Reading #1 – John 2
Reading #2 – Psalms 94
Reading #3 – Ecclesiastes 9
Reading #4 – Jeremiah 6
Reading #5 – 2 Chronicle 20
2 Chronicles 20 – War with Surrounding Nations. Over time, old enemies came back to fight against Judah. The pressure put on by the old enemies caused Jehoshaphat to grow closer to the Lord G_d. Messengers came and told Jehoshaphat, “A vast army from Edom is marching against you from beyond the Dead Sea. They are already at Hazazon-Tamar.” (This was another name for En-Gedi.) Jehoshaphat was terrified by this news and begged the LORD for guidance. He also ordered everyone in Judah to begin fasting (2-3). The nation had a prayer meeting to seek the Lord’s favor (5-13) and it was prophesied: “the battle is the Lord’s, not yours” (14). Seeking the Lord’s face is just one part of solving the problem. He said, “Listen, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Listen, King Jehoshaphat! This is what the LORD says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s (15). Because of the work that was done ahead of the battle, the Lord held to his promise and the people did not have to raise their hands nor kill the enemy because the confusion caused the invading nations to fight each other to their deaths (24). Strange as it may sound, the problems we get ourselves into always come about in times of peace. David made it through his reign without losing the kingdom because of the wars that he had to fight. Solomon, on the other hand, had innumerable problems and he had 30 years of peace. Jehoshaphat left the altars and idols to the unknown gods which would leave the door partly open for the people to go back to idol worship.
Psalms 94 – The Lord of Vengence and the Lord who Sees. If there is anything that we should keep in the back of our minds, it is that the Lord cares for us. Because He cares for us, he sees the battles that we face, the troubles that shake our kingdom, and the frustrations that we are confronted by. He hears our cries, laughter, sorrowful words, and angry words; yet, He loves us. The Devil whispers in our ear, “G_d doesn’t hear your words look he hasn’t come through to help you so I did it myself.” “The LORD isn’t looking,” they say, “And besides, the God of Israel doesn’t care.” Think again, you fools! When will you finally catch on (7-8)? G_d knows what we are going through, what we are doing that is helping or hindering ourselves, and yet he cares deeply for us. When we sin, we pay for it until we turn back around. Joyful are those you discipline, LORD, those you teach with your instructions. You give them relief from troubled times until a pit is dug to capture the wicked (12-13). G_d’s word compels us and commands us to stay connected to Him even when we cannot feel his presence, to trust Him when we have no physical justification, and to never lose hope in Him no matter what storm comes, what bounty falls into our lap, and/or what the Devil says. ut the LORD is my fortress; my God is the mighty rock where I hide. God will turn the sins of evil people back on them. He will destroy them for their sins. The LORD our God will destroy them (22-23).
Ecclesiastes 9 – Death Comes to All. The grave is the final move for everybody. Death comes when we least expect it. More than one person has gone to his/her grave without forgiving those who hurt him or her and forgave anyone and everyone who hurt them. Being righteous does not stop death any more than a quality item will remain in its original shape and form without care. The same destiny ultimately awaits everyone, whether righteous or wicked, good or bad, ceremonially clean or unclean, religious or irreligious. Good people receive the same treatment as sinners, and people who make promises to God are treated like people who don’t (2). While we live, we have hope that we can fix the broken areas of our life (4). So go ahead. Eat your food with joy, and drink your wine with a happy heart, for God approves of this! Wear fine clothes, with a splash of cologne! Live happily with the woman you love through all the meaningless days of life that God has given you under the sun. The wife God gives you is your reward for all your earthly toil. Whatever you do, do well. For when you go to the grave, there will be no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom (7-10). To whom can I give a warning? Who will listen when I speak? Their ears are closed, and they cannot hear. They scorn the word of the LORD. They don’t want to listen at all (10). This is what the LORD says: “Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls. But you reply, ‘No, that’s not the road we want!’ I posted watchmen over you who said, ‘Listen for the sound of the alarm.’ But you replied, ‘No! We won’t pay attention (16-17)!’ When destruction comes, it is usually a result of our actions and so it is just punishment. For Judah and Israel, the destruction and being removed from the land was for a fault of their own. Being punished is not easy to swallow and the consequences last longer than the 5 minutes it took us to get into trouble.
John 2 – Wedding at Canaan. Jesus turned water into wine that was fit for consumption. Miracles in that time were a sign of G_d’s provision. Mary knew about Jesus’ ministry because it was revealed before he was born. Many people put their trust in Jesus simply by seeing water turned into wine. The manager of the wedding party and the groom had no idea where the wine came from (8-11). Faith requires us to walk without having to see the complete picture. Had the manager or the groom knew where the wine came from, Jesus would be invited more often and forget to obtain an adequate amount of wine. The servants who helped Jesus put their faith in him. But the Jewish leaders demanded, “What are you doing? If God gave you the authority to do this, show us a miraculous sign to prove it.” “All right,” Jesus replied. “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it.” “What!” they exclaimed. “It has taken forty-six years to build this Temple, and you can rebuild it in three days (18-20)?” Having faith in Jesus is means trusting in him through good times and bad.