Reading #1 – Judges 1
Reading #2 – Psalms 150
Reading #3 – Proverbs 7
Reading #4 – Acts 3
Reading #5 – 1 Kings 2
Judges 1 – Judah and Simeon Conquer the Land. Joshua had passed away and only a few of the elders remained including Caleb. The nation had failed to conquer many parts of the land due to the opposing nation’s veracity for war. In the end, the opposing nations became vassal nations to Israel. While this may seem to be an equitable solution, it would also set the stage for future battles and the defeat of Israel. The LORD was with the people of Judah, and they took possession of the hill country. But they failed to drive out the people living in the plains, who had iron chariots (19). It would not be until the time of David that many parts of the land would be conquered. The tribe of Asher failed to drive out the residents of Acco, Sidon, Ahlab, Aczib, Helbah, Aphik, and Rehob. Instead, the people of Asher moved in among the Canaanites, who controlled the land, for they failed to drive them out (31). By living among the nations, Asher like Nephtali, Zebulon, they would learn the ways of the Canaanites and then would be destroyed.
1 King 2 – Solomon Takes Control of the Kingdom. David left a couple of items for Solomon to take care of. First was Joab, son of Zeriuh who had killed Abner son of Ner and Amasa son of Jether in times of peace but under the pretense of “War”. David was in no position to judge Joab because Joab knew of David’s secret plot to kill Uriah. David’s actions did not absolve Joab rather, it meant someone else would have to judge him and sentence him to death. The second issue was Shimei who had cursed King David and threw rocks at him. “And remember Shimei son of Gera, the man from Bahurim in Benjamin. He cursed me with a terrible curse as I was fleeing to Mahanaim. When he came down to meet me at the Jordan River, I swore by the LORD that I would not kill him. But that oath does not make him innocent. You are a wise man, and you will know how to arrange a bloody death for him (8-9).” The third thing was to remind Solomon to be kind to Barzillai so of Gilead because Gilead had been kind to David during David’s travels. The last thing was the construction of the temple. Adonijah’s request for Abishag, the Shunammite, for a wife was met with objection by Solomon. I wasn’t sure why this was a problem until I did a little research and found out that by taking a concubine of the king, it was an act of “overthrowing the throne”. Abishag had never slept with the king so she wasn’t a concubine but she was used more like a “cross between a nurse and a hot-water bottle”. When Absalom took control of the throne, the first thing he did was sleep with his father’s concubine on the top of the roof of the palace in broad daylight. So to keep control of the kingdom, Adonijah would have to be put to death. By all rights, Adonijah should have been the next king because he was the oldest after the deaths of Amnon and Absalom; however, he took it upon himself to take the throne by intrigue which failed.
Psalms 150 – Praise the Lord!! There is no wrong way to praise the Lord. By using our gifts for His glory, we are praising him. To those who are musically inclined, use your gifts to sing and play music for His glory. To those who are gifted in writing, write for His glory. For those who are gifted in drama, give praise by the role you play. To those who are gifted in leadership, lead with integrity and honesty. Let everything that breathes sing praises to the LORD! Praise the LORD (6)!
Proverbs 7– Another Warning About the Immoral Woman. Follow my advice, my son; always treasure my commands. Obey my commands and live! Guard my instructions as you guard your own eyes. Tie them on your fingers as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart (1-2). This warning, as I have said before, is written by the father to the son but it is also a model that could be applied to the daughter as well. Defeating the Devil’s incursion always begins by writing his message on the heart before facing the temptation. When you write G_d’s commands on your heart, you are saying “I will honor G_d’s commands”. Once you cave into temptation, it is too late to chose G_d’s way all you can do is “learn from it” and do better the next time. The problems for the young naïve man did not begin after he chose to follow the prostitute, it began in a time before he went down the road in search of the woman. Temptation always begins in the heart when we imagine what it would be like to _____ and we dwell on it until we act on it. Once we act on sin, we find out that it was nothing like that which we imagined it to be. Consider the case of Amnon who raped his half-sister Tamar who was Absalom’s sister. Once Amnon acted on his fantasies and ruined Tamar, he threw her out of his house. In the end, Amnon was murdered by his brother which set the stage for Solomon to be selected to be the next King (2 Samuel 13).
Acts 3 – Peter Heals the Crippled Man. A crippled man had spent most of his life being carried to the Temple to beg for food and money. When Peter came along, the man asked for money. “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up, and walk (6)!” Peter then reached out and took the man by the hand and lifted him to his feet. In doing so, Peter in effect gave the man back his life. When the people attending the Temple saw the man and recognized him, they were amazed and thought Peter was a god. Peter could have used this to his advantage and elevated himself in the eyes of the public. Peter saw his opportunity and addressed the crowd. “People of Israel,” he said, “what is so surprising about this? And why stare at us as though we had made this man walk by our power or godliness? For it is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—the God of all our ancestors—who has brought glory to his servant Jesus by doing this. This is the same Jesus whom you handed over and rejected before Pilate, despite Pilate’s decision to release him (12-13.” Peter could have used this opportunity to excoriate the people and preach a “fire and brimstone” message. “Friends, I realize that what you and your leaders did to Jesus was done in ignorance. But God was fulfilling what all the prophets had foretold about the Messiah—that he must suffer these things. Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away. Then times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord, and he will again send you Jesus, your appointed Messiah (17-20). When God raised up his servant, Jesus, he sent him first to you people of Israel, to bless you by turning each of you back from your sinful ways (26).”