Reading #1 – Judges 18
Reading #2 – Psalms 17
Reading #3 – Proverbs 24
Reading #4 – Acts 20
Reading #5 – 1 Kings 19
Judges 18 – Micah’s Idols. The tribe of Dan had not taken their piece of land yet and it was about 30 or so years after Joshua passed away. The young Levite was the great-grandson of Moses (30). Unlike Moses, Jonathan had no scruples (18-20) and was presumptuous (6). Jonathan should have known that the ephod and the idol were a mere fabrication and that no power however much it might be would all be taken away in the end (31). In that time, the nation had no king so everybody did as they pleased which caused problems for the nation.
1 Kings 19 – Elijah Runs For His Life. When Jezebelle got word what Elijah had done to her priests, she promised that she would kill him. So Jezebel sent this message to Elijah: “May the gods strike me and even kill me if by this time tomorrow I have not killed you just as you killed them (2).” Elijah got up and ran all of the way back where he came from and complained to G_d “take me home. I’m all alone.” Earlier Obadiah told Elijah how he had hidden 100 prophets of G_d in the caves (18:13) so Elijah knew he wasn’t all alone. When the angels ministered to him with prepared food and drink, this too should have told Elijah “you are not alone (6-8)”. At the cave, G_d showed his power three times. The third time, it was the “still small voice”. This was parallel to the case of Moses on the mountain top (Exodus 3) (Future Writing: What’s Wrong Elijah).
Psalms 17 – A Prayer of David. While this prayer is comfort for the afflicted, it also speaks to the quality of our relationship with G_d. You have tested my thoughts and examined my heart in the night. You have scrutinized me and found nothing wrong. I am determined not to sin in what I say. I have followed your commands, which keep me from following cruel and evil people. My steps have stayed on your path; I have not wavered from following you (3-5). Of course, we have the choice – honor G_d or fall before mankind. In the time of Daniel, the three young men were given the choice honor the image or burn in the fire. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve can save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up (Daniel 3:17-18).” David’s faith in G_d was predicated upon a lifetime of living for His Glory. Even when he fell to the lowest pits in his life, he dared to go to G_d and ask for forgiveness. I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray. Show me your unfailing love in wonderful ways. By your mighty power, you rescue those who seek refuge from their enemies. Guard me as you would guard your own eyes. Hide me in the shadow of your wings. Protect me from wicked people who attack me, from murderous enemies who surround me. They are without pity. Listen to their boasting (6-10)!
Proverbs 24 – How Small is Your Strength. In our world today just as it has been for all the years of mankind, the corrupt get what they are after at the cost of their life. It is not hard to believe that a child of G_d would struggle against this kind of pressure. David struggled with it against Joab, Paul against the merchants of Ephesus, and Jesus against the Sanhedrin. Yet, these men succeeded in their mission. Without a doubt, there will always be cases like Elijah who was worn out and had no strength left to fight or so he thought (1 Kings 19). Yet, we are admonished by the writer of this section of Provbers to be on our guard against the wiles of the Devil Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle, you will still be standing firm (Ephesians 6:13). We are encouraged to live for G_d with our whole being despite what the world says or demands. If you fail under pressure,
your strength is too small (10).
Acts 20 – Paul Goes to Macedonia and Greece. These were the waning years of Paul’s ministry. Paul is commissioning the elders to lead the people and to never give up despite whatever pressure may come. “So guard yourselves and God’s people. Feed and shepherd God’s flock—his church, purchased with his blood—over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as leaders. I know that false teachers, like vicious wolves, will come in among you after I leave, not sparing the flock. Even some men from your group will arise and distort the truth to draw a following. Watch out! Remember the three years I was with you—my constant watch and care over you night and day, and my many tears for you (28-31). From these ranks, people like Nicolas Procantor would arise to preach “the value of compromise”. Despite “what may come” does not imply we need to give up our position.