Reading #1 – Matthew 21
Reading #2 – Psalms 45
Reading #3 – Proverbs 4
Reading #4 – Isaiah 23
Reading #5 – 2 King 25
2 Kings 25 – Fall of Jerusalem. In the 2nd year of Zedekiah king of Judah, the Babylonian army attacked Jerusalem which lasted 2 years until there was no food available, and the people starved which led to despicable but necessary acts. Zedekiah and his court left Jerusalem by the sidewall of the building to escape capture. The Babylonian army captured the king and took him to the king of Babylon at Riblah, where they pronounced judgment upon Zedekiah. They made Zedekiah watch as they slaughtered his sons. Then they gouged out Zedekiah’s eyes, bound him in bronze chains, and led him away to Babylon (6-7). 2 years later the Babylonians returned to take away the bronze from the temple along with the articles. Gedaliah was made governor of the land in place of Zedekiah. Gedaliah advised the people to serve the Babylonians and if they did so, they could live in peace. But in mid-autumn of that year, Ishmael son of Nethaniah and grandson of Elishama, who was a member of the royal family, went to Mizpah with ten men and killed Gedaliah. He also killed all the Judeans and Babylonians who were with him at Mizpah. Then all the people of Judah, from the least to the greatest, as well as the army commanders, fled in panic to Egypt, for they were afraid of what the Babylonians would do to them (25-26). Jehoiachin was taken from prison in the 37th year of his exile this would open the pathway for the royal bloodline.
Psalms 45 – For the Sons of Korah – A Love Song. This sonnet talks about the love relationship with the G_d of the Universe. The bride is his people and the groom is the LORD. Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever. You rule with a scepter of justice. You love justice and hate evil. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you, pouring out the oil of joy on you more than on anyone else (6-7). G_d’s love for us transcends our deepest pits, the worst things we have done, and the pain we have caused. Korah had started a revolt against Moses which led to Korah being killed. Despite what happened to Korah, his descendants were still loved. Listen to me, O royal daughter; take to heart what I say. Forget your people and your family far away. For your royal husband delights in your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord (10-11). When the bride marries the groom, the two become one and nothing should ever separate the two no matter how bad things get. Your sons will become kings like their father. You will make them rulers over many lands. I will bring honor to your name in every generation. Therefore, the nations will praise you forever and ever (16-17).
Proverbs 4 – Guard Your Heart. The heart is the most important thing to guard because it comes “good” and “evil”. Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life (23). Wisdom needs to be learned at an early age or the words we speak to the next generation will be painful because they bring to life our failures, misgivings, and people we hurt. Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path. Don’t get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil (25-27). Learning wisdom at an early age is important but so is allowing the words to become seeded in our life so that we have fruit to show for another time. Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! And whatever else you do, develop good judgment. If you prize wisdom, she will make you great. Embrace her, and she will honor you. She will place a lovely wreath on your head; she will present you with a beautiful crown (7-9).”
Isaiah 23 – A Message About Tyre. Tyre was a city on the Medeterainian coast of Lebanon. Tyre had heard about the cities being destroyed by Babylon and caused anxiety amidst the people. But now you are put to shame, city of Sidon, for Tyre, the fortress of the sea, says, “Now I am childless; I have no sons or daughters.” When Egypt hears the news about Tyre, there will be great sorrow. Send word now to Tarshish! Wail, you people who live in distant lands! Is this silent ruin all that is left of your once joyous city? What a long history was yours! Think of all the colonists you sent to distant places (4-7). The king of Tyre had heard about the other towns being destroyed who were much bigger than Tyre and it should have put the nation on “High Alert” because if the bigger towns were being destroyed what hope did Tyre have? This parallels what happened in the time of Joshua before entering the land when the kingdom of Jericho was shaking in their boots knowing they would be the first target. No wonder our hearts have melted in fear! No one dares to fight after hearing such things. For the LORD your God is the supreme God of the heavens above and the earth below (Joshua 2:11).
Matthew 21 – Jesus’ Triumphant Entry. From the time of the Hasmonean Dynasty (167 – 160 BC), Judah had been ruled by Rome, and Judah’s king was Ceasar. At the tail end of Jesus’s ministry, he entered Jerusalem on a donkey which is a right of the king. “Tell the people of Jerusalem, ‘Look, your King is coming to you. He is humble, riding on a donkey— riding on a donkey’s colt (5).’” Not everybody in Jerusalem accepted Jesus as king. The religious leaders refused to accept Jesus because under Rome’s rule they had a plumb position and they used it as a weapon against anybody who refused to listen to them. The entire city of Jerusalem was in an uproar as he entered. “Who is this?” they asked. And the crowds replied, “It’s Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee (10-11).”