Reading #1 – Luke 2
Reading #2 – Psalms 70
Reading #3 – Proverbs 29
Reading #4 – Isaiah 48
Reading #5 – 1 Chronicle 25
1 Chronicle 25 – Duties of the Musicians. King David established the office of “musicians”. Many of the Psalms are credited to Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun. The musicians each took a turn playing music in the Temple and were chosen by lot or by casting the dice which is the fairest method for disseminating jobs. All these men were under the direction of their fathers as they made music at the house of the LORD. Their responsibilities included the playing of cymbals, harps, and lyres at the house of God. Asaph, Jeduthun, and Heman reported directly to the king. They and their families were all trained in making music before the LORD, and each of them—288 in all—was an accomplished musician. The musicians were appointed to their term of service employing sacred lots, without regard to whether they were young or old, teacher or student (6-7). This model offered two solutions, first, it stopped fights (Proverbs 16:33) and 2nd it provided room for growth. The dice or Urim and Thummim were part of the Priestly garment and were used for making decisions (Exodus 28:30).
Psalms 70 – A Psalm of David. Our faith in the G_d of the Universe is shown best in times of struggles. David was facing a time in his life when the enemy was hounding him. His greatest desire was for the people who loved and served the Lord so that they would not be hurt by those who were causing problems. May those who try to kill me be humiliated and put to shame. May those who take delight in my trouble be turned back in disgrace. Let them be horrified by their shame, for they said, “Aha! We’ve got him now!” But may all who search for you be filled with joy and gladness in you. May those who love your salvation repeatedly shout, “God is great (2-4)!” Praying for the demise of those who are hurting us is not something that pleases G_d. Anybody who has ever faced troubles in their lives either at their hands or another person understands where this King is coming from. But as for me, I am poor and needy; please hurry to my aid, O God. You are my helper and my savior; O LORD, do not delay (5).
Proverbs 29 – Pearls For Life in an Ungodly World. Every person on this earth has either met a hot-headed individual or maybe on themselves. The hot-headed person does foolish things and ultimately hurt themselves by their choices. Being confronted for being a fool or being hot-headed is not pleasant either because we react negatively to the criticism and the situation becomes toxic. Whoever stubbornly refuses to accept criticism will suddenly be destroyed beyond recovery. When the godly are in authority, the people rejoice. But when the wicked are in power, they groan (1-2). Scripture appears to make confronting a fool or hotheaded individual “easy” but it is not because confrontation has a nasty tendency to separate family members, friends, and communities. The bloodthirsty hate blameless people, but the upright seeks to help them (10). Appears the worst thing we can do is “let things slide” to avoid confrontation and then deal with the struggle inwardly. Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the LORD means safety (25).
Isaiah 48 – G_d’s Stubborn People. The word “stubborn” means to be headstrong or obdurate. The nation Israel was in exile for their behavior, serving other gods, and not being loyal to the one who called them from Egypt and gave them the good land. For almost 500 years, the nation was warned by the prophets about what they were doing. The Prophet Elijah confronted the nation on mount Carmel and made an open showing of the gods of Samaria. Judah had a few good kings like Uzziah, Hezekiah, and Josiah so they had no excuse for their behavior. Now nation Babylon was about to go into the record books of history never to be heard from again. The next time Babylon would be heard from again would be as a “curse word” against Rome (Revelations 18). “Listen to me, O family of Jacob, you who are called by the name of Israel and born into the family of Judah. Listen, you who take oaths in the name of the LORD and call on the God of Israel. You don’t keep your promises, even though you call yourself the holy city and talk about depending on the God of Israel, whose name is the LORD of Heaven’s Armies (1-2). Throughout scripture, we are admonished to maintain our loyalty to the G_d of the Universe. Being called by the name of the Lord is not the same as “walking with integrity and honoring him with our life. Israel was called “The Chosen Ones” yet they walked in disobedience to the Lord’s commands. We are not called to walk holy before him so that he would have a trophy rather that we would see the best of the land without unnecessary struggles. This is what the LORD says— your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is good for you and leads you along the paths you should follow. Oh, that you had listened to my commands! Then you would have had peace flowing like a gentle river and righteousness rolling over you like waves in the sea (17-18).
Luke 2 – The Birth of Jesus. Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea or the ancient city of David. The Prophet Micah said, “But thou, Beth-lehem Ephrathah, which art little to be among the thousands of Judah, out of thee shall one come forth unto Me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth are from of old, from ancient days (Micah 5:2).” Judea was under the iron clasp of Rome in the time of Jesus. The nation was waiting for the king to ride in on a Whitehorse and rescue the nation and bring the return of David’s Kingdom; yet, this “King” came as a baby who had to be fed, changed, and cared for. Simeon and Anna prophesied Jesus’ future and how a “sword will pierce your soul (35).” If there is anything I have grown to understand about G_d and Jesus is that everything is a puzzle that we need to put together (Proverbs 25:2) and he is not one for “easy solutions.” So we have a puzzle “Who is this King and what shall we call him” with all of the pieces strewn throughout scripture, Torah, Nevi’im, Ketuvim, and is it up to the student to put them together.