Reading #1 – Luke 11
Reading #2 – Psalms 79
Reading #3 – Song of Solomon 7
Reading #4 – Isaiah 57
Reading #5 – 2 Chronicle 5
2 Chronicles 5 – The Temple Construction Completed. It took seven years to complete the construction (1 Kings 6:38). Solomon’s intention was always “to honor the G_d of his father David and it was with this purpose in mind that the Temple was built. I contend that G_d never wanted the temple because of the contention it would cause shortly. A curious question would be, “If G_d didn’t want it, why did He allow His presence in it” (13)?” The answer is, G_d will fill anything and everything we commit to him even if it is a foolish decision. 1 Kings 6 says, that Solomon built the temple when it was an immense workforce. The temple was an immense and elaborate office for the priests because G_d does not dwell in buildings made by man (Acts 7:48-49, 1 King 8:10-11). At first, the people sang praises, worshiped the LORD and it was a joyous time this was when Solomon’s heart was fully devoted to G_d. The trumpeters and singers performed together in unison to praise and give thanks to the LORD. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals, and other instruments, they raised their voices and praised the LORD with these words: “He is good! His faithful love endures forever!”. At that moment a thick cloud filled the Temple of the LORD. The priests could not continue their service because of the cloud, for the glorious presence of the LORD filled the Temple of God (13-14).
Psalms 79 – A Psalm of Asaph. The Temple built and dedicated by Solomon was destroyed not just by the pagan nations but also by foolish kings of Judah. When the temple was no longer used to honor G_d with full devotion, the nations around Judah no longer honored it. The kings of Judah had stripped the gold off of the temple doors and tables to bribe the Assyrian king to leave them alone. In the eyes of Assyria and later Babylon, this gesture had to speak volumes about how much respect the kings had for the temple and for the god that was supposed to dwell there. Eventually, Judah was captured and the nation would go into exile but before that, Assyria starved the people into compliance. Jeremiah painted a word picture about Judah being so destitute that they would eat their young, drink their urine, eat their feces to stay alive (Jeremiah 19:8-14). We are mocked by our neighbors, an object of scorn and derision to those around us. O LORD, how long will you be angry with us? Forever (4-5)? It is the cry of man’s heart for redemption and restoration (11). The writer makes a promise or covenant offer that he is not able to keep because it implicates future generations (13). The problem or bone of contention is that the pagan nations and neighbors of Judah hurled slander against the G_d of Heaven because the Judeahits gave them license to do so by their actions. Sin is a two-faced enemy because it first tantalizes or tempts man and then it turns to destroy man.
Song of Solomon 7 – The Early Relationship. This segment of the Love Sonnet depicts two happy people deeply in love with each other. As Solomon added more wives and children to his home, I would believe the relationship was pulled at until it wasn’t the same. In the same way, in our relationship with G_d in the early days, we are deeply in love with him and want to share our experiences. As we mature in our relationship and troubles and trials come to test the waters, the relationship is stretched to a breaking point.
Isaiah 57 – Idolatrous Worship Condemned. As much of the book of Isaiah has pointed out, the northern and southern kingdoms of Israel were being judged because of sin. When a nation is judged, the entire nation irrespective of who was guilty and who was not was under the same curse. What is hard to comprehend is how the “wicked will be gone” but the righteous will remain (Proverbs 10:25; yet, the good pass away just like the evil do (Ecclesiastes 9:2-4). Good people pass away (2: Kings 22:14-20 case of Josiah as an example); the godly often die before their time. But no one seems to care or wonder why. No one seems to understand that God is protecting them from the evil to come. For those who follow godly paths will rest in peace when they die (1-2). The message to the nation Judah or the Northern Kingdom was not pleasant and the word was final “I’ve had enough”. “But you—come here, you witches’ children, you offspring of adulterers and prostitutes! Whom do you mock, making faces and sticking out your tongues? You children of sinners and liars! You worship your idols with great passion beneath the oaks and under every green tree. You sacrifice your children down in the valleys, among the jagged rocks in the cliffs. Your gods are the smooth stones in the valleys (3-6). During the time of Josiah, the kingdom flourished and people returned to the Lord but after him, the nation went right back to its evil practices and it wasn’t too many years and the kingdom was decimated.
Luke 11 – Teaching about Prayer. Jesus said, “This is how you should pray: “Father, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. Give us each day the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation (2-4).” This model of prayer or the “Disciples Prayer” outlines some key points to follow. First, we acknowledge that G_d is above us that is, he doesn’t see life on our terms so if we are to please him, we must see life on his terms. Our needs are very simple but our wants are much more comprehensive but “wants” get us into trouble so we must trust Him to provide what we need. Help us to forgive people so that the “unforgivable sin” doesn’t hold us down and keep us from being free. Yielding to temptation is a choice so help us to see the temptation for what it is and let it go. Prayer helps us to meet the needs of those around us and also to keep our eyes on G_d to meet our needs through the hands of others. Sometimes, we need to stay persistent in prayers and not give up. Jesus was not a liked man in his time because his message was counter-intuitive to the prescribed teachings of the Sanhedrin. Because he didn’t kowtow to the religious nor identify with them, he was seen as a family relation to the Devil. “This evil generation keeps asking me to show them a miraculous sign. But the only sign I will give them is the sign of Jonah. What happened to him was a sign to the people of Nineveh that God had sent him. What happens to the Son of Man will be a sign to these people that he was sent by God (29-30). This “sign of Jonah” was a giant fish and a man thought to be dead. When the nation Israel saw the events unfold after Jesus’ time, only then did they understand what Jesus was talking about. In the time of Josiah, the nation had been warned about the coming days of judgment and how Josiah fit into the picture yet, they did not take it to heart for Jesus, it was the same way.