Reading #1 – Joshua 22
Reading #2 – Psalms 147
Reading #3 – Proverbs 4
Reading #4 – John 20
Reading #5 – 2 Samuel 23
Joshua 22 – Eastern Tribes Return Home. After the nation was at peace in their land, Joshua sent the 2 and a half tribes home with his blessing. And now the LORD your God has given the other tribes rest, as he promised them. So go back home to the land that Moses, the servant of the LORD, gave you as your possession on the east side of the Jordan River. But be very careful to obey all the commands and the instructions that Moses gave to you. Love the LORD your God, walk in all his ways, obey his commands, hold firmly to him, and serve him with all your heart and all your soul.” So Joshua blessed them and sent them away, and they went home (4-8). The eastern tribes built the altar on the West side of the Jordan River because they knew that the current generation would not be around for all time. So, a silent witness was built that the tribes could see and remember what had happened. “The truth is, we have built this altar because we fear that in the future your descendants will say to ours, ‘What right do you have to worship the LORD, the God of Israel? The LORD has placed the Jordan River as a barrier between our people and you people of Reuben and Gad. You have no claim to the LORD.’ So your descendants may prevent our descendants from worshiping the LORD (24-25). In time, vows, commitments, made by previous generations may be forgotten and this would create a war between the tribes of Israel over questions of “religious service”; couple this with changes in languages and nationalities would make for future problems.
2 Samuel 23 – David’s Final Words. David summed up his life and relationship with the Lord G_d of Israel. “The Spirit of the LORD speaks through me; his words are upon my tongue. The God of Israel spoke. The Rock of Israel said to me: ‘The one who rules righteously, who rules in the fear of God, is like the light of morning at sunrise, like a morning without clouds, like the gleaming of the sun on new grass after rain (4).’ David understood that G_d had watched over him every step of his life including his failures. He was successful simply because of his prowess in fighting nor was given the plunder simply because he was the best man. What if the LORD had not been on our side? Let all Israel repeat: What if the LORD had not been on our side when people attacked us? They would have swallowed us alive in their burning anger. The waters would have engulfed us; a torrent would have overwhelmed us. Yes, the raging waters of their fury would have overwhelmed our very lives (Psalms 124:1-5). David had a cast of many men who helped him along the way and he never claimed the honor for himself. In a way, David was the man in Proverbs 31 who recited his mother’s admonishment (Proverbs 31:1-9).
Psalms 147 – Praise the Lord! The Lord is addressed by many names. To those in need is Jehova Jira “The Lord who provides”. To those in turmoil, he is Jehova Shalom “The Lord our Peace”. To the wounded, he is Jehova Rapha “the Lord our Healer”. To the lonely, he is Jehova Shamah “the Lord who is present”. To those coming from a life of sin to the kingdom of G_d and fear they will be rejected, he is Jehova Tsidkenu “The Lord our Righteousness”. When we struggle with sin and overcome by the blood of the Lamb and word of our testimony (Revelations 12:11) he is Jehova Nissi “The Lord our Banner”. When we war against the armies of hell over our lives and that of our family, he is Jehovah Sabboath “The Lord of Hosts”. When we struggle with the desire to “get even” with those who hurt us, he is Jehova Ghmolah “The Lord our Vengence”. He is the G_d for every season of our life when we allow Him to lead us, we will get through the struggles of our life scarred and broken but we will cross the finish line.
Proverbs 4 – The Parent’s Admonishment. As parents, we are responsible for the care and development of our children. Once we set the course for our children by how we live our lives, the children see the fruit and are either drawn to it or repelled. My children, listen when your father corrects you. Pay attention and learn good judgment, for I am giving you good guidance. Don’t turn away from my instructions. For I, too, was once my father’s son, tenderly loved as my mother’s only child (1-3). If we say nothing or our behavior betrays our words, our children will follow the course of the world and refuse our words no matter how heartfelt they may be. Our children face many obstacles and the Devil is never slack in his efforts to confuse the youth and lead them down the road to hell. My child, listen to me and do as I say, and you will have a long, good life. I will teach you wisdom’s ways and lead you in straight paths. When you walk, you won’t be held back; when you run, you won’t stumble. Take hold of my instructions; don’t let them go. Guard them, for they are the key to life (10-13). From this point, the child holds in his or her hands the power to live uprightly or cave into the whims of the world. Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life (23).
John 21 – The Meeting at the Shore. After Jesus’ crucifixion, the disciples needed some normality to deal with the loss of Jesus and the clamor of the people so, they went fishing which was their occupation. They spent the night in the boat but caught nothing all night. In the morning, a character on the beach said, “cast your net on the right-hand side” (1-3). The fishermen caught such a large amount that would have normally broken the net but the net did not break. One of the disciples said, “It’s the Lord” to which Peter jumped clothes and all into the water to swim to him. A week earlier, Peter, the brave denied knowing Jesus or having anything to do with him and Peter wanted to make things right again. What Jesus said to Peter both broke and encouraged him. Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep.“I tell you the truth when you were young, you were able to do as you liked; you dressed and went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will dress you and take you where you don’t want to go (17-19).” Late second-century apocryphal text “Acts of Peter,” says that Peter was crucified upside down and gave a lengthy discourse on “fallen humanity”. The reality is that there is no evidence because Peter was a servant, not a king. Peter’s entire ministry was focused on Jesus and not on himself. In the same way, Jesus’ ministry was “focusing on G_d’s Kingdom” and never elevated himself above G_d.