Reading #1 – Luke 1
Reading #2 – Psalms 69
Reading #3 – Proverbs 28
Reading #4 – Isaiah 47
Reading #5 – 1 Chronicle 24
1 Chronicle 24 – Duties of the Priests. Each of the family lines was assigned tasks by “sacred lot” basically, “Casting the dice”. By casting lots, favoritism would not be an issue (Proverbs 18:18). Because the Ark of the Covenant would not be carried and the temple would never need to be prepared for moving, those duties would not be required. So, the Levites and the Priests would be assigned other duties that would be passed down to their children. After the Judites returned from exile, those family responsibilities set by King David would be a template for the 2nd Temple. Like the descendants of Aaron, they were assigned to their duties using sacred lots, without regard to age or rank. Lots were drawn in the presence of King David, Zadok, Ahimelech, and the family leaders of the priests and the Levites (31).
Psalms 69 – A Psalm of David. David was enduring a time of great affliction most likely when he was on the run from Absalom. When we are rightly afflicted or guilty of sin, our crime casts a shadow over those in our family and they too pay the price for our actions. Once we have sinned and see the fruit from it, our one desire should be “protect my family including our Church family.” Don’t let those who trust in you be ashamed because of me, O Sovereign LORD of Heaven’s Armies. Don’t let me cause them to be humiliated, O God of Israel (6). David would never intentionally harm his family but when he sinned, he implicated his family (2 Samuel 24:17). Pain and suffering are not things we as humans like to endure. While we are in the early stages of sin, we don’t think about “the eventual ____” that will occur because of our actions. I am suffering and in pain. Rescue me, O God, by your saving power (29). Sin’s natural tendency is to destroy everything in its path sort of like fire (Proverbs 30:16). But ). G_d’s saving power is best seen by how he carries us through the storms and quells the fires. For the LORD hears the cries of the needy; he does not despise his imprisoned people (30-33). When we are imprisoned for our choices and we ask for forgiveness, the Holy Spirit of G_d goes with us and stays with us; although it gives the Devil great thrill to see us in prison, what he doesn’t know or doesn’t consider is that even in prison G_d is doing a mighty work through us that will call others to the cross. Then I will praise God’s name with singing, and I will honor him with thanksgiving. For this will please the LORD more than sacrificing cattle, more than presenting a bull with its horns and hooves. The humble will see their God at work and be glad. Let all who seek God’s help be encouraged. When we have paid the full price for our choices and we are released, our testimony will lead us to higher grounds and a mighty move of G_d (34-36).
Proverbs 28 – Pearls For Life in an Ungodly World. In life, two pulling powers tug at our hearts. The Devil says, “come on and play” and G_d says “Honor me and I will lead you on the good roads.” History has shown what happens when people follow the Devil’s prompting and things never turn out as promised but always in line with the When our actions have been put in prison, the Devil then abandons us and becomes our Judge and Jury. The wicked run away when no one is chasing them, but the godly are as bold as lions (1). When a leader uses spiritual wisdom, He or she will guide the nation on an even path (2). One of the most painful things to witness is when the wicked person gets what the righteous deserve. Blessed are those who fear to do wrong, but the stubborn are headed for serious trouble (14). At issue, though, the results of sin never occur immediately look how long it took for Judah to go into exile; so, the righteous are tempted to “go with the flow” and enjoy sin for a season (Hebrews 11:24-26). When revelry is in full swing, prophetic words are seen as a “wet blanket”. When the wicked take charge, people go into hiding. When the wicked meet disaster, the godly flourish (28).
Isaiah 47 – Prediction of Babylon’s Fall. When a kingdom is at its pinnacle, the very notion of “ the nation’s collapse” is almost laughable. “O beautiful Babylon, sit now in darkness and silence. Never again will you be known as the queen of kingdoms. I was angry with my chosen people and punished them by letting them fall into your hands. But you, Babylon, showed them no mercy. You oppressed even the elderly. You said, ‘I will reign forever as the queen of the world!’ You did not reflect on your actions or think about their consequences (5-7). A nation is not saved by its size, the supporting cast, nor the wealth it possesses. If one kingdom can crumble and be captured, what hope does the world have? “You felt secure in your wickedness. ‘No one sees me,’ you said. But your ‘wisdom’ and ‘knowledge’ have led you astray, and you said, ‘I am the only one, and there is no other.’ So disaster will overtake you, and you won’t be able to charm it away. Calamity will fall upon you, and you won’t be able to buy your way out. A catastrophe will strike you suddenly, one for which you are not prepared (10-11). The problem with Babylon is that many nations depended on it for sustenance and many kingdoms were in exile in Babylon so if it fell so would everybody in it; it is the reason many nations cried when they saw Babylon burning to the ground (Revelations 18:18). But they are like straw burning in a fire; they cannot save themselves from the flame. You will get no help from them at all; their hearth is no place to sit for warmth. And all your friends, those with whom you’ve done business since childhood, will go their ways, turning a deaf ear to your cries (14-15).
Luke 1 – Introduction. Luke is writing to Theophilus, which is an honorary title. The book of Luke was written about 85CE or about 55 years following Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension. Luke was originally from Syria and converted to Christianity following the first missionary trips outside of Judea so about the time of Paul. This orderly account of how Christianity came about outlines John’s lineage and how it is connected to Jesus. Having carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I also have decided to write an accurate account for you, most honorable Theophilus, so you can be certain of the truth of everything you were taught (3-4). John the Baptist was sent as the forerunner or the one who would “prepare the way”. John’s parents were from the tribe of Aaron which meant he also would be a priest in the order of Abijah (5). “And you, my little son, will be called the prophet of the G_d because you will prepare the way for the Lord. You will tell his people how to find salvation through the forgiveness of their sins. Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death (Psalms 23), and to guide us to the path of peace (76-79).” Jesus’ physical lineage was through the great King David which, according to the promise given to David would inherit the throne (32, 2 Samuel 7:16).