2 Chronicles 18 – Jehoshaphat and Ahab. When Jehoshaphat arranged for his son to marry the daughter of Ahab, he set up his nation for failure (1-2). Ahab was a wicked king like his predecessors before him. When the king of Judah agreed to go into battle with Israel against Ramoth-Gilead, he failed to ask for guidance from the Lord he served before committing the kingdom to a failed cause. The prophets of Baal promised “success” to the point that it was unnerving. The one prophet of the Lord that remained in the land, Micaiah, was told, “just agree with us” which he did sarcastically (14). What Micaiah had to tell the two kings was not complementary nor was it well received. Micaiah’s words were like cold water to a hot pipe. Lord G_d planned to destroy the Northern Kingdom. Enter the Devil who is a master at destruction and deception. “Listen to what the LORD says! I saw the LORD sitting on his throne with all the armies of heaven around him, on his right and his left. And the LORD said, ‘Who can entice King Ahab of Israel to go into battle against Ramoth-Gilead so he can be killed?’ “There were many suggestions, and finally a spirit approached the LORD and said, ‘I can do it!’ “‘How will you do this?’ the LORD asked. “And the spirit replied, ‘I will go out and inspire all of Ahab’s prophets to speak lies.’ “‘You will succeed,’ said the LORD. ‘Go ahead and do it (18-21).’ Ahab died in the battle but his daughter would carry on the legacy through Jehoshaphat’s son and would spread idol worship where the house of the Lord G_d was.
Psalms 92 – A Song for the Sabbath. It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises to the Most-High. It is good to proclaim your unfailing love in the morning, your faithfulness in the evening, accompanied by a ten-stringed instrument, a harp, and the melody of a lyre (1-3). The Sabbath day begins at sundown on Saturday and goes through until Sunday evening. This ritual commemorates the nation’s deliverance from Egypt. This day is set aside for worship, remembrance, and rest so, no ordinary work is done on the Sabbath day. The first recorded Sabbath is in the “Creation story” (Genesis 1-2:2) in which the Lord G_d rested or ceased His project. You thrill me, LORD, with all you have done for me! I sing for joy because of what you have done. O LORD, what great works you do! And how deep are your thoughts (4-5)? When we put our life given the Lord’s plan, we either see the mess we made or the power of the Lord’s work in our life. The plans of the wicked will fall apart in practice even though they look good on paper. The plans of the just will appear to be foolishness in the eyes of the world but show their merit after they are completed. But the godly will flourish like palm trees and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon. For they are transplanted to the LORD’s own house. They flourish in the courts of our God. Even in old age, they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green. They will declare, “The LORD is just! He is my rock! There is no evil in him (12-15)!”
Ecclesiastes 7 – Wisdom for Life. G_d gives us free rein to rule our life and it is called “free will”. In many ways, this is akin to Jesus’ story about the prodigal son (Luke 15). What we do with “free will” will greatly determine which Lord we will serve. What Solomon is showing is only one side of the mirror; so, when we look into this mirror, we can see if our life resembles G_d’s very best or is it another tragic story. The “good old days” (10) are simply an illusion predicated on “fond memories” and not considering everything that built that situation. For life, we need the Lord’s wisdom or we will fall prey to the Devil’s plans. Wisdom is even better when you have money. Both are a benefit as you go through life. Wisdom and money can get you almost anything, but only wisdom can save your life (11-12). Deploying the Lord’s wisdom does not mean that the wind will always be at our back, we’ll always be prosperous, nor “good times” (14). Just like the Lord has wisdom, so does mankind because He made them and part of Him is in them. The problem is, when we act on our wisdom without asking from others and more important from G_d, we will fail miserably.
Jeremiah 4 – The Lord’s Message. Jeremiah has been given a very difficult message to be delivered to the people of Judah. The kingdom would soon be destroyed and no one will be left to care for the land. It was never G_d’s will to destroy the kingdom but, the people listened to the wrong words so often that the “wrong words” became the truth and the truth became a lie. What are you doing, you who have been plundered? Why do you dress up in beautiful clothing and put on gold jewelry? Why do you brighten your eyes with mascara? Your primping will do you no good! The allies who were your lovers despise you and seek to kill you (30). What mankind most often does not comprehend is that the Devil prompts both the victim and the oppressor equally to create a conflict. The victim dresses herself/himself up with the expectation of the “good times” just to be let down or abandoned. The oppressor is shown how easy the victim is to conquer not realizing that he/she will pay a price for the victory and that there is always a “bigger fish” waiting to capture the oppressor. I hear a cry, like that of a woman in labor, the groans of a woman giving birth to her first child. It is beautiful Jerusalem gasping for breath and crying out, “Help! I’m being murdered (31)!”
Luke 24 – The Resurrection. So three days had passed since Jesus was crucified and the disciples felt like they were abandoned. Yet, it was a test of faith. Jesus taught his group for 3 years about the kingdom but the lessons would not set in until they were left alone. The Sanhedrin thought they had heard the last of this character Jesus to find out that what they did unintentionally fanned the flame. So there would be a group much larger than Jesus to contend with. Eventually, the Sanhedrin would want to jump on the band-wagon but for purely selfish reasons. The fleshly Jesus would not last for all eternity because the flesh is weak in that it will die no matter much time was granted. So, he promised his Holy Spirit would be sent to guide the people to the next level. “And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven (49).”