Reading #1 – Acts 10
Reading #2 – Psalms 119:81-104
Reading #3 – Proverbs 26
Reading #4 – Jeremiah 35
Reading #5 – Nehemiah 3
Nehemiah 3 – Builders of the Walls. Nehemiah came to rebuild the city which included the walls. According to archeological digs, the walls surrounded the city since the early bronze age (3000 – 2100 BCE). The walls were 2.6 miles in length, 39.37’ High, and about 8.2’ deep. Although the walls at one time marked off the kingdom, they also protected the occupants. Rebuilding the walls required every available person to do their part.
Psalms 119:81-104 – Living according to His word and relying on His salvation, is not an automatic response because, as humans, we are given to our passions, respond by what is in front of us, and each of us has his/her opinions. So, relying on G_d’s word requires a daily, hourly, and by the minute decision. My soul languishes and grows weak for Your salvation; I wait for Your word. My eyes fail [with longing, watching] for [the fulfillment of] Your promise, Saying, “When will You comfort me (81-82)?” The world’s mode of operation is 180 degrees out of sync with G_d’s ways. The world says, “Live life to please yourself” and “look out for #1”. The problem is, the world’s ways fall apart in times of conflict, sorrow, frustration, and pain. The choice to trust G_d or man is up to each of us (83). They had almost destroyed me on earth, But as for me, I did not turn away from Your precepts (87). During our struggles, we can ask what we need from G_d and He will provide (88). G_d’s word is settled in the Heavens (89) meaning He does not change His word over time, for cultural changes, and/or Biblical interpretation. Therefore, I can rely on it and use it to build the walls of my life. When we establish His precepts in the core of our life and allow them to grow in us, we will develop an impenetrable wall of faith (93). I have restrained my feet from every evil way, That I may keep Your word. I have not turned aside from Your ordinances, For You have taught me (101-102). G_d gives us responsibility for the care and upkeep of our lives if or when our lives fall apart, we can only blame ourselves.
Proverbs 26 – Similitudes, Instructions. Similitudes, as I said yesterday, represents an idea in the light of G_d’s word. Like snow in summer and like rain in harvest, So the honor is not fitting for a [shortsighted] fool (1). The implication is, “snow in the summer will hinder gardens and you need dry weather to get the harvest in. In the same way, when a fool is given the honor he/she did not work for, it causes the people doing the work to stop (Proverbs 21:15). The foolishness of mankind has long been a problem and it is the framework of myths. Like the legs which are useless to the lame, So is a proverb in the mouth of a fool [who cannot learn from its wisdom] (7). Being philosophical is easy, just act like you know what you are talking about; however, this bluff causes problems when other people grow to depend on you.
Jeremiah 35 – The Rechabites. The Rechabites descended from Jonadab the son of David’s brother Shimeah. Jonadab was a shrewd man that caused a fight between David’s two boys Absalom and Amnon. Jonadab was a nomad and he commanded that his lineage “always live in tents, never build a home, never drink wine (temperance), never plant a garden, and never settle in one place” (6-7) and the Rechabites live this way today. When Nebuchadnezzar invaded Jerusalem, the Rechabites moved into the city because they feared Chaldeans and the Arameans (11). Jeremiah then held up the Rechabites as an example to the foolish sinful occupants of Jerusalem. By this point in time, Judah was at a point of “no return” so anything Jeremiah said after this, was a warning about the “situations to come”. Then Jeremiah said to the house of the Rechabites, “Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Because you have obeyed the command of Jonadab your father and have kept all his commands and have done according to all that he commanded you, therefore thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, “Jonadab the son of Rechab shall never fail to have a man (descendant) to stand before Me always (18-19).”‘”
Acts 10 – Cornelius’ and Peter’s vision. The thing about G_d is that for every call, He provides what we need to accomplish the mission. When we obediently pick up what He provides and put His gift to work, He shows the way. In this case, Cornelius was told to “call for Peter in Cesareah” (4-6). Cornelius had never seen a vision like this but he was obedient to what he was told. Clear across town, Simon Peter also had a vision that would compel him to do something he would never think possible because it violated Jewish law (9-16). The thought of eating “unclean food” was appalling and would have violated G_d’s word to Moses so, there had to be something deeper going on. While Peter was thoughtfully considering the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Now listen, three men are looking for you. Get up, go downstairs and go with them without hesitating or doubting, because I have sent them Myself (19-20).” Notice one glaring issue, “Peter was not told by the Spirit what was happening in the Roman Centurians house that required Peter’s attendance, he was simply told to go on faith. By going into the goyim’s home, Peter violated the established law but he obeyed the Holy Spirit without question.