Reading #1 – Matthew 28
Reading #2 – Psalms 52
Reading #3 – Proverbs 11
Reading #4 – Isaiah 30
Reading #5 – 1 Chronicles 7
1 Chronicle 7 – Decendents of Issachar. The words “At the time of King David, the total number of mighty warriors listed in the records of these clans was 22,600. Following the conquest of the northern kingdom by the Assyrians in 721 BC, the 10 tribes were gradually assimilated by other peoples and thus disappeared from history. So, 87,000 able-bodied warriors disappeared. Among the tribes lost were Issachar, Gad, Reuben, Asher, Naphtali, Manasseh, Zebulun, Dan, Ephraim who formed the Northern Kingdom of Israel/Samaria (Britannica Encyclopedia). These tribes most likely assimilated into the nations that conquered them and many of them died in battle. Benjamin and Judah formed the Southern kingdom. After the exile ended in 586, the people of Benjamin and Judah were allowed to return to their homeland. Unfortunately, fewer people returned as many of them wanted to stay in Babylon because they had set up a new community and chose not to return.
Psalms 52 – A Choir Song When Doeg the Edomite said to Saul, “David has gone to see Ahimelech.” Doeg a relative of Esau told Saul that “David has gone to Ahimelech (1 Samuel 22:9-10).” Doeg was an antagonist of David who had no qualms about killing the Priests of the Lord G_d and he did so with impunity (1 Samuel 22:18). Remember, Esau, despised Jacob for stealing his blessing (Genesis 27). The two would make a “quiet peace” (Genesis 33) but the anger and disputes would remain for many generations because of the hatred spewed to the children. Why do you boast about your crimes, great warrior? Don’t you realize God’s justice continues forever? All-day long you plot destruction. Your tongue cuts like a sharp razor; you’re an expert at telling lies. You love evil more than good and lies more than truth (1-3). Doeg was a man after Saul’s own heart figuratively making him Saul’s son. Saul ordered Doeg to kill the priests of Nob thereby making him responsible for their death. Doeg tried to save Agag’s life because of familial purposes (1 Samuel 15) but Saul was held responsible because he sided with Doeg. David could have put on the coat of vengeance believing himself to be in the right but he chose instead to let the Lord deal with the two cohorts. But I am like an olive tree, thriving in the house of God. I will always trust in God’s unfailing love. I will praise you forever, O God, for what you have done. I will trust in your good name in the presence of your faithful people (8-9).
Proverbs 11 – Choices In The Light Of Consequences. Being afraid of the evil person is very easy especially when they are holding you at gunpoint. David faced the likes of Doeg who wanted to eradicate David off of the face of the earth. David would go on to be the king of Israel/Judah and would do so with great success. The 10 tribes of the Northern kingdom had served Baal, Asherah, and other gods from the time Jeroboam son of Nebat and now those tribes are lost. The godly are directed by honesty; the wicked fall beneath their load of sin. The godliness of good people rescues them; the ambition of treacherous people traps them. When the wicked die, their hopes die with them, for they rely on their feeble strength (5-7); this is encouraging because we cannot defeat sin with our strength or prowess G_d will take care of the evil person in his time, not ours. Jonah wanted to see Nineveh cook in the heat of G_d’s power but it didn’t happen because the people repented and then later rescinded their words (Jonah 3). The writer of this segment, believed to be Solomon, is talking to G_d’s chosen people, not the world at large. In the same way, when we read the Word of G_d, it is talking to a person who is in a covenant relationship with G_d. We have no power and no authority to dictate morals to the world at large we can only live for the Lord and do what is pleasing to him. When the world sees the good that we are doing they will want to be a part of it (Matthew 5:16).
Isaiah 30 – Judah’s Worthless Treaty With Egypt. In the waning days of the kingdom of Judah, the rulers made a treaty with Egypt to help them destroy the Babylonians; this would prove to be a tactical and strategical mistake. For without consulting me, you have gone down to Egypt for help. You have put your trust in Pharaoh’s protection. You have tried to hide in his shade. But by trusting Pharaoh, you will be humiliated, and by depending on him, you will be disgraced. For though his power extends to Zoan and his officials have arrived in Hanes, all who trust in him will be ashamed. He will not help you. Instead, he will disgrace you (2-5).” Going back to Egypt would put the nation back into slavery. This message would become clear in the days leading up to the exile. Of course, the people including the king and his entourage would not listen to this message because “they knew better than G_d”. ow go and write down these words. Write to them in a book. They will stand until the end of time as a witness that these people are stubborn rebels who refuse to pay attention to the LORD’s instructions. They tell the seers, “Stop seeing visions!” They tell the prophets, “Don’t tell us what is right. Tell us nice things. Tell us lies. Forget all this gloom. Get off your narrow path. Stop telling us about your ‘Holy One of Israel (8-11).’” The people did not and would not listen and today we are doing the same things. Egypt is symbolic of the “world” we make every effort to agree with the world in principle and practice. While the world does not have chariots with iron wheels, they do have the people in high places who make the magical occur by writing laws, garnering favor through agreements, and protect themselves by making someone else be the “Judas”. You said, ‘No, we will get our help from Egypt. They will give us swift horses for riding into battle.’ But the only swiftness you are going to see is the swiftness of your enemies chasing you! One of them will chase a thousand of you. Five of them will make all of you flee. You will be left like a lonely flagpole on a hill or a tattered banner on a distant mountaintop (16-17).” Going back to the Lord G_d doesn’t mean the past is gone, but G_d will forgive us and set us back on the trajectory to the Kingdom of G_d the place of his Mercy Seat (18-21). Then the LORD will bless you with rain at planting time. There will be wonderful harvests and plenty of pastureland for your livestock. The oxen and donkeys that till the ground will eat good grain, its chaff is blown away by the wind. On that day, when your enemies are slaughtered and the towers fall, there will be streams of water flowing down every mountain and hill. The moon will be as bright as the sun, and the sun will be seven times brighter—like the light of seven days in one! So it will be when the LORD begins to heal his people and cure the wounds he gave them (23-26).
Matthew 28 – The Resurrection. For three long days, the disciples were at a loss because their Lord was taken from them. However, in the early morning hours, he came back to life. The Sanhedrin cheered Jesus’ death because they believed they had the final word. When the guards saw that huge stone was rolled away, they went to the Sanhedrin with the news. To get ahead of the situation, the religious leaders bribed the soldiers into spreading a lie. The soldiers knew the truth and if they told the community of Jerusalem what they saw, every hope the religious had about retaining their plum jobs would be undone and never hold an ounce of credibility ever again (13-14). Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it. His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint. Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. And now, go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. Remember what I have told you (2-7).” Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him—but some of them doubted! Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age (16-20).” It is with this same message that we can find hope in a hopeless situation, strength when we are weak, and joy in the midst of doubt.