he will go to another weak spot. Just as the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people, both now and forever (2).
Proverbs 21 – The Devil’s Trap. We can do whatever we want to do and do it any way we chose to do it. The problem is, the outcome always tells the excruciating story. The one who works hard on a project without cutting corners or stealing someone else’s work may not get a good grade but it will resemble the amount of time we took with it. The man who marries hastily may end up with a wife he no longer desires to be with. This is the “Devil’s Trap” and it is continually employed because it works. The man or woman who works to develop a piece of property or software or whatever may not come up with the best thing on the market but he or she will eat the fruit before the Lord with joy (Isaiah 3:10).
Luke 22 – Judas Betrays Jesus. Of all the sad stories told in scripture, to me, the saddest of all is Judas. Judas had been stealing funds from coffers and Jesus knew about it. In Proverbs 21, which I titled “The Devil’s Trap”, the writer speaks about “outcomes”. For three years, Judas hid his ulterior motives for collecting funds thinking “nobody knows about it”. Jesus’ Spirit was so good that it burned in Judas’ heart to the point that someone had to go either the Devil or Jesus. Today, we face the same battle and so we go with the easiest component “Jesus”. At the dinner, it was Judas’ last chance to confess and repent but he chose to hand Jesus over for a total of 30 pieces of silver. Today we are not offered 30 pieces of silver but we do give up Jesus for promotion or to be with the “in-group”. Sadly, once we accept the bribe there is no going back or “undoing a mistake”. Judas would be chided by the person who cajoled him into accepting the bribe money. Maybe this sounds familiar, “you fool. You Fool! How could you accept this pittance and now you no longer have a relationship with Jesus. You might just as well kill yourself because you are no longer good for anything.” Temptation comes from our desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death (James 1:14-15).