Reading #1 – Luke 20
Reading #2 – Psalms 88
Reading #3 – Ecclesiastes 3
Reading #4 – Isaiah 66
Reading #5 – 2 Chronicle 14
2 Chronicles 14 – The Early Years of Asa’s Reign. Asa, the son of Abijah, began his reign between 913 and 910 BC. Asa was a good king in the early years. Because of his faithfulness to honor the Lord G_d, the nation enjoyed a period of peace (5). The king called on the people to seek the Lord G_d of their ancestors and obey his commands. After that, he removed the pagan shrines and incense altars from every one of the towns in Judah (4-5). Because of his faithfulness, no army could stand against him no matter how powerful they appeared to be (Verse 8 compared to 11). After the Ethiopians fled, the people of Judah captured a large amount of plunder before returning to Judah (15).
Psalms 88 – A Psalm of Heman the Ezrahite. This prayer, according to Matthew Henry’s Commentary, is a lament. Laments decry the pain of the writer when compared to the joy of others. The writer is going through a time of deep personal struggle and cannot find the joy that he so greatly spoke to his listeners about. When we are in struggles, we are somehow unable to draw from the well of encouragement that comes so easy when we are not the one speaking. Parallel to this was Job who in commenting about his friend’s great words, “I too can speak like you” (Job 16:4). The only words the writer does not say is, “I am being unfairly treated”. While enduring such a struggle, the one thing he does not do is “give up seeking G_d’s face” in the face of the struggle or what appears to be G_d turning his back on him. O LORD, I cry out to you. I will keep on pleading day by day. O LORD, why do you reject me? Why do you turn your face from me (13-14)? Just as G_d never turned his back on Job, so G_d never turned his back on the writer, he let the man go through it to see His deliverance and, in a way, is a test of faith (15-18).
Ecclesiastes 3 – A Time for Everything. “There is a time for everything” (1- 8. The problem is, knowing when to do one or the other. Everything in life is not always on a time table so we redeem the time while we have it. Every day we go off to work and then come home potentially not having done a thing worthwhile. We are unable to stop time just like time doesn’t go faster nor slower but continues at its normal speed what changes is what we do with the time that counts. There are injustices about life that are hard to comprehend just as I think Jesus was eluding to (Matthew 24:40-42). So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God (12-13). While we live, we have hope that we can make a difference, can forgive and be forgiven, and to live life to its fullest (22).
Isaiah 66 – The Lord’s Restoration Promise. What temple can be built that would be big enough for the Lord G_d (1-2). What gift could we give that would be sufficient to pay for the sins of our life? As humans, the only thing we could build for our Lord would be the temple of our life. As children, we have often asked our parents “what I can I get you for Christmas/Birthday/Anniversary and the best thing that could be given is our time. When it comes to redeeming our soul, no gift is big enough or more costly than Jesus’ blood (Psalms 49:7). When the people sacrificed an animal in the OT, it was by G_d’s command so how was it offensive in verses 3-4? The answer is, “The attitude or motive of the heart” which is where we get into trouble daily. The latter half of this message spoke about the coming of the Messiah and His purpose for his people given the current situation. “Before the birth pains even begin, Jerusalem gives birth to a son.
Who has ever seen anything as strange as this? Whoever heard of such a thing? Has a nation ever been born in a single day? Has a country ever come forth in a mere moment? But by the time Jerusalem’s birth pains begin, her children will be born. Would I ever bring this nation to the point of birth and then not deliver it (Matthew 24:8 reference to the latter days)?” asks the LORD.“No! I would never keep this nation from being born,” says your God (7-9).
Luke 20 – Jesus’ Authority Challenged. Jesus was a conundrum of sorts because on one hand he was admired and on the other, he was hated. He spoke the word powerfully but he was doubted (1-2). So the leadership came to Jesus with a couple of tests of his knowledge about G_d’s laws concerning the Torah. The leaders were expecting to catch Jesus in his words only for them to be caught in their duplicity (3-7). Making matters worst, Jesus spoke the parable of the evil farmers who not wanting to yield the reward due to the owner, sought ways to kill the heir. This parable turned a light on the Sanhedrin and they became angry. Jesus’ reply about the coin with Caesar’s head on it spoke to the value of paying what is due to Caesar and no more. What Jesus was getting at was that we our hearts to G_d and then we will do what is right in His eyes.