Reading #1 – Matthew 8
Reading #2 – Psalms 32
Reading #3 – Ecclesiastes 8
Reading #4 – Isaiah 9
Reading #5 – 2 King 12
2 Kings 12 – Reforms of King Joash. Joash was 7 years old when he was coronated king of Judah. While Jahoida the Priest instructed him, he did was right in the eyes of G_d. it was not until after Jahoida passed away that the king rejected the right path in favor of the wrong path (2 Chronicles 24:17). For over 30 years Jahoida taught the King so you would think that Joash would have followed the path after Jahoida passed away. It is a testament to what happens when we lean on others to be our guidepost without learning to stand on our own. Jahoida, like the nanny, and his sister put their lives on the line for the king. The King owed it to them to live for the Lord G_d but he forgot all about it. When war came to Judah, the king took all of the dedicated items from the temple and gave them as tribute money to bribe the invaders to leave Judah. King Joash collected all the sacred objects that Jehoshaphat, Jehoram, and Ahaziah, the previous kings of Judah, had dedicated, along with what he had dedicated. He sent them all to Hazael, along with all the gold in the treasuries of the LORD’s Temple and the royal palace. So Hazael called off his attack on Jerusalem (18).
Psalms 32 – A Psalm of David. This prayer addresses the problems of hiding our sins, the joy of forgiveness, and the outlook for the future. Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! Yes, what joy for those whose record the LORD has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty (1-2)! When we have done wrong, like Adam and Eve, we become embarrassed by the mess we have made. We can try all we want to hide our sins but the individual who put us up to it, the Devil’s minions will be the first to “rat us out”. When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long. Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat (3-4). Once we have entered Satan’s Fun House, he will never let us out so we have two choices: remain subservient to our sins or confess them without once thinking “now G_d will release me and the Devil will get his”. Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the LORD.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone (5). When we sin and ask for forgiveness, we will be forgiven and the “guilt” will be gone but the penalty remains. Many sorrows come to the wicked, but unfailing love surrounds those who trust the LORD. So rejoice in the LORD and be glad, all you who obey him! Shout for joy, all you whose hearts are pure (10-11)!
Ecclesiastes 8 – The Benefits of Wisdom. How wonderful to be wise, to analyze and interpret things. Wisdom lights up a person’s face, softening its harshness (1). Wisdom gives us the knowledge to face the good days, the bad days, and the “boy oh boy” with equal tenacity. Wisdom is not equated with “intelligence”. In this world, there are many millions of intelligent people who have used their gift as a tool to get what they want at the expense of others. Wisdom helps us to put this mess into perspective so that we do not become bitter when the evil person succeeds. G_d’s word commends those who put their trust in him to obey Him despite how the world operates (2-6). Indeed, how can people avoid what they don’t know is going to happen? None of us can hold back our spirit from departing. None of us has the power to prevent the day of our death. There is no escaping that obligation, that dark battle. And in the face of death, wickedness will certainly not rescue the wicked (7-8). We will never find wisdom in this world because, depending on who you listen to, you will fall into someone’s trap; so, we need to keep our eyes on the Sovereign G_d, stay in his Word, and live according to His will, not ours. Indeed, how can people avoid what they don’t know is going to happen? None of us can hold back our spirit from departing. None of us has the power to prevent the day of our death. There is no escaping that obligation, that dark battle. And in the face of death, wickedness will certainly not rescue the wicked (9-10). Enjoy your life in season and out give freely, and love deeply for this is our reward in life (15). We need never concern ourselves with understanding G_d’s plans, we need to obey him, listen, and take to heart what he tells us even if we or the world may disagree with it (16-17). Peter asked Jesus, “What about him, Lord?” Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? As for you, follow me (John 21:21-22).”
Isaiah 9 – Hope in the Messiah. At the writing of this chapter, the nation was in a transition phase before exile would occur. In this phase, it is very difficult to conceive the idea of a “Messiah” that would rescue us from a force that has not yet befallen us. Because of this, the message fell on deaf ears.it would be over 700 years before Jesus would walk the earth so this message would pass into history unrecognized, unappreciated, and disrespected. The reason this message makes sense to the 21st-century reader is that these events have already occurred. Where we struggle is “What the implications are for us today”. For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen (6-7)! Manasseh will feed on Ephraim, Ephraim will feed on Manasseh, and both will devour Judah. But even then the LORD’s anger will not be satisfied. His fist is still poised to strike (21).
Matthew 8 – Jesus Heals a Man With Leprosy. “Don’t tell anyone about this. Instead, go to the priest and let him examine you. Take along the offering required in the law of Moses for those who have been healed of leprosy. This will be a public testimony that you have been cleansed (4).” When a person has a white spot on their skin, according to Mosaic law, that person had to go to the priest to be examined. If the spot appeared to be more than skin deep or deeper than the dermal layer, he or she would be quarantined for a week. If the spot persisted beyond the first week and had spread the person was quarantined for another week etc (Leviticus 13). By telling the man to go to the Priest first, was to adhere to the law; Jesus was not a lawbreaker, he was the fulfillment of the law. Being a child of G_d and a believer in Jesus does not mean we can operate outside of the law. The commander who came to Jesus to request healing for his daughter said, But the officer said, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come into my home. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed. I know this because I am under the authority of my superior officers, and I have authority over my soldiers. I only need to say, ‘Go,’ and they go, or ‘Come,’ and they come. And if I say to my slaves, ‘Do this,’ they do it (8-9).” By saying this, it took faith and it also took watching Jesus see how he operated and by the authority, he exuded.