Reading #1 – Luke 3
Reading #2 – Psalms 71
Reading #3 – Proverbs 30
Reading #4 – Isaiah 49
Reading #5 – 1 Chronicle 26
1 Chronicle 26 – Duties of the Gatekeepers. The Gatekeepers were from the clan of the Kohrites. Korah and his colleagues were killed for the sin of rebellion against Moses (Numbers 16:1-40) that did not wipe the clan from Israel. In the book of Psalms, there is a section devoted to the Kohrites (Psalms 44-49, 84,85,87, and 88); these Psalms speak to the overcoming power of obedience over sin and that sn is not the final answer. The clan of Obed-Edom is given special privilege for their obedience when the Ark of the Covenant was in their home and how they were blessed beyond measure (2 Samuel 6:11-12). Shelomoth and his relatives also cared for the gifts dedicated to the LORD by Samuel the seer, Saul the son of Kish, Abner son of Ner, and Joab son of Zeruiah. All the other dedicated gifts were in their care, too (28). These treasures included the sword of Goliath who slew in the valley of Elah was given by the Priest of Nob when David was on the run from Saul (1 Samuel 21).
Psalms 71 – A Psalm of David (Psalms 70 Continued). When we have stood in the presence of the Almighty under the power of his strength and seen his deliverance, there will be no other place that we will want to go to. David was a scamp who had committed a sin and by it brought trouble on his home (Proverbs 11:30) but had also seen G_d’s deliverance time and again. A child who is brought up in a G_dly home will go back to that home when the world turns against them because they know that their parents will forgive them. Going home after sinning and being forgiven doesn’t automatically make the mess go away and it doesn’t go unnoticed by those who have continued the work while we were living in sin (Luke 15:11-24). My God, rescue me from the power of the wicked, from the clutches of cruel oppressors. O Lord, you alone are my hope. I’ve trusted you, O LORD, from childhood. Yes, you have been with me from birth; from my mother’s womb, you have cared for me. No wonder I am always praising you (4-6)! Before the incident with Bathsheba and again in the case of the unauthorized census, David enjoyed a rich time of praise, seen how G_d took him from a lowly Shephard to Shepharding the nation Israel and Judah. After the crimes, his kingdom was almost over-taken by Absalom, Absolom killed Amnon, Amnon raped Tamar, and the nation was decimated by the two events yet, G_d loved him and did not give up on him. I will shout for joy and sing your praises, for you have ransomed me. I will tell about your righteous deeds all day long, for everyone who tried to hurt me has been shamed and humiliated (23-24).
Proverbs 30 – Pearls For Life in an Ungodly World. If we were given the full power of G_d today that is, “the power to change seasons, raise the dead, and the power to heal, what would we do with it? Would we be a “G_d” or a fool? We are given the authority to live our lives with the understanding that what we do with it, will determine how good or how bad we live. Agur (we are not told who he is) addresses these questions head-on. I am weary, O God; I am weary and worn out, O God. I am too stupid to be human, and I lack common sense. I have not mastered human wisdom, nor do I know the Holy One.
Who but God goes up to heaven and comes back down? Who holds the wind in his fists? Who wraps up the oceans in his cloak? Who has created the whole wide world? What is his name—and his son’s name? Tell me if you know (1-4)! Agur, like Solomon, answered G_d’s question “what do you want me to do for you” by asking for wisdom (2 Chronicles 6). When we ask for wisdom and discernment, He gives it through his word (5-6). O God, I beg two favors from you; let me have them before I die. First, help me never to tell a lie. Second, give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, “Who is the LORD?” And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name (7-9). To show G_d the proper honor or “Fearing the Lord” is done by being faithful to what he commands and live according to his word. The world offers many opportunities to sin and to be disobedient and requires no thought simply, “follow the crowd” (10-22). Being faithful, on the other hand, is a purposeful activity that is, it requires doing what we are told without having a proper example. Four things on earth are small but unusually wise: Ants—they aren’t strong, but they store up food all summer. Hyraxes—they aren’t powerful,\ but they make their homes among the rocks. Locusts—they have no king, but they march in formation. Lizards—they are easy to catch, but they are found even in kings’ palaces (24-28). As we live according to G_d’s word, we will grow stronger in obedience and will by very nature reject the Devil’s plan (James 4:7). If you have been a fool by being proud or plotting evil, cover your mouth in shame. As the beating of cream yields butter and striking the nose causes bleeding, so stirring up anger causes quarrels (32-33).
Isaiah 49 – The Lord’s Servant Commissioned. ‘Who then is the King of glory?’ ‘The LORD of hosts; He is the King of glory (Psalms 24:10). This “servant” or “suffering servant” was the Messianic King of Glory. And now the LORD speaks— the one who formed me in my mother’s womb to be his servant, who commissioned me to bring Israel back to him. The LORD has honored me, and my God has given me strength. He says, “You will do more than restore the people of Israel to me. I will make you a light to the Gentiles, and you will bring my salvation to the ends of the earth (5-6).” Jesus walked the earth for 33 years yet his message was given to the Apostles, the early church fathers, and then the church throughout the centuries. The kings of the earth, like Herod, lived for 50-75 years but their kingdom no longer exists except in the annals of history. I will say to the prisoners, ‘Come out in freedom,’ and to those in darkness, ‘Come into the light.’ They will be my sheep, grazing in green pastures and on previously bare hills. They will neither hunger nor thirst. The searing sun will not reach them anymore. For the LORD in his mercy will lead them; he will lead them beside cool waters (9-10). There is no place on earth that is “too far away from G_d” nor “beyond his ability to save us” Israel is a perfect example. Israel has been chased out of lands, nations have tried to annihilate them, and yet they are still around today. In the same way, the church in America has endured troubles mostly because of the leadership’s sinful behavior or by its audacious words yet, it is still in existence today. Yet Jerusalem says, “The LORD has deserted us;
the Lord has forgotten us.” “Never! Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you (14-15)!
Luke 3 – John The Baptist Prepares the Way. The prophet foretold the coming of Elijah who would prepare the way for Jesus (Malachi 4:5-6). John baptized people in the Jordan River. Before being baptized, there is a need for repentance which means turning 180 degrees from the direction you are heading. The crowds asked, “What should we do?”
John replied, “If you have two shirts, give one to the poor. If you have food, share it with those who are hungry.” Even corrupt tax collectors came to be baptized and asked, “Teacher, what should we do?” He replied, “Collect no more taxes than the government requires.” “What should we do?” asked some soldiers. John replied, “Don’t extort money or make false accusations. And be content with your pay (10-14).” Walking obedience is not without difficulties. John confronted Herod and Herodias of adultery which got him a seat in prison (19-20) and ultimately it cost him his head (Matthew 14). Being obedient even when the task might seem ridiculous or beneath us, opens the door for us to be a part of a movement of G_d. One day when the crowds were being baptized, Jesus himself was baptized. As he was praying, the heavens opened, and the Holy Spirit, in bodily form, descended on him like a dove. And a voice from heaven said, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy (21-22).”