Reading #1 – Luke 14
Reading #2 – Psalms 82
Reading #3 – Lamentations 2
Reading #4 – Isaiah 60
Reading #5 – 2 Chronicle 8
2 Chronicles 8 – Solomon’s Many Achievements. For 20 years the nation was heavily involved in Solomon’s construction program (1). David planned to build the Temple Solomon added a new palace for Pharoah’s daughter “because the ark of the covenant was in that place at one time so it was holy ground” (11). The Hittites, Amorites, Hivites, and Jebusites were still living in the kingdom now belonging to Israel so they were conscripted as slave labor (7-8). So now Solomon and the kingdom have three major problems (products from Egypt, too many marriages, and too much wealth) that would serve to put a stranglehold on the kingdom in the future. Solomon’s heart was still set on serving the Lord; however, the influence of treasures and the pride he had could have affected his relationship with the Lord. Unfortunately, we do not have a diary that chronicles his thoughts. Mosaic law admonishes the future kings to refrain from acquiring products from Egypt, having multiple marriages, and acquiring too much wealth. When the king is inaugurated, he must write G_d’s laws on parchment and read it daily so that he doesn’t become inflated with self-importance (Deuteronomy 17:14—18). Religious practices (12-14) are good but they are not the be-all-end-all of our relationship with the Lord G_d.
Psalms 82 – A Psalm of Asaph. Only mankind thinks himself/herself to be “the power” because his/her father the Devil sells them on the idea that he can grant them the power their foolish hearts desire. But in the court of Heaven, G_d presides over and passes judgment upon Heavenly beings which is the Devil and his minions (1-2). Lord give justice to the poor and the orphan; uphold the rights of the oppressed and the destitute. Rescue the poor and helpless; deliver them from the grasp of evil people (3-4). Oppressive people exercise their purported power thinking that it is within their realm of authority never realizing how close the edge they are. The world is on a collision course and they think life is “just dandy” (5). I say, ‘You are gods; you are all children of the Most-High. But you will die like mere mortals and fall like every other ruler (6-7).’” In death, these rulers will be in a place far from their earthly palaces and this is tragic. Rise oh G_d and judge the earth, for all the nations belong to you (8).
Isaiah 60 – Future Glory of Jerusalem. Jesus the son of Joseph and Mary was born in Jerusalem. It was not until the caravan of wise men arrived and asked “where can we find this king” that Herod became unhinged. It was a night just like many other nights, the shepherds were in the fields watching the lambs, the people traversed the city because of the census. Jesus was the future king but there was no room so a stable with a crib that animals fed on became Jesus’ cradle. “Arise, Jerusalem! Let your light shine for all to see. For the glory of the LORD rises to shine on you. Darkness as black as night covers all the nations of the earth, but the glory of the LORD rises and appears over you. All nations will come to your light; mighty kings will come to see your radiance (1-3). Jerusalem, like all of Judah, was under the control of Rome so all of their wealth went to Caesar. Upon hearing about the birth of this “king” Herod became afraid most likely because the promised “Coming King” would mean he would lose his job and the people under his thumb would control him not to mention the relationship he had with Rome would be annulled. For this reason, he wanted to find where this king was sleeping and kill him sort of like what the Sanhedrin tried to do and both failed miserably. Add to this problem, the number of Jewish people coming back home again, and the wealth of the nations being brought to the city of Jerusalem (6-9). During the 3 and ½ years of Jesus’ ministry, people flocked to him who had previously listened to the Pharisees and Sadducees, people were healed, and people who used to have nothing to do with the Jews came to be healed and restored. This was a fire from Heaven that could not be quenched (Proverbs 30:16). The descendants of your tormentors will come and bow before you.
Those who despised you will kiss your feet. They will call you the City of the LORD, and Zion of the Holy One of Israel (14). The problem is, the nation would forgo the power that would be theirs if only their hearts would be set on serving the Lord. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who murders the prophets and stones [to death] those [messengers] who are sent to her [by God]! How often I wanted to gather your children together [around Me], as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Listen carefully: your house is being left to you desolate [completely abandoned by God and destitute of His protection] (Matthew 23:37)! G_d has great plans for his people and the picture seems wonderful but, our actions circumvent the plan and cause an alternate course to be set which leads us through dark valleys. Even in these dark valleys, G_d is still with us and will see us through it however long it takes.
Lamentations 2 – The Devil’s Playground. Jerusalem, the Beulah land, was destroyed to its core. In Solomon’s time, this land was a beautiful land to behold now it was a “destruction site” so that even if Solomon were brought back with a blindfold on his eyes and then removed after entering the city, he would not recognize it. The people had listened to the false prophets and were not admonished about their sins in how it would bring them further from the Lord. “They have treated superficially the [bloody] broken wound of My people, Saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ When there is no peace (Jeremiah 6:14). When the Devil gets a foothold on a person’s life and/or a city, he will not stop until there is nothing left to the person’s worship of the Lord. All the strength of Israel vanishes beneath his fierce anger. The Lord has withdrawn his protection as the enemy attacks. He consumes the whole land of Israel like a raging fire (3). Just as the Lord G_d has plans for our life so does the Devil and we enact those plans when we either trust the Lord G_d or fall prey to the Devil’s enticement. The LORD was determined to destroy the walls of beautiful Jerusalem. He made careful plans for their destruction, then did what he had planned. Therefore, the ramparts and walls have fallen before him (8). The problem is, the Lord G_d will never build upon the Devil’s foundation so everything that he did must be destroyed and a new foundation laid and that takes time. I have cried until the tears no longer come; my heart is broken. My spirit is poured out in agony as I see the desperate plight of my people. Little children and tiny babies are fainting and dying in the streets 11).
Luke 14 – What is the Cost? We get pamphlets in the mail, email, and recorded messages talking about a wonderful new product. The problem is, it takes 30 minutes to an hour reading about the product until it gets down to the price. The price of the product is where many people stop listening and walk away. When the people were listening to Jesus and getting healed, the message was powerful and wonderful many of the listeners were willing to jump on the bandwagon until Jesus mentioned the price. Salvation is free so scripture says but it will cost you everything (Ephesians 2:8-9). Jesus was not looking for bandwagon jumpers, he was looking for people who would accept the message, cultivate their hearts, plant the seed, allow the Holy Spirit to water it, and let the product grow. So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own. “Salt is good for seasoning. But if it loses its flavor, how do you make it salty again (33-34)? The only thing we own is our soul all of our wealth comes from the Lord. When we start on the path to the Kingdom of G_d but get lost along the way, the salt of righteousness becomes good only to keep people from slipping not enough to compel them to accept the salvation story. We cannot dictate morals, we have to live them and let the seed produce fruit for the hungry. Having a realistic view of one’s importance and the reverent, fear of the LORD Is riches, honor, and life (Proverbs 22:4). The members of the Sanhedrin felt they were more important than anybody else in the room which is why Jesus taught on “humility” (7-14). The bandwagon jumpers thought they were on the crest of entering the promised Kingdom of Heaven and so they hung on only to be told the parable of the Great Feast (15-24).