Reading #1 – Mark 13
Reading #2 – Psalms 65
Reading #3 – Proverbs 24
Reading #4 – Isaiah 43
Reading #5 – 1 Chronicle 20
1 Chronicle 20 – David Captures Rabbah of the Ammonites. Joab captured Rabbah and King David took the crown from the king. The people were made slaves for Israel. The town was looted and then David returned to Jerusalem. It is important to note that it was common practice for the conquering king to take the crown from the conquered nation’s king. When Israel was sacked in 586, the same thing happened except a small number by comparison returned but were still considered a “vassal kingdom.” Jerusalem would not be considered a kingdom until about 140BCE or 400 years after some of the exiles returned. The descendants of Philistine giants were routed by David’s men. David was now quite old and unable to fight as he once did.
Psalms 65 – A Psalm of David. What mighty praise, O God, belongs to you in Zion. We will fulfill our vows to you, for you answer our prayers. All of us must come to you (1-2). Praising G_d is not just a “one-time event” or “in times of trouble.” The last thing I would want from my child is to be lavished in praise only when he/she wants something from me. Our relationship with the Father should never be predicated upon “what He can do for us” but by showing him our devotion in the good times and the bad, in times of drought and time of plenty”, when we are sick or well, in sad times and happy. Elsewhere in scripture, it says “Through Him, therefore, let us at all times offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of lips that thankfully acknowledge and confess and glorify His name (Hebrews 13:15).” Life teems with trials, suffering, hurts, sorrows, and joys. Praising G_d has one “foolproof” time and that is now. But continually encourage one another every day, as long as it is called “Today” [and there is an opportunity], so that none of you will be hardened [into settled rebellion] by the deceitfulness of sin [its cleverness, delusive glamour, and sophistication] (Hebrews 3:13). Praising G_d doesn’t automatically make things “just dandy” nor make the sorrows disappear, but it will help us see our way through the storm(s), it will change our perspective about our current situation, and lead us to the Rock that is higher than us (Psalms 61:2).
Proverbs 24 – Pearls For Life in an Ungodly World. As I have said multiple times, G_d does call us to change the world’s ways but to change ours and let our light shine before mankind that they can see the good that is done and give glory to G_d (Matthew 5:16). When we try to change the world by demands and holding up the Bible, change might occur but not for long and then issues arise to take the peace from the earth like what happened in the time of Billy Sunday when he championed the league of women to demand that “alcohol be banned”; which, led to prohibition and the wars of the ’20s until alcohol was once again legal. My child, eat honey, for it is good, and the honeycomb is sweet to the taste. In the same way, wisdom is sweet to your soul. If you find it, you will have a bright future, and your hopes will not be cut short (13-14). Jesus preached the Kingdom of G_d and the Acceptable Year of the Lord (which is today). Jesus was crucified, arose from the dead, and is seated at the Right hand of the Father but his message is still alive today over 2000 years later. Jesus never rallied people to overthrow the wicked Romans rather, he lived for the Father and did what was right and just. Because of this, a level path was paved for his disciples and the disciples continued to build that path for what we see today; of course, some chartered their course, and some of them pathways no longer exist at least not in their original way.
Isaiah 43 – Israel’s Savior. G_d’s word promises his protection, his care, and His resources to those who walk humbly before Him. When we are disobedient before the world, we granted the reverse promise which does not negate His original promise it just means we will see a different side of the Father and we will most likely not agree with it. G_d’s promises are eternal and written down in the Heavens (1 John 2:25) but that does not imply that we can do as we see fit, because we block G_d’s promises by our actions (verse 13 compared to 22-24). “I—yes, I alone—will blot out your sins for my own sake
and will never think of them again. Let us review the situation together, and you can present your case to prove your innocence. From the very beginning, your first ancestor sinned against me; all your leaders broke my laws. That is why I have disgraced your priests; I have decreed destruction for Jacob and shame for Israel (25-28).
Mark 13 – Jesus Speaks About the Future. The word “eschatology” means “study of the last days, heaven, hell, and judgment (Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion). For countless centuries, mankind has been concerned about “what comes after death”. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon thought long and hard about the direction his kingdom was heading and wanted to know what would happen to it after his death (Daniel 2:29). For the disciples, after Jesus had died, resurrected, and ascended to Heaven, their protection so there had to be concern about their future. As Jesus was leaving the Temple that day, one of his disciples said, “Teacher, look at these magnificent buildings! Look at the impressive stones in the walls.” Jesus replied, “Yes, look at these great buildings. But they will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another!” Later, Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives across the valley from the Temple. Peter, James, John, and Andrew came to him privately and asked him, “Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will show us that these things are about to be fulfilled (1-4)?” Jesus’ prophecy most likely caused some consternation on the part of the disciples partly because he wouldn’t be there physically to uplift them, secondly, they would be thrown in prison, some would be murdered, and others mutilated for the cause of Christ. Jesus’ message was one other thing and that was “unfair.” “The day is coming when you will see the sacrilegious object that causes desecration standing where he should not be.” (Reader, pay attention!) “Then those in Judea must flee to the hills. A person out on the deck of a roof must not go down into the house to pack. A person out in the field must not return even to get a coat. How terrible it will be for pregnant women and nursing mothers in those days. And pray that your flight will not be in winter (14-18). G_d’s word compels us always be ready (closing loose ends), packed light (don’t carry a load of sin around with you), and never lose faith in Him even though the world is passing away.