Reading #1 – Matthew 26
Reading #2 – Psalms 50
Reading #3 – Proverbs 9
Reading #4 – Isaiah 28
Reading #5 – 1 Chronicles 5
2 Chronicle 5 – Decendents of Reuben. Reuben was the 1st born or “first sign of my strength”. Reuben would have been the leader of the nation after Jacob passed away. Instead of allowing the events to occur, he asserted his right by sleeping with his father’s concubine. Reuben, you are my firstborn, my strength, the child of my vigorous youth. You are first in rank and first in power. But you are as unruly as a flood, and you will be first no longer. For you went to bed with my wife; you defiled my marriage couch (Genesis 49:3-4). Being removed as the “1st born” or losing your birthright was a punishment at that time. Joseph’s sons Manasseh and Ephraim were put in place of Reuben for “firstborn son”. When Ezra wrote Chronicles, he followed Jacob’s decree by not listing Reuben as the “firstborn” in the genealogical records (1). From Judah would come the ruler of the nation. When Joseph brought Manasseh and Ephraim to see Jacob before Jacob passed away, he put his two sons in front of Jacob. For reasons unknown, Jacob puts Ephraim before Manasseh. But his father refused. “I know, my son; I know,” he replied. “Manasseh will also become a great people, but his younger brother will become even greater. And his descendants will become a multitude of nations.” So Jacob blessed the boys that day with this blessing: “The people of Israel will use your names when they give a blessing. They will say, ‘May God make you as prosperous as Ephraim and Manasseh.’” In this way, Jacob put Ephraim ahead of Manasseh (Genesis 48:19-20). Gad had requested and was approved to stay in the land on the other side of the Jordan opposite of the side given to the remaining tribes. Gad along with Reuben and the ½ tribe of Manasseh helped to bring the nation into its resting place. The 2 ½ tribes would remain in their land until the time of the exile.
Psalms 50 – A Psalm of Asaph – Enter The King! The picture Asaph is painting appears to be the sun rising in the east over Mount Zion G_d’s holy mountain. When the king enters the throneroom everyone is silent before him. The LORD, the Mighty One, is God, and he has spoken; he has summoned all humanity from where the sun rises to where it sets. From Mount Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines in glorious radiance (1-2). The throneroom is the place of judgment. Those who come into the room receive rewards for their faithfulness or unfaithfulness. Our LORD the King of Righteousness is not like the kings of the earth because he is not after our “stuff” nor is interested in our physical sacrifices, he desires righteousness to have a prominent place in the core of our being the “heart”. Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the LORD your G_d. Then call on me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory (14-15).” While we do not offer “goats and bulls” as sacrifices, we do offer our skills and resources as “sacrifices” for our family. The precious time we give as a sacrifice is to “make a better place then what we had” and this is noble. However, the sacrifices that G_d approves are living humbly before the Lord and respecting the people and things G_d has given us. ut giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me. If you keep to my path, I will reveal to you the salvation of God (23).” What the wicked does not go unrecognized or unnoticed. “Pray no more for these people, Jeremiah. Do not weep or pray for them, and don’t beg me to help them, for I will not listen to you. Don’t you see what they are doing throughout the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem (Jeremiah 7:16-17)? Judgment belongs to the Lord because he rightly divides the righteous and unrighteous as judges the heart, not the flesh.
Proverbs 9 – Two Meals Two Outcomes. Wisdom does not fly by the seat of her pants, she goes to great lengths to ensure that every detail is attended to before acting on them. Wisdom has built her house; she has carved its seven columns. She has prepared a great banquet, mixed the wines, and set the table. She has sent her servants to invite everyone to come. She calls out from the heights overlooking the city. “Come in with me,” she urges the simple. To those who lack good judgment, she says, “Come, eat my food, and drink the wine I have mixed. Leave your simple ways behind, and begin to live; learn to use good judgment (1-6).” Everyone is invited to Wisdom’s table and they don’t need to bring a meal to pass. Everyone is invited but many chose to decline the invitation because they don’t like what is served and desire “fast food” over a healthy meal. Fear of the LORD is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment. Wisdom will multiply your days and add years to your life. If you become wise, you will be the one to benefit. If you scorn wisdom, you will be the one to suffer (10-12). Folly also hosts a meal which is more like a “Buffet”. “Come in with me,” she urges the simple. To those who lack good judgment, she says, “Stolen water is refreshing; food eaten in secret tastes the best!” But little do they know that the dead are there. Her guests are in the depths of the grave (16-18).
Isaiah 28 – A Message About Samaria. Samaria/Israel or the Northern Kingdom had a long history of worshiping Baal, Ashteroth, and the gods of foreign nations. Under the rule of Jeroboam son of Nebat, the people were introduced or re-introduced to the “golden calves” to avert the chance of the people going to Judah and the possibility that he would be killed and Rehoboam would unite the kingdoms. To give credibility to the ruse, Jeroboam hired anybody who wanted to be a priest, instituted festivals to imitate G_d ordained festivals, and burned incense like the High Priest did in the Temple in Jerusalem (1 Kings 12:27-33). These foolish acts set the stage for Samaria’s fall and subsequent exile. What sorrow awaits the proud city of Samaria— the glorious crown of the drunks of Israel. It sits at the head of a fertile valley, but its glorious beauty will fade like a flower. It is the pride of a people brought down by wine. For the Lord will send a mighty army against it. Like a mighty hailstorm and torrential rain, they will burst upon it like a surging flood and smash it to the ground (1-2). From the time of Jeroboam to the last king of Samaria Hoshea, the kingdom ensured one failure right after another, one coup after another, and becoming a vassal nation. Samaria was a fertile land and should have brought great joy to the kingdom instead, the people became drunk with sin’s alcohol. The proud city of Samaria— the glorious crown of the drunks of Israel— will be trampled beneath its enemies’ feet. It sits at the head of a fertile valley, but its glorious beauty will fade like a flower. Whoever sees it will snatch it up, as an early fig is quickly picked and eaten (3-4). Under sin’s influence, the nation was reduced to poverty and famine today, we see the same thing happening in America. Then at last the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will himself be Israel’s glorious crown. He will be the pride and joy of the remnant of his people. He will give a longing for justice to their judges. He will give great courage to their warriors who stand at the gates (5-6). If we do not stand at the gate fighting the good fight, the nation crumbles just like what is said to Ezekiel. “I looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap in the wall so I wouldn’t have to destroy the land, but I found no one. So now I will pour out my fury on them, consuming them with the fire of my anger. I will heap on their heads the full penalty for all their sins. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken (Ezekiel 22:30-31)!”
Matthew 26 – Plot to Kill Jesus. The stage was now set and the characters were committed to their parts. Jesus sends his disciples to get the room setup for the Passover meal that would be Jesus’ last meal before he was crucified. The High Priest, priests, and Ciaphas were rehearsing their role in the passion play. While this sounds to be very simple and easy, there was nothing simple nor easy about it. The 900lb gorilla in the room was Pilot and the Romans. The timing of the arrest had to occur after the Sabbath to avert a riot (3-5). When Jesus went out to the Mount of Olives to pray, he took the same three men (Peter, James, and John) with him to a private place that he had previously taken to the mountain where he was transfigured. The trio should have listed when Jesus said, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me (38).” Instead, they fell asleep so when the Sanhedrin, Soldiers, and their patsy Judas arrived to arrest Jesus, they became scared and ran with the rest of the disciples. But this is all happening to fulfill the words of the prophets as recorded in the Scriptures.” At that point, all the disciples deserted him and fled (56). At the house of Ciaphas, an inquiry was conducted to vet their charges against Jesus but they could find nothing valid so they charged him worthy of death for daring to say, “destroy this temple and in three days I will rebuild the temple in three days” (John 2:19-21). As incredulous as it was, the intellectual religious leaders were bringing a man before Pilot to have him crucified when he had done nothing wrong. “Peter the Brave” would deny Jesus 3 times just like Jesus had said (69-75).