Reading #1 – Matthew 7
Reading #2 – Psalms 31
Reading #3 – Ecclesiastes 7
Reading #4 – Isaiah 8
Reading #5 – 2 King 11
2 Kings 11 – Queen Athaliah. Queen Athaliah, the wife of King Ahaz ruled the land after Ahaz had been killed. To keep any other male in the line of Ahaz from taking the throne from her, she set out to murder every one of the royal family (1). To preserve the kingdom, the daughter of Ahaz hid the youngest child in a closet at the expense of her life. Jehoida the Priest of G_d hid Joash in the temple which would be the last place on planet earth that Athalia would expect to find a member of Ahaz’s family. While in the temple, Jehoida taught Joash G_d’s laws. In the 7th year of Athaliah’s reign of terror, Jehoida set the plan in motion to crown Joash king of Judah (7). Then Jehoiada made a covenant between the LORD and the king and the people that they would be the LORD’s people. He also made a covenant between the king and the people (17). This was a glorious day in the kingdom of Judah.
Psalms 31 – A Psalm of David. According to Matthew Henry’s commentary, this psalm was most likely written when Saul was persecuting David. David had done nothing to deserve Saul’s anger. The Holy Spirit was taken from Saul because he was disobedient. Unlike David, Saul would not repent for his actions. When we are innocent of the charges against him. You are my rock and my fortress. For the honor of your name, lead me out of this danger. Pull me from the trap my enemies set for me, for I find protection in you alone. I entrust my spirit into your hand. Rescue me, LORD, for you are a faithful God (3-4). When we can stand in confidence before G_d, he makes our mountain, or the place where we stand, stand firm that is, “it cannot and will not cave beneath us” (Psalms 30:7). While this Psalm is beautifully written, it is of little or no value when we are guilty of trespass. When we are guilty, we can pray this prayer in times of fasting, with tears, and wearing sackcloth but until the ___ is resolved, this prayer is utterly useless.
Ecclesiastes 7 – Wisdom For Life. Life is a conundrum (a difficult and confusing problem/question). It is confusing because we want to do right but the world says “this is fun” so we follow it. Wisdom says, “Stay away from the wayward woman/man for you will find only trouble” but illicit sex is pleasurable. For every argument we can throw at the world, there is an equal and opposite response. Sorrow is better than laughter,
for sadness has a refining influence on us. A wise person thinks a lot about death, while a fool thinks only about having a good time (3-4). The scriptures that point to G_d rewarding the fool, we think the reward is immediate but it is not and that is where the confusion comes into play.
Isaiah 8 – The Coming Assyrian Invasion. The coming invasion did not happen until about 30 – 40 years after the prophecy. The problem with all prophecies is that they never occur immediately so the people forgot about what was said. “Huddle together, you nations, and be terrified. Listen, all you distant lands. Prepare for battle, but you will be crushed! Yes, prepare for battle, but you will be crushed! Call your councils of war, but they will be worthless. Develop your strategies, but they will not succeed. For God is with us (9-10)!” Parallel Jonah’s complaint (Jonah 3).
Matthew 7 – Do Not Judge Others. This familiar piece of scripture is misused. “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own (3)? This does not mean “don’t confront issues in the church or your home” because you know about your secret sin and don’t want it brought into the light of day. When we have beams in our eyes, we have the ultimate responsibility for confessing them and repenting as to turn 180 degrees around. Confronting other people for sins they have committed is a matter of humility.