Reading #1 – Judges 8
Reading #2 – Psalms 7
Reading #3 – Proverbs 14
Reading #4 – Acts 10
Reading #5 – 1 Kings 9
Judges 8 – Gideon Kills Zebah and Zalmunna. Gideon had placed his trust in the Lord G_d and was able to destroy the formidable Midianites. Before Gideon had taken the lives of the two Midianite kings, the people of Peniel and Succoth heckled Gideon for his mission to kill the two kings and destroy Midian. Once the enemy was defeated, the leaders of the two clans were put to death. Then the Israelites said to Gideon, “Be our ruler! You and your son and your grandson will be our rulers, for you have rescued us from Midian.” But Gideon replied, “I will not rule over you, nor will my son. The LORD will rule over you (22-23)! When Gideon made an ephod out of the jewelry taken from the two kings it was for the intent to remind the people of the time Midian held reign over the nation and to never forget it sort of like what the eastern tribes did before they crossed the Jordan to go home (Joshua 22:10-24). After his passing, the people once again turned back to their old ways and served the god Baal-Berith. The ephod would be used as an idol which would cause problems for Gideon’s family.
1 Kings 9 – The Lord’s Response to Solomon. Solomon had dedicated the temple to the Lord as a place of worship. G_d’s response to Solomon both encouraged and warned the king about the structure. “I have heard your prayer and your petition. I have set this Temple apart to be holy—this place you have built where my name will be honored forever. I will always watch over it, for it is dear to my heart. “As for you, if you will follow me with integrity and godliness, as David your father did, obeying all my commands, decrees, and regulations, then I will establish the throne of your dynasty over Israel forever. For I made this promise to your father, David: ‘One of your descendants will always sit on the throne of Israel.’ “But if you or your descendants abandon me and disobey the commands and decrees I have given you, and if you serve and worship other gods, then I will uproot Israel from this land that I have given them. I will reject this Temple that I have made holy to honor my name. I will make Israel an object of mockery and ridicule among the nations (5-7). This was about the midway of his reign over the nation. The king would leave many dangling chains that would entrap him in the coming years among them, the foreigners that were used as slave labor, the extended building program, and the land given to Hiram in exchange for the wood that was sent from Lebanon which was called “worthless” (13).
Psalms 7 – A Psalm of David. It is an unfortunate reality in our world that no matter what we do or how well we do it, there will always be “troublemakers”. During times of persecution, it is very easy to think “we are the guilty party”. The problem the Devil had was that David knew whose child he was. To some extent, this prayer is an introspection of his life to see if there is anything offensive in G_d’s eyes. O LORD my God, if I have done wrong or am guilty of injustice if I have betrayed a friend or plundered my enemy without cause, then let my enemies capture me. Let them trample me into the ground
and drag my honor in the dust (3-5). In saying this, David is being open and honest before the Lord. If we have done wrong, then we need to correct it and stand up for our errors. Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God. Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything. Dear friends, if we don’t feel guilty, we can come to God with bold confidence. And we will receive from him whatever we ask because we obey him and do the things that please him (1 John 3:19-22).
Proverbs 14 – Our Life Given Our Choices. It is common knowledge that we are given free choice concerning our life. Unfortunately, it comes with a “gotcha”. The Devil is very clever and is a grand-master at the game of Chess. He knows our strengths and our weaknesses. There is nothing we can hide from him except for that which is written in our hearts. Laughter can conceal a heavy heart, but when the laughter ends, the grief remains (13). To the world, we can be anything but we cannot lie to our hearts because we know the truth. If you plan to do evil, you will be lost; if you plan to do good, you will receive unfailing love and faithfulness (22). Whatever we plan to do in life, we must be sure to protect our hearts (Proverbs 4:23).
Acts 10 – Cornelius Calls for Peter. This man Cornelius was a Roman officer. The Jews had very little to do with the Romans so it was an unlikely meeting that the Lord G_d had arranged. There were two separate confirmations: Cornelius was told to call for Peter and was told where Pete was. Peter was visiting the city and so Cornelius would never have known he was there. When the Spirit of the Lord showed Peter the unclean animals and told him to arise and eat them, “No, Lord,” Peter declared. “I have never eaten anything that our Jewish laws have declared impure and unclean.” But the voice spoke again: “Do not call something unclean if G_d has made it clean.” The same vision was repeated three times. Then the sheet was suddenly pulled up to heaven (14-16).