Reading #1 – Deuteronomy 13:1-21
Reading #2 – Psalms 27:7-14
Reading #3 – Lamentations 3:46-66
Reading #4 – John 11:45-57
Reading #5 – 1 Samuel 2:27-36
Deuteronomy 14:1-21 – Clean and Unclean Food. The preface to all things that have to do with the living G-d is stated in verses 1 and 2. Because G-d chose the nation, they were obligated to obey His commands even if they did not understand them (1-2). The law stipulated that the people were not to eat pigs, rabbits, eagles, vultures, hawks, owls, cormorants, bats, hoopoes, and sharks but there is no stated reasoning. This law not only applied to the Jews but to Islam as well (3-20, ). Sometimes, we find out G-d’s reasoning after we have violated His commands when we face the consequences. Animals that were found dead were not to be eaten and again, there is no reasoning behind it (21). As we’ll find out through scriptures, G-d never explains Himself, His laws have been written for all eternity; we will find them reliable even if we do not like them or agree with them.
Psalms 27:7-14 – The Lord is My Light and My Salvation. When we cry out to the Lord in times of duress, fears, and doubt, He hears our voices. The guiding principles of our life need to be “Obedience to the Lord despite what the world claims” (7). Following the Lord’s pathway means following it even if it ruffles feathers. It seems, we can ruffle our coworkers’ and neighbor’s feathers but when it comes to family, it is a different ball game. The reason is, our family has the power and authority to kick us out of the home or make us out to be the “black sheep” (8-10). When we ask the Lord to teach us His ways, we must be obedient and ready to learn. The information we glean from our studies is to be shared with the world just as I am passing this information along to you (11-12). If asked, I believe every person who came to the Lord would want to hear the famous words, “Well done …” (Matthew 25:21). The thing is, how many are willing to be obedient and work faithfully in the heat of the day or while they are alive (13-14)?
Lamentations 3:46-66 – Great is Your Faithfulness. Destruction had come upon Jerusalem and the people were cast out of the land. Sin had brought the sword and it cut without pity the people including Jeremiah. Jeremiah wept over the destruction although having been warned the people but did not listen (46-48); his tears would not alter the Lord’s plans (49-51, Jeremiah 11:14). The king had refused Jeremiah’s warnings and burned Jeremiah’s scroll in revolt (52-66, Jeremiah 36:20-26). The thing is, we have no control over other people, we can only set the course for our life. Life is the greatest battle we will ever face and sometimes, we must face it alone.
John 11:45-57 – Plot to Kill Jesus. Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead which amazed the people and set up a crisis of sorts. As I have mentioned in previous writings, the crisis of the day was one of the same ones as the pre-exodus. The Pharisees had a working relationship with the Romans. The Pharisees feared losing their job because a “New King” meant the old one was finished and so was the position held by religious leadership (45-48, Exodus 12). Caiaphas, the High Priest, was the one that suggested that they hand over this Jesus “the so-called Messiah” instead of the whole nation dying (49-53). Because of the ill-conceived plans, Jesus could no longer walk freely among the people. Because Jesus brought Lazarus back from the dead, Lazerus also had to remain in hiding (54-57).
1 Samuel 2:27-36 – The Lord Rejects Eli’s House. Eli was to be the 2nd to the last judge of Israel. Under his leadership, the nation had gone astray as had his sons Hophni and Phineas. The Lord’s initial plan was for the Aaronic priesthood to last forever but, that promise was contingent on the priests being obedient to the law. Unfortunately, Eli did not reign in his sons and because of their actions, the priesthood was held in low esteem. So when an unnamed prophet came to Eli, he told Eli what the Lord had to say about Eli’s family (27-30). To have “his strength cut short” implied that Eli would die but not until his sons were dead (31-32). To no longer have an old man in the house meant that the wisdom would die out with Eli. Hophni and Phineas would die together in a battle with the Philistines (33-34). Fortunately for Israel, the Lord was preparing Samuel to take over from Eli (35). The remaining members of Eli’s family would seek a place in the priesthood so that they could eat which meant that the family would be decimated (36).