Reading #1 – Matthew 27
Reading #2 – Psalms 51
Reading #3 – Proverbs 10
Reading #4 – Isaiah 29
Reading #5 – 1 Chronicles 6
1 Chronicle 6 – The Priestly Line. Ezra the Priest wrote Chronicles to document the lineage of the priests. Chronicles, according to commentary, is a history book. The Priest most likely got his information from the king’s historian. When the people left for exile in 586, they took nothing with them (Jeremiah 13:26). For the people and the priests to get their land back, they had to prove ownership (Jeremiah 32 as an example). Because everything that has to do with the Temple is about “order and discipline”, the Priests who returned had to show their lineage so that they were reassigned to their respective positions. Those who could not prove they belonged to the Priestly clans were excluded from the office of the Priests (Ezra 2:59-62).
Psalms 51 – David Repents. David had committed an egregious sin by first committing adultery then, committing murder, and trying to hide the sin. Nathan the prophet confronted David and let him chose his punishment. In the Kingdom of G_d, there is no such thing as “being above the law”. If He confronted Jacob (Genesis 32:22-32), Moses (Exodus 4:18-31), Saul (1 Samuel 15), and David (2 Samuel 12) of sin, how much more does he hold us accountable for our actions? When we are confronted, we will either follow Saul’s example or David’s example. Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night (always). Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just. For I was born a sinner— yes, from the moment my mother conceived me. But you desire honesty from the womb, teaching me wisdom even there (1-6). Sin is a blight that destroys everything in its wake but, it is also a reality and no one is exempt from its influence. David was the king, he set the example so, when he failed so did the kingdom. If David were a simple commoner, he might have been hauled into court and put to death. David was the king but was hauled into the court of the Sovereign G_d who is not deceived (Galatians 6:7). David did not put up a defense nor claim “no one is without sin” (Romans 3:10) and this is the part that G_d loved about David and that was his humility and willingness to pay the price for his actions without complaining. Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me— now let me rejoice. Don’t keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt. Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me (7-11). We cannot undo a sin, once we have acted the deed is done. Even if we gave away everything in our home, beat ourselves to a pulp, said “I am sorry” with a fervent heart, and/or spent the rest of our life feeling sorry for ourself, the blood guilt of sin is only atoned for by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus the Messiah of G_d. You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one. You do not want a burnt offering. The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God. Look with favor on Zion and help her; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Then you will be pleased with sacrifices offered in the right spirit— with burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings. Then bulls will again be sacrificed on your altar (16-19).
Proverbs 10 – Solomon’s Proverbs. Solomon had asked for wisdom to guide the nation (1 Kings 3:7-9). The things we do will either bring us reproach or set us free. The Devil says, “Do what pleases you” and “live any way you want, serve any god you please, and don’t worry about what people say.” The Devil says these things because even he knows that sin has consequences and he wants to be the first person to judge us. The words of Solomon, like everything the Word commands can be flipped around and still be correct. “Tainted wealth has no lasting value, but right living can save your life” so, “Wealth gained honestly has a lasting value” (because no one can take it away from you) but the scandalous living will destroy your life (2).
Isaiah 29 – A Message About Jerusalem. Jerusalem, City of David, was called “Ariel” which means “covered in blood”. At the time of this writing, Jerusalem like all of Judah was capitulating to the ways of the world and they were paying a huge price for it. “What sorrow awaits Ariel, the City of David. Year after year you celebrate your feasts. Yet I will bring disaster upon you, and there will be much weeping and sorrow. For Jerusalem will become what her name Ariel means— an altar covered with blood. I will be your enemy, surrounding Jerusalem and attacking its walls. I will build siege towers and destroy them (1-3). This message did not come about until after King Josia was killed in battle and his sons ascended to the throne. King Josia was a righteous king who honored the Lord G_d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and was a true son of David. Like Jonah, the people did what they were told until Josia died in battle and the kingdom continued to exist which creates a “perception issue”. Josiah reigned for 31 years during that time he undid the works of Manasseh so the nation enjoyed a time of rest. Despite Josiah’s very best work, not stop the nation from going into exile because sin, by its very nature, remains until it is covered in the blood. The nation should have seen how high the bar was set but they didn’t and they cast off restraint after Josiah was gone. Even so, the LORD was very angry with Judah because of all the wicked things Manasseh had done to provoke him (2 Kings 23:26). Are you amazed and incredulous? Don’t you believe it? Then go ahead and be blind. You are stupid, but not from wine! You stagger, but not from liquor! For the LORD has poured out on you a spirit of deep sleep. He has closed the eyes of your prophets and visionaries (9-10). When G_d destroys the land His purpose is to start over from square 1. Sin and Righteousness cannot exist in the same space. If we follow Solomon’s commands and not his behavior, G_d builds our lives and we enjoy his blessings. That is why the LORD, who redeemed Abraham, says to the people of Israel, “My people will no longer be ashamed or turn pale with fear. For when they see their many children and all the blessings I have given them, they will recognize the holiness of the Holy One of Jacob. They will stand in awe of the God of Israel. Then the wayward will gain understanding, and complainers will accept instruction (22-24).
Matthew 27 – Judas Hangs Himself. Judas was a patsy for the Sanhedrin. We are not told everything about the conversation between Judas and the Sanhedrin just the amount of money he was given to betray Jesus. When Judas, who had betrayed him, realized that Jesus had been condemned to die, he was filled with remorse. So he took the thirty pieces of silver back to the leading priests and the elders (3). The Sanhedrin was nothing more than a cadre of men who looked like priests but taught the ways of the Greeks under the auspices of Rome. Judas was not abashed to take money from the treasury for his purposes. Jesus was a light that shined in dark places and he exposed the sins of mankind with gentleness and mercy. Judas, like the Sanhedrin, knew Jesus could see right through them, and for that reason, either Judas and the Sanhedrin or Jesus had to die. Judas had no idea that the Sanhedrin was going to have Jesus executed and he would be complicit in a murder until it was too late. This is the Devil’s most diabolical play and he uses that play even to this very day. The Sanhedrin would not accept the 30 pieces of silver which amounted to about $216.00 US currency today because it was “blood money”. Pontius Pilot did not want to condemn Jesus and sought every way possible to let him go free. As the crowds gathered before Pilate’s house that morning, he asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you—Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” (He knew very well that the religious leaders had arrested Jesus out of envy.) Just then, as Pilate was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent him this message: “Leave that innocent man alone. I suffered through a terrible nightmare about him last night (17-19).” Getting ourselves into trouble is as easy as stepping off of a curb. Getting ourselves out of trouble requires more effort and, as Judas found out, there is no giving back “blood money”.