Reading #1 – Mark 11
Reading #2 – Psalms 63
Reading #3 – Proverbs 22
Reading #4 – Isaiah 41
Reading #5 – 1 Chronicle 18
1 Chronicle 18 – David’s Military Victories. When you compare King David’s reign with Ahab, Ahaz, and Manassah, there is a reversal of fortunes. David did that which was right and just in G_d’s eyes and because of it, the kingdom enjoyed a long time of success. When David went into battle, he always came away successful. While David’s army was powerful, the biggest contribution was who David served and honored. David’s relationship with Lord G_d was solid because he fed it daily, and because of it he became more powerful than any dual-edged blade could ever secure (Hebrews 4:12). When King Toi of Hamath heard that David had destroyed the entire army of King Hadadezer of Zobah, he sent his son Joram to congratulate King David for his successful campaign. Hadadezer and Toi had been enemies and were often at war. Joram presented David with many gifts of gold, silver, and bronze. King David dedicated all these gifts to the LORD, along with the silver and gold he had taken from the other nations—from Edom, Moab, Ammon, Philistia, and Amalek (9-11). When King Toi came with treasures to honor David, it would have been a prime chance for David to become proud but he didn’t; instead, he put it in the house of the Lord for the entire nation.
Psalms 63 – A Psalm of David While He Was in the Wilderness. David was in the wilderness of Judah most likely when he was on the run from Absalom. Even when his back was up against a wall and people were hounding him, he never lost his faith in G_d. When Solomon was confronted for his sinful ways, unlike David Solomon became angry, resentful, and unwilling to listen. In the end, Solomon tried to put his successor to death like what Saul tried to do to David (1 Kings 11:38-40). Unlike Solomon and Saul, David never lost his fervor for G_d. I have seen you in your sanctuary and gazed upon your power and glory. Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you! I will praise you as long as I live, lifting my hands to you in prayer (2-4). Serving and honoring G_d does not mean we will never have our faith tested. Serving and honoring G_d puts in the cross-hairs of Satan’s attacks. But those plotting to destroy me will come to ruin. They will go down into the depths of the earth. They will die by the sword and become the food of jackals. But the king will rejoice in God. All who swear to tell the truth will praise him, while liars will be silenced (9-11).
Proverbs 22 – Pearls For Life In An Ungodly World. The Teacher, most likely Solomon, had some pearls to share with his students; I just wished he would have shared them with himself. Our reputation is very easy to surrender but very difficult to rebuild if not impossible. The enemy of our soul, Satan, will whisper in our ear when it comes to temptation, “It’s just this once and no one will ever know”. What the Devil will never tell us is, “once you surrender your integrity just once, it becomes easier the next until you act on temptation without a qualm until sin becomes “second nature.” Choose a good reputation over great riches; being held in high esteem is better than silver or gold (1). Avoiding temptation is our responsibility, not something that can be delegated. Corrupt people walk a thorny, treacherous road; whoever values life will avoid it. (5). If we are waiting for laws to be written about “what is right” and “what is wrong”, every 4 years we will have to review the laws to see if our actions are right or not. Right and wrong in G_d’s word are expressed in “the outcome of our actions.” Throw out the mocker, and fighting goes, too. Quarrels and insults will disappear. Whoever loves a pure heart and gracious speech will have the king as a friend (10-11). Honoring G_d is not difficult, it is a matter of listening to what he says and applying it to our hearts.
Isaiah 41 – G_d’s Help for Israel. In G_d’s Heavenly Court, He calls his children to stand in the place of the defendant. G_d has a charge against Israel who from the early days of Solomon’s reign until the closing days of Gedaliah, the nation had been on a continual roller-coaster ride. Consequently, the nation had lost more than it gained through the entire time of David. “Listen in silence before me, you lands beyond the sea. Bring your strongest arguments. Come now and speak. The court is ready for your case (1). As the Plaintiff, G_d has to present a preponderance of the evidence for judging the nation. The evidence is the sin of the nation that has led up to the time of exile and the need for Babylon to destroy the nation. G_d does not willingly want to see his people being destroyed but when we refuse to listen, then we stand guilty in the Kingdom of G_d. When our lives are reviewed by the world how are we judged? Do our actions line up with what we profess or are they at odds with our confession? In the 1st century, Jesus stood out as stark contrast to the leadership and the people thronged to him to hear the “good news” until he turned to point out their duplicity as well. Living in the Kingdom of G_d is not simply “a set of rules to follow” it is about living for him and, in turn, he takes our hand and guides us through the storms. “But as for you, Israel my servant, Jacob my chosen one, descended from Abraham, my friend, I have called you back from the ends of the earth, saying, ‘You are my servant.’ I have chosen you and will not throw you away. Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand (8-10). David was not successful simply because he called himself by G_d’s name but that he lived for him in and out of sight of the world. “Present the case for your idols,” says the LORD. “Let them show what they can do,” says the King of Israel (21).
Mark 11 – Hail the King! For 3 years, Jesus had traversed the nation sharing the Good news. To those who came to him, he healed them, taught and healed them, raised two from their deathbed, and uplifted a nation. To those who didn’t like him, he was a constant pain in the backside. Peter said he was the “Christ, the son of G_d, the Sanhedrin said he was “a devil”. Yet, to all who came before him, there was no one quite like him who the demons trembled and came out of mankind. The Sanhedrin had to refute him because if they did nothing, everyone would go over to him and no one would be left in the temple. They demanded, “By what authority are you doing all these things? Who gave you the right to do them?” “I’ll tell you by what authority I do these things if you answer one question,” Jesus replied. “Did John’s authority to baptize come from heaven, or was it merely human? Answer me!” They talked it over among themselves. “If we say it was from heaven, he will ask why we didn’t believe John (28-31).