Reading #1 – Leviticus 26
Reading #2 – Psalms 96
Reading #3 – SSong 5
Reading #4 – Zechariah 8
Reading #5 – 1 Thessalonians 5
Leviticus 26 – Blessings of Obedience, Curses for Disobedience. When Israel entered into a covenant with the Lord G_d, it came with encouragement and warnings. While it is pleasurable to enjoy the fruit of the land and all of the blessings, it requires attention to G_d’s precepts and commands all of the time and not just when we are in trouble (1-12, ). It was with this reasoning in mind that a stipulation was put into place that required all of the kings to write for themselves a copy of the law (Deuteronomy 17:18). Today in the US, as in most of the world around us, we have endured drought, floods, fires, and continual loss of life. While this has occurred throughout time, we are seeing perilous times and many people probably wonder why. The short answer is, this world has been disobedient (14-32). Disobedience leads its prey down roads that the individual would later regret (Mike Krier). When the nation was ousted from the fruitful land and would become slaves to another taskmaster. When Daniel prayed for forgiveness for the nation, G_d didn’t return things to “normal”, the nation still remained in captivity. The difference was that the prophet and all of those who sought the Lord had a renewed purpose, a new drive, and would rebuild the temple and the walls of Jerusalem (33-45). I highly encourage people to read this chapter as a prayer for the nation.
Psalms 96 – A Call to Worship the Lord the Righteous Judge. The implications of “singing a new song unto the Lord” is that we change our tune from “I am destroyed” to “I am free”. Singing a new song to the Lord is a personal choice and is not something that can be mandated. For us to declare the works of the Lord, we need to have fruit to offer or “sheaves” (1-3). In the same way, for us to compare the G_ds/idols against our Righteous Judge, we need to be able to back it up (4-6). The proof of G_d’s power and might in our life comes by faith and walking in obedience to Him (7-10) otherwise, it is simply a song that we sing in church. The Lord has graciously provided for our needs the problem is, what have we done with it? If we have no sheaves to show for our labors, the world will say, “G_d who”? (11-13).
Song of Solomon 5 – The Torment of Separation. As a happily married man, I understand the concept of the damage due to separation. In the same way, when we are separated from our Lord because of sin, we become disjointed. When we become separated, it doesn’t mean that the Lord has quit seeking His best for our life (1). The Shulammite bride awakes from sleep to find her groom missing. When she hears the knock at the door and the beckoning of the groom, she gives excuses for not answering (2-3). When she sees his hand, she jumps out of bed to open the door and finds that he is no longer there (4-6). The kind of love this woman had for her groom was enduring because she is willing to take her life into her hands (7-8). When asked by her friends why this man was so special, she iterates the qualities of the king from the heart (9-16).
Zechariah 8 – The Coming Peace and Prosperity of Zion. The Prophet was given a vision of the future of Zion, the city of David, Jerusalem (1-5). This was an inconceivable although not impossible dream. The Lord’s eternal vision for this world is that it would prosper and be at peace but sin tears at that vision and that is what will happen in the latter portion of B.C. to early AD. The problem with any vision we are given, we need to be obedient to what He asks of us or, the vision will not occur (6-8). The troubles of the past served as a reminder of what sin had done to them and the power of the Lord was before them (9-10). The remnant that went to Jerusalem was not like the same nation that left 70 years earlier humiliated, broken, and defeated, they were returning with a renewed purpose (11). When the people left Jerusalem, the land was dried out and could not grow fruit to save its life. The sabbath rest had healed the land by rainfall and sunshine. When the people returned, the land was ready to be plowed and seeds planted (12-13). The unfolding of the events that occurred between the conquest and the exile were reminders of disobedience’s fruit; the remnant that returned were encouraged and admonished to obey the Lord, properly dispense judgment, and seek the Peace of Jerusalem (14-17, Psalms 122:6). The nation had fasted three times a year while in captivity in honor of the temple and the subsequent destruction. The thing is, as long as the old temple existed in their minds, they could not move on to catch G_d’s vision (18-23).
1 Thessalonians 5 – The Day of the Lord. Time is an irrelevant factor to G_d (1-2) and this is a concept we need to keep in mind when reading His word. In our world today, just as it has been for over 2000 years, we have all the mixings for trouble. The world uses the term “peace” to mean, “if you give me what I want, you can live any way you choose. The problem is, the world’s peace is fluid in that it changes and will always want more (3, Proverbs 30:15). G_d’s vision of “love” is not fluid, it does not change (Malachai 3:6). Therefore, it is up to His children to decide what kingdom they want to make their permanent home (4-11). If we want His best in our life, our behaviors and attitudes need to exemplify the words coming out of our mouths (12-22). When we are faithful to Him, we can claim His promises and know with full assurance that He will do what we ask (23-24).