Reading #1 – Mark 10
Reading #2 – Psalms 62
Reading #3 – Proverbs 21
Reading #4 – Isaiah 40
Reading #5 – 1 Chronicle 17
1 Chronicle 17 – The Lord’s Covenant Promise to David. David had it in his heart to build a home for the Ark of the Covenant (1). G_d promised three things to David: And I will provide a homeland for my people Israel, planting them in a secure place where they will never be disturbed. Evil nations won’t oppress them as they’ve done in the past, starting from the time I appointed judges to rule my people Israel. And I will defeat all your enemies. Furthermore, I declare that the LORD will build a house for you—a dynasty of kings! For when you die and join your ancestors, I will raise one of your descendants, one of your sons, and I will make his kingdom strong (9-11). From this prophecy, David misunderstands what is said and believes that Solomon will be the one to build the temple (1 Chronicle 28:5-7). I will be his father, and he will be my son. I will never take my favor from him as I took it from the one who ruled before you. I will confirm him as king over my house and my kingdom for all time, and his throne will be secure forever (13-14).’” As we will find out in later verses, G_d would take his favor away from Solomon in the closing days of his reign. There is only one person who filled this prophecy and that was Jesus the Messiah of G_d. G_d did not want a physical temple, he wanted the heart of mankind or the “Temple made of flesh (1 Corinthians 3:16).” And now, it has pleased you to bless the house of your servant, so that it will continue forever before you. For when you grant a blessing, O LORD, it is an eternal blessing (27)!”
Psalms 62 – For Jeduthun. Jeduthun was a song leader appointed by David. In our struggle against sin, says the writer of Hebrews, you have not struggled to the point of bloodshed against sin (Hebrews 12:4). Struggle and warfare are a continual problem in the life of mankind. When we struggle for too long, it is very appealing to cave into man’s desires; yet, “I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken (1-2).” This admonition does not come with a timetable or “until ____”. I will stand at my guard post And station me on the tower, And I will keep watch to see what He will say to me, And what answer I will give [as His spokesman] when I am reproved (Habakuk 2:1). So many enemies against one man— all of them trying to kill me. To them, I’m just a broken-down wall or a tottering fence. They plan to topple me from my high position. They delight in telling lies about me. They praise me to my face but curse me in their hearts (3-4). “Patience” and “long-suffering” are not always a strong suit for mankind. G_d is our refuge (8) so we can trust him even though the current situation appears overwhelming. When we grab hold of the hand of G_d and not let go, He will come through in his time although it may look like he will never come through. Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken. My victory and honor come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me. O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge (5-8). If our foundation is built on anything other than G_d’s love and faithfulness, we will be tossed by the winds of struggle and pain. We must understand that mankind no matter how strong, how rich, or how persuasive they are will not stand the test of time. The only person we can ever change is our self (10). God has spoken plainly, and I have heard it many times: Power, O God, belongs to you; unfailing love, O Lord, is yours. Surely you repay all people according to what they have done (11-12).
Proverbs 21 – Pearls for Life In An Ungodly World. Mankind has his/her ways and means but it does not mean that we need to follow them. G_d gives us the power and authority to live for Him all of our days (3). G_d does not want our sacrifices of earthly things any more than he wanted the blood of animals. When we are obedient to him, he will direct us like one would a waterway to bring healing to the land (1). When we see mankind acting foolishly and being improperly awarded for it, there is a natural tendency to believe that person or people have the right idea until we see the fruit from the misbehavior. The Righteous One knows what is going on in the homes of the wicked; he will bring disaster on them (12); so although they think no one is watching them, G_d is watching and taking note. We need never fear what the world is doing, how it promotes the wicked and bans the righteous, we simply need to honor him with our lives and live for Him in and out of sight of the world. Whoever pursues righteousness and unfailing love will find life, righteousness, and honor (21).
Isaiah 40 – Comfort For G_d’s People! Today marks the end of 9 months since the onslaught of Covid 19. People have had to alter their lifestyle, find alternate ways to provide for the family, and contend with being locked in at home. Despite this, G_d’s message to us today is, “Comfort, comfort my people” says your G_d (1). There is no other god in heaven or on earth that is like our G_d who cares for our needs, comforts us in times of trouble, and/or holds us in the palms of hands. John’s message to Jerusalem was, “Listen! It’s the voice of someone shouting, “Clear the way through the wilderness
for the LORD! Make a straight highway through the wasteland for our God! Fill in the valleys, and level the mountains and hills. Straighten the curves, and smooth out the rough places. Then the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all people will see it together. The LORD has spoken (3-5, Matthew 3:3)!” A voice said, “Shout!” I asked, “What should I shout?” “Shout that people are like the grass. Their beauty fades as quickly as the flowers in a field. The grass withers and the flowers fade beneath the breath of the LORD. And so it is with people. The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever (6-8).” Like the words spoken by Folly, the world says “look at me. I am the power of the great” just like Simon (Acts 8:9-11) that is until G_d speaks through his servants and displays His power by bringing forth fruit that meets the needs of mankind. G_d’s word is not about “speaking comforting words” but by His authority healing our world. G_d has no equal because there is no other G_d in Heaven or on Earth that can meet the needs, heals the broken, and uplifts those who are crushed by this world (12-15). To whom can you compare God? What image can you find to resemble him? Can he be compared to an idol formed in a mold, overlaid with gold, and decorated with silver chains? Or if people are too poor for that, they might at least choose the wood that won’t decay and a skilled craftsman to carve an image that won’t fall (18-20)! G_d does not want us to build idols or replicas of him because he cannot be described. The one thing he wants from us is that we listen to Him and are obedient to Him (Mark 9:7). But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint (31).
Mark 10 – Discussion about Marriage and Divorce. Jesus was questioned by the Pharisees “should a man be able to divorce his wife.” Because the Pharisees quoted Moses as their authority, Jesus asked them “What did Moses have to say about it (3). Jesus knew what the answer was but he asked because he wanted to bring out the point about sin: Therefore speak to them and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Any man of the house of Israel who takes his idols [of rebellion] into his heart, and puts the [vile] stumbling block of his wickedness and guilt [images of silver and gold] before his face, and yet comes to the prophet [to ask of him], I the LORD will answer him, [but I will answer him] per the number of his idols, so that I may take hold of the heart (mind) of the house of Israel who is all estranged from Me because of their idols (Ezekiel 14:4-5).”‘ G_d will never stop us from sinning because we have our autonomy. He will use our sinful ways as a springboard to lead us to His Kingdom. The rich man who came to Jesus asking about “how he could inherit eternal life” had a 900lb gorilla that stood in his path and that was his “wealth.” But Jesus said again, “Dear children, it is very hard to enter the Kingdom of God. It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” The disciples were astounded. “Then who in the world can be saved?” they asked. Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God (24-27).” So what does G_d want from us? He wants us to live for him through our choices, letting go of the things that hold us back, and serve him by serving others. He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you Except to be just, and to love [and to diligently practice] kindness (compassion), And to walk humbly with your God [setting aside any overblown sense of importance or self-righteousness] (Micah 6:8)?