Reading #1 – Matthew 20
Reading #2 – Psalms 44
Reading #3 – Proverbs 3
Reading #4 – Isaiah 22
Reading #5 – 2 King 24
2 Kings 24 – Jehoiakim Rules In Judah. After Josiah’s death, his son was installed as the next king of Judah. Under Josiah’s rule, the nation enjoyed a time of peace and renewed hope because he ruled the nation in righteousness (Psalms 33:12, Proverbs 29:2). Under Jehoiakim, the nation was decimated. Under Jehoiakim, the nation became vassal to Egypt and then under Babylon. These disasters happened to Judah because of the LORD’s command. He had decided to banish Judah from his presence because of the many sins of Manasseh, who had filled Jerusalem with innocent blood. The LORD would not forgive this (3-4). After Jehoiakim, his son Jehoiachin ascended to the throne but was captured along with his family, soldiers, artisans, and craftsmen the poor remained in the land to grow crops for Babylon. Jehoiachin’s uncle Mattaniah was installed as king in the place of Jehoiachin. The King of Babylon changed Mattaniah’s name to Zedekiah (The Lord Our Righteous Judge) which was an insult. Zedekiah’s uncle, Jeremiah the prophet, attempted to guide the king but the king rejected Jeremiah’s words of wisdom. The King of Babylon took all of the gold and treasures from the temple and had the temple burned to the ground which Hitler did to the Jews in Europe in 1939 – 1945.
Psalms 44 – For the Descendents of Korah. This is the 2nd part of the Psalms for the descendants of Korah. After Korah, Dathan, and Abiram were killed for banding against Moses, the families paid the price for their sins by the troubles they faced. Yet under the pressure of the nation, these people survived and would praise G_d for it. The Korahites understood that victory in battle does not come from any skill of their own but the power of the LORD G_d. They did not conquer the land with their swords; it was not their strong arm that gave them victory. It was your right hand and strong arm and the blinding light from your face that helped them, for you loved them (3). Each of us has a past and it is the “past” that often haunts us, causes us unending grief, and sorrow yet, from the ashes of our past the LORD renews us gives us the strength to fight one more time. You are my King and my God. You command victories for Israel. Only by your power can we push back our enemies; only in your name can we trample our foes. I do not trust in my bow; I do not count on my sword to save me. You are the one who gives us victory over our enemies; you disgrace those who hate us. O God, we give glory to you all day long and constantly praise your name (4-8). We are powerless to change the world but by the power of G_d, we are changed, and only then is the world changed.
Proverbs 3 – Trusting In the Lord. The indelible power of wisdom is this, “it will protect you through the storms”. Knowing the wisdom of the Lord and acting upon it are two different things. You can be wise and follow the world and you will get into trouble. Don’t be impressed with your wisdom. Instead, fear the LORD and turn away from evil. Then you will have healing for your body and strength for your bones (7-8). The greatest tragedy of mankind is that they think they have all of the answers and can control every storm only to find out they have no answers and have no control over anything. Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take (5-6). When we surrender to G_d’s wisdom, we will receive correction when we get off of the right path because we are G_d’s children, he has the authority to correct us. My child, don’t reject the LORD’s discipline and don’t be upset when he corrects you. For the LORD corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights (11-12).
Isaiah 22 – A Message About Jerusalem. Jerusalem was in the heart of the beautiful land, it was rich for growing food to eat and water to drink. Living in the Beaulah land and living under the Lord’s authority yields two different types of fruit. Living in the land will give you access to the fruit that grows. Living under G_d’s authority will guide us in such a way as to leave good fruit for another generation. Between the city walls, you build a reservoir for water from the old pool. But you never ask for help from the One who did all this. You never considered the One who planned this long ago (11). Because G_d made the Beaulah land, He also knows what the land needs and how to heal it. Because G_d built the world we live in, He also knows how to heal it. When we in our arrogance think our Scientists can save us, G_d knows how to humble them because He can turn their inventions upside down. The rulers that think they hold the power find out that they have no power and exist for only a moment in the eyes of G_d. WE need the Lord every day of our life that is in good times and bad. “Yes, I will drive you out of office,” says the LORD. “I will pull you down from your high position. And then I will call my servant Eliakim son of Hilkiah to replace you. I will dress him in your royal robes and will give him your title and your authority. And he will be a father to the people of Jerusalem and Judah. I will give him the key to the house of David—the highest position in the royal court. When he opens doors, no one will be able to close them; when he closes doors, no one will be able to open them. He will bring honor to his family name, for I will drive him firmly in place like a nail in the wall. They will give him great responsibility, and he will bring honor to even the lowliest members of his family.” But the LORD of Heaven’s Armies also says: “The time will come when I will pull out the nail that seemed so firm. It will come out and fall to the ground. Everything it supports will fall with it. I, the LORD, have spoken (19-25)!”
Matthew 20 – Parable of the Vinyard. The parable talks about the landowner (YWHY G_d) hired people to work in his vineyard. The vineyard owner has the authority to hire and set the wage. As a worker, we are under the Lord’s authority. We are not paid more than anybody else that works in the vineyard no matter how long we work in it. As a worker, we are responsible for bringing in the fruit. The Devil says, “you deserve more” or “you should be #2 and #3” he does this because he wants to start a fight and create dissension amidst the ranks. Jesus understood that although he would be crowned the King of Righteousness and Priest of Salem, he was under headship to the Father and would never violate the Father‘s will. Then the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus with her sons. She knelt respectfully to ask a favor. “What is your request?” he asked. She replied, “In your Kingdom, please let my two sons sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left.” But Jesus answered by saying to them, “You don’t know what you are asking! Are you able to drink from the bitter cup of suffering I am about to drink?” “Oh yes,” they replied, “we are able!”
Jesus told them, “You will indeed drink from my bitter cup. But I have no right to say who will sit on my right or my left. My Father has prepared those places for the ones he has chosen (20-23).”