Reading #1 – Luke 9
Reading #2 – Psalms 77
Reading #3 – Song of Solomon 5
Reading #4 – Isaiah 55
Reading #5 – 2 Chronicle 3
2 Chronicles 3 – Solomon Builds the Temple. The Temple construction began in Solomon’s 4th year. The structure was massive and beautiful. The two pillars (15) according to Rabbinical scholars had no function. To some extent, the Most Holy place resembled the Tabernacle built in the wilderness (Exodus 26) but on a much larger scale. As we will find out in the following chapters, Solomon did everything to excess and then to his demise. In the first Tabernacle, everything had a purpose and nothing was wasted. This Temple, although a technical marvel for its time, was also a piggy bank for the future kings to give money to bribe other nations. Ultimately, all of the gold, silver, bronze, and platinum would be taken to Babylon and would never be seen again.
Psalms 77 – A Psalm of Asaph (Continued). When we sin, we are separated from G_d and the joy we had in His presence will be gone maybe not immediately but eventually (2-3). Sin will never let us sleep because our first thoughts when we wake like the last thought before going to bed will be “What have I done”. In the marital union, when adultery occurs, the peace and joy in the home will be gone and in its place will be anger, frustration, separation, anxiety, and ultimately divorce. Sin takes a moment to occur redemption takes many years if ever to occur. You don’t let me sleep. I am too distressed even to pray! I think of the good old days, long since ended, when my nights were filled with joyful songs. I search my soul and ponder the difference now. Has the Lord rejected me forever? Will he never again be kind to me? Is his unfailing love gone forever? Have his promises permanently failed? Has G_d forgotten to be gracious? Has he slammed the door on his compassion (4-9)? Will we be forgiven when we ask for it? Absolutely! However, the path to redemption is very long and very painful. Israel spent 70 years in exile and when the people came back, the size of the community was much smaller than when it left. When we go back to the Father just like going back to our former spouse, it should be with the single purpose of making things right both with the Father and with those we hurt. Parallel to the young man going back to his father (Luke 15:11-32).
Song of Solomon 5 – How Would I Describe the One I Love? It is a funny thing in an ironic sense that how we describe the one we love will never match what the person looks like. The young woman makes Solomon look like a G_d when he probably looked nothing like how the young woman described him (10-16). Those who did not like Solomon, like his brothers, would never agree with this woman’s synopsis. Yet, this was her love and to this woman, Solomon was the world and conversely. In the same way, when we describe Jesus to the people around us, they will think we are out of our minds. After all, we call him Lord, Savior, Brother, King, and Redeemer but to the world, Jesus means nothing. Why is your lover better than all others, O woman of rare beauty? What makes your lover so special that we must promise this (9)? The world’s opinion about Jesus, just like the young women’s view of Solomon should matter very little to us. When the Lord comes knocking at the door of our heart (Revelations 3:20) and we do not respond, He will go elsewhere and then we go looking for him sometimes to our demise (2-7).
Isaiah 55 – Invitation to Salvation. The Lord’s offer for salvation is open to “whomsoever”. Of course, being saved from destruction is our choice and no one can make it for us (1-3). Before salvation occurs, we must first see for ourselves that the path we are on is leading us to the pits of life. If we see our life as being “just dandy” we will never go to the cross. “Come to me with your ears wide open. Listen, and you will find life. I will make an everlasting covenant with you. I will give you all the unfailing love I promised to David. See how I used him to display my power among the peoples. I made him a leader among the nations. You also will command nations you do not know, and peoples unknown to you will come running to obey, because I, the LORD your G_d, the Holy One of Israel, have made you glorious (3-5).” The 900lb gorilla in the room is our self-will. If asked, every man and woman on the planet earth would love to be given all of the wealth of nations if only they could live by their direction, not G_d’s. We will change only when we see with unvarnished eyes the path of destruction we have laid for ourselves. Seek the LORD while you can find him. Call on him now while he is near. Let the wicked change their ways and banish the very thought of doing wrong. Let them turn to the LORD that he may have mercy on them. Yes, turn to our G_d, for he will forgive generously (6-7). This is a tantalizing offer so why doesn’t everyone throng to Him? Because man’s will backed by Satan’s prompting says, “I do not need G_d, therefore, there is no G_d” (Matthew 22:14, Psalm 14).
Luke 9 – The Via Delarosa. When we see Jesus’ pathway in human terms, it made no sense, after all, he knew he was heading for trouble when he went to Jerusalem. He was hated by the leadership and many of the Jews because although a Jew was not like them. For three and a half years, he ministered in the power of G_d, healed all who came to him and restored lives from the grave. The mount of transfiguration was a meeting between Jesus and two unlikely individuals Moses and Elijah two people who technically failed. The disciples were sent out to minister with nothing but the clothes on their back to their families because if they could minister there, they could minister everywhere. Following Jesus’ path is costly and it is painful. The cross and the Via Delarosa forever paid the price for everything that would separate us from our families, friends, and communities.