Reading #1 – Deuteronomy 17:8-13
Reading #2 – Psalms 31:19-24
Reading #3 – Proverbs 2:16-22
Reading #4 – Acts 1:1-11
Reading #5 – 1 Samuel 8:1-9
Deuteronomy 17:8-13 – Legal Decisions by Priests and Judges. The priests and judges were responsible for hearing cases and rendering a decision with accompanied punishment. If a case was beyond their ability to decide, the case was sent to the High Priest at the One place. Once that person made a decision, it was to be strictly followed. If the person, which included the local priest/judge, decided to disobey the ruling, he/she was to be put to death. While this may seem to be a harsh response, consider the reason the law was put in place and that was, “maintain law and order”; if one person disobeyed the law others would follow out of frustration and angst (8-13, Proverbs 11:30, Ecclesiastes 8:11).
Psalms 31:19-24 – Wait on the Lord. Solomon said, “Whatever you look for you will find it” (Proverbs 11:27). This was true then and it is true now. When we look at the outlook of the world, it is easy to see the evil and think, “the end has come” but then a new day comes (Malachai 4:2-3). The writer of Hebrews, possibly Paul, “look to Jesus the author and finisher of your faith” (Hebrews 12:1-2). Amid the storms of our life, if we can but hold on and not give up faith, we will survive because of the Lord we serve (19-20). We need to daily remind ourselves of the victories that the Lord has brought so that in times of pain and sorrow they will be our meditation (21-22). The form of the word love is “awhab” which is an intimate relationship where the seed of our heart, faith, is fertilized and it brings forth overcoming power (23-24, Matthew 13:31-32).
Proverbs 2:16-22 – Listen to Wisdom. Nowhere in scripture will you read, “fear the Devil” nor, “be afraid of evil”. We are to know that it exists and yes, we can go down the road towards evil but at a price. If we listen to Wisdom, we will not go down the road to evil even if it is the thing that tempts us the most. Know this, the Lord G-d will never force us nor bribe us into obedience. The Lord will never lay out His entire plan for our lives because the book of our life has not been written (16-22). For this reason, the book of our life will either be titled “Holiness unto the Lord” (Leviticus 20:26), or “fool’s paradise” (Proverbs 12:15).
Acts 1:1-7 – The Promise of the Holy Spirit. The name Theophilus is believed to be a person with great standing in the Roman court because “Most excellent” is added to the title (Luke 1:3). Theophilus means “Friend of G-d” or “Beloved by G-d” (). In the first book, Gospel of Luke, the writer is outlining information about Jesus to Theophilus beginning with Jesus’ family lineage as proof that Jesus is who he said he was. Before his death, Jesus told the group that he would be with them forever through the presence of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19-20, John 16:7). The Monday after the resurrection, Jesus presented himself before the 11 disciples and many women and for 40 days (an unspecified period) he talked about the Kingdom of G-d (1-3). The disciples were told, “Stay in Jerusalem” which, would seem to be absolute non-sense because of the fights and turmoil that surrounded it. Yet, from this “chaos and turmoil” would be the greatest deliverance (4-5, Daniel 12:1). The purpose of the Holy Spirit was to take the disciples from follower to being the leader and from being the student to the teacher (6-11).
1 Samuel 8:1-9 – Israel Demands a King. In Samuel’s old age, around 98 years old, he appointed his two sons Joel and Abijah as judges in his place. The problem was, they were not like their father in respect of “Holiness unto the Lord” (1-3). Having experienced what is like in the days of Eli, the leaders sent a delegation to speak to Samuel to ask for a king like all of the nations. This conversation was not pleasing to Samuel because he thought that he had failed when he had given his best (4-7). This was not about Samuel, it was about “lack of faith” and “no hope” all they could see was the two sons and they shook their heads. So, the Lord told Samuel “give them what they asked for” and told him to relay to the people what else they would get. Two parallels: the bad report and fear on the mountainside (8-9, Numbers 14, Exodus 20:18-21).