Reading #1 – Judges 19
Reading #2 – Psalms 18
Reading #3 – Proverbs 25
Reading #4 – Acts 21
Reading #5 – 1 Kings 20
Judges 19 – The Man and His Concubine. Of all the stories told in Judges, this has to be the most tragic and disgusting of all. You might wonder why this is even in such a Holy book but, the Bible isn’t about a “Holy and Spiritual People”. It is about sinful and imperfect people in the hands of a Perfect G_d. The Gibeonites had come to Joshua and the Israelites under a rouse to keep from being annihilated (Joshua 9). Now, fast forward 250-300 years in time and the people who were slaves to Israel are the ones who taught the Benjamites the corrupt ways of Gibeah. “No,” his master said, “we can’t stay in this foreign town where there are no Israelites. Instead, we will go on to Gibeah. Come on, let’s try to get as far as Gibeah or Ramah, and we’ll spend the night in one of those towns.” So they went on. The sun was setting as they came to Gibeah, a town in the land of Benjamin, so they stopped there to spend the night. They rested in the town square, but no one took them in for the night (12-15) (Future Writing: “This is Not Joshua’s Town”).
1 Kings 20 – Ben-Hadad Attacks Samaria. Samaria, or the Northern Kingdom, was under attack by Ben-Hadad king of Aram. The king demanded “Your silver and gold are mine, and so are your wives and the best of your children!’” “All right, my lord the king,” Israel’s king replied. “All that I have is yours!” Soon Ben-hadad’s messengers returned and said, “This is what Ben-hadad says: ‘I have already demanded that you give me your silver, gold, wives, and children. But about this time tomorrow, I will send my officials to search your palace and the homes of your officials. They will take away everything you consider valuable (3-6)!” There is a problem brought out in this chapter and that is, “Sin’s demands never stop they will always want more.” Ahab, king of Samaria, was not an honest individual by any stretch of the imagination. If anybody should have read right through Ben-Hadad’s attempt to make peace, it should have been Ahab. When Ahab made peace with Ben-Hadad, it would open the door to future problems and the ultimate end of Samaria as it was known.
Psalm 18 – David’s Victory Prayer. Just as there are instances in scripture like Judges 19 and 1 Kings 20, there are instances of victory like what happened to David. This an encouragement to those who are struggling through life. The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. I called on the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and he saved me from my enemies (2-3). David was an imperfect individual given to his passions like men before and after him. What distinguished David above many of his contemporaries was that he made a place in his heart for the Lord G_d at the very core of his life so that all of his choices, except for the Bathsheba and the census incidents, were directed by the Lord G_d. The ropes of death entangled me; floods of destruction swept over me. The grave wrapped its ropes around me; death laid a trap in my path. But in my distress I cried out to the LORD; yes, I prayed to my God for help. He heard me from his sanctuary; my cry to him reached his ears (4-6). G_d does not listen to those who ignore him (Psalms 16:8).
Proverbs 25 – The Glory of Kings. It is God’s privilege to conceal things and the king’s privilege to discover them (2). The word “Bible” has been used as an acronym “Basic Instruction Before Leaving Earth. The problem is, you will not find answers but you will find pathways and outcomes by which you can understand who G_d is. Let me explain before shooting me down. First, you will never see anywhere in scripture where G_d gives us all of the answers at one time. We are given a basic set of instructions as is found in Micah 6:8 “He has shown you oh man what is good and what the Lord requires of you. To justly. To love mercy, and to walk humbly before the Lord your G_d. Remove the impurities from silver, and the sterling will be ready for the silversmith. Remove the wicked from the king’s court, and his reign will be made secure by justice (4-5). G_d gives us the responsibility for living our lives how we live them is our gift back to him. Because of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone. The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our rd Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:5-8).
Acts 21 – Paul’s Journey to Jerusalem. Paul was on the last leg of his journey and would reach Jerusalem. Paul had many adversaries that would follow him like a “bandwagon” wherever he went just to cause problems. Paul went to Jerusalem with the full knowledge that his days were numbered and that the remaining years of his life he would be in captivity. Several days later a man named Agabus, who also had the gift of prophecy, arrived from Judea. He came over, took Paul’s belt, and bound his own feet and hands with it. Then he said, “The Holy Spirit declares, ‘So shall the owner of this belt be bound by the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem and turned over to the Gentiles.’” When we heard this, we and the local believers all begged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem (10-12). The riot that ensued in Jerusalem was started by a “lie” that was believed by the populace and the fire was stoked by rabble-rousers (28-30). Paul had done nothing wrong but, the Devil never likes it when his prisoners are taken away or when the people who are captive to illness are healed so something had to be done. The course of action was to get the “radical Jew” eradicated. In the same way that Jesus was arrested, tried, and convicted without any true evidence, so was Paul. Then the commander arrested him and ordered him bound with two chains. He asked the crowd who he was and what he had done. Some shouted one thing and some another. Since he couldn’t find out the truth in all the uproar and confusion, he ordered that Paul be taken to the fortress (33-34).