Reading #1 – Joshua 21
Reading #2 – Psalms 146
Reading #3 – Proverbs 3
Reading #4 – John 19
Reading #5 – 2 Samuel 22
Joshua 21 – Towns Given To The Levites. Just as Moses had promised, farm fields were allotted to the Levites. The fields were given out of the tracts given to each of the tribes. Once the land had been conquered, the nation had peace on every side just as the Lord had promised. And the LORD gave them rest on every side, just as he had solemnly promised their ancestors. None of their enemies could stand against them, for the LORD helped them conquer all their enemies. Not a single one of all the good promises the LORD had given to the family of Israel was left unfulfilled; everything he had spoken came true (44-45). In time, just the Lord had promised through Moses, the people would become acclimated to the new land and then take the land for granted. The non-Israelite people who remained in the land as slaves would eventually introduce the young into participating in pagan rituals which would cause problems for the people.
2 Samuel 22 – David’s Psalm of Praise. David summed up his life in this Psalm of praise. In his life, David had witnessed how G_d had led him into and out of battles. Saul had wanted to end David’s life to ensure that Jonathan would be able to ascend to the throne. Yet David had been protected by the Lord. From what we read in scripture, David never became arrogant in his ways nor ever turned away from the Lord. The incident with Bathsheba and the fall out from it did not cease David’s relationship with the Lord; rather, it caused it to grow and bring forth fruit. For this, O LORD, I will praise you among the nations; I will sing praises to your name. You give great victories to your king; you show unfailing love to your anointed, to David and all his descendants forever (50-51).”
Psalms 147 – Praise the Lord. Where can we place our hope in turbulent times? Let all that I am praise the LORD. I will praise the LORD as long as I live. I will sing praises to my God with my dying breath (2). Powerful people say, “trust me” and so people follow them blindly until a fault is found in them. Nations came to Israel to make an alliance, warriors from other nations sought to be part of David’s mighty men. The LORD protects the foreigners among us. He cares for the orphans and widows, but he frustrates the plans of the wicked (9). Joab, David’s Commander of Israel’s armies had caused many problems for the nation beginning with murdering Abner and then Absalom. The LORD will reign forever. He will be your God, O Jerusalem, throughout the generations (10). How we will live our lives will either bring people closer to the Lord or further away.
Proverbs 3 – Living to Please the Lord. How we conduct the affairs of our life will bring others to the Lord G_d. If you do this, you will live for many years, and your life will be satisfying. Never let loyalty and kindness leave you! Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart. Then you will find favor with both God and people, and you will earn a good reputation (2-4). Living to please the Lord needs to be an automatic response and to do so without having a hidden agenda. In the world, we have a sales force who are trained to be “friendly” and appear “genuine” once the deal is done, the friendliness and genuine characteristics disappear. The world is always in search of “something different” and it is for this reason why we need to please the Lord in and out of sight of the world. There is no “one specific way” to live for the Lord but our pathways must encompass the qualities of the Kingdom of God. As we will learn from Solomon, when we walk at cross-purposes to the Kingdom of G_d, the people that flocked to us will walk away, the peace we enjoyed will turn to sorrow, and the values we embraced will fade into history. Know the state of your flocks, and put your heart into caring for your herds, for riches don’t last forever, .and the crown might not be passed to the next generation (Proverbs 27:23-24). My child, don’t lose sight of common sense and discernment. Hang on to them, for they will refresh your soul. They are like jewels on a necklace (21-22). “never lose sight of common sense” does not mean being afraid of losing it rather, it is about taking active steps towards the kingdom of G_d and daily checking the quality of materials we are putting into our lives (Matthew 7:24-27).
John 19 – Jesus is Crucified. Pilate was an unwitting player in the pageant. Because of his position, he was caught between two opposing forces in a no-win situation. If Jesus were allowed to live, Pilate feared an insurrection; if Jesus were crucified, he feared having the blood of an innocent man on his hands. Jesus had not committed any egregious act in defiance of Roman law so Pilate had no reason to have him executed. Then Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said, “Look, here is the man!” When they saw him, the leading priests and Temple guards began shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” “Take him yourselves and crucify him,” Pilate said. “I find him not guilty.” The Jewish leaders replied, “By our law, he ought to die because he called himself the Son of God.” When Pilate heard this, he was more frightened than ever (5-8). The Romans continued the policies of the Greeks by combining religious and cultural diversity through inclusion. This is why Pilate was so afraid when the religious leaders threw out the objection “we have a law …”. The sign Pilate had made incited the crowd because it connected this man Jesus with the whole of Israel. Saying “The death to Israel.” On the cross, Jesus said, “When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.” And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home (26-27). In this, Jesus provided for his mother.