Reading #1 – Judges 16
Reading #2 – Psalms 15
Reading #3 – Proverbs 22
Reading #4 – Acts 18
Reading #5 – 1 Kings 17
Judges 16 – Sampson’s Waterloo. Sampson loved women and was able to get out of every sticky spot until he met the infamous Delilah. Previously, he was able to outwit everybody but Delilah was not one to trifle with. The locks of his hair were the secret of his strength that was an outward sign of inward obedience. Sampson was in love with Delilah but she did not reciprocate the love and Sampson had to know this. In the same way that Delilah got Sampson to confess his source of strength, the Devil puts our weakness before us to get us to cave into sin. Delilah realized he had finally told her the truth, so she sent for the Philistine rulers. “Come back one more time,” she said, “for he has finally told me his secret.” So the Philistine rulers returned with the money in their hands. Delilah lulled Samson to sleep with his head in her lap, and then she called in a man to shave off the seven locks of his hair. In this way, she began to bring him down, and his strength left him (18-19). Two things are important for life: the Devil does not like us and we’ll never outwit him. Sampson’s life and death are proof that even the best prayers and preparation of the parents are no match for the Devil. Equally, even to our dying breath, we can still repent and be forgiven. Then Samson prayed to the LORD, “Sovereign LORD, remember me again. O G_d, please strengthen me just one more time. With one blow let me pay back the Philistines for the loss of my two eyes.” Then Samson put his hands on the two center pillars that held up the temple. Pushing against them with both hands, he prayed, “Let me die with the Philistines.” And the temple crashed down on the Philistine rulers and all the people. So he killed more people when he died than he had during his entire lifetime (29-30).
1 Kings 17 – Elijah Fed By the Ravens. Elijah called for a drought in the time of Ahab king of Judah. “Go to the east and hide by Kerith Brook, near where it enters the Jordan River. Drink from the brook and eat what the ravens bring you, for I have commanded them to bring you food (3-4) (Topic: Proof for Elijah). After the source of water dried up, G_d sent Elijah to Zarephath where the widow would provide for him the remaining days of the drought. By the widow’s obedience, she was able to receive a portion of Elijah’s blessing. For this is what the LORD, the G_d of Israel, says: There will always be flour and olive oil left in your containers until the time when the LORD sends rain and the crops grow again (14)!” When the child of the widow died causing the widow to regret the day the Prophet came into their life, Elijah could have walked away. By praying over the child, the child recovered and was brought back to the widow. Then Elijah brought him down from the upper room and gave him to his mother. “Look!” he said. “Your son is alive!” Then the woman told Elijah, “Now I know for sure that you are a man of G_d and that the LORD truly speaks through you (23-24).”
Psalms 15 – A Psalm of David. Who may worship in your sanctuary, LORD? Who may enter your presence on your holy hill (1)? It was said of David, “A man after G_d’s own heart.” This was because of his attitude towards G_d and the children of G_d. If a person wanted to be “like David” would they have to learn how to strum a harp (Amos 6:5) or would you use the gift you were given to heal anxious hearts (1 Samuel 16:23). The things we do in life to build our kingdom will not remain but what we do in the other people’s lives to build them up, causes us to remain in their memories for the rest of their lives. Such people will stand firm forever (5).
Proverbs 22 – The Way of Life and the Way of Death. Before each of us, lies two pathways. Each has a beginning and each has an ending. Given the choice, each of us would want to stay on the pathway to life because “as long as I am alive, I can do the things that bring pleasure”. As long as the wind is at our back and life is at its “very best”, we want to continue; yet, the pathway of life has a giant pit called “Storms” that take us from mountain top to the valley floor in a split second. For David, it was the unintended consequences of his illicit relationship for Elijah it was the threats of Jezebel, and for Hezekiah, it was the 10 years back in time (Isaiah 38:7). G_d leaves it up to us to decide which pathway we will take in every situation. The wisdom of Proverbs isn’t just to make us wise, crafty, or proverbial but to give us the tools we need to conquer the enemy of our soul in our backyard.
Acts 18 – Paul Meets Priscilla and Aquilla at Corinth. During the later half of the 1st century, Hellenism or the meshing together of religions that started with the Greek was in full swing. Those who held to the teachings of Jesus either during Peter or Paul’s missionary trips or the 1st disciples that opposed the teachings of the time were targets for ridicule and death. Paul was a firebrand that was hewn from a stone but not by human hands (Daniel 2:34). One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision and told him, “Don’t be afraid! Speak out! Don’t be silent! For I am with you, and no one will attack and harm you, for many people in this city belong to me (9-10).” This kind of faith does not come as a result of his upbringing but by the pathway that Jesus had led him from the Damascus experience. We do not need to know every jot and tittle of scripture to teach it and reach the lost as was proven by Apollos who “ad been taught the way of the Lord, and he taught others about Jesus with an enthusiastic spirit and with accuracy. However, he knew only about John’s baptism (25). If we can go in the strength we have (Judges 6:14) G_d will add to our faith (2 Peter 1:5).