Reading #1 – Judges 5
Reading #2 – Psalms 4
Reading #3 – Proverbs 11
Reading #4 – Acts 7
Reading #5 – 1 Kings 6
Judges 5 – Deborah’s Song. This was a victory song for the nation and is recorded in Jewish history. The song gives all credit and glory to the Lord. Sisera was a mighty enemy and not one easily shaken. When Barak son of Abinoam took a spear in his hand and commanded the armies of Naphtali, Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin, the land shook because he acted in faith and trust. G_d did not disappoint the commander nor the prophetess. But in the tribe of Reuben, there was great indecision. Why did you sit at home among the sheepfolds— to hear the shepherds whistle for their flocks? Yes, in the tribe of Reuben there was great indecision. Gilead remained east of the Jordan. And why did Dan stay home? Asher sat unmoved at the seashore, remaining in his harbors (15-17). While the nation was in distress, the whole nation was affected. So when the nation was mobilized, these three tribes remained home. When the Amalekites were destroyed, the land had peace, and everyone, including the ones who stayed home, enjoyed the fruit. Something that Barak, Deborah, and the tribes who came to war had to keep in mind is that the victory did not occur because of the commander nor the cadre of generals but because they stood at the side of the Lord G_d (future writings “Who Won the Battle”. The stars fought from heaven. The stars in their orbits fought against Sisera. The Kishon River swept them away— that ancient torrent, the Kishon. March on with courage, my soul! Then the horses’ hooves hammered the ground, the galloping, galloping of Sisera’s mighty steeds (20-22).
1 King 6 – Solomon Builds the Temple. The building of the temple, as I have said before, was an unnecessary project. How Solomon built the temple was much like how the people of Israel built up Rameses in Egypt except this time the people would get to use the building so they gladly put their time and effort into constructing it. “Concerning this Temple, you are building, if you keep all my decrees and regulations and obey all my commands, I will fulfill through you the promise I made to your father, David. I will live among the Israelites and will never abandon my people Israel (12-13).” G_d did not bless Solomon because he built the temple but because Solomon honored the Lord G_d of David in the early days of his reign over Israel and Judah. Unless the LORD builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted. Unless the LORD protects a city, guarding it with sentries will do no good (Psalms 127:1).” The implication is that no matter how much effort was put into the construction, and Solomon built a monolithic structure, if Solomon and the people were not obedient to the Lord G_d, it would all be for naught.
Psalms 4 – A Psalm of David. Victory in life does not come because of any “great thing we have done” nor our prowess for war, our oratory skills, nor musical inclination. Our victory comes when we first become obedient to the Lord and grows as we live for the Lord G_d and allow him to live vicariously through the way we live for him. In the time of Paul, the church at Corinth was at odds between the groups which caused fights. After all, who is Apollos? Who is Paul? We are only God’s servants through whom you believed the Good News. Each of us did the work the Lord gave us. I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow (1 Corinthians 3:5-7). Living for the Lord G_d is an “all or nothing” lifestyle. Either you live all of the ways for him or you don’t. The Devil says, “Do good on Sunday and live like the world the rest of the week and you’ll be ok.” The Devil says this because he knows full well that if he can get you part of the way into his camp, he’ll get the rest in time. You can be sure of this: The LORD set apart the godly for himself. The LORD will answer when I call him (3). David had this assurance not because he played so skillfully but that his heart was in the right relationship with the Lord G_d. Many people say, “Who will show us better times?” Let your face smile on us, LORD. You have given me greater joy than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine. In peace, I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O LORD will keep me safe (5-8).
Proverbs 11 – Wisdom For Our Day. What we do in life will either speak well of us or be our greatest critic. Wisdom, as was pointed out earlier, stood at the high place calling out to “whosoever” inviting them to the table. Folly, on the other hand, stands in the market place saying, “Stolen water is refreshing; food eaten in secret is best” (Proverbs 9:17). Folly’s offer sounds fantastic because it entices the listener with juicy bait and we forge that there is always a hook that will get caught into our heart and drag us away. Wisdom offer is extended with a hand, not a hook. Living for the Lord G_d would seem to be a “no brainer” when we stay in the word and read about lives and kingdoms that have been lost through sin. Yet, when we are enticed by the thing that would fill our stomach, we take the fruit much like Eve did in the garden (Genesis 3:6). Those who bring trouble on their families inherit the wind. The fool will be a servant to the wise (29).
Acts 7 – Stephen’s Speech. Stephen had been accused of cursing Moses and teaching in the name of Jesus which was a crime worthy of death. The problem is, the witnesses maligned Stephen out of anger and their testimonies did not agree with each other. What Stephen had to say next, sealed his fate. Two things you do not dare tell the religious of that time were, “You are serving the god Molech, not YWHY G_d” and “You preach the law of Moses while living sin”. Name one prophet your ancestors didn’t persecute! They even killed the ones who predicted the coming of the Righteous One—the Messiah whom you betrayed and murdered. You deliberately disobeyed God’s law, even though you received it from the hands of angels (52-53).” As they stoned him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” He fell to his knees, shouting, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” And with that, he died (59-60).