Reading #1 – Mark 12
Reading #2 – Psalms 64
Reading #3 – Proverbs 23
Reading #4 – Isaiah 42
Reading #5 – 1 Chronicle 19
1 Chronicle 19 – David Defeats the Ammonites. When David sent a delegation to express sympathy to King Hannun of the Ammonites after the passing of Nahash, the men were mistreated “because they were spies”. The actions of the king brought the nation to war when there was no need for it. When the people of Ammon realized how seriously they had angered David, Hanun and the Ammonites sent 75,000 pounds of silver to hire chariots and charioteers from Aram-naharaim, Aram-maacah, and Zobah (6). Neither of the three could match the power and strength of Israel’s armies. The battles and the loss of lives could have been averted. In the end, the three allies of Ammon were defeated so they surrendered and became vassals to Israel all for the share of 75000 pounds of silver, and were no longer willing to help the Ammonites (19).
Psalms 64 – A Psalm of David. Man in his infinite wisdom thinks he or she has devised the “perfect plan” or the “foolproof” plan. Even to this day more than 3000 years since David penned this Psalm, mankind thinks they have “G_d whipped” and have no need for him. Anybody who calls themselves by the name of G_d is considered the “fool” and the “naive”. Someone once asserted that “Christians check their brains at the door”. What is at issue, the plans of mankind to eradicate G_d from this world, only prove His existence because, in their time of urgent need, they flock to him. But God himself will shoot them with his arrows, suddenly striking them down. Their tongues will ruin them, and all who see them will shake their heads in scorn. Then everyone will be afraid; they will proclaim the mighty acts of God and realize all the amazing things he does. The godly will rejoice in the LORD and find shelter in him (7-10). When we feel that the ground we stand on is but an illusion because our “best arguments are no match for a clever debater”, we have but to grab hold of G_d’s hand and never let go.
Proverbs 23 – Pearls For Life In An Ungodly World. If there is anything that gets us into trouble more than our tongue, it is our appetite whether it be for food, drink, or a good argument. There are people in this world who are not who they “pretend to be”. Because not every person is wicked and not every person is “harmless”, we need to be careful when it comes to our tongue and our appetite (1-3). Don’t eat with stingy people; don’t desire their delicacies. They are always thinking about how much it costs. “Eat and drink,” they say, but they don’t mean it. You will throw up what little you’ve eaten, and your compliments will be wasted (6-9). Sometimes, we need to keep our advice to ourselves and let the fruit speak for itself (9). G_d’s word speaks to the reader not the reader to the world.
Isaiah 42 – The Lord’s Chosen Servant. “Look at my servant, whom I strengthen. He is my chosen one, who pleases me. I have put my Spirit upon him. He will bring justice to the nations. He will not shout or raise his voice in public. He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle. He will bring justice to all who have been wronged. He will not falter or lose heart until justice prevails throughout the earth (1-4). This is what is referred to as a “Messianic Prophecy.” Commentary advises that this was written to the exiled nation in Babylon. Isaiah was an 8th-century prophet that was active in the closing days of Uzziah until the late reign of Hezekiah (Isaiah 1) so it is a good possibility that this segment was written by another prophet who used Isaiah as a pseudo-nym. The call was for the people to return to Jerusalem which many were not inclined to do because they were comfortable where they were so why move? The coming Messiah who was prophesied about in the time of David, Daniel, Ezekiel, and Jeremiah would be the one to heal the nation’s wounds; However, when the Messiah came, he was rejected by the nation because he did not fit their perception and the Sanhedrin did not want anyone upsetting their plumb positions just like the people in Babylon who refused to leave did. At issue, though, the people of the 8th-1st centuries were told stories about this marvelous “Messiah” and they added stuff to explain why “The Messiah did not come in the present time.” When Jesus came in about 30AD, he was not like the King the people were expecting, he didn’t come on a Whitehorse, he didn’t coalesce to the Sanhedrin, and He didn’t rid the world of the terrible Romans. Instead, he healed the sick, gave sight back to the blind, released those in prison, and preached the acceptable year of the Lord. Who is the King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, The LORD mighty in battle. Lift your heads, O gates, And lift them, ancient doors, That the King of glory may come in (Psalms 24:8-9).
Mark 12 – The Parable of the Evil Farmers. So the landlord gave stewardship to some farmers. During the grape harvest, the owner sent a representative to collect his share of the crop. The tenants had come to think that land belonged to them so the representative was an “incursion” on their proceeds so they killed him. When the man did not return with the owner’s share, he sent others who the tenants beat up, killed, mocked, and threw things at. So the owner sent his son hoping the tenants would respect him but they didn’t and they killed him thinking “we have rid the world of this Heir” only to find out they would lose the ground they thought they owned. The Sanhedrin didn’t like this story because they were convicted. The “crop” is the soul of mankind. The representatives were the prophets and priests of G_d who warned the people about the dangers of sin. The priests who acted like they were “Moses prodigies” enjoyed their position and would not yield to the King because it meant confessing that they were wrong. This was not the first time and nor would it be the last time that “fear of losing _____ because I chose to honor G_d gets in the way of walking with the Lord G_d.” When they handed it to him, he asked, “Whose picture and title are stamped on it?” “Caesar’s,” they replied. “Well, then,” Jesus said, “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God (16-17).”