Reading #1 – Deuteronomy 13:6-11
Reading #2 – Psalms 26
Reading #3 – Lamentations 3:25-33
Reading #4 – John 9
Reading #5 – 1 Samuel 2:12-21
Deuteronomy 13:6-11 – Where Many Fail. Confronting those you have no association with is easy but when it comes to a family member, many fail. When it comes to a family member, many want to whitewash the incident by declaring the person “insane” just like Jesus’ mother and family wanted to do (Mark 3:31). The person bringing charges against a family member would have to be the first to throw a stone and then, like sheep, the remaining congregation would join in (). This law could be applied for nefarious means also because, if the person throwing the stone was serving a foreign G-d and a brother/sister tried to correct him/her and the killing would be justified according to the law (10-11). This law gave license to stone Jesus and later Stephen, and this was an inherent problem or “loophole” (John 8:57-59, Acts 7:54-60).
Psalms 26 – I Will Bless the Lord. When we choose to serve the Lord G-d, we will not receive support from those who walk according to the flesh (1). When we make decisions and/or exercise judgment, we need to always ask the Lord to check our heart that is, “our motive” (2-3). Sitting in the counsel of the ungodly is a dangerous thing because it clouds our judgment (4-5, Psalms 1:1-2). The oddity of words is that they can have dual meanings something that is missed by the world but not by G-d (6-7, Proverbs 12:18-19). Sin can destroy even the strongest of churches and families and so David intercedes for the house of the Lord that G-d would not destroy it (8-10, Ezekiel 22:30-31). Walking in integrity is a decision that will determine where you will stand in the court of the Lord G-d (11-12, 2 Corinthians 10:3-6).
Lamentations 3:25-33 – Great Is Your Faithfulness. Not everybody going into exile deserved the punishment that was met out. It is a sad affair that sin does not care who it hurts or what damage it causes. For this reason, those who never went along with the sinful discourse were told “be still and know that I am G-d” (25-27, Psalms 46:10-11). Learning to follow the way of righteousness should begin in our youth that we would grow up into it. That said, coming to the Lord late or in our mid-life is not a showstopper because we can still learn, grow, and mature in presence of the Lord (28-30). The exile would not be “forever” unless the people decided they liked the new reality better than the old illusion. The point to be made, the destruction that was happening was not from the Lord G-d, it was from the adversary who was given the power and authority to destroy for 70 years (31-33, Revelations 20:7).
John 9:1-23 – The Man Who was Born Blind. The man who was born blind was healed in his mid 30’s so since reaching adulthood, he begged for money on the street. The community, including the religious leaders, had grown used to seeing him begging so when he was healed, it was a miracle. The problem was that Jesus healed the man on the Sabbath which was “sacrilegious” (14). When the man told everyone, he saw about what Jesus had done for him, they all wanted to know who this man is and where did he go because they had a few aches and pains themselves (8-12). When he brought before the Sanhedrin, a stir was created that could not be “pooh pooed away”. The religious leaders could dispute teachings, interpretations of the law, and theologies but “a man born blind and now healed” took more explanation. For this reason, the parents were called in and, but they only testified only that he was born blind and now can see. If the parents testified that Jesus healed the man, they would be cast out of the synagogue (17-23).
1 Samuel 2:12-21 – Eli’s Worthless Sons. Eli’s sons, Hophni and Phineas, were priests according to the Aaronic line. These two boys were causing problems in the community by taking what did not belong to them and treating the people’s offerings with contempt (12-17). While this may not seem like a problem, consider who they represented “the Lord G-d” which, if left unchallenged would besmirch the house of the Lord. In the same way, you and I represent not only our family but our community, state, and nation. Eli was an old man by the time Samuel was presented to the Lord, was overweight, and blind. This could have spelled the end for the Temple of the Lord if not for Samuel was being groomed by the Lord G-d to assume the duties of Priest and Prophet after Eli’s passing. Samuel’s mother and father continued to provide for Samuel and were an active part of his life. Because of their faithfulness, the Lord blessed Samuel’s parents with more children (18-21).