Reading #1 – Judges 4
Reading #2 – Psalms 3
Reading #3 – Proverbs 10
Reading #4 – Acts 6
Reading #5 – 1 Kings 5
Judges 4 – Rise of Deborah. After Ehud passed away, the nation he had fought to save went right back to their sinful ways. According to the biblical timeline, about 100 years separated the two judges. After Ehud’s death, the Israelites again did evil in the LORD’s sight. So the LORD turned them over to King Jabin of Hazor, a Canaanite king. The commander of his army was Sisera, who lived in Harosheth-ha goyim. Sisera, who had 900 iron chariots, ruthlessly oppressed the Israelites for twenty years. Then the people of Israel cried out to the LORD for help (1-3). As you will notice, the time of exile was about 2 years longer than the previous one (Judges 3:14). Deborah calls for Barak son of Abinoam in Naphtali. By refusing to go to war against Sisera without the help of the prophetess, the victory would be given to a woman which was a cultural issue. “Very well,” she replied, “I will go with you. But you will receive no honor in this venture, for the LORD’s victory over Sisera will be at the hands of a woman (9).” In the end, Sisera was defeated and he was killed by Jael wife of Heber the Kenite with a tent-peg (21). The nation rode a constant roller-coaster of righteousness. After Sisera was killed, the people were obedient to Deborah until years following her death.
1 Kings 5 – The Construction of the Temple. This was a great time to be a citizen of Israel/Judah because a new king has ascended to the throne and a temple would be constructed to offer sacrifice to the Lord G_d. I contend that the construction of the temple was a huge mistake. The one that G_d wants from us is our hearts, not a building. What Solomon started was no better than what Egypt did to the nation during their 400 years of exile and ended with the same results. G_d would rather we have a small building and a large faith and outpouring from the heart than a large building and a nation in distress. At first, the relationship between David’s friend Hyram and Solomon was good and he was willing to do anything for Solomon the son of David. In future writings, I will address this issue and how it pertains to us today.
Psalm 3 – David on the Run From Solomon. As you remember, David was on the run from Absalom. The years between the incident with Bathsheba to the birth of the child were not good years for David and the kingdom. David was much older now and Absalom was a young man with a large following. We are not told why David did not face Absalom and end the insurrection. David was unable to stand against the young Absalom because “guilt” is a tyrant that will hound our conscience that renders us powerless. When we cave into the cajoling of the Devil, he will always blackmail us into doing more ungodly acts. Although David ran like a coward, he understood one thing that Absalom did not and that was, “G_d still loved him and would always protect him” because David never turned his back on the Lord. But you, O LORD, are a shield around me; you are my glory, the one who holds my head high. I cried out to the LORD, and he answered me from his holy mountain (3-4). When we fall short of G_d’s glory, the Devil will assail us and try to conquer us but, when we never lose faith in G_d, he will be our rear-guard. I lay down and slept, yet I woke up in safety, for the LORD was watching over me. I am not afraid of ten thousand enemies who surround me on every side (5-6).
Proverbs 10 – Life in the Light of Our Choices. G_d gave his word through the prophets and elders. It is contended “the Bible has been changed by the number of translations” yet, it hasn’t changed. Living for the Lord G_d today will yield the same results that David, Jacob/Israel, Moses, and Abraham enjoyed. Living for the Lord G_d does not mean that you will never face trials, temptations, frustrations, and fears; rather, it implies “no matter what happens, I chose to stand on the Lord’s side”. The way of the LORD is a stronghold to those with integrity, but it destroys the wicked (29). Having wisdom, like Solomon, doesn’t mean that you will not falter nor make mistakes in judgment; what you do with it coupled with the lesson you learned will either show you are wise or just a person with lofty words.
Acts 6 – Seven Men Chosen to Serve. The number of believers had grown to the point that Apostles needed to change the structure of the church organization. This was a good idea however, one of the seven, Nicholas, was a recent convert and should not have been chosen. Nicholas had brought his teachings of “compromise”. Stephen was the one man with the spirit of G_d upon his life and it would cost him his life for daring to warn the people about sin. In the same way that Jezebel had scoundrels charge Naboth with “cursing G_d and the King” so that Naboth would be killed and Ahab would get Naboth’s vineyard (1 Kings 21:1-29), so the Synagog of the “Freed Slaves” hired scoundrels to charge Stephen with “The lying witnesses said, “This man is always speaking against the Holy Temple and the law of Moses. We have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy the Temple and change the customs Moses handed down to us.” At this point, everyone in the high council stared at Stephen, because his face became as bright as an angel’s (13-15).