Reading #1 – Joshua 12
Reading #2 – Psalms 137
Reading #3 – Song of Solomon 2
Reading #4 – John 10
Reading #5 – 2 Samuel 13
Joshua 12 – Eastern Kings Defeated. When I read about the kings and nations that were defeated in the conquest of Canaan, I think of how much work and sacrifice went into the project. Once the land had peace from war and the people settled in, the work was forgotten about. After many years had passed, the people would soon take the land for granted as though “it was always theirs” and this is where problems occur. In similar ways, the people who fought so that the US could be a free nation would have been better off if they simply gave up then to let their hard work be treated with such disdain; however, these men considered the price of freedom worth the work they put into it.
2 Samuel 13 – Amnon Rapes Tamar. Tamar Absolom’s sister was a beautiful virgin. Amnon her half brother fell in love with her and thought “I will never be able to have her”. This led to obsession and then illness. Jonadab the son of Shimea David’s brother proposed a way for Amnon to have his way with Tamar. Once the deed was done, it led to hate most likely because his obsession led to dissolution. 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). Absolom contrived a way to kill Amnon for what Amnon had done to his sister. Absolom could have demanded that his father do something about Amnon but, the king had a problem too in that he had Uriah killed by the sword of the Ammonites (2 Samuel 12). The Devil was using this opportunity to get back at David for his devotion to G_d and for defeating the plans of the Devil.
Psalms 137 – Beside the rivers of Babylon, we sat and wept as we thought of Jerusalem. We put away our harps, hanging them on the branches of poplar trees. For our captors demanded a song from us. Our tormentors insisted on a joyful hymn: “Sing us one of those songs of Jerusalem!” But how can we sing the songs of the LORD while in a pagan land (1-4)? The nation Judah was being carted off to slavery in Babylon. For years, the Israelites had slipped slowly into sin despite all warnings and admonitions so, when the people were being carted off, the tormentors wanted to hear a “joyful song” as they were being led away naked into a slum area. The Edomites, relatives of Esau brother of Jacob/Israel, wanted to see the whole area destroyed and with great enjoyment watched the temple be burned to the ground. For 70 years the nation would be in exile far from Jerusalem. If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget how to play the harp.
May my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth if I fail to remember you if I don’t make Jerusalem my greatest joy (5-6). Unfortunately, during the 70 years, the memories of Jerusalem faded into myth and then forgotten.
Song of Solomon 2 – The Love Sonnet. I am the spring crocus blooming on the Sharon Plain, the lily of the valley. Young Man Like a lily among thistles is my darling among young women (1-2).
John 10 – The Good Shephard. By calling himself the “Good Shephard” and saying “my sheep know my voice”, implied that the many so-called religious leaders who had put heavyweights on the people were not G_d’s appointed leaders simply imposters. IF Jesus had only performed miracles and healed people without giving the meat of the word, he would have had many followers but not many committed people to G_d. After he has gathered his flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. 5 They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice (4-5).” By saying this, Jesus pointed out the duplicity of the religious leaders and those who were mere “band-wagon” jumpers. By this point in time, the crowds that adored Jesus had diminished and the crowd of hecklers increased. While this may seem hard to believe that Jesus would want the crowd of followers to decrease, consider the case of Gideon son of Barrack who by the hand of G_d slimmed down an army of 32,000 down to 300 to defeat the Midianites (Judges 7:6-7). “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me were thieves and robbers. But the true sheep did not listen to them. Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. 10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life (7-9).