Reading #1 – Luke 22
Reading #2 – Psalms 90
Reading #3 – Ecclesiastes 5
Reading #4 – Jeremiah 2
Reading #5 – 2 Chronicle 16
2 Chronicles 16 – Asa’s Final Years. Asa had seen the power of G_d’s hand upon his kingdom because Asa had placed his trust in the Lord G_d. The Ethiopian army was greater in size and capability than the army of Judah. Yet, the Ethiopians were no match for them (2 Chronicles 14:8). Yet, when King Baasha and the Israelites attacked a town in Judah, so Asa took the silver and gold from the treasury of the temple along with his treasures and sought an alliance with the King of Aram (4). When the Seer Hanani admonished the king for trusting in a heathen king rather than trusting in the Lord G_d who guided him and the nation of Judah. Hanani would get thrown into prison for daring to confront the king’s foolishness. For the next six years, King Asaph’s son would rule the kingdom because the king had a disease that afflicted his feet making him unclean.
Psalms 90 – Moses’ Prayer. Moses had lived 120 years before his death on the mountain. He had seen the fall of Egypt, killed the wicked kings, and seen G_d’s provisions. The one thing he wanted to see, was the land promised to Abraham and Jacob. Because he did not honor G_d by doing what he was told, G_d would not let him into the promised land (Deuteronomy 34:4). Lord, You turn people back to dust, saying, “Return to dust, you mortals!” For you, a thousand years are as a passing day, as brief as a few night hours (3-4).
Ecclesiastes 5 – Approaching G_d with Care. One of the major things that get mankind into trouble, is his/her mouth (Matthew 12:37). When tragedy strikes, we tend to make rash promises that we fully intend to comply with; yet, when the tragedy passes we forget our promises and this gets us into trouble. As you enter the house of God, keep your ears open and your mouth shut. It is evil to make mindless offerings to God. Don’t make rash promises, and don’t be hasty in bringing matters before God. After all, God is in heaven, and you are here on earth. So let your words be few (1-2). The problem is that we can not physically see G_d but we can see the problems, which compels us to react sort of like what happened in the time of Asa King of Judah (2 Chronicles 16:1-4). We are not granted a lengthy time on this planet and each of us will go to the grave with nothing more than what we came with, a naked body, and what we garnered during our life will be given to somebody else. Even so, I have noticed one thing, at least, that is good. It is good for people to eat, drink, and enjoy their work under the sun during the short life God has given them, and to accept their lot in life (18).
Jeremiah 2 – The Lord’s Case Against His People. “What did your ancestors find wrong with me that led them to stray so far from me? They worshiped worthless idols, only to become worthless themselves. They did not ask, ‘Where is the LORD who brought us safely out of Egypt and led us through the barren wilderness— a land of deserts and pits, land of drought and death, where no one lives or even travels (5-6)?’” The Lord is speaking to both Israel and Judah in this chapter as though they were one people. The nation Israel split into two kingdoms around 930 BC shortly after Solomon died. Jeroboam introduced Baal worship as an avenue to retain his kingdom. Through time and intermarriage between the two kingdoms, the worship of the heathen gods spread into Judah which lead up to this message. Baal worship is anathema Maranatha which over a while, caused the two nations to disintegrate. When things do not happen immediately, the Devil will be the first one to say, “See I told you there was no harm; G_d’s just jealous is all”. Yet, if the Devil’s prey compared the results of Adam and Eve, he or she would never fall for the Devil’s trap and be the recipient of the Lord’s admonishment. The priests did not ask, ‘Where is the LORD?’ Those who taught my word ignored me, the rulers turned against me, and the prophets spoke in the name of Baal, wasting their time on worthless idols (8). All of the idols that mankind has come up with have similarly let its prey down when he or she needed them the most. What is at issue is that the people became discontented because of the failure of the priests and kings and was the catalyst for the people asking for a king “like all of the other nations around them (1 Samuel 8:20)”. “For my people have done two evil things: They have abandoned me— the fountain of living water. And they have dug for themselves cracked cisterns that can hold no water at all (13)! When we refuse to listen to the Lord G_d and chose instead to listen to the gods of the world around us, we not only endanger our lives, we set the stage for future generations to give up a strong foundation in favor of a weaker one.
Luke 22 – Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus. The leading priests and teachers of religious law were plotting how to kill Jesus, but they were afraid of the people’s reaction. Then Satan entered into Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve disciples, and he went to the leading priests and captains of the Temple guard to discuss the best way to betray Jesus to them (2-4). The Devil will enter people’s minds by playing on their weakness. Judas was a thief and, as I have said before, Judas had one of two choices play the part of the turncoat or, confess the sin and ask for forgiveness. The Devil will play us like a fish on a hook, reel in enough line to maintain tautness, give a little bit of room so that we tire ourselves out, and then we are hooked. Once Judas accepted the money from the Sanhedrin, he was on the hook for whatever happened. I don’t believe he fully grasped the consequences of his actions until it was too late (Matthew 27:3). Peter, on the other hand, dealt with his pride and arrogance until faced with the possibility of being implicated and face the same judgment as Jesus. Jesus knew what Peter was dealing with and he had faith that Peter would make it through the valley of his indecision. “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers (31-32).”