Reading #1 – Deuteronomy 6:7-9
Reading #2 – Psalms 8
Reading #3 – Proverbs 18
Reading #4 – Luke 11
Reading #5 – Revelations 13:11-18
Deuteronomy 6:7-9 – The Greatest Commandment. The rules and laws given to Moses by the Lord were not arbitrary and they were not some wild hair G-d had, these laws would ensure a long life in the land (1-3). Once given the laws, the onus was on the people to not only read these laws but to apply them to their lives (4-6). The next generation of Israelites would not have a first-hand testimony of Moses because they had not yet been born. For this reason, the current generation was tasked with telling their children about the “Praiseworthy deeds of the Lord”, living out the law by rote, and making their homes be a Family Tabernacle for the Lord (7-9). Having the peace of the Lord in the home will well up into a family that is strong and capable of facing whatever battle may come about.
Psalms 8 – How Majestic is Your Name. There are two types of praise, “perfunctory” and “genuine”. Genuine praise is a response to an action that was verifiable. David is praising the Lord for the victories he has experienced on the field and his relationship with the avenger and the enemy (1-2). David is comparing the size of the heavens with the size of mankind. When you compare the two, mankind is pretty insignificant but to G-d, mankind is worth more than all He possesses (3-5, Matthew 13:44-46, Hebrews 12:2). Mankind has been given dominion over the earth, the animals in the field, the birds in the air, and the depths of the seas (6-9).
Proverbs 18 – The Nasty Old Price Tag. When the Lord gave control of Canaan to the Israelites, it came a price. As children, many of us, me included, looked forward to becoming an adult so that we could do the things that only adults can do like, stay up late, drive a car, own a home, and travel anywhere we wanted to. As you might have found out though, and I most certainly did, the event(s) we looked forward to was nothing compared to the price we would pay. As an example, we can choose to be slack in our work but the price is that we will lose our job and/or a happy home (9). G-d wants us to be successful in all of our endeavors and to be content with what we have. The problem is, there are two conflicting value systems in play, the world and the Lord’s, and the two conflict. It is for this reason only the fool and the wise are mentioned.
Luke 11:1-4 The Lord’s Prayer. The disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray just like John taught his disciples (1). Part of discipleship is teaching people how to interact with the G-d of the Universe. The thing is, the Lord’s prayer can simply be a prayer or an outline to help us form our thoughts (James 1:19). In the book of Psalms, we read a completed poem but in the Hebrew language, they used a single syllable to form an acrostic. G-d was before all else therefore He is “Father” or “Abba”. In the family unit, when there is respect for the father and mother and the parents respect their kids, there is a cohesive union and there is peace in the home. To request for His will to be done in your life (2), we are telling Him, “I surrender my will that I may do that which will please you”. Praying for your daily needs means that you acknowledge your needs or the areas where you are lacking (3). Asking Him to forgive our sins means that we are acknowledging our sinful behavior including holding a grudge and that we release them to Him (4).
Revelations 13:11-18 – The Second Beast. So a 2nd beast comes into focus that portrays itself to be something it is not (11). This beast looks and feels like its predecessor but is more diabolical than the previous leader was (12). To know who this character is, you need to look back on the succession of Roman emperors. The most likely candidate is Commodus who co-reigned with his father Marcus Aurelius until 180 and then singularly from 180-192 AD. Marcus Aurelius was the last in the succession of good emperors which was the golden age of Rome (Commodus). When it comes to the “Mark of the Beast”, the science of numerology has been used to explain it (16-18, ). The thing is, at that time the individual who aspired to lead Rome would mint a coin in his image and the people who supported him would wear that coin on their foreheads or arm. The thing is, this character like all historical characters was a human being and, as such, had a limited time on earth and is the reason I believe the intended meaning to be: he is human and is subject to the illnesses of all mankind so, do not be afraid of him! Commodus, just like Nero and Caligula, was a vile man and he found great pleasure in watching his enemies die. The thing is that while Commodus held the power of life or death in his hand by proxy of his position, he had no authority in the Kingdom of G-d and the same thing could be said of the rulers of the present age (13-15). It is for this reason that nobody fears Hitler, Stalin, Pol-Pot, and many other historical villains because they are dead.