Reading #1 – Judges 3
Reading #2 – Psalms 2
Reading #3 – Proverbs 9
Reading #4 – Acts 5
Reading #5 – 1 Kings 4
Judges 3 – Nations Left To Test Israel. The generations that had seen the work of Moses, the 40 years it took to conquer the land had passed away and a new generation arose. In the same way that it was when a new Pharoah ascended the throne of Egypt who knew nothing about Joseph, so it was for this generation. The people intermarried, adapted to the ways of the Canaanites. So the people of Israel lived among the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, and they intermarried with them. Israelite sons married their daughters, and Israelite daughters were given in marriage to their sons. And the Israelites served their gods (5). During the years that the people developed these relationships, there was peace in the land and the nation became comfortable. Peace and comfort have a duel-edged blade in that we think that our actions brought about the times of rest so we continue in our downward spiral into sin. Each successive time in slavery became longer and more devastating than the last one. Othniel became the nation’s judge because he saved the nation and then Ehud who took his life in his hands when he killed the pagan king.
1 Kings 4 – Solomon’s Officials and Governors. During the early day of Solomon’s reign, life was at its best in the kingdom. There was plenty of food and drink for the people and the nation was wealthy. The temple had not been started, the construction of the many palaces had not yet been started. Kingdoms were bringing gold and silver across the seas to Solomon. During this time, Solomon was obedient to the G_d of his father David. The stage is set for the problems ahead which are, his Egyptian wife, his love for foreign-born women, the stable of horses, plans for the temple, and the taste for the finer things of life. While these may seem innocuous, they are the grounds from which dissension would occur. For now, though, the kingdom was happy and the prospect of a long happy reign seemed plausible. I liken it to the turn of the 19th century brought about joy as the US turned a corner from the time of the civil war and the great atrocities.
Psalm 2 – Charge to the Nations. The writer of the Psalm, most likely David, speaks to the pagan nations that surround Jerusalem “Why are the nations so angry? Why do they waste their time with futile plans? The kings of the earth prepare for battle; the rulers plot together against the LORD and his anointed one (1-2).” The world wants to live any way they chose and the children of G_d are a stench to them because they are not like the world. To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this (2 Corinthians 2:16)? The Lord sits in Heaven far above mankind and laughs at man’s foolishness. He laughs at man’s foolish decisions knowing from history that they will never work out. The teacher said, “History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new. Sometimes people say, “Here is something new!” But actually, it is old; nothing is ever truly new. We don’t remember what happened in the past, and in future generations, no one will remember what we are doing now (Ecclesiastes 1:9-10).” G_d has always been in existence and knows what will happen with every plan made by man. Now then, you kings, act wisely! Be warned, you rulers of the earth! Serve the LORD with reverent fear, and rejoice with trembling. Submit to God’s royal son, or he will become angry, and you will be destroyed amid all your activities— for his anger flares up in an instant. But what joy for all who take refuge in him (10-12)
Proverbs 9 – Wisdom’s Invitation and Folly Calls For a Hearing. Wisdom has prepared a place and we don’t need to bring a thing with us, “just go into the camp.” When we go to a new job, we don’t bring the broken practices of the old place of employment because the old ways would cause the same problems for the new place as with the old place we just bring our skills and talents. In the same way, when it comes to the Kingdom of G_d, we bring our skills and talents to put use for the King. Folly, on the other hand, boasts of things and places it cannot give. Folly promises things that trip the triggers of the foolish. For the one given to sexual desires, the woman is an animal in bed and her bed is just perfect. For the one hungry for riches, she can get “wealth beyond our wildest imaginations”. To the one hungry for power, she has wealth of contacts to get the person the power he or she wants. The problem is, she may give it to you and all of the trouble with it. To the one hungry for sexual abandon, he or she will be ruined for life. To the one hungry for wealth, he or she will receive all of the trouble with it. To the one hungry for power, he or she will become corrupt in their ways and ruined for life. Remember that Folly never gives gifts, she offers traps hidden in the guise of “good gifts.” Wisdom asks for nothing but for us to walk in obedience to the G_ d of the ages.
Acts 5 – Ananias, Saphira, And the ½ Truth. Ananias and Saphira sold a piece of their land and brought the proceeds to the Apostles and there is was nothing wrong with this act, so far. The problem came in when they lied about how much they made on the sale. If they had been honest and said, “I sold it for ____ but kept out a small portion so that I could purchase another piece of property” no harm would have come to them. I think the impetus behind the motive for selling was to receive the same blessing as Barnabus did (Acts 4:36-37). In that time, the Sanhedrin was dealing with the explosion of the church and the implosion of the Sanhedrin. Anyone caught preaching in “Jesus’ name” was subject to prison and flogging. While Peter and John were in prison, An Angel let them out and sent them to the Temple to preach the good news of Christ Jesus. This caused a great stir in the Sanhedrin because, they were going back to the same place they were arrested in; this time, the temple guards handled the incident carefully so as not to cause an uproar among the people. The question arose, “what do we do with these trouble makers”. Gamaliel counseled them from history about the undoing of sinful rebellions and how they ended “So my advice is, leave these men alone. Let them go. If they are planning and doing these things merely on their own, it will soon be overthrown. But if it is from God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You may even find yourselves fighting against God (38-39)!”