Reading #1 – Judges 9
Reading #2 – Psalms 8
Reading #3 – Proverbs 15
Reading #4 – Acts 11
Reading #5 – 1 Kings 10
Judges 9 – Abimelech Rules Over Shechem. Abimelech was the son of a Shechemite slave woman that was conceived by Gideon. Abimelech hatched the plan to rule Shechem because of his ties to the community. This man was not an honest nor upright man and his actions proved it. One day, he killed every son of Gideon except for Jotham who hid from Abimelech’s murderous rage. Jotham presented the parable that spoke to Abimelech and the people of Shechem’s end. For the parable to come to life, there had to be a 3rd party and that was Gaal the son of Ebed a distant relation to the sons of Hamor who had previously owned Shechem (Genesis 34). Gaal loudly proclaimed how he could take Abimelech and Zebul down and so the people of Shechem followed him. AfterAbimelech had ruled over Israel for three years, God sent a spirit that stirred up trouble between Abimelech and the leading citizens of Shechem, and they revolted (22-23).
1 Kings 10 – Solomon’s Wealth. In his time, the wealth of nations were brought to Solomon. Silver became worthless due to a large amount of gold. Everything from the plates he ate off to the cups he drank out of was made of gold. Wealth and prestige are characteristics of a blessed nation. Solomon was embued with wisdom from Heaven and the kings of the earth came to listen to him speak. While all of this was going on, a storm of sorts was brewing. Solomon was exporting weapons of war to the Hittite and Aram kings sort of like what the US did before the US entered into WW I and II. At that time chariots from Egypt could be purchased for 600 pieces of silver, and horses for 150 pieces of silver. They were then exported to the kings of the Hittites and the kings of Aram (29). When Solomon first exported the weapons of war, he opened the door for the troubles to enter into the kingdom.
Psalms 8 – A Psalm of David. David is recounting what he saw while guarding the sheep. When we look to the heavens and see the stars, the moon, and we get the idea of how small we are when we compare ourselves to the majesty of G_d. LORD, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth! Your glory is higher than the heavens. You have taught children and infants to tell of your strength, silencing your enemies and all who oppose you (1-2). As humans, we think that our strength and prowess will carry the day only to find out how easy it can all be taken away from us. Solomon had the world eating out of his hand but his actions led to his demise one step at a time. what are mere mortals that you should think about them, human beings that you should care for them? Yet you made them only a little lower than God and crowned them with glory and honor. You gave them charge of everything you made, putting all things under their authority— the flocks and the herds and all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea, and everything that swims the ocean currents (4-8). Animals do not need us to sustain life but are given to us to care for them.
Proverbs 15 – Our Wisdom. As humans, we think we are wise and able to conquer almost anything that comes against us. Yet, we fail so miserably because we do not understand the correlation between us and the Lord G_d. If we listen to the wisdom of the world, we get ourselves into trouble all of the time. The path of life leads upward for the wise; they leave the grave behind (24).
Acts 11 – Peter Explains Himself. At that time, speaking to the goyim people was considered “taboo”. For this reason, Peter was called on the carpet to explain himself. Peter could have coalesced but he stood his ground and explained in detail the timeline of events. After recounting the events of the previous days, the elders concluded “We can see that God has also given the Gentiles the privilege of repenting of their sins and receiving eternal life (18).” The manifold presence of the Holy Spirit in the house of the Roman Centurian of the Roman guard was all the evidence that Peter needed. Being a member of the heretical group of believers in Jesus was not good because of the intense persecution by Rome and the Sanhedrin. Meanwhile, the believers who had been scattered during the persecution after Stephen’s death traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch of Syria. They preached the word of God, but only to Jews. However, some of the believers who went to Antioch from Cyprus and Cyrene began preaching to the Gentiles about the Lord Jesus. The power of the Lord was with them, and a large number of these Gentiles believed and turned to the Lord (19-21). Interestingly, the greatest moves of G_d are always preceded by persecution or conflict.