Reading #1 – Mark 1
Reading #2 – Psalms 53
Reading #3 – Proverbs 12
Reading #4 – Isaiah 31
Reading #5 – 1 Chronicles 8
1 Chronicle 8 – Decendents of Benjamin. Benjamin was Jacob’s youngest son. Saul, king of Judah/Israel was from the tribe of Benjamin. The Benjamites were small in comparison to Judah. The purpose of documenting to the length that Ezra did was to establish ownership in Jerusalem. The ancestral tribes were granted different portions of the land each of the clans within the tribe was granted a parcel of land also. Zela was granted Jerusalem (Joshua 18:28). After the period of exile ended, these leaders were allowed to assume ownership only if they could prove their claim (28). Genealogy is more than just “names on a page” it is an organized approach to understanding “connections”. Not every member of the tribe of Benjamin returned from exile. The Gibeonites and the Benjamites living in Gibeah were destroyed because of sinful practices coupled with foolish decisions. 100 men were left after the Israelites defeated the Gibeonites so the tribes of Israel found wives for the survivors (Judges 20-21). If the tribe of Geba had been lost, Saul would not have lived to reign over Israel/Judah.
Psalms 53 – A Meditation of David. When we stand upon the solid Rock of our salvation, we will see life differently. The world says, “There is no G_d” so they live to please themselves (1). There is a problem with “living to please ourself” and that is, someone else will always challenge our claim and prove “their way is best”. “In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their eyes “ (Judges 21:25). G_d looks down from heaven on the entire human race; he looks to see if anyone is truly wise if anyone seeks God. But no, all have turned away; all have become corrupt. No one does good, not a single one (2-3)! For this to be true, it would mean not even David the Righteous was doing what pleased G_d. David understood the consequences of sin but he also understood G_d’s mercy and forgiveness. So, if we are doing what pleases G_d, who will rescue us? Who will come from Mount Zion to rescue Israel? When God restores his people, Jacob will shout with joy, and Israel will rejoice (6). The Apostle Paul speaking to the church at Rome spoke fervently about the struggle with sin and the desire to do what was right in G_d’s eyes (Romans 7:14-25).
Proverbs 12 – Two Pathways. The writer of this segment shows two worlds each is 180 degrees out of sync with the other. The one who listens to wisdom and accepts discipline grows strong in the Lord. The person who doesn’t accept discipline follows his/her banner and considers the person who accepted the discipline to be a “Brown nose”. Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction (Amos 3:3)? If we try to follow the pathways of the world, we will end up lost because every person has their opinion and each opinion is right in the beholder’s eyes. Thieves are jealous of each other’s loot, but the godly are well rooted and bear their fruit (12). The fruit will always be the tall tale sign of the pathway we have chosen. The way of the godly leads to life;
that path does not lead to death (28). For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced (Romans 10:10-11).”
Isaiah 31 – The Futility of Relying on Egypt. When our eyes on the Lord G_d and trusting in him, nations like Egypt, Assyria, and Babylon are of no concern. Conversely, when our eyes not on the Lord G_d, we will seek alliances with worldly nations like Egypt, Assyria, and Babylon. These nations frighten the world with their powerful weapons but when the first of G_d arises these men tumble and fall. For these Egyptians are mere humans, not God! Their horses are puny flesh, not mighty spirits! When the LORD raises his fist against them, those who help will stumble, and those being helped will fall. They will all fall and die together (3). No matter how powerful, how large, and/or fierce the nation, they are no match for the Lord of Heaven’s Armies (4-5). This was the same message that was given to Ahaz when Rezin and Pekah Son of Remaliah were threatening Judah with annihilation. But this is what the Sovereign LORD says: “This invasion will never happen; it will never take place; for Syria is no stronger than its capital, Damascus, and Damascus is no stronger than its king, Rezin. As for Israel, within sixty-five years it will be crushed and destroyed. Israel is no stronger than its capital, Samaria, and Samaria is no stronger than its king, Pekah son of Remaliah. Unless your faith is firm, I cannot make you stand firm (Isaiah 7:7-9).” Regretfully, the poor people left in Judah followed Johanan into Egypt only to see Egypt being taken into captivity (Jeremiah 43:10-13). After Jesus’ resurrection and before He ascended to Heaven, he said “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before (Acts 1:4). Jerusalem in both time frames was a hot spot of trouble. The Babylonians would attack Egypt and the Sanhedrin in the 1st century wanted to eradicate anyone and everyone who followed Jesus’ teachings
Mark 1 – John the Baptist Prepares the Way. John was the “Elijah” that Isaiah spoke about (Mark 11:14). Elijah was the forerunner to Elisha son of Shaphat. John was the forerunner to Jesus. just as the prophet Isaiah had written: “Look, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, and he will prepare your way. He is a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the LORD’s coming! Clear the road for him (2-3)!’ John’s message was the same one that Isaiah predicted the reason for this was that the person reading the prediction could compare to what is happening. It is with the same reasoning for John’s testimony. “I didn’t know he was the one, but when God sent me to baptize with water, he told me, ‘The one on whom you see the Spirit descend and rest is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I saw this happen to Jesus, so I testify that he is the Chosen One of God (John 1:33-34).” If we do not write down what we are told, everything that happens in the time to come will be simply a “theory” the dated writing gives credibility to our witness.