Reading #1 – Deuteronomy 16:9-17
Reading #2 – Psalms 31:3-8
Reading #3 – Proverbs 1:8-17
Reading #4 – John 16:5-15
Reading #5 – 1 Samuel 6:1-9
Deuteronomy 16:9-17 – Feast of Weeks and Feast of Booths. The Feast of Weeks is known by other names like Shavuot and Feast of First Fruits. The reason it is referred to as “feast of weeks” is that the people were told to count off a week of weeks or 49 weeks; This would put the time of the sickle being put to the standing grain at about August. The celebration starts on Friday and goes until Sunday night (9-11, ). This event was shared by the entire city sojourners, servants, and Levites. Nobody went hungry, unlike the events that unfolded in Egypt (12). The feast of Booths or Sukkot is celebrated in October after the harvest. This is a week-long celebration that everybody in the community could participate in. This feast required the people to make a pilgrimage to the Temple which required the travelers to live in tents during the celebration (13-15, ). All of the men were to appear before the temple three times a year (Feast of Unleavened bread, feast of Weeks, and Feast of Booths). The caveat to this solemn gathering was that the men were not to appear before the Lord empty-handed (16-17).
Psalms 31:3-8 – Into Your Hands, I Commit My Spirit. When we say “the Lord is my rock and my fortress”, the implication is that He is the foundation on which I stand (1 Corinthians 3:12-15). This implies the need to provide substantial evidence by the fruit of our life. We can lie to the world around us, including our families, but the Lord looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7-11). Because of Jesus’ character and the condition of his heart, he could quote this verse and it would be meaningful to the Lord G-d and would have been received (3-5, Luke 23:46). In the Hebrew Bible under the TNAKH/writings, the verse “I hate those …” is in all actuality translated as “Detest ..”. The implication between the two is “I chose not to learn their ways and will not participate in their lifestyle choices. Unlike those who run after idols, I chose to be a stark difference between the ways of the world and the ways of the Kingdom of G-d (6-8, Psalms 1:1, Matthew 16:6-12).
Proverbs 1:8-19 – Enticement of Sinners. A father’s instruction should never be construed to believe he did everything right in his life. That said, it doesn’t mean that the information he is sharing is wrong but that he is speaking from example (8-9). Just as a father can share wisdom but have squandered his life away, so one can have wisdom but be foolish. Of course, there are people in this world who sound wise but their motivations are what get us into trouble (10-16). The Devil will always present a “word picture” to draw us in and the reason his offering sounds good is that he has no intention of giving it to us (17-19).
John 16:5-15 – The Work of the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ date with the cross was not good news at least in the eyes of the disciples (5-6). I suppose he could have avoided the cross by coalescing to the Sanhedrin’s request, overthrowing Rome, and taking the throne by force. This would have ensured he had a long life but at what cost? If Jesus stayed, the disciples would never grow and mature (Matthew 17:17). The reason the Holy Spirit could convict the world concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment is that He lives vicariously through us. When we walk in this world, it is the outcome of our behavior, attitude, and/or outlook that stands in direct opposition to the world’s ways. When the world says, “cast in your lot with us” and we refuse, we are ostracized until the fruit grows (7-11). The reason Jesus gave such detail about this Holy Spirit is that the disciples would know the true Holy Spirit and the voice of the antichrist; this would be the same reason that John was told who this Messiah of Christ was and the evidence (12-15, John 1:31-34).
1 Samuel 6:1-9 – The Ark Returned to Israel. After seven long months of nothing but trouble from the ark, the people had all they could of it. The thing is, returning it was easier than it sounded. The lords went to consult with the priests and diviners to find out how to get rid of that blasted ark (1-2). When we take things that do not belong to us and especially things that belong to G-d, they become a noose around our necks of sorts. For the Philistines, that noose was a lengthy period of boils on the skin and mice ravaging the land (3-4). When they went to return the ark, the stipulation outlined by the priests was to send the ark back with a guilt offering. The reason for the guilt offering was to admit fault and make amends. The litmus test would be if the cows went up to Beth Shemesh or not (5-9, Leviticus 6:1-7).