Reading #1 – Leviticus 27:16-34
Reading #2 – Psalms 98
Reading #3 – SSong 7
Reading #4 – Zechariah 10
Reading #5 – 2 Thessalonians 2
Leviticus 27:16-34 – Laws and Valuations. One of the most important things to understand about this chapter is that everything, except the 1st-born, belonged to the owner. The owner is given the responsibility to evaluate his property. Once a piece of property is dedicated, the ownership is shifted to the priests until the year of Jubilee; of course, the parcel can be bought back by returning the price of the land plus 1/5th of its value. So, if a person consecrates a parcel in the year of Jubilee, the owner sets the price because it will be returned to him. If the property is consecrated after the year of Jubilee, the priests will consider the number of crops the land will yield until the year of Jubilee and the land will be returned. A sanctuary shekel was a system of measurements (25,https://www.jstor.org/stable/1355587). So, the item is submitted, whether crops, animals, and/or property was weighed accordingly and it is entirely fair. All items that are devoted to the Lord are considered holy to the Lord even if they are banned or cursed (28). When gifts are dedicated to the Lord, it is a sacred vow so the individual must consider this before opening up his/her mouth. Lying about the value of a property or animal was the same as renigging a vow and was subject to the death penalty (29, Acts 5). The giving of tithes in this time meant each would give 1/10th of their flock to the Lord which would be used in service to the Priests; the man would redeem the animals by adding the cost of the animal and adding 1/5th value to it (30-33).
Psalms 98 – A Call to Praise the Lord for His Righteousness. When it comes to praising the Lord, it is a personal choice. G_d never demands praise from us or it would be feigned just as the world demands of its followers (1). SO when we come to the Lord with our broken world, burned out dreams, and shattered hopes, He puts these things back together again. When we begin to see His move upon our life, it elicits praise from the heart, and from that praise more of His power is shown in our life (2-3). Just as singing praise is a personal choice, so is our outlook on life; for this reason, many never witness the move of G_d’s hand, we only hear about it and become bitter (4-6). So, let this world shake and quake at every sound, let them fear the Devil’s threats but all who call on His name rejoice (7-9).
Song of Solomon 7 – Admiration of the Bridegroom. The bridegroom, Solomon, intimately loved this woman that would be his bride. In this time, marriages were made between kingdoms to forge alliances some of which, were disasters waiting to happen. This woman was Egyptian-born which was an unlikely marriage but Solomon loved her nonetheless. The Egyptian Princess loved Solomon and considered him to be “the man of her dreams” (10-12).
Zechariah 10 – G_d Will Bless Judah and Ephraim. Notice the command, “Ask for rain from the Lord …” (1). These nations were in captivity and unfortunately, not every Jew returned to Jerusalem. The false prophets and priests of the Teraphim or household G_ds spoke lies to the nation and the people believed them (2). When people find out what they have believed in is proven false or what is promised has not happened, they walk away. While the people believed the lie, the Shephards who mislead the people would be held primarily responsible for the fallout and we see this occurring even to this date (3). A cornerstone is the first stone laid and all other stones or bricks are laid about it. Joshua the High Priest and Zerubabbel were predecessors to the cornerstone who would rebuild Jerusalem (4-8). G_d’s greatest desire for the nation was that they would be healed but He would never chase after them (9-12). For this reason, many remained where they were scattered.
2 Thessalonians 2 – Man of Lawlessness. In this time, just like many other centuries, false messages had been preached and it was causing problems for the church. The thing is, these people did not possess a complete NT, all they held were letters like this one which leads to misconceptions. One of the main things causing problems for this church was the teaching on the “Return of our Lord” (1-2). The term “apostasy” means “abandoning the faith” or, “rebellion against the truth”. This man of lawlessness would lead to such problems, “compromising the truth for a pseudo-lie” simply by purposely introducing heresy to the ignorant ear. This lawless man would take the seat of Moses in the temple and the people would cheer him on and believe him (3-4). Paul had actively talked to these people while he was with them so that they would be prepared to decipher the truth like any good shepherd would do (5-7). The Devil is like a magician who performs miracles by sleight of hand or “smoke and mirrors” and the naïve would believe it because there would be no other plausible answer than to believe he is a “G_d”. The problem the Devil has is that he has a short time to affect his agenda because, when the people find out the truth, he will run in the opposite direction (8-12). When you owe a debt you are morally obligated to pay it back. For Paul, he had watched this church grow from infants to adults in the Lord and it was because of the move of the Holy Spirit on this church in concert with the people, and his debt was, “thanksgiving for what they had accomplished. Paul gave his life for this church and because of it, owed Paul the moral obligation of holding tight to the truth (13-15). Being encouraged by the Lord is a personal choice (16-17).