Reading #1 – Judges 15
Reading #2 – Psalms 14
Reading #3 – Proverbs 21
Reading #4 – Acts 17
Reading #5 – 1 Kings 16
Judges 15 – Sampson’s Vengence On the Philistines. When Sampson brought a gift with the request to sleep with his bride, the leaders said “I truly thought you must hate her,” her father explained, “so I gave her in marriage to your best man. But look, her younger sister is even more beautiful than she is. Marry her instead (2).” What Sampson did in retaliation might have people scratching their heads because the 2nd woman was more beautiful than the woman Sampson married. We are not given a picture of the 2nd woman so, as far as we know, she could have been a relative of an “ugly stick”. The Philistines were not known for their “honesty” nor their respect for its citizens (6). From what see I in these accounts, the Philistines were never honest people and so it should have come as no surprise when Sampson breaks the ropes and destroys the town. When the people of Judah confronted Sampson for his destruction of Timneh, it was the same thing the Pharisees did to Jesus. As you will remember, the Sanhedrin said “we have a law and he must die because he claimed to be the Son of G_d” (John 19:27). The people of Judah feared the Philistines and did not want to do anything to cause tension between the two nations; this is the type of peace the world gives (John 14:27).
1 Kings 16 – Troubles in the Kingdom. If any lesson could be learned about Israel it would be, “get rid of one nemesis only to get one that was far worse”. Jeroboam son of Nebat introduced the nation to idol worship, Baasha son of Ahijah was sent to destroy Jeroboam only to become his evil twin. The central figure in the whole collapse was the Devil or the “god of the nation.” Omri, son of Ahab, set up a dynasty that would last about 50 years (Britannica). By the time of Omri, the northern kingdom had pretty much lost its national identity as the people had intermarried with the nations that were sent to test them. To make matters worse, the offspring of Omri, Ahab, became king of Judah which spilled the poison of the northern kingdom into the southern kingdom. And as though it were not enough to follow the sinful example of Jeroboam, he married Jezebel, the daughter of King Ethbaal of the Sidonians, and he began to bow down in worship of Baal (31).
Psalms 14 – A Psalm of David. Our world is on a collision course and has been for many years. The word “cannot” holds no meaning because mankind will always find a way through every force that comes against them. The problem is, they will get out of one sticky situation only to find themselves in one that is far worse. In the waning days of Israel’s autonomy, they had Baasha as king and dreaded it only to end up with Omri who was far worse. The LORD looks down from heaven on the entire human race; he looks to see if anyone is truly wise if anyone seeks God. But no, all have turned away; all have become corrupt. No one does good, not a single one (2-3). If we cannot rely on mankind to help, where does our help come from? Who will come from Mount Zion to rescue Israel? When the LORD restores his people, Jacob will shout with joy, and Israel will rejoice (7). Our help comes from the Lord G_d Almighty creator of Heaven and Earth (Psalm 124:8).
Proverbs 21 – At the End of the Road. When we see ungodly people succeeding in life or becoming kings of nations when they have no right to hold that power, we want to become angry and pray vengeance on them. Yet, no matter who is in power even if it is Omri or Ahab, we hold the power in our hands to live a G_dly life. All earthly kingdoms present, past, and future have one thing in common, “they all come to an abrupt end and the future people will not remember their terror, their anger, the things they built, or the dreams that they had”. G_d does not judge us by the quality of the leader in power nor give us the excuse “well I was just keeping the peace”. The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the LORD (31).
Acts 17 – Paul Preaches at Thessalonica. Paul had a way of preaching the word and that was by “using the scriptures.” As it is today so it was then, some received the message and others refused it. Because Paul maintained a righteous life in and out of view of the people, the only avenue opened to the troublemakers was to condemn their allegiance to King Jesus. The problem with is, while Paul served the Lord Jesus with his life, he honored Caesar because scripture commands it (Romans 13:1 Proverbs 14:35). In the time of Daniel, he too was ridiculed by the people he governed over because he did not see the king, however good he was to Daniel, as “G_d.” This almost cost Daniel his life but, no matter how deep a pit Daniel found himself in, he served the Lord and for it, he was rescued (Daniel 6). At Athens, Paul noticed the plethora of temples and idols to every known god of the time. Like Jesus parable of “the seed” (Matthew 13:3-9), some heard the message simply because “it is something new so let’s listen to the babbler”; others, turned their noses up, and still others received the word with gladness and produced fruit (34).