Reading #1 – Luke 23
Reading #2 – Psalms 91
Reading #3 – Ecclesiastes 6
Reading #4 – Jeremiah 3
Reading #5 – 2 Chronicle 17
2 Chronicles 17 – Jehoshaphat Rules in Judah. Jehoshaphat was a co-regent between 872 and 870 before his father died. Asa had been unable to rule the kingdom when he was afflicted by a disease of his feet (2 Chronicles 16:12, Leviticus 13). The problem Asa had was more than just the leprosy of the feet but leprosy of the heart. When Asa died in 870, Jehoshaphat became the King of Judah. Jehoshaphat had learned about righteousness from his father that is until Asa was confronted by Hanani. The LORD was with Jehoshaphat because he followed the example of his father’s early years and did not worship the images of Baal. He sought his father’s God and obeyed his commands instead of following the evil practices of the kingdom of Israel (3-4). All of the idols and altars that were erected by the previous king were dismantled and burnt. The king sent representatives from the priestly line to teach the people G_d’s laws and requirements. This level of turning to the Lord brought about a time of peace and prosperity. Then the fear of the LORD fell over all the surrounding kingdoms so that none of them wanted to declare war on Jehoshaphat (10). Additionally, men of valor thronged to Jehoshaphat and Judah to be a part of Jehoshaphat’s army (14-18). To find out how many fighting men were in his army, he had to have conducted a census per Mosaic law because the people were not decimated by a plague-like what happened in David’s latter days.
Psalms 91 – Prayer of Moses. This Psalm although recited most often during a funeral service, is a continuation of Psalms 90. When Moses penned these words, they were not spoken “matter of factly” but under firm conviction based on what he had personally witnessed. During the 40 year journey amidst the failures of the people, the destruction of evil kings, and G_d’s provision of Joshua he understood that everything he had done was not by the power of Moses but the G_d’s power and authority. Those who live in the shelter of the Most-High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the LORD: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him (1-2). When we please G_d by our actions and the true direction of our heart, He will do mighty works among us just like He did for Jesus. Serving and honoring G_d does not stop us from going to the grave but it will ensure that the spirit that led us will go into the hearts of those who listen to us. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection (3-4). God is Thee spirit [the Source of life, yet invisible to mankind], and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth (John 4:24).”
Ecclesiastes 6 – The Tragedy of Life. It is unfortunate that as mankind, we work our lives to our death and many are unable to enjoy the fruits of his/her life. The amount that is in our bank account, nor the number of kids we have, or how satisfied we are will never be an accurate prediction of our spiritual life. The relationship we have with the Lord G_d and having him actively working in and through our lives will spontaneously desire to serve him because he and/or she will see the good that is going on in our life and they will want to be part of it (3-4). If there is a lesson we can take from the kings of Judah, it should be the success or failure of the kingdom hinged upon the relationship the king had with the Lord. When Jehoshaphat wanted the people to know G_d’s laws, he learned the first and that is the groundwork for a successful kingdom.
Jeremiah 3 – The Lord’s charge Against Judah (Continued). So Judah, Israel’s sister, had committed the unfathomable by following Israel’s example. To be called “Israel’s Sister”, should have incited sorrow because it was an insult. Israel or the Northern Kingdom had cast off restraint back in the time of Jeroboam the son of Nebat and had not gone back to their first love (Revelations 2:1-7) since the time of the split with Judah. When you read the account of Judah’s apostasy, it is not strange that G_d would rebuke the nation and cast it out of his sight. “If a man divorces a woman and she goes and marries someone else, he will not take her back again, for that would surely corrupt the land. But you have prostituted yourself with many lovers, so why are you trying to come back to me?” says the LORD (1). It would not be until after the exile and the return of the exiles that the nation would be healed but, even at that, the nation was a vassal kingdom something that would not change until the Maccabean revolt. The false prophets spewed lies in the “name of G_d” but the message held no power. During the reign of King Josiah, the LORD said to me, “Have you seen what fickle Israel has done? Like a wife who commits adultery, Israel has worshiped other gods on every hill and under every green tree. I thought, ‘After she has done all this, she will return to me.’ But she did not return, and her faithless sister Judah saw this. She saw that I divorced faithless Israel because of her adultery. But that treacherous sister Judah had no fear, and now she, too, has left me and given herself to prostitution (6-8). The Devil will lead G_d’s people astray by feigned promises and words like putrid water to keep people from going back to the Lord. To hear “even faithless Israel is less guilty than treacherous Judah (11) should be spawned repentance but it did not and that is by the design of the “father of lies” the Devil (John 8:44).
Luke 23 – On Trial Before Pilate. So Jesus was arraigned and could have been released had it not been for the Sanhedrin. Pilate knew this group of cronies was up to no good because they wanted him killed but not by their hands because they did, they would not be able to participate in the Sabbath meal. Envy, like all moral rot, compels people to do the unthinkable sort of like what happened with Judas. When Jesus stood before Pilate and Herod, he exemplified the command he gave to his followers (Matthew 10:19).“ In Solomon’s time, uttered thousands of proverbs but the one that sticks out in mind it is, “when I was a son, my father, tender and the only son in the sight of my mother, He taught and said, “Let your heart hold fast to my words; keep my commandments and live (Proverbs 4:3-4). Jesus never asked anything of anyone that he would not do himself. The reason is, anything less than that, he would rightly deserve judgment because he corned the Sanhedrin for being two-faced (Matthew 23). So Jesus was crucified on a hill where sinners die. Because his death was not for his sin, he became sin that we would now righteousness.