Reading #1 – Matthew 23
Reading #2 – Psalms 47
Reading #3 – Proverbs 6
Reading #4 – Isaiah 25
Reading #5 – 1 Chronicle 2
1 Chronicle 2 – Decendents of Israel. In verses 3-8, we are given the initial family line of David. David’s father Jesse. Jesse’s lineage traces back to the relationship between Judah and his widowed daughter-in-law Tamar. As the story goes, Judah went down to live in Adulam and married a Canaanite woman named Shua which was his first mistake. The first-born son of Judah and Shua was Er. Judah arranged the marriage of Er to Tamar. Tamar’s husband passed away because of sin. According to the law, when the husband passed away before having children, his brother(s) had to start a family in the name of the deceased (Deuteronomy 25:5-10) which is called a “Levirate Marriage.” Onan, the second son of Judah, should have raised a family for his deceased brother but refused because the child would not be his. Shelah the 3rd son given to Tamar because Judah feared that the fate of Er (the firstborn) and Onan would befall Shelah. So, Judah sent his widowed daughter-in-law back to her family to live out her life. Tamar then disguised herself as a prostitute to have sex with him to raise a family in the name of Er. From the illicit relationship, came two sons Perez and Zerah (Genesis 38). Technically, the two sons Perez and Zerah belonged to the wicked man Er. Four generations from Hezron would be King David.
Psalms 47 – For the Decendents of Korah. The underlying story of the Bible is not, “Raising a Perfect Man/Woman”, it is “imperfect man in the hand of a perfect God.” The sons of Korah took over the responsibilities of their deceased father. Korah was a full priest and singer in the House of the Lord but, he wanted more only to lose everything. His sons were singers in the place of their father. Come, everyone! Clap your hands!
Shout to God with joyful praise! For the LORD Most High is awesome. He is the great King of all the earth. He subdues the nations before us, putting our enemies beneath our feet. He chose the Promised Land as our inheritance, the proud possession of Jacob’s descendants, whom he loves (1-4). The logical side of mankind might ask, “why are you singing praise to the G_d who killed your father?” His sons had to come to grips with the truth of their father’s demise and that was, their father committed a “Rebellion” and paid the price for it. Because his sons rightly judged the situation and chose to sing praise instead of commiserating the failure of their father, we have the praises of G_d instead of defeats of mankind. God has ascended with a mighty shout. The LORD has ascended with trumpets blaring. Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises! For God is the King over all the earth. Praise him with a psalm. God reigns above the nations, sitting on his holy throne (5-8). When we lift the Lord G_d, He draws all men to himself. The rulers of the world have gathered together with the people of the God of Abraham. All the kings of the earth belong to God. He is highly honored everywhere (9).
Proverbs 6 – Watching Your Life. Failure occurs no matter how hard we work to avoid it. However, we should never wallow in it nor try to cover it up. My child, if you have put up security for a friend’s debt or agreed to guarantee the debt of a stranger— if you have trapped yourself by your agreement and are caught by what you said— follow my advice and save yourself, for you have placed yourself at your friend’s mercy. Now swallow your pride; go and beg to have your name erased (1-3). One of the hardest things to do in life is, “swallowing our pride” which means taking responsibility for our failures, misspoken words, and troubles we have caused. It is not about being “the bigger man” but by accepting the truth and taking responsibility for our failures. Waiting until a problem gets out of control only exacerbates the problem. Don’t put it off; do it now! Don’t rest until you do. Save yourself like a gazelle escaping from a hunter, like a bird fleeing from a net (4-5). G_d does not “hate mankind”, he hates the sins they commit. There are six things the LORD hates— no, seven things he detests: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent, a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong, a false witness who pours out lies, a person who sows discord in a family (16-19). Discord is part of the Devil’s playbook. If the Devil can get people to separate into different camps, the gulf between the two will be the battleground and the Devil will stand on both sides chiding the opponents.
Isaiah 25 – Praise For Judgement and Salvation. Chapter 24 spoke about the “wrath of G_d and the earth’s destruction.” This chapter calls us to Praise G_d for what he has done, how he has saved us through the storms, and how those who trusted in him were not destroyed. O LORD, I will honor and praise your name, for you are my God. You do such wonderful things! You planned them long ago, and now you have accomplished them. You turn mighty cities into heaps of ruins. Cities with strong walls are turned to rubble. Beautiful palaces in distant lands disappear and will never be rebuilt. Therefore, strong nations will declare your glory; ruthless nations will fear you (1-3). It seems, that bad things have to happen and the course of the unjust has to fruition before G_d acts. The reason for this is, if G_d acts before the fruit come out, the world would think “is G_d afraid He will lose his throne?” For this reason, the world will have to see the fruit of sin before they will seek G_d and ask for forgiveness just like the parable of “Wheat and Weeds” brings out (Matthew 13:24). But you are a tower of refuge to the poor, O LORD, a tower of refuge to the needy in distress. You are a refuge from the storm and a shelter from the heat. For the oppressive acts of ruthless people are like a storm beating against a wall, or like the relentless heat of the desert. But you silence the roar of foreign nations. As the shade of a cloud cools relentless heat, so the boastful songs of ruthless people are stilled (4-5). When we have sinned even if it is a “great sin” and the fruit bears witness to our actions, and if we repent G_d will forgive us. The Devil will always stand as a council commending us to stay in sin because “G_d can’t possibly forgive us.” In Jerusalem, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will spread a wonderful feast
for all the people of the world. It will be a delicious banquet with clear, well-aged wine and choice meat. There he will remove the cloud of gloom, the shadow of death that hangs over the earth. He will swallow up death forever! The Sovereign LORD will wipe away all tears. He will remove forever all insults and mockery against his land and people. The LORD has spoken (6-8)!
Matthew 23 – Jesus Criticizes the Religious Teachers. Then Jesus said to the crowds and his disciples, “The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees are the official interpreters of the law of Moses. So practice and obey whatever they tell you, but don’t follow their example. For they don’t practice what they teach (2-3). Because the teachers or interpreters of the law went astray does not negate the truth of G_d’s Word. When by our behavior our lives are shipwrecked, it proves G_d’s word is true based on the fruit of our actions. In the same way, when a father exhorts his child to do what is right and to avoid evil paths, the child chooses to ignore his father he/she must accept the alternate outcome. G_d’s Word contains warnings, exhortation, and encouragement what we do with it (accept or decline) will either bring success or failure. “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you shut the door of the Kingdom of Heaven in people’s faces. You won’t go in yourselves, and you don’t let others enter either. “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you cross land and sea to make one convert, and then you turn that person into twice the child of hell you yourselves are (13-15)! This may sound like incendiary words or “if you don’t do what I tell you, you will burn in hell” but that’s not the point. When we know the truth but chose to do it “our way” we must know that we have violated G_d’s Word and we must accept whatever fruit comes from it and we have laid a trap for the next generation. “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me. And now, look, your house is abandoned and desolate. For I tell you this, you will never see me again until you say, ‘Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the LORD (37-39)!’”