Reading #1 – Luke 5
Reading #2 – Psalms 73
Reading #3 – Song of Solomon 1
Reading #4 – Isaiah 51
Reading #5 – 1 Chronicle 28
1 Chronicle 28 – David’s Instructions to Solomon. This would be the last message that David would give. When you compare 2nd Samuel 7 to 1 Chronicle 28, you will see some glaring discrepancies between G_d’s message to David and how David translated it. First G_d didn’t name the next king, David did and only at the bequest of Bathsheba. 2nd, G_d didn’t say “let the next king build the temple” in fact, the temple wasn’t necessary and would cause further problems down the road. What G_d did say was, When your days are fulfilled and you lie down [in death] with your fathers (ancestors), I will raise up your descendant after you, who shall be born to you, and I will establish his kingdom. He [is the one who] shall build a house for My Name and My Presence, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever (2 Samuel 7:12-13). While this message sounds good and it certainly edifies Solomon, it also sets the stage for future issues like how he misused his authority to get several buildings built and isolated Hiram by sticking him with a bad piece of property (1 Kings 9:12); Hiram called the land “Cabul” or “Good for nothing.”
Psalms 73 – A Psalm of Asaph. The conundrum in this passage is how the wicked do well, become wealthy, and have all of the trappings a man could want. In health magazines and TV commercials, healthy good looking people sell products advertising the benefits of ____ item(s) all one has to do is purchase the product and ______will make you just like the actors. While some of the work, the one thing the product can never do is “make you happy nor content”. In the same way, Asaph’s heart’s cry was for a perceived injustice. But as for me, I almost lost my footing. My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone. Serving G_d should make us wealthy, happy, and prosperous but it doesn’t always work that way. For I envied the proud when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness (2-3). Solomon was given the throne by his father David, all of the world’s wealth was placed in his hands, and he was given wisdom no other king received, partly because they didn’t ask. Yet, still wasn’t happy as we’ll find out with his 100 wives. These fat cats have everything their hearts could ever wish for! They scoff and speak only evil; in their pride, they seek to crush others. They boast against the very heavens, and their words strut throughout the earth (7-9). The Devil uses our discontent to prompt us to take the bait that was used with Jesus but failed (Luke 4:1-4). When we don’t take the bait, we are called “fools” because “someone else will take it”. Yet, G_d calls us to “trust him” (Proverbs 3:4-5) without bribes, feigned promises, nor treasures. When we do trust him, we will never be ashamed of doing so. Then I went into your sanctuary, O God, and I finally understood the destiny of the wicked (17). When we fully comprehend “covenant”, we will be obedient without proof and He will do a mighty work in us.
Song of Solomon 1 – G_d’s Pure Love. Solomon had been promised the daughter of Pharaoh of Egypt. Solomon could have stolen the bride or promised things he could not come through with yet, we see how this love was more than “skin deep.” This love would make many brides jealous and bring about the ire of the husbands. Yet, we know this is a true love that has taken time to develop. First, the woman was not after Solomon’s wealth although I am sure he would give all that he had, it would never be enough. Second, the woman could have been a “daddy’s girl” and refuse to leave Egypt but, we know she moved to the native land Jerusalem. Third, she did was not permitted to move into the royal palace that his father built; so, she didn’t get everything, she got enough.
Isaiah 51 – A Call To Trust the Lord. The nation was caught between two opinions one being “trust the Lord” and the other “Trust mankind.” For over 300 years the nation had ridden a roller coaster between two peaks “righteousness and unrighteousness.” This kind of living while beneficial for the peasant served no purpose other than to decimate the kingdom. Add to this problem was the pending exile that would come about based on the words of the prophets; yet, we are told “Trust the Lord with all of your heart and lean not to your understanding. In all of your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:4-5). Trusting the Lord doesn’t mean that “everything will be just dandy”, it means “although trials and tribulations may come in time, He still has a plan for your life.” “Listen to me, all who hope for deliverance— all who seek the LORD! Consider the rock from which you were cut, the quarry from which you were mined. Yes, think about Abraham, your ancestor, and Sarah, who gave birth to your nation. Abraham was only one man when I called him. But when I blessed him, he became a great nation (1-2).” G_d will always honor his promises even when we lose our way however, we may not like nor understand his methods. Israel got to the promised land alright but, how long it took them and under what circumstances was a different matter. “Listen to me, you who know right from wrong, you who cherish my law in your hearts. Do not be afraid of people’s scorn, nor fear their insults. For the moth will devour them as it devours clothing. The worm will eat at them as it eats wool. But my righteousness will last forever. My salvation will continue from generation to generation (7-8).” If we are ever concerned that G_d will not come through as He promised, all we need to do is look back on history; if we do not do this, we will follow Saul’s poor judgment and cause us troubles that we will never get out of (1 Samuel 13). This is what the Sovereign LORD, your God, and Defender, says: “See, I have taken the terrible cup from your hands. You will drink no more of my fury. Instead, I will hand that cup to your tormentors, those who said, ‘We will trample you into the dust and walk on your backs (22-23).’”
Luke 5 – The First Disciples. Jesus was a teacher unlike any teacher in Jerusalem of that time. The religious leaders loved to speak the words of the Torah and were lauded for their ways. Yet, here comes Jesus who nobody had ever heard of before. In a short time, he called the most unlikely men to follow him as none of them were “Rabbinical students”, and none of them attended the Sanhedrin’s school yet, they were called to minister to people or fish for man. Peter, James, and John were fishermen. Matthew was a dreaded “Tax Collector. The Sanhedrin was the elite of the religious yet never healed a single person. Jesus healed people on the Sabbath of all days and he was scorned because of it. But the Pharisees and teachers of religious law said to themselves, “Who does he think he is? That’s blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!” Jesus knew what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts? Is it easier to say ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up and walk’? So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home (21-24)!”