Bible Readings for 4/16/2022

Joshua 18:11-28

Psalms 78:21-31

Ecclesiastes 2:1-11

Isaiah 16

2 Samuel 13:1-22

Mike’s Notes

Joshua 18:11-28 – Inheritance for Benjamin. Benjamin was the youngest son of Jacob through his beloved wife Rachel. Interestingly, Benjamin received the first city that Israel captured “Jericho”. The tribe would inherit over 2300 square miles which or roughly about 1/3rd of the overall size of Israel’s inheritance (Inheritance). Jacob favored Benjamin because as a child Joseph was taken away from Jacob which left a hole in his heart. The problem for the tribe was that the Gibeonites would live among them which would create problems for Benjamin.

Psalms 78:21-31 Tell the Coming Generations. Of all the things that irritate the Lord, it is whining and complaining. The nation left Egypt under the mighty hand of the Lord’s Shekinah glory. They witnessed everything the Lord had done for them, they watched the Egyptians being washed into the sea, and yet they complained about their poor disposition. Whining and complaining tell the listener, “I have no faith that you will provide so I do not ask”. The Lord will provide for all of our needs if we will but ask for them. When the Lord had had enough with the noise of complaints, he gave them what they asked for in keeping the sin of their hearts. So they got all of the meat they could possibly eat and more until they were sick of it. The problem was that the food they ate was not good for them and they died from the food.

Ecclesiastes 2:1-11 – Vanity of Self-Indulgence. The King wanted to know what the draw was to “self-indulgence” so he acted on it. After obtaining everything that would normally bring pleasure to a human being, “joy” did not fill his heart. He had more women than any man could possibly handle yet there was still a void in his heart. There was no King past, present, or future who was like or would be like Solomon. Because “things” didn’t bring joy to his heart, he started building structures, planting beautiful trees and flowers, and setting up parks for people to come and see. When we don’t possess these things, we think we’d be more than thrilled to have all of them. Yet, it is joy and peace that brings more life than anything or anyone could possibly do.

Isaiah 16 – Moab’s Pride. Moab was known for being a boisterous nation but had never been tried in battle. Before the battle people had left Moab and sojourned in Zion. The occupants of the land believed what the leaders had told them “this land will never be attacked” so they were woefully ill-prepared. When the battle commenced the people in Zion remained safe. After the battle, these people returned to Moab to reestablish the throne in righteousness. This segment has implications for the world around us today. Our politicians portray a problem that only they can solve and they do so by funneling funds to keep people happy. When the wheels come off the of the axel, it is too late to change our minds. This parallels the events of Revelations 18.

2 Samuel 13:1-22 – Amnon and Tamar. Sin never stays in a confined space, it always seeks outlets in this case it was Amnon. Amnon should have been the crown prince and Tamar could have been his wife but, the events that unfolded forever quashed his chances. Lust by its very nature presents a beautiful picture in our minds of what it would be like to have ____ in our hands. These illusions play in our minds until we take the next step by stealing it or lying to get ___. Once we have obtained ___ we find out that it was nothing like what we expected and it causes trouble for us that we have no hope of ever escaping judgment. Tamar could very well have become the next Queen of Israel and Amnon the King but sin erased all of that with a single move. David was powerless to judge Amnon much less to decree a death sentence according to the law because David was as guilty as Amnon so all he could do was “be angry”.

Joshua 18:1-10 – Allotment of the Remaining Land. Gad, Reuben, ½ tribe of Manasseh would get the land on the east side of the Jordan. The remaining ½ tribe of Manasseh, Ephram, and Judah had been given a tract of land and went to take over the land. The remaining tribes sat around waiting for Joshua. So the remaining portion of the land was surveyed and lots would be cast by the leadership. The Levites would not receive land, they would be parceled a small tract in each community to grow their food. The remaining tribes would receive their property “by chance”. The practice of casting lots or “cleromancy” was used many times in the Old and New Testaments. This was seen as the only “fairway” for making decisions.

Bible Readings for 4/15/2022

Joshua 18:1-10

Psalms 78:1-20

Ecclesiastes 1

Isaiah 15

2 Samuel 12:15-31

Mike’s Notes

Joshua 18:1-10 – Allotment of the Remaining Land. Gad, Reuben, ½ tribe of Manasseh would get the land on the east side of the Jordan. The remaining ½ tribe of Manasseh, Ephram, and Judah had been given a tract of land and went to take over the land. The remaining tribes sat around waiting for Joshua. So the remaining portion of the land was surveyed and lots would be cast by the leadership. The Levites would not receive land, they would be parceled a small tract in each community to grow their food. The remaining tribes would receive their property “by chance”. The practice of casting lots or “cleromancy” was used many times in the Old and New Testaments. This was seen as the only “fairway” for making decisions.

Psalms 78:1-20 – Tell the Coming Generations. This is a teaching Psalm and reiterates the words of Moses the servant of the Lord. When the Lord teaches us things whether in writing or as part of a life lesson, we owe it to ourselves and our posterity to document them. In the years following the walk across the Red Sea, not all of the people who crossed the sea on dry land were the same ones at the mountain. There were no books and no internet to document the events so it was incumbent on the parents to tell their children. G-d’s laws have not changed since the time of Moses as seen in the scriptures. What changes is “names and faces” and they will not learn if we do not tell them. When you read the Old Testament books, you will notice that the writers did not omit the events that could bring egg on their faces. The reason for this is that by knowing what happens when people are disobedient as well as those who were obedient, the reader can make an informed decision. Disobedience is nothing new to the world around us today. The reason sin is prevalent in our world today has always been that we did not read G-d’s law and write a copy for ourselves so that we can study all of the days of our life.

Ecclesiastes 1 – All is Vanity. This book is a rather sad commentary about what happens when life becomes meaningless. Solomon the king and teacher in Jerusalem was granted wisdom to lead the kingdom of his father David. According to him, Solomon had nothing else he could learn on earth because everything has already happened and will happen again. When we find no joy in the small but precious of G-d, we become despondent and simply go through the motions never growing and never finding joy – How pitiful. The date this book was written is a matter of debate. Some believe, because of the appearance of the Greek Fatalistic style that the book was written post-exilic and attributed to Solomon. Others believe the book was written toward the end of his life as a reflection (Biologos).

Isaiah 15 = An Oracle Concerning Moab. The Moabites whose lineage stems from Lot’s oldest daughter (Genesis 19:30-38) had been in existence from the 14th – to 5th century BC. In 582, Babylon would capture the kingdom and completely destroy it (Moab). The Moabites, are related to Abraham through his nephew Lot which is where we get the meaning of Moab “water of the father” (meaning). The tribe lived on the Western Bank of what is now known as Jordan. During the time when there was an extreme famine in Bethlehem, Naomi, her husband Elimelech, and her two sons Malon and Chilian relocated to Moab (Ruth 1). The thing is, Moab was a wicked kingdom as had been their history. This was the reasoning behind the nation’s utter and complete destruction down to the last man/woman/child.

2 Samuel 12:15-31 – David’s Child Dies. The illegitimate child of David and Bathsheba died as was prophesied. For seven days David prayed fasted hoping upon hope that the Lord would change His mind. The problem, as David knew all too well, it was a closed matter and the Lord wasn’t about to change His mind. Remember this whole drama was over David’s doing and I believe in keeping with His grace, the child died so that the child would not suffer for the parent’s actions. A point must be made here and that is, once a matter is closed and the judgment was given, it is time to move. David later took Bathsheba into his home and they had another child through the union – Solomon or Jedidiah “Loved by G-d”. Joab captured Rabah of the Ammonites to which David and the remaining soldiers helped to capture the land. The gold crown was taken off of the king and put on David’s head. If David had not come Joab would have assumed the throne and named the city after himself. Joab was an opportunist although fiercely loyal to David. The Ammonites that were captured would be subscripted to forced labor until the time Solomon’s kingdom was in collapse.

Bible Readings 4/14/2022

Joshua 17

Psalms 76

Proverbs 31:10-31

Isaiah 14

2 Samuel 12:1-14

Mike’s Notes

Joshua 17 – Further Division of the Land. The ½ tribe of Manasseh, the 1st born child of Joseph, was allotted land on the East bank side of Jordan. The Canaanites lived in this land as they had for centuries. Because the tribe was not strong enough to eradicate the Canaanites, the Canaanites became slaves to Israel when she grew too strong for them. Although not specifically stated, an alternate outcome would be, “When the Canaanites became stronger than the Israelites, the Israelites served Canaan. The tribe of Joseph combined Manasseh and Ephraim” wanted more land but would not conquer the land given to them (14-18). Zealophad’s daughters would receive a tract of land in honor of Zealophad their father.

Psalms 76 – Who Can Stand Before You? Is G-d known in your life? The easy answer is “Yes He is”. The problem is the “fruit won’t lie”. Having peace in your home and life is foundational evidence of the true intent of our hearts. Sin creates confusion and trouble through the progression of time. In the same way, righteous practices seem like “utter nonsense” until the fruit comes and the person is not shaken by evil times. Having peace in your life does not mean that trouble is absent but that the trouble steels your heart to grow closer to the Lord.  Serving the Lord and honoring His commands and precepts are two different things. We can serve the Lord by works that create confusion or “Babylon” in our lives and those who follow us. In light of this, “Who can stand”? Those who honor the Lord’s laws and precepts by being obedient to them.

Proverbs 31:10-31 – Listen to Mother. This woman was a virtuous woman and a standard that should be sought after. This woman gave her life for her family and servants that they would be provided for. I believe this woman was King Hezekiah’s mother. Hezekiah was a good king and he ruled the kingdom in obedience to the Lord he learned this at his mother’s knee. Conversely, when the parent does not care for his/her child and follows an evil pathway, the children will glom on to that as a standard. The thing is just as righteousness gains strength and morphed into greater moves of G-d, evil practices also morph and become eviler. My point is that every righteous or evil movement always has a starting point. Look at Israel/Judah under David’s competent leadership and the events following his sinful actions.

Isaiah 14 – Restoration of Jacob. This vision and prophecy were uttered in the time of Ahaz. Ahaz was a wicked king who would be responsible for bankrupting Jerusalem and was the initial seed of the nation’s destruction. For the people who were honoring the Lord through faithful service, the things he did had to concern them. In the same way, when we look at our world today, is disconcerting to see the evil practices that go unnoticed. It had been prophesied since the early days of Ahaz that the nation would endure a time of exile something that was not uncommon to the Jews. The word “Babylon” in Hebrew means “confused” (Genesis 11, Babylon). Because of the sinful practices of the leadership the people had become confused as to who was “G-d and who was not”. In the closing days of their exile, the nation Babylon would be under attack which would create confusion and be the impetus for the nation to return to their homeland. Under Nebuchadnezzar, as I said before, the nation Babylon would be in its “golden era”. Israel was given to Babylon to take care of and they failed in this endeavor and would be taunted because the nation would survive the 70 years of torture and misery (3-21). Babylon, like many other evil nations, would become a “curse word” sort of like Soddom and Gomorrah. The thing to keep in mind when it comes to prophecy is that providing no changes are made on one side or the other, the events will unfold. Case studies of Nineveh in the light of G-d’s promise to Solomon (Jonah, 2 Chronicles 7).

2 Samuel 12:1-14 – Nathan Rebukes David. There are a couple of things that we need to be aware of when it comes to the Kingdom of G-d. First, “nothing goes unnoticed”. Second, “we are forgiven of the bloodguilt”. Third, although tempted by our enemy, we are in charge of what we do in our lives. David knew the law of G-d because he had walked with Him since his youth. David had everything and could have received more if he just asked but it wasn’t “need” that drove David to Bathsheba, it was a spirit of “lust”. The reason for the parable instead of direct confrontation was to allow David to decree his punishment. Being forgiven the “bloodguilt” in no way implies “this matter is forgotten” because David was human and would see the implosion of his family in the eyes of the world. The reason G-d does not blank out the sinful activities “as though it never happened” is because He is a Just G-d and no one is exempt from the consequences of sin. Part of the reasoning behind mentioning his activities and those of the kings that followed is to remind the reader that “we are human and make mistakes in judgment”.

Bible Readings for 4/12/2022

Joshua 16

Psalms 75

Proverbs 31:1-9

Isaiah 13

2 Samuel 11:14-27

Mike’s Notes

Joshua 16 – An Allotment for Ephraim and Manasseh. Ephraim and Manasseh were the two children born to Joseph and his Egyptian wife. Joseph was given a double portion of Jacob’s blessing because of his faithfulness in Egypt. Ephraim was the youngest of the two sons but received the best portion of the land but we are not told why. The Canaanites that remained in the land after the conquest would serve the Ephraimites until the Ephraimites became weak.

Psalms 75 – G-d Will Judge with Equity. When we walk in the shout of the Lord and obey His laws and precepts, the world will say “You are nuts”. Yet, when you compare the two outcomes they are out of sync with each other. When the seeds of sin are first planted, we think “I don’t see anything negative about it” and that is because it takes time to germinate. Look at how marriages are ruined by illicit unions or how G-d children are ruined by drugs and/or alcohol. The Devil will tell us “there’s nothing wrong with sin, G-d just doesn’t understand your needs” (2-5). The Lord is not hasty in his decisions and takes no pleasure in sending people to the gates of Hell. Yet it is our decisions that carry us or capsize us in the storms. My choice is and will always be “Despite what the world does and/or says, I will honor the Lord and will wait to hear what He will say”.

Proverbs 31:1-9 – It’s Not For Kings. It is not G-d’s desire to see his children ruined by sin. Just because something is written, it doesn’t mean that G-d “demands it of us. From the historical records of the kings, we see the outcome of sin. So we can either follow it and grow in faith or disobey it and become the next historical reference of sinful failure. Remember, people like Solomon and his successors did not know any more about the future than you or I. So, they did not know that their actions would cause the nation to collapse any more than you or I. Our future is intricately linked to what we do today.

Isaiah 13 – The Judgment of Babylon. Babylon was the sword of the Lord against Jerusalem. By the end of 586, there would not be a single stone nor any evidence that a favored nation had dwelled in the land. The thing is, Babylon wasn’t chosen because of a “special status with the Lord”, but because they were available. When Israel crossed the Jordan centuries earlier, they were warned to be faithful and that they were not chosen because “they were something special”, they were chosen because of the faithfulness of their ancestors. When Babylon became sinful in the years following Nebuchadnezzar the Medes were sent against it, followed by the Persians, the Greeks, and lastly the Romans.

2 Samuel 11:14-27 – David and Bathsheba. David had committed a sin and Plan A “make it seem like Uriah had impregnated his wife” failed. Now, he had to act on Plan B which was to have Uriah killed so that Uriah would not find out about the King’s sexual indiscretion. Initially, the union was pleasurable and quite possibly fulfilling. The problem was that the aftermath of the incident brought great sorrow. Now the issue was on a collision course that would crash an otherwise successful reign. Uriah was killed during the battle against the Ammonites but David held onto the shank of the sword which implicated him in the killing.

Bible Readings for 4/11/2022

Joshua 15:20-63

Psalms 74

Proverbs 30:15-33

Isaiah 12

2 Samuel 11:1-13

Mike’s Notes

Joshua 15:20-63 – Inheritance for Judah. Yesterday I said that the only two men that were given specific plots of ground were Caleb and Joshua because of their courage and faithfulness. The rest of the tribe of Judah are given a plot of land by lot. When you read the names of the cities, some of them should stand out in your mind specifically, Ekron, Ziklag, Adullam, Makkedah, Gibeah, Timnah, Arab, Dumah, Gaza, and the coastline of the great sea. Ziklag was David’s temporary homeland after being expelled from Jerusalem. Ekron and Gath belonged to the Philistines. Arab or Arabah is the homeland of Arabia. Gaza is a disputed portion of Israel’s homeland. The Jebusites who held the future city of David would hold onto their property by defeating the Jews. Joshua and the elders made an unwise decision to accept the Gibeonites into the fold which would cause future problems for the nation as we’ll find out in the book of Judges. There are times in our lives when we are specifically told to get rid of ____ or “do not make friends with ___ but we do not listen thinking we are doing ourselves a favor only to find out at an inopportune time why we were given the order. For Israel, the reasoning behind the directions would be found out in David, Solomon, and many other kings’ lives when it would be too late to do anything about it.

Psalms 74 – Arise, O G-d, Defend Your Cause. There is a concept we must come to grips with, “Sin does not care who it hurts, how much it hurts, or whose goods it steals; it is the only true “equal employer” (Mike Krier). The writer of Psalms 74 is referring to Israel’s departure into exile. Many of you, including me, can testify to how sin had destroyed your home, stole your job, reduced your finances to rubble, and/or broke the home up. Jerusalem was reduced to rubble, the temple built by Solomon was destroyed, and the beautiful homes were leveled. When the minions of Hell take over a home and/or life, there is nothing sacred that will remain standing because they will trample on everything and everyone that matters to us. When we destroy our home and the security we once held so firmly to is removed, we think the Lord will come rushing in like a White Knight ready to do battle in our lives but then it doesn’t happen no matter how many times we go to church, how long we pray, or which we Prophet we go to see. Does G-d forget about us? By no means! He does give us time to sort through things in our minds and determine which G-d or god we will serve. Will He ever restore us again? Absolutely!

Proverbs 30:15-33 – Proverbs for Life. Sin is like the human stomach. When the person eats very little, he/she gains very little and a little bit of food is more than enough. When we ignore stomach pains from over-eating, the stomach grows to accommodate the increase in food. In the same way, when we do not sin, our appetite for it is diminished to non-existence. As we cave into sin, though, our appetite for it grows. Sin is like the “two leeches” which say “give me more” but give nothing in return. Sin is also like fire in that once it starts the only way it finishes is when no heat, no fuel exists like wood, or is deprived of oxygen. The reason the Lord doesn’t give “sin” a fancy name or coin a new syndrome is that He knows all too well what sin has done in His children’s lives. He had a ring-side seat for all of the events of this world, He saw them coming from a distance and saw how they destroyed people without compunction. He saw how David’s daughter was ravaged by her brother Amnon. The Lord created wise animals and insects so that mankind would learn from them. Instead, we learn from the rooster how to strut and crow, how to be a bully from the goat.

Isaiah 12 – The Lord is My Strength and My Song. When the Lord is done dealing with our sins and transgressions and the pathway has been cleared, the course that we are presently on is ended and a new pathway comes into view. The Lord does not hold a grudge against us and does not continue to hound us or our failures, that is the work of the Devil. Don’t get me wrong, sin has consequences and the Lord will wait as long as it takes for us to come to our senses. When you read the story of the Prodigal Son, you will notice that the father does not go looking in every slime pit until he finds his son and then begs him to come home, he lets that child think things through and make a decision about the pathway he would like to be on. When the child left home, his pockets were full of money and his head was full of foolish ideas. Initially, the young man had a good time until the money ran out, and along with it all of his friends. Because he was broke and hungry, he had to work wherever the money was. When he came back home again with filthy clothes and an empty stomach, he apologized for his actions and the father accepted him. While this is a parable, it is also Israel’s history. After being in exile for over 70 years, the nation returned to Jerusalem broke, covered by the stain of sin, and spiritually hungry for G-d’s righteousness in their lives. Many of you, just like me, have prayed the prayer of Daniel 9 – and go on for days as empty and as broken as the 1st day of prayer but then things slowly change.

2 Samuel 11:1-13 – David and Bathsheba. This is the point in David’s life where the wheels came off the proverbial axel and his life was irrevocably altered with the destiny of his lineage and that of the nation. He was supposed to be in the field with his army at this juncture in time. So imagine, if you will, David just happened to see Bathsheba taking a bath. Remember this, the Devil knows our temptations and just how long to dangle them before we act on them. Upon finding out that Bathsheba was pregnant, he had three choices confess, his sin or cover it up, and lastly commit murder to legalize the marriage. The reason he called for Uriah was to cover up his actions with the hope that Uriah would sleep with his wife. Uriah was a righteous man and would not accept the invitation to have pleasure when he knew the armies of the Lord and Joab his master were in the fields fighting David’s battles. Unfortunately for David, Uriah refused pleasure even in an inebriated state. The Devil does things like this to his patsies knowing that the Lord will not let that person off of the hook thereby effectively ending a time of blessings and growth in the Lord.

Bible Readings for 4/10/2022

Joshua 15:1-19

Psalms 73:16-28

Proverbs 30:1-14

Isaiah 11

2 Samuel 10

Mike’s Notes

Joshua 15:1-19 – Allotment for Judah. Judah’s allotment of land was approximately 3,245 Square Miles (New World Encyclopedia). In the middle of the land was the city “Hebron” which was given to Caleb specifically. Caleb was from the tribe of Judah. Hebron, as I mentioned yesterday, was not an easy place t capture because of the giants in the land. By the power of the Lord and the determination of Caleb, he successfully defeated the giants. The man who would defeat the giants in the surrounding land of Kierath-Sephare would be permitted to marry Caleb’s daughter. Caleb’s nephew would accept the challenge and conquer the land. The point of this is, that when we are given a task or a reward, we must put the work into it. The reason He does that is so we have a vested interest in the project and we then share in the rewards. If we invest nothing in the ministry or it “cost us nothing”, it will be forgotten as easily as when a 4-year-old child discards a hamster.

Psalms 73:16-28 – G-d is My Strength and Portion Forever. It is not hard nor is it inconceivable that people get confused in this world. The people who operate by worldly principles are continually fighting the battle of “who will be king of my life”. The world teaches us that “we are the King of our life”. The problem is, the kingdom consists of one person “Me”. So when battles start I am unprepared for the battles that will ensue because I have one person to call on “me”. Ben Franklyn once said, “The person who is his/her own lawyer has a fool for a client”. Well, the same applies to listening to our counsel when comes to matters of “righteousness versus unrighteousness”. One would think that if listen to other people and apply their standards we’ll be safe. The problem is, “Who do I believe in a world where each man can live according to his beliefs?”. Add to the mix the unrighteous succeed where the righteous are embattled so we ask ourselves “why does G-d allow this to go on? Is there a ‘True G-d or not?’”. David supplies the answer to both questions: “I went into the sanctuary of G-d and then I discerned their end” (16-17).

Proverbs 30:1-14 – The Words of Agur. While we are not told who Agur is nor his connection to the teacher but what we do know about him is that he is confused. He wanted to live a righteous life in an unrighteous world which leads to confusion and conflicts. This man did not doubt the Lord nor His word but because the world’s ways are 180 degrees out of sync with G-d’s ways, navigating the treacherous pathways is not as easy as we are led to believe hence the “narrow pathway”. This was a simple man who asked for his daily needs (7-9). The world has its ways but I do not need to be part of it nor implicate myself in their plans. As children of G-d, we are called to live by a “Higher Standard” just as Israel had been from the days in the wilderness to the conquest of Canaan. The reason we are held to a different standard is that if we act like the world and conquer something or get a promotion by the world’s standard we will be seen as “another bad-news person”. Jesus was a different type of King because he did not have an earthly throne or an earthly crown. His Kingdom is in Heaven and His crown is “Righteousness”. Those who seek to be in His Kingdom must live by the standards of the Kingdom.

Isaiah 11 – The Righteous Reign of the Branch. After the nation was sent into exile, the kingdom line of David was effectively cut off leaving a stump as a reminder. The coming King Jesus would be from the line of Jesse or a branch that grew from the stump. Jesus would use words and actions to reach out to the tribes to draw them to himself. The fruit that he would bare would be seen in the disciples and those who had accepted the message and come to know the Lord. Striking the earth just as it would be for “Killing the wicked” was not done “physically” but “spiritually”. Jesus’ actions would fly in the face of conventional thinking. Those that would accept his message and bring it to hurt and the dying world would do so under the banner of “Righteousness”.

2 Samuel 10 – David Defeats Ammon and Syria. Undoubtedly one of the most staggering issues of mankind is the ability to start wars unnecessarily. The delegation sent by David meant no harm to Ammon or Hanun. It was not the humiliation suffered by the delegation that started the war. The war was caused by Ammon lining up in battle formation and calling in outside help. Although the Princes of the land suggested the course of action, the King was responsible for all of the events that played out in his kingdom. When the Syrians were hired to help them, the King unknowingly committed his nation to serve a foreign kingdom win, lose, or draw. David’s best wish for Hanun was that he would successfully rule over the kingdom of Ammon. Instead, Ammon and Syria would serve Israel through forced labor. As is normal for mankind, we start trouble and then consider how to deal with the consequences.

Bible Readings for 4/9/2022

Joshua 14

Psalms 73:1-15

Proverbs 29:17-27

Isaiah 10:20-34

2 Samuel 9

Mike’s Notes

Joshua 14 – Inheritance West of the Jordan. On the west side of the Jordan River, the 9. 5 tribes would receive their inherited plot of land. Caleb and Joshua were the only two men out of a large group that came back with a good report and this earned them their choice of land. Caleb chose Hebron which was inhabited by the Anakim or descendants of Anak the giant. Normally, this would not be a job given to an 85-year-old man who had endured conflict. The thing is, Caleb, just like Joshua, knew and trusted the Lord. Because of this, he was willing to put his life on the line to conquer and build up Hebron. Defeating the giants that confront us is never easy but by faith in our Lord and in ourselves, even the tallest and strongest one can be defeated.

Psalms 73:1-15 – My G-d Is My Strength and Portion Forever. When we come to the Lord and accept His salvation, we become the target of the enemy the Devil. The Devil is not like mankind because he always starts his attacks from the inside and moves to the outside. Remember this, the Devil knows all about us, what turns us on, what turns us off, and all of our emotional triggers. Because of this, he knows how long to hold out the carrot and when to pull it in. Consider the modern-day commercials showing the opulent lifestyles of the rich and famous, weight loss, and/or wealth schemes each of these speaks to the terrible condition we are in and how ____ will solve the problem. The thing is, G-d’s word flies in the face of the enemy’s schemes because He tells us what will happen when the ground is taken from underneath of sin leaving it vulnerable and empty; anyone caught in sin’s trap will face the same issues and consequences.

Proverbs 29:17-27 – Proverbs for Life. The definition of pride is, “a feeling of deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired”. Many of us have visited Pride’s camp and at first, life is good. The longer we stay in that camp the prouder we become and the less we see our broken estate. Like Lo Debar, there is no central leadership everyone is ruler over their broken domain. The problem with this setup is that the camp is always subject to attacks because there is no unity in the camp and is “each man for himself”. Those who chose to stay out of the camp by remaining humble no matter what position or class they are in, end up enjoying greater peace and joy even when they are mistreated.

Isaiah 10:20-34 – The Remnant of Israel Will Return. When Israel was sent into exile some 50 years after this was penned, they went out like a bag of filth. Mighty Jerusalem was the city of the Great King David so it seemed. Yet, if one did not know any better he/she would never have known that the bag soon band of vagrants was once wealthy. When the remnant returned some 70 years later, it was barely a noticeable event. As we’ll find out later in the minor prophets it would not be an easy time as they would have to fight for every inch of victory. The same is said of us when we become sinful after enjoying the blessings of the Lord. You see, the Lord doesn’t put up with sin and it doesn’t matter who it is or what position he/she held. As we’ll find out later, the prominent priest would become as low and as filthy, as hungry, and sick as the vagrant. Sin DOES NOT care about what class of people we are in or how much money we have. Sin leaves people as broke as church mice and scared as the same (Mike Krier). When we got out broken, we will come back humble, pliable, and useful to the Kingdom of G-d (Mike Krier).

2 Samuel 9 – David’s Kindness to Mephibosheth. Mephibosheth was the son of Jonathan. After Ish-Bosheth was assassinated, Saul’s servants ran for their lives. One of the servant girls was taking care of young Mephibosheth and inadvertently dropped him breaking his ankles (2 Samuel 4:1-3). David could have forgotten his vow to Jonathan and nobody would know about it. The thing is though, Jonathan had put himself in danger of being killed by his father for cavorting with the enemy. When the vow was made, it was not just between two good friends but with a 3rd party, “The Lord”. Lo DeBar was a wicked city located just north of the Jabbock river near Mahnaiam (Lo Debar). The Hebrew word for Mahanaim is roughly translated as “Two Camps” basically the proverbial “Fork in the road”. Mephibosheth had grown up in this wicked city so he had learned their customs. In a way, this man was born again because he was no longer the vagrant begging for his meals he was a child of the great King David. The property owned by Jonathan was given to Mephibosheth making him a wealthy man. Ziba, the man who had cared for Mephibosheth would be held accountable for tending the property.

Bible Readings for 4/7/2022

Joshua 13:8-32

Psalms 72:15-20

Proverbs 29:1-16

Isaiah 10:1-19

2 Samuel 8

Mike’s Notes

Joshua 13:8-32 – Inheritance for Gadites, Reubenites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh. The land that the nation conquered in the time of Moses would belong to the 2.5 tribes. This land was on the opposite of the promised land Canaan and was given at the bequest of the 2.5 tribes. This was not necessarily G-d’s best for the nation but is proof that when we ask in faith, G-d will provide even if it is not necessarily in our best interests. Challenges lay in store for the tribes as they will face trouble from the nations that were not routed out of the territory. The nations would still be held accountable to obey the Mosaic laws and G-d’s commands. Plots of land would still be allotted to the tribe of Levi who would minister on their behalf. The people would bring their offerings to the place established by the Lord. The point is, no matter where the people lived even if it was on the West Bank the people were still required to obey the law of the Lord so that the nation would continue to be blessed. The thing is, “obeying the law of the Lord” is a choice that must be carefully made.

Psalms 72:15-20 – Give the King Your Justice. This was David’s prayer for his son Solomon the new King of Israel and Judah. What David did for Solomon was his gift to Solomon. What Solomon would do with the gift were his gift to the Lord and the nation. David knew that the only reason for his greatness was his obedience to the Lord because of this, he stepped aside to let Solomon make a decision about who he would serve. Solomon could be a great King by first being obedient to the Lord. Equally, he could be a wicked king by casting glowing in David’s praise but planning to cast it all aside in his zeal for gain. The nation had all of the resources it would need to feed the nation but, it could and would be lost through disobedience. The same can be said for your nation no matter where you live. If we are willing and obedient to the Lord’s laws and commands, He will provide whatever we will need for life and ministry.

Proverbs 29:1-16 – Proverbs for Life. Of all the things available to us in life, the one thing the Lord wants us to possess in increasing amounts is, “unspeakable joy” or, “joy that cannot be adequately described”. The joy of the Lord is not bound to time, space, or things but “in all things” (Psalms 23 in perspective). We must understand, though, that our enemy Satan is clever and conniving and will compel us to grab hold of an illusion and let go of our precious possession – Unspeakable joy. You see, Righteousness sees life from the Lord G-d’s vantage point whereas Sin sees life through the pit of desperation. How you see life and the world around you will determine the condition of your heart and there is no middle ground or “margin for error”.

Isaiah 10:1-19 – Woe to the Sinful Lands. In G-d’s eyes, all of mankind despite color, creed, or nation. As righteousness builds up a nation, so sin destroys it piece by piece. Judah had become as bad as Assyria & Moab and because of it, were slated for destruction by the same rule of “G-d’s equality”. Understand this, there is nothing we hold in our hands that can not be removed no matter how tightly we hold onto it. The rulers of the land (President, Congress, and Senate) hold a dual-edged sword in their hands that not only make judicious decisions but also cuts into their soul and spirit. Assyria had its eyes on Judah to capture it and take its wealth but G-d had another plan that would stop the assault before it started. Where the king of Judah got into trouble, just as we have today is that he allowed fear to speak louder than faith. The master of Sin, the Devil or the “Serpent” compels his minions to make the problem to be bigger than the hand of G-d. The reason he does this is to get us so stuck in a trap that we give up and submit ourselves to our fate. The lament in this is that G-d had plans to prosper Judah so that the nation would be joyful but sin clouded all of the joy in the smog of fear.

2 Samuel 8 – David’s Victories. When you look at the names of the nations that David and the armies of Israel defeated and were forced to pay tribute to David, you should see that these same nations would come back to cause trouble for Israel. Remember, no victory lasts forever just as a kingdom is never secure against revolt forever (Proverbs 27:23-24). While the kingdom was strong nations served Israel faithfully. When the nation collapsed into sinful practices, war raged in the kingdom and the nations serving Israel would become the nation’s “taskmasters”. All of the gold, silver, and bronze collected by David and his armies were put into the temple treasury and would be used to build the first temple. This is important to note because by not holding onto the devoted things David showed his faithfulness to the Lord G-d which is what Joshua was told to do before the conquest of Jericho (Joshua 6:18). Additionally, giving the precious metals to the Temple would benefit the entire nation. David was not a greedy man which is the sign of a good ruler.

Bible Readings for 4/5/2022

Joshua 13:1-7

Psalms 72:1-14

Proverbs 28:18-28

Isaiah 9:8-21

2 Samuel 7:18-29

Mike’s Notes

Joshua 13:1-7 – Land Still to Be Conquered. In his old age, Joshua and the army had conquered land from Jericho to north and south of Canaan and yet there was still land he had not conquered. During the wars, the people most likely did not consider “who got what tracts of land” because their focus was on the mission in front of them. The land that lay ahead of them would be given to the 9.5 tribes after the land was conquered. The Lord drove out nations but it would be up to the tribes to use the land correctly. As we’ll find out, the Philistines would come back to take back their land and would strive to take more. You see, in a contest, there will be winners and losers. What we do with what we are given is the real struggle. The world seeks “the difference” and it is the reasoning behind one person or winning a contest. In Canaan of that time, some warlords defeated weaker kingdoms. Israel was to be the “difference” not more of the same.

Psalms 72:1-14 – Give the King Your Justice. This Psalm was penned by David for Solomon’s coronation. David had high hopes for Solomon aka Jedidiah. Solomon had a big set of shoes to fill because his father had accomplished so much and had ruled the nation at a time when it was caught between two opinions. The thing is, the people had no idea what kind of King Solomon would be. After taking the helm, the wars the nation had endured ceased and there was a time of unparalleled peace. Verses 4-11 are predicated upon the phrase “May he …”. So Solomon had choices to make but how would he know the right path to take? The answers are found in the book of the law which he was required by the same law to write a copy for himself in the presence of the Levitical Priests (Deuteronomy 17:18-20).

Proverbs 28:18-28 – Proverbs for Life. Everything in life is first started by an event. The person who didn’t work didn’t eat. The person who worked his/her land and was faithful in their work received a bountiful harvest. The famous scripture verse “The Lord shall provide for all of your needs according to His riches and mercy by Jesus Christ” (Philippians 4:19) does not in any way imply that G-d looks down and says “___ needs ___” and then sends one. If that were the case, all we would have to do is put our hand out grab what is given, use it up, and go back for more. In doing so, the people would become dependent on G-d in a negative way because it wouldn’t require us to be faithful or obedient. G-d wants us to trust not become dependent on Him. When people are dependent on anything or anyone, he/she can be controlled which is the world governments’ “Modes Operandi”. G-d has no desire to control anyone, He wants us to trust Him and be faithful to what is asked of us.

Isaiah 9:8-21 – Judgment on Arrogance and Oppression. Both Samaria and Judea were disobedient and unfaithful. This brings up my point about G-d’s blessings and promises. The two kingdoms had been sold a bad bag of goods and the whole nation was paying for it. For a nation to endure, the people must be obedient to what is asked of them by the Lord (Micah 6:6-8). The nation’s moniker “the chosen people” was superseded by “The forgotten”. The reason for the change was that the nation was disobedient unceasingly. You see, the Lord doesn’t give things without us having to put the labor into the project. Now some are not phased by destruction because they believe their money can buy anything they want. When we buy our way out of one situation one greater will come along to alter the funds in our account. Consider the “COVID money”. At the beginning of COVID, the government gave out millions to help the unemployed survive. Then, one greater issue arose and more money was given out. Now many are dependent on the government. So, when the money runs out that money the nation will be bankrupt. In the same way, Samaria/Judea would become bankrupt and the people would do the unthinkable for their food. The things and people the nation allowed in their land would become a trap and the nations they ruled over would rule over them (18-21).

2 Samuel 7:18-29 – David’s Prayer of Gratitude. David was given a special promise that “his kingdom would endure forever”. All of G-d’s blessings are “yes and amen” but there are two outcomes, one for obedience and the other for disobedience. An analogy to this would be: A rich man once spoke to a group of 10 young people. He promised them that they would be millionaires by the end of 3 years providing they follow his instructions. The young people accepted the promise from the rich man and the process began right away. The young people dreamed of what it would be like to enjoy the “fat of the land”. The first instruction was that the people were to stop spending. This surprised the people and one person dropped out. The 2nd instruction was that the people were to learn how to budget for their needs and forget their wants for right now. The 3rd instruction was that the people were to spend less than ½ of their income and put the rest out for investments. There were grunts and groans from the people and by now all but 2 people remained. The 4th instruction was that the people reinvest all profits from investments. Only one person remained out of a group of 10. Promises are only as good as the willingness to be obedient and faithful. In Matthew we read, “Many are called few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14). The few are chosen because the many don’t want to be obedient and faithful. David’s kingdom would endure for many years until their exile in 586.

Bible Reading for 4/3/2022

Joshua 12

Psalms 71

Proverbs 28:1-17

Isaiah 9:1-7

2 Samuel 7:1-17

Mike’s Notes

Joshua 12 – The Defeated Kings. The kings that were defeated were recorded for the purpose of “encouragement to the nation”. Remember, the nation was about to finish the conquest and would enter the most dangerous phase of their journey “taking control of the land”. You see when the battle is raging the people unite for the purpose. During the heavy conflict, people pray to the Lord for protection and deliverance. When the battle is over and peace ensues an internal conflict crops up and that is, “struggling with sin”. These kings lost their lives and their kingdoms at the hands of Israel. The problem was those nations that remained would serve Israel until Israel became too weak to command the nations and then those people would resurrect the defeated kingdoms and conquer Israel. In the same way, when we escape the clutches of sin no matter what it is, we need to be aware of and remember the battles that we won. The familiar scripture “As far as the east is from the west so far has he has cast our sin behind us” (Psalm 103:12) doesn’t mean that the sin or transgression is completely gone. In fact, the sin or “transgression” will always be a 180 degree turn around.

Psalms 71 – Forsake Me Not When My Strength Is Spent. A refuge is a place you can go to where it is safe. In the state of Minnesota where I live, just like there are in other states, there are animal refuges where the animals are safe from hunting. For the animals to grow and mature, the environment must support the animals’ needs such as food and shelter. The environment doesn’t give the animals food, it provides the opportunity for the animals to forge the food to feed themselves and their young. In the same way, the Kingdom of G-d is a place of refuge for everyone who comes to the Lord. In this place, we are not given everything without us once having to work for it or once having dealt with disappointment and failure. The writer, most likely David, knew what it was like to walk in the high places of the Kingdom and equally knew what it was like to walk in the marshlands amid the quicksand. No matter how bad the situations got to be, his strength and faith grew strong and unbreakable. I encourage those who are going through troubles that seem to pin them down at every turn to keep their eyes on the Lord and never leave his place of refuge even when things seem utterly hopeless.

Proverbs 28:1-17 – Proverbs for Life. Life is like quicksand in that it is formed from earthquakes, flowing water, and sand. The surface always looks stable like something you can build a home on yet when a little pressure is put on it, the item sinks. The film industry incorrectly portrays quicksand by showing people sinking to their deaths. The truth is that you only sink to your waist but you can still die from it due to hypothermia, dehydration, predators, crush syndrome, and drowning from an incoming wave (Quicksand). Sin in many ways is similar to quicksand because it holds you in a precarious place and makes the victim susceptible to the same problems as quicksand. The world laughs at sin because people get entangled in it causing problems such as people falling down drunk or being so high that they put on a comedy show that is recorded for the world to laugh at. When we first venture into sin, we do not realize the predicament we are in until we are so stuck that life becomes hopeless and we look forward to death. The reprehensible part of this is that the Devil is clever and talks people into doing his bidding. The person who takes the nibble on the Devil’s lure is often used as bait for bigger fish.

Isaiah 9:1-7 – For to Us, a Child is Born. Verses 6-7 are a familiar bit of scripture and read during the Christmas season. The problem is that are many other moving pieces that we need to consider. From the time of Solomon to the closing days of Manasseh the nation would endure manifold numbers of struggles and fights from within. In the coming days of the Messiah, the one “who would build the temple to the Lord G-d” would be a stark difference from priests and scribes and was the reason why he was rejected. The reference to the “day of Midian” refers to the incident where Moses defeated the Midianites in the closing days of his life (Numbers 31). At the time of this writing, they were perilous days that were rocking Judah’s world and the struggles were coming from within. The encouragement I find from this segment is that no matter how bad the days were or how many threats were confronting the nation Hope is on the way. Today, we face the same issue with the manifold troubles in the world and it is so easy to get downhearted and fearful but I encourage you to keep your eyes on the Lord He will never leave nor forsake us. Having the Lord at our side doesn’t imply “that our road will always be smooth and flat”. No matter how bad the signs of the time are, no matter how devasting the news of destruction, and/or how crazy the road signs are, keep your eyes on the Lord at all times.

2 Samuel 7:1-17 – The Lord’s Covenant with David. David was the Lord’s anointed agent on the earth in his time. It was his desire to build a Temple to honor the G-d of Heaven and Earth. The temple wanted was a life lived for the Lord amid a sinful world. The prophecy about the son who would build the temple was interpreted differently from the Lord’s version. Remember this prophecy was repeated from the mouth of the Prophet Nathan which is a source of many problems. To David, the prophecy was that his successor would build the Temple after David’s death. Remember, Solomon wasn’t born yet. At this point, David was obedient to the Lord which was the catalyst for the success he enjoyed. The eternal throne was David’s love for the Lord and anyone who followed David’s path would sit on it and enjoy the fruit. The succeeding generations of the Davidic line slowly descended down the path to sin. Today, the problem persists because people accept sin as one would respond to the temperature being increased one degree at a time. If the temperature was increased or decreased too rapidly,  the people would reject the person’s ministry. Consider how Jesus was a stark difference from the Priests and scribes and would be rejected.

Bible Readings for 4/2/2022

Joshua 11

Psalms 70

Proverbs 27:19-27

Isaiah 8

2 Samuel 6:16-23

Mike’s Notes

Joshua 11 – Conquests in Northern Canaan. Northern Canaan was about 1,732 square miles and encompassed seven disparate kingdoms. The complement of Israel’s army was more than 600,000 combatants and a populace of more than 2 million people. The size of the army and populace would not save the nation as much as being obedient and trusting the Lord. If analysts compared the two nations, power, numbers, and experience were on the side of the combined forces of the Northern Canaan Kingdoms. Understand this, size and power are not a consideration to the Lord. When our eyes are on the Lord nothing is impossible even in the most serious of situations. Joshua was not “Superman” and the armies of Israel suffered losses just like the other kingdoms. The problem with the conquest is that the cities of Gath, Gaza, and Ashdod were not defeated and from these cities would come the Philistines who would be problematic for Israel until the time of David. When we do not defeat the areas in our life they will come back to rattle our cages at the worst possible moment.

Psalms 70 – Oh Lord, Do Not Delay. Trusting in the Lord is easier said than done. In the good times, we are on the bandwagon. When life turns sour, we tend to think “the Lord who?”. The reason for the shift in beliefs is that many come to the Lord out of “fear” and when our “scratch spot” is no longer scratched we follow the crowd out the door. In September of 2001, after the towers were attacked, people flocked to the churches for prayer and counseling. For some people, the reason for being in church is that they did not want to remain on earth after the “Rapture”. When the rapture did not occur according to the false prophets, the church’s credibility was tarnished. The thing is, we are to be the difference in an indifferent world. The world and the church have their theories about this world and the events that are unfolding that doesn’t mean that they are right.

Proverbs 27:19-27 – Proverbs for Life. One of the hardest things to deal with is “fear”. The world sells “fear” because it is profitable. Consider how people were afraid of Y2K and how much money was made selling the answer to “Fear”. What we do not fully comprehend is that when we are being sold a bill of goods, the person selling has a motive. That “Motive” is to ensnare us in a lie for their financial well-being. When people are afraid, they can be controlled and will pay whatever they have to alleviate pain. Because the Devil is so clever and hates us so much, we need to keep a careful watch over our life, family, and home. Nothing lasts “forever” in this world whether it is good, bad, or indifferent. The only one that is “from all eternity” is the Lord G-d and for that reason is the one we need to trust.

Isaiah 8 – The Coming Assyrian Invasion. Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz means “quick to plunder” or “The spoil speeds” and the “prey hastens” (Definition). Isaiah prophesied about the invasion somewhere around 732 BC but the invasion did not happen until around 704 BC under Senacharib (Invasion). King Rezin and the son of Remaliah had planned an invasion of Judah which would not happen. The reason the people rejoiced over the coming invasion of Samaria and Damascus was that they were not happy with the present king (Commentary). The problem the people had was that they were unaware of what the cost would be nor the unknown variable “Assyria”. The people rejected the gently flowing river of Shiloah because the “healing flow” had become a myth and a story for the weak to believe. What the people did not understand but would find out the hard way is that promises are nothing but “hot air”. A parallel to this was the political unrest in China after WWII ended leading up to the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989 (Communism in China). The people wanted something different but they were tripping over the Cornerstone of “Religion”. The reason the Lord told Isaiah not to listen to the political mess was that it confuses people and leads to fights. When your trust is in anything or anyone other than the Lord, you will get what you do not want by proxy of “unintended consequences”.

2 Samuel 6:16-23 – David and Michal. David had paid to marry Michal by bringing the requisite number of Philistine foreskins. When David ran away from Saul Michal was given to someone else. After Saul’s death, the kingdom was in conflict between the two disparate kingdoms. Abner, Saul’s Army General, was left holding the proverbial “bag” because Ish-Bosheth was a weak king and people were going over to David in droves. Abner wanted to bring the tribes of Israel over to David and David agreed to it providing Michal was brought to him. So Michal is brought to David and the rest they say is “History”. Michal was the one person who should have been left where she was and forgotten about. In ways, she is the ”contentious woman” of Proverbs and left alone. By removing his royal clothing and dancing before the Lord, David was being obedient. The problem for Michal was that she was basically “property” something that could be sold or maintained. Because of her insolence, she would count off her remaining days as a prisoner and would never give birth to a child.

Bible Readings for 3/31/2022

Joshua 10:16-42

Psalms 69:16-36

Proverbs 27:1-18

Isaiah 7

2 Samuel 6:1-15

Mike’s Notes

Joshua 10:16-42 – 5 Amorite Kings Executed. The valley of Makkedah is located approximately 42 miles southwest of Jerusalem. The five kingdoms attacked Joshua and the Israelites with a much more powerful army. In the end, Joshua and the nation defeated the armies and the five kings ended up being sealed in a cave until after the battle was over. What we are seeing in this chapter is “momentum” which was on the side of the Israelites. The more battles they won the more their faith in Joshua and the Lord grew and matured. In future Bible Readings, I will talk about the opposite side of “Momentum” and that is, “stagnation”. The Israelites were a young and quite able nation whereas the 5 kingdoms and then the kingdoms in southern Canaan were well established and were known for being victorious so a loss was hard to swallow.

Psalms 69:16-36 – Save Me O G-d. Each of us, at one point in time or another, has prayed for vengeance on our enemies it’s called “Venting”. In our pain, sorrow, and anger we get blinded and are unable to see past those things but, the longer we stay in prayer the softer our heart becomes. The softer our heart becomes, the clearer our vision gets, and those things that blocked our vision are removed, and “we can see more of the forest and less of the solitary tree”. In our times of immense struggle, we want relief and we want it right away. When that “pain” is not lifted in the time we set for it to occur, we become discouraged and think “G-d doesn’t exist” like in the case of King Ahaz. The part of G-d’s salvation that is glossed over is “obedience”. Where we are in life whether on the throne of Judah or in the kitchen of Solomon slaving over the food is not a determining factor in how far we will go in the Kingdom of G-d nor will it determine our destiny. What determines our destiny is “obedience”.

Proverbs 27:1-18 – Proverbs for Life. Time is like currency. Each day we are given time to work, play, and affect change in our world. What we do with that currency is directed by our choices. If our choices are good, we positively affect change in our lives and that of those who surround us. Conversely, if our choices are bad we negatively affect our lives and those who surround us. Once we have chosen a pathway either good or bad, it will set the course for our future. The unknown variable is the choices of others, market conditions, and “Acts of G-d”. it is human nature for us to think, “if ___ continues this will happen” but then the variable changes, and the plans we made become a moot point. The point is, “trust in the Lord with all of your heart and don’t rely on what you see or the fear of others to lead you into unfulfilled dreams.

Isaiah 7:1-9 – Isaiah Sent to King Ahaz. The Syro-Ephraimic war that raged from 734-732 BC, brought all of Israel and the armies of Damascus against the southern kingdom. When you look at page 4 of the linked document, you will see why Ahaz was so afraid (Syro-Ephraimic War). Solomon was the lynchpin of this war but Ahaz had the opportunity to set the standard of “faith over adversity”. The choices Ahaz made at this crucial point would either establish the kingdom of Judah or lead to its demise. The Lord is not concerned about the size of an army much less Pekah and Rezin and that is because He sees things from a mountain top view whereas we see things from the mud pit. The problem is, Fear has a nasty confusing us. On one hand, we see the Lord’s promise, and on the other “real-world enemies”. When we listen to what Fear has to say, we make a bad choice worst by adding more bad choices until there is no possible way out. The allies in the war against Judah would fight for control of Samaria which fulfilled the prophecy of Pekah and Rezin (7-9, war for the throne).

2 Samuel 6:1-15 – The Ark Brought to Jerusalem. For over 20 years the Ark of the Covenant had been in the house of Abinadab and watched over by his son Eleazar (1 Samuel 7:1-2). David wanted to bring the Ark to Jerusalem where the Temple would be built. The Ark was carried on a new cart sort of like what the Philistines did when they returned the Ark of the Covenant. When you read the account of Uzzah, it would seem to be unfair and that G-d was just being a “Meanie”. David had forgotten one key instruction for moving the Ark and that is, “it was to be carried on poles that were affixed to the base of the Ark by the sons of Korah” (Carrying the Ark). David made a 2nd attempt and this time he read what the law had to say about the Ark and he obeyed them. The Ark of the Covenant was more than just a golden box with some dusty old scrolls in them, it was the very presence of the Lord on this earth. In the NT, Jesus was the very presence of G-d incarnate, and is why we read “the government was laid upon his shoulders” (Isaiah 9:6). In the same way, when we touch people’s lives, they are more than just a body to reach for the Lord they are holy things and are to be treated with respect.

 

Bible Readings 3/30/2022

Joshua 10:1-15

Psalms 69:1-15

Proverbs 26:15-28

Isaiah 6

2 Samuel 5:16-25

Mike’s Notes

Joshua 10:1-15 – The Sun Stands Still. When the Gibeonites went to make a pact with Israel, the first thought was that this nation is small and defenseless. Yet, it is a big town with formidable warriors. As a  royal city, it was a place of commerce which meant that the king of Jerusalem and the 5 kings of the region could potentially face supply issues. For this reason, the six kings attacked Gibeah to force it into being subservient to the 5 kings. Now, this chapter is a big problem because Joshua called for the sun to stand still until he defeated the six kings. Some scientists believe what happened at that time was an eclipse of the sun. Remember at this time people described in some detail what they saw and what they witnessed. When the book was translated into English, we see “the sun stood still until Joshua defeated the six kings” and so we shake our heads and think the writer was out of his mind. What I think happened and commentary bears it out, is that time seemed to be enlarged although it ticked by at the same speed it always has. As a parallel, when I spend time with the Lord the 3 hours seem much longer because I made use of the time I was given (Time).

Psalms 69:1-15 – Save Me, O G-d. in times of duress and pressure we tend to ask the question “Why is ____ happening”? The thing is, we may never know what precipitated the trouble confronting our lives. In the book of Joshua, the 3000 men were routed by AI and Joshua wanted the Lord to tell him why it occurred and “Why didn’t you let me stay on the other side?”. It was on this rare occasion that the Lord filled in the details (Joshua 7:1-5). David is being hounded on all sides by people demanding something from him although he had committed no error (1-3). When we stand with both feet firmly planted in the Kingdom of G-d and our sins covered in the blood come what may, we’ll make it through the storm. We all have friends sort of like what Job had who point out our flaws as the reasoning behind the struggles we are facing instead of putting on a servant’s towel and supporting us through the mess.

Proverbs 26:15-28 – Proverbs for Life. The Fool, “the morally depraved person”, does not consider the path he/she is laying by his/her actions. Consider the case of Nabal whose actions would have led to his entire family being killed for his inhospitality towards the man who watched over him (1Samuel 25:14-16). While every animal that walks on this planet can be identified by the footprints they leave, the fool is the exception because he/she can disguise their intention through the use of words or lack thereof. The reason the Fool is so hard to figure out is that he/she always has an accomplice “the naïve man/woman”. The Naïve believe what they are told without checking the matter thoroughly before making a decision sort of like the young man in Proverbs 7. The reason the writer spent so much time talking about the Fool and the Wise is for the student to decide which one he/she will be. Understand this, knowing Proverbs and living them are two different things. Solomon was wise but he was foolish at the same time.

Isaiah 6 – Isaiah’s Vision of the Lord. King Uzziah or Uzias or Azariah died in 739BC which meant Isaiah would prophesy for 50-60 years. The vision that he had would be similar to the one given to John the Revelator. The temple was filled with the Divine Glory of G-d and is the reasoning behind “Holy holy holy”; this reference would appear in Isaiah and again in Revelations. The reasoning behind touching Isaiah’s lip with the coal from the altar was to equip and empower him to tell the nation what the Lord has to say. So the coal that ignites the fire on the altar, the Holy Spirit, would speak vicariously through Isaiah so it would be the words of the Lord to the sinful nation. The reference to “the whole world is full of the glory of G-d” implies that G-d’s dominion was not just over Israel nor the Temple in Israel. Isaiah would prophesy to the nation until the time the nation went into exile in 586. A remnant would return from exile but it would not be the end of the story for the nation. From 539 – 70 BC the nation would be conquered and be under the crown of the Medes, Persia, Syrians, and Greeks until the time of the Herodian Dynasty and the Maccabean revolt 167–160BC (Judas Maccabeus). The last reference was the “Holy Seed” which was the Messiah who would come from the stump of Judah or the “Davidic Kingdom”.

2 Samuel 5:16-25 –  David Defeats the Philistines. We are not told why the Philistines went in search of David after he was crowned King of the United Kingdom. Previously David had lived among the Philistines and had defeated their champion, Goliath. You will notice that David first sought G-d’s will before racing off to war. Because he obeyed the Lord’s direction, he was successful in the war. Being put in a place of power is a dangerous thing because we as humans tend to become proud of the prominence afforded us. Consider how Jeroboam, who we will meet later in our readings, received a kingship over 10 tribes and he became very proud and defiant of G-d’s laws. For the most part, people always draw close to the Lord in battle conditions but when the battle is over and won, the same people become obstinate towards the Lord. David listened and obeyed the instructions given to him although they seemed to be “utter nonsense”.

Bible Reading for 3/29/2022

Joshua 9:16-27

Psalms 68:19-35

Proverbs 26:1-14

Isaiah 5:18-30

2 Samuel 5:1-15

Mike’s Notes

Joshua 9:16-27 – The Gibeonite Deception. The Gibeonites had deceived Joshua and his council chamber. When the people saw how far Gibeah was, Joshua’s name became “mud”. The problem was that Joshua’s word was his bond and he was not about to make a bad situation worse by breaking his vow. The Gibeonites would become slaves until Joshua passed away. The tribe of Benjamin would become the owner of the land of Gibeah but would be influenced by Gibeah which would lead to war with the 10 tribes. In the end, Benjamites would be nearly decimated because of sin leading to foolishness (Judges 23). This play continues to this day. Many people have started their journey to the Kingdom only to be sidetracked by feigned promises and temptation. When we accept things into our life or ministry at first we have control over them and then things change and those “things” become our aggressors and/or wicked counselors leading us, our families, ministries, our cities, nations, and world astray. Many sins and people like the Gibeonites are harmless at first and then show their true colors.

Psalms 68:19-35 – G-d Shall Scatter His Enemies. When Israel returned from exile to rebuild Jerusalem, the people had been changed because they had been humiliated and diminished. No matter how small the construction group was used by the Lord mightily to accomplish His purposes in that time. Many of you, including me, have sinned and fallen short of G-d’s best for our life. When this happens all forward motion stops as I said yesterday. Falling short of G-d’s best is not the end of the story because in His kingdom it is not a “one and done”. Is it difficult to come back from moral failure? Absolutely! Many ministers have caved into sin and never put another foot in the pulpit but they do become a mighty source of encouragement. As we continue our journey from failure to fullness in Christ Jesus there will be many traps and pitfalls but if we can just see beyond them, we will find healing in His temple. What the world has rejected, the Lord has accepted praise be to His name (32-35).

Proverbs 26:1-14 – Proverbs for Life. What we do in life is as important as the heart we put into it. When you consider the two characters in this section, it is not subjective, it is objective. That is, our actions are judged by the outside world or the “inward focus” that looks at the results. What we do with the things given by the Lord will either tell the world “I am a fool” or “I am wise”. The crux of the problem is if asked every one of us would most likely put ourselves in the “wise column” and everyone else in the “fool’s column”. The question we need to ask ourselves daily is, “which column will I be in today?” and then take active strides to accomplish that objective.

Isaiah 5:18-30 – The Vineyard of the Lord Destroyed. The Lord gave land to Israel to live, raise their children, grow crops, and provide for its financial needs. Under David’s leadership, the nation flourished. The temple had not been built and the people still worshipped the Lord in a tent. For 30 years David ruled in Jerusalem in the land that was surrounded by mountain ranges and water flowed clean and pure. Unfortunately, time altered the happy kingdom in fact, if you were to have time-traveled from the time of David to the time of Solomon, you would have noticed subtle differences. When Solomon gave the word to the nation that the Temple his father dreamed about would be constructed, people came from all four corners of the nation to volunteer their services. The wood would come from Lebanon under Hiram King of Tyre. Add to this complexity, Solomon wanted a palace built for himself and his Egyptian wife. By the time of Isaiah, the once united kingdom was as far apart as say New York is from California although they lived in the same geographic area. So what happened to the Vineyard of the Lord? It was corrupted by self-seeking individuals, leaders selling the kingdom to line their pockets, and theological differences of opinion. The nation had old enemies which stemmed from the time of David. Just as David had been the sword of judgment against Saul so the old enemies would be to the beleaguered nation. These are the same things that bring families down and create division.

2 Samuel 5:1-15 – David Anointed King of Israel. David’s kingdom finally comes to fruition. In the intervening years between his anointing to fruition, he had faced many challenges and temptations. Capturing Jerusalem was a coup de tat that capped off his anointing. Jerusalem gets its name from the Jebusites who had occupied the land since the time of Ham (Jebus). Jebus or Yebus as it is written in the Hebrew Bible means “trampled on” (Wikipedia). So Israel under Joshua taunted the nation at the onset of the battle but Israel lost the battle. The problem was, this nation would not be defeated until the time of David (Jebusites). The reason we see the words “even the blind and the lame …” is because the Jebusites believed that just as mighty Joshua had lost the battle so would King David (Joshua 15:63). The reason The reasoning behind David’s decision to capture the impregnable city was because of the natural resources of the land and it was centrally located (David’s Capital). To the Living G-d Jerusalem is no more important than say, Detroit MI. What is important to the Lord is the condition of our hearts. The Lord loved David because David had surrendered his heart to serve the Lord in all things. The problem for David would be his affinity for taking rival wives and concubines who would give birth to multiple children some of which you will never hear about.

Bible Readings for 3/27/2022

Joshua 9:1-15

Psalms 68:1-18

Proverbs 25:15-28

Isaiah 5:1-17

2 Samuel 4

Mike’s Notes

Joshua 9:1-15 – The Gibeonite Deception. The ruse created by the Gibeonites was a clever deception because of the props they brought with them. The tribe of Gibeah had good reasons for being afraid after all, if the powerful nations like Egypt and AI were defeated by Israel how much more would they do to Gibeah?  The vow made by Joshua and the leaders of Israel implicated the nation and it would pay for it far into the future. The breaking point in the agreement was that the leaders did not inquire the Lord about it. Instead, they did a little bit of research and called it “good”. If anybody in the tribe should have known better it was Joshua who had spent time in the Temple listening to the Lord and had coupled with the Commander of the Lord’s army. In the same way, we as humans accept things into our life that are not good but our eyes are calling the shots sort of like overloading the plate because our eyes are bigger than our stomach.

Psalms 68:1-18 – G-d Shall Scatter His Enemies. One of our many struggles as humans is that we tend to believe our eyes more than we believe the Lord we cannot see. Consider Elisha’s servant who after seeing the enemy up close became fearful. It is written that Elisha had been telling the King of Israel what the enemy was up to and so the king was able to counter each move successfully. So when the enemy showed up in the valley and had surrounded Elisha, hear his words: “”Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them. Then Elisha prayed and said, “LORD, please, open his eyes that he may see.” And the LORD opened the servant’s eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire surrounding Elisha” (2 Kings 6:16-17). In the same way, when we are surrounded by the things and people we fear, we can turn our eyes and heart to the Lord and He will accomplish His purpose in our life. There is nothing the Lord will not do when we trust Him and never break faith in him even when we have been banished to the far reaches of the world far from our places of comfort. While scripture may sound like events happen right away, and because G-d’s salvation doesn’t happen in short order, we tend to lose faith sort of like how the Jews felt when exiled to Babylon.

Proverbs 25:15-28 – Proverbs for Life. We are given control over the affairs of our life. While it is easier to allow other people to influence our decisions, it doesn’t absolve us from being held accountable for the things we do. In the same way, we can allow problems to fester in our life or we can deal with them. Life presents us with challenges either because of a disability that we were born with or areas of conflict such as addictions. Sadly the world we live in coupled with the “challenges” that are at the root of our character to become insensitive, angry, and/or cold-natured. The thing is, we can either allow them to define us or we can redefine our life given the cross of Jesus Christ. When we cave into the pressure to sin or go against our better judgment, we become complicit in the crime even when we were not actively engaged in it. You will notice that in every instance where you were pressured into committing an action, those who pressured you will be the first ones to abandon you.

Isaiah 5:1-17 – The Vineyard of the Lord Destroyed. As I had mentioned in the previous days, the nation was in decline spiritually. Physically, they were still Jews and were named after the men of old. Visitors to the kingdom would recognize the throneroom built by Solomon and the Temple. Yet, there was no joy amid the people because sin had stripped it away leaving the soul of the nation open for infection. It was not G-d’s plan for all of this to happen but the choices of those in power set the ball in motion. Solomon was the lynchpin in this because of the foreign-born wives he married and sired children who would learn the ways of their people through their mother. Rehoboam would follow in his father’s footsteps and repeat Solomon’s mistakes. Remember this, the Lord will not put up with sin not because He thinks “my people are too holy” but that sin is like a seed that lays dormant until it is time to act. Being sent into exile would serve two purposes: it would humiliate the people and it would pave the way for the exiled to return to the promised land if they remained faithful where they were. You see the people would be changed but the land would remain the same.

2 Samuel 4 – Ish-Bosheth Murdered. Ish-Bosheth was the last remaining adult son of Saul. When he was slain by members of his extended family, the default king would be David – Yah! David could have accepted the actions of the two murderers as the Lord’s way of accomplishing prophecy but I believe there is an underlying trap to taint his kingdom. You see, if he had said nothing and accepted the calls for him to be the King, he would eventually be blamed for Ish-Bosheth’s murder. So, David had the young men kill the murderers and cut off their hands and feet as a sacrifice for the blood they shed needlessly. Jonathan’s nephew, Mephibosheth would pay the ultimate price for the sins of the two men. When we are promised something by the Lord, whether it be a spouse or a calling, He will come through but it will not happen without the Devil’s attention. Because he knows the joy that will flood our hearts when the Lord comes through, the Devil will use every tool in his arsenal to get us to “force prophecy to happen”. Consider everything David went through from the day of the prophecy to the day he ascended the throne.

 

Bible Readings 3/24/2022

Joshua 8:24-35

Psalms 67

Proverbs 25:1-14

Isaiah 4

2 Samuel 3:22-39

Mike’s Notes

Joshua 8:24-35 – Destruction of AI. Ai was completely destroyed leaving nothing and no one alive. This would be one of the very few places that the Lord allowed the nation to take the treasures and livestock as spoil. The reason Joshua was so successful and loved by the nation was that he was obedient to the Lord he served. Because he obeyed all of the laws of Moses, the people followed suit. Obedience and faithfulness are learned from our leaders just like disobedience and unfaithfulness. Joshua had learned them at the feet of Moses and in the tent of meeting. The heap of rocks that Joshua built were from the walls of the kingdom of AI and were an epitaph of the proud kingdom. Those who when coming upon the rocks would see and understand the outcome of disobedience. Shechem, which is located between the two mountains Gerizim and Ebal was the place where their ancestor Abram had made a covenant with the Lord. Gerizim and Ebal are polar opposites just as the law has two pathways. The curses are the opposite of obedience and there is no third alternative. The Law is an uninterested third party because it is a plumb line. Those who apply the law to their lives will be blessed. Those who misapply the law inherit the curses that lead to their demise (Gerizim_Ebal). In time, the nation would collapse in sin partly they did not read the law and apply it to their lives and partly because of failed leadership which would cause the nation to be seen differently in the eyes of the court of Public Opinion (Jeremiah 13:21-22).

Psalms 67 – Make Your Face Shine Upon Us. For the Lord’s face to shine upon us, we must first turn our face to him. Consider how the sun cannot shine on the area under a boulder. When the boulder is moved, the ground beneath gets the water, light, and oxygen which causes any of the plants left dormant below it to grow. For the nations to come to the light, they must first see healthy fruit from it or all they’ll see is a boulder with famous scriptural verses. In times of trouble and fears for what the future holds, the people will come to the boulders to seek refuge and then walk away when the trouble has passed. The Lord G-d wants more from us than to be a sounding board and a crutch to hold people up, He wants us to be a source of life-giving water that produces tangible fruit.

Proverbs 25:1-14 – Solomon’s Proverbs. When we walk with the Lord, we must understand that the Lord does not reach down and tell us step-by-step what to do. He does, however, provide us the laws to live by and to form our decisions. There are things that we learn along the way that either build us up or become just another “crumbling brick” that leads to our demise. For the king to build an enduring kingdom, he would need to carefully select the people who would counsel him. While the book speaks to the future kings of Israel and Judah, it also applies to the people who live under his banner. When we use our words with the intention of uplifting people and bringing forth life-giving fruit, people come to know the Lord we serve. Conversely, when we speak like the scribes and Pharisees of old, the people will listen for a little while and then turn away because our words will be empty and a mere sounding board.

Isaiah 4 – The Branch of the Lord Glorified. The nation Israel was about to suffer in ways they never knew possible. At this juncture, the nation was old and established but was not the same nation that crossed the river Jordan in Joshua’s time. Its kings and priests had sold the nation down the river into slavery. Its young men were killed in battle until one man was chased by seven women which most men wouldn’t object to (1). Sadly it is only when we have nothing to cling to and no hope to speak about that we call on the Lord. It is said, “you will never know that Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you have” (Pastor Tim Keller). This scripture, like many from Isaiah, points to the Messiah who would not come for another 600 some years. The remnant who would come through the storms and fierce trials would return to Jerusalem rejoicing in the Lord. When the remnant rebuilt the Temple and walls the shekinah glory of G-d would shine on them and protect them.

2 Samuel 3:22-39 – Joab Murders Abner in Revenge. The difference between Asahel and Abner’s death lies in the concept of “battle”. Abner came in peace which effectively ended the battle between the two kingdoms. There is an ancient proverb that says, “Revenge is a dish best served cold” (Unknown). Joab waited until an opportune time to avenge Asahel’s death. The problem Joab had was that he did not seek answers as to what happened in the woods and he really didn’t care. For King David, this was a defining moment in his life because his kingdom hung in the balance of the decisions he made. By mourning Abner’s death, the people who served him knew he was innocent of Abner’s blood. For Joab though, it was a knife to his soul something that would go deeper with time. Joab’s descendants would pay the ultimate price for his actions by their quality of life.

Bible Reading for 3/22/2022

Joshua 8:1-23

Psalms 66:13-20

Proverbs 24:17-34

Isaiah 3

2 Samuel 3:1-21

Mike’s Notes

Joshua 8:1-23 – The Fall of AI. The commander of the Lord’s army gave the command to Joshua with specific parameters. Now the ball was in Joshua’s court and what he did with the ball was the determining factor of the battle. As we’ll see the battle plan worked perfectly which when compared to the previous battle where the 3000 men went into battle and 36 men were killed. The last part about what the Lord asks of us is that we remain obedient in all areas because his laws are not “ala carte”.

Psalms 66:13-20 – How Awesome are Your Deeds. Notice the first word in 13-15 “I”. The implication is that “I am making a choice to _____. I have considered the consequences and understand that I will not be liked for it”. Obedience is commanded by the law and if we want G-d’s blessings operating in and through our lives we need to do what He asks of us. But what does He ask of us? We find that answer in one of my many favorite verses He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you Except to be just, and to love [and to diligently practice] kindness (compassion), And to walk humbly with your God [setting aside any overblown sense of importance or self-righteousness] (Micah 6:8)? If we want our prayers to be fruitful, our lives overflowing with fruit, and peace in our lives, we need to be obedient and faithful in all of our houses.

Proverbs 24:17-34 – Proverbs for Life. The choice to be obedient and faithful is not easy to make because we are often influenced by our environment. When we give into our environment and allow its tirade to change our views, we injure ourselves and quite possibly lose the opportunity to heal the wounds. Add to the mix what it does to our offspring. The Lord G-d presents opportunities to change the world not by force but by being a shining example of obedience. We do not need to be afraid of the prevalence of wickedness nor let it infiltrate our lives. In the NT late 1st century, several of the churches in Asia Minor or Turkey had compromised their faith to meet the demands of the communities with devastating results.

Isaiah 3 – Judgment on Judah and Jerusalem. Earlier I said that the only sure-fire way for prophecy to be circumvented is by our actions. A follow-on statement is that prophecy never occurs immediately just as David’s kingdom did not occur the day he was anointed. In the same way, Isaiah’s prophecies would also occur at some point in time given the conditions do not change. Consider the case of Ninevah and the prophecy of its demise. The conditions changed in Ninevah when the king ordered the people to repent. The conditions changed again when the king saw that no harm was coming to his kingdom and then the fire fell. Judah was being warned that if they did not change course they would lose everything they had worked so hard to build up. Know this, the kingdom could be destroyed or avert destruction simply by walking in obedience.

2 Samuel 3:1-21 – Abner Joins David. The coming of the Davidic kingdom was prophecied years ago by Samuel. David had waited patiently and endured multiple issues that looked like the prophecy had been circumvented. In ways, prophecy is likened to a game of chess. Each move of a chess piece brings its commander closer to or further from victory. In David’s case, he had moved his army and the cadence of his life according to G-d’s laws. This is the reason he received Abner as a friend and colleague instead of an adversary. The “gotcha” in this play is Michal, Saul’s daughter, who would serve to be the “troublemaker” or the “fly in the ointment”. I want you to remember this key item about prophecy as we go forward into David’s life that prophecy can be circumvented. The only way it can be truly circumvented is by the decisions of the person to whom the prophecy is made.

Bible Readings for 3/21/2022

Joshua 7:16-26

Psalms 66:1-12

Proverbs 24:1-16

Isaiah 2:6-22

2 Samuel 2:24-32

Mike’s Notes

Joshua 7:16-26 – The Sin of Achan. The reason Joshua was so effective in administering judgment was that he obeyed the word of the Lord. The method the Lord used to show Joshua who the offender was, was through a process of elimination (16-18). After witnessing the process how could Achan deny his actions (19-21)? The stuff Achan took was destroyed because a man and his family lost their lives taking it (22-26). Giving the items to the Temple would make the Lord complicit in theft. After all, the Personal Notes: As a leader, one of the hardest we have to do is discipline the people under us. Along that same vein, we are to hold ourselves to the same standards that we hold those who are under us.

Psalms 66:1-12  – How Awesome Are Your Deeds. When we place our trust in the Lord and do not set limitations or time constraints on him, He will bring everything to its conclusion. It’s not fun waiting though because all we can see is the waters rising, feeling the winds buffeting us, and watching our lives seemingly falling apart. Yet, one day we wake up to find the storm clouds have passed on, and “Joy came in the morning” (1-4). The thing is, no matter how threatening the clouds look or how bad the winds blow, G-d is still in control, and you may be just one corner away from victory (5-7). Sometimes we need to go through the fire to test our metal so that we will be ready for whatever mission the Lord has in store for us (8-12). Personal Notes: When I first went into the Navy, I wrote a letter to my dad about how bad Bootcamp was, how to mean the instructors were, and how I felt I was going to fail. I missed home desperately and all I could think was “I’m not going to make it”. Yet, I graduated on time and went to Pensacola FL for Apprecenticeship schooling. This is the same way we feel when we first put our trust in the Lord because the pressure of the enemy of our soul coupled with “naysayers” tears at our soul. Yet our Lord speaks to the quiet parts of our soul saying “Peace be still”. After 35 years of walking with the Lord, I understand all too clearly that you are never too old in the Lord to have “no further struggles with faith”.

Proverbs 24:1-16 – Words of the Wise. Envy is a discontented feeling of longing based on what somebody else but we do not. “O beware, my Lord of jealousy, it is the green-eyed monster which doth mocks the meat it feeds On” (1-2, ). The problem is that we want what we cannot have or are not ready for and because of it we become jealous, envious, angry, and resentful like the case of Gehazi (3-7, 2 Kings 5:15-27). The Devil wields our anger by cajoling us with reasons to justify ____ should belong to us the problem is, the Devil is nowhere in sight when it comes time to face the music (8-9). It is easier to be a “World Class Counselor” when life is good but when the storm clouds gather, we tend to run away. In the same way, when people are enjoying the fertile winds, we gather around that person; yet, when he/she faces trouble like a major illness we don’t go to see that person (10-12). For these reasons we need to know how to live according to the Lord’s model because without it, we will become as vile as the people we are told to reach out to (13-16). Personal Notes: Envy is a deadly thing because at its inception it sees something it does not have and will secretly long for it. As time goes on, the seed becomes firmly seated in our soul compelling us to take steps that we might not otherwise have taken.

Isaiah 2:6-22 – The Day of the Lord. When we become so full that we have no room left for the Lord in our lives, He will leave (6). Things cannot save us, they cannot fulfill us, and nor can find happiness in them because the stuff is like receiving a disposable heat pad when we are frozen to the bone or a 5-minute sun shower when what we really need is a soaking rain (7-9). Sin compels us to hide from the Lord because we fear “being found wanting when should be full” (10-11). The thing we need to always keep in mind is that the Lord has a day for judgment in mind although only foolish man thinks “He won’t do anything because nothing has been done” (12-19). When that day comes, all of the things we hold so dearly to will be thrown away out of fear that we will be found out and be as guilty as the rest of mankind (20-22). Personal Notes: There is no direction on earth that we can go to find salvation from the messes of our lives except the Lord. Part of the reason people have trouble in this world is that we have a place in our hearts reserved just for the Lord. In 2020 I saw a cartoon in which lawmakers were trying to shove enough money into a burning inferno and the hole was surrounded by a cement structure and it was labeled “Corona Virus”. That cement structure is the heart of the nation and the world at large; the burning inferno is Hell.

2 Samuel 2:24-32 – Abner and Joab. Joab was out for blood to avenge Asahel’s death. The long march through the Arabah was about going after Abner. 20 of David’s men were killed in battle and that included Asahel. Abner and his army suffered the loss of 360 men of the tribe Benjamin. Asahel was killed because he refused to quit maybe hoping to kill Abner himself. After all, Joab, the commander of David’s army had commanded it (29-34). Rightfully Asahel’s death was on Joab’s hands, not Abner’s. Personal Notes: Vengence in the world’s eye is, “A dish best served cold” (Eugene Sue “Memoirs of Matilda). In the Lord’s eyes, though, “Vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord, I will repay” (Deuteronomy 32:35). The reason we are told not to take vengeance in our hands is that when we kill somebody a little of us dies as well. The problem I have with waiting on the Lord, and pretty sure you do too, is that He does not do things in our time and, like Jonah, we think “He’ll forgive them and leave me looking like a fool”. The thing is, He knows the pain we feel and He will not forget about us although the pain pulls at the core of our being.

Bible Readings for 3/20/22

Joshua 7:1-15

Psalms 65

Proverbs 23:28-35

Isaiah 2:1-5

2 Samuel 2:12-23

Mike’s Notes

Joshua 7:1-15 – The Sin of Achan. The nation was under strict orders by the Commander of the Lord’s army about the devoted things. When Achan took some of the devoted things “precious metals” he did three things, he caused problems for himself, his family, and the nation at large. No one but the minion “greed” knew about Achan’s actions until the nation went into battle (1). The spies’ report indicated that it would be an easy victory but it wasn’t. Achan was responsible for the deaths of 36 men in Israel because of his greed (2-5). Joshua had witnessed first-hand the power of G-d in the defeat of the Natufians and the earlier battles yet, he becomes upset that the same G-d who called him also apparently abandoned him and the nation (6-9). Personal Notes: Sin alters G-d’s plans and timetable because He will not put up with sin. If the nation never saw another day of battle, Achan might well have lived with hidden sin. The thing about the minion Greed is that it never works alone, it always has an accomplice. Joshua should have known that something was wrong because G-d never promises things that He has no intention of coming through on.

Psalms 65 – O G-d of Our Salvation. In Jerusalem or Zion, the people gathered at the temple of the Lord. This was the established “High place” and people brought their sacrifices to it. In Solomon’s time, the first Temple would be built in the location where David established the tent of meeting (1). Part of healing is dealing with sin and atoning for it. Coming to the Lord implies that we open the Ark of our heart to expose the things we have hidden in it (2-4). The Lord forgives sin he does not hold it against us simply, he removes the wall that divides us. Once our sins are dealt with, he clears the road and leads to higher grounds for his purposes. The roaring seas which held us at bay in fear and doubt are calmed by the movement of his hand (5-8). The ground that we stand on is healed by Him, not by anything we do. He waters the land so that fruit will grow where weeds once dominated (9-13). Personal Notes: The Lord heals our land just as he alone can heal our nation and our world. Mankind is unable to heal divides that tear our nation and our world apart because their motives always cause another problem. As long as we look to our world leaders to heal the divide we will always be disappointed and future generations will deal with our mistakes.

Proverbs 23:28-35 – Words of the Wise. What is being implied here is “balance” and knowing your limitations. Wine, although it heals the stomach it also causes problems in the home and the community to say nothing of what it does to you personally. Under its influence, people bring harm to themselves and do not know it until much later on. Choosing to or not to drink is a personal choice that no law nor city ordinance can stand in the way of your choice but beware of the consequences.

Isaiah 2:1-5 – The Mountain of the Lord. This poem was written at a time when Jerusalem was just beginning to hear the drums of war. 200 years earlier the nation enjoyed the preeminence of David and how the nation flourished. Now the nation was divided yet they had a relative of David on the throne however diminished it may have been. The word latter implies “following” or “days to come”. When the Messiah came, so the stories say, he will re-establish the throne of David. When Jesus arrived on the scene, he taught the full Word of the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings. Because of his methods combined with the fruit of healing and restoration, people across Israel and Judah sought him out and followed him wherever he went. The disciples were from various tribes and occupations but that did not stop them from working together to accomplish Jesus’ mission (1-5). Personal Notes: Jesus did not judge in the literal sense but considered that the people were like sheep without a shepherd. Unfortunately, Jesus was not liked by those who were the community leaders. In a round-about way, the people did stop the fighting over the teachings and went to the Teacher who healed their wounds. Remember this little tidbit about Prophecy, the Lord accomplishes his purposes in a “manner of speaking” instead of literally. If things were done literally, the Messiah could be manufactured and still be authentic.

2 Samuel 2:12-23 – The Battle of Gibeon. The two opposing sides met at the pool of Gibeon. The two commanders Joab and Abner decided to have six men from each side have a skirmish. Unfortunately, all 12 died which proved nothing. The name Helkath-Hazzurim means, “Field of Sharp knives” (12-17, ). Asahel’s death was due to his unwillingness to listen to Abner’s recommendation. Abner had no desire to face Joab who was known for his brutality (18-23). Personal Notes: The skirmish at the pool was a sideshow put on to entertain Joab and Abner which I believe was par for the course at that time. David was not at the pool in Gibeon or he might very well have refused the contest.

Bible Readings for 3/19/2022

Joshua 6:15-27

Psalms 64

Proverbs 23:19-27

Isaiah 1:21-31

2 Samuel 2:1:1-11

Mike’s Notes

Joshua 6:15-27 – The Seventh Day. The march around Jericho on the seventh day would be different from the previous 6. At the end of the march, the people were directed to “Shout for the Lord has given you the city”. The collapse of the walls meant that the city had lost its “impenetrable walls” (15-17, 20-21). Every living soul except Rahab and her family were to be put to the sword (22-23). The devoted things: precious metals were to be put in the Tabernacle of the Lord and left there. Profiteering would tarnish the name of the Lord G-d and for that reason, the people were to take nothing for themselves (17-19, 25). Once the city had been plundered, it was burned to the ground (24). Joshua uttered a curse over Jericho that would have ramifications for future generations (26-27). Personal Notes: Notice that the instructions given to the people were done before stepping foot on the land belonging to Natufians. The reason for this is, giving instructions in the heat of battle creates confusion and, like Jonathan, misses an instruction. The implication of Joshua’s curse was that if the Israelite tribe who was given the land had tried to rebuild the walls to their former glory and strength or be like the Natufians, they would pay a huge price for their actions (Natufian_curse). As we’ll find out later in scripture, Ahab would attempt to rebuild the walls (1 Kings 16). Remember, prophecy means ___ will occur as a result of ____ but how it occurs is a matter of interpretation. In Ahab’s case, his firstborn was not buried in the place of the cornerstone, but it cost him his firstborn in his zeal for serving Baal.

Psalms 64 – Hide Me From the Wicked. No person on planet earth can say, “I am afraid of nothing” and that’s ok. David was struggling with something or someone but he did not harbor that fear (1). The worldly way to power is by playing to the fear in people’s hearts (2-4). Those who wield the ax called “power” do so without considering the ramifications of their actions (5-6). There is, however, an ax that is bigger and more potent than the worldly ax and that is the power of the Sovereign G-d of the Universe (7-9). When we walk in obedience to the Lord as a general course and direction, we will have nothing to fear. We may not be liked for the moral compass that we hold but the world cannot argue with the results we receive (10). Personal Notes: From this Psalm, we get an insight into David’s heart. History has a way of making people seem “bigger than life” and David is no exception. Being caught in a conundrum doesn’t mean, “we are being disobedient” but that we are at a crossroads. The World says, “if you do _____ you will be punished”. The Word of G-d says, “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart … (Proverbs 3:4-5)”. In these times we need to follow David’s example and “tune out the threats and see through the eyes of the Lord” which requires faith that if not built up before the conundrum will fail us in the end.

Proverbs 23:19-27 – Words of the Wise. Disciplining anyone needs to go beyond words because, without action, the words lose their meaning. When we speak words without considering what we’re saying and to whom we are speaking we get ourselves into trouble (19-20). As a parent, I understand all too well what happens when I pamper my kids or our dog, what happens is that is what the child or dog gets used to so when we threaten punishment, that’s all it is. The opposite side of that tangent is when the parent or parents is/are quick to get angry and create strife in the home (21-22). The problem is, what we do in life will either bring credit or trouble to our doorstep (23-24, Mike Krier). Fear of what mankind can do to us creates a vacuum when it comes to law and order. The only person we have control over and speak for is ourselves so we must with good conscience consider what we do despite the consequences (25-27). Personal Notes: I love the words to the wise because they are not religious in any way shape or form. These words are still applicable now over 3000 years since their inception.

Isaiah 1:21-31 – The Unfaithful City. The unfaithful city was Jerusalem the city David founded and was the capital of his kingdom. David was blessed to see his son Solomon ascend the throne but he would be the only one and this was because David was faithful to the Lord. The problem was, by the time Uzziah ascended the throne, the kingdom was divided with Judah maintaining a few tribes and the rest going to Israel. Add to this problem the Temple had been robbed by the kings to pay debts and worship to the Lord G-d had diminished (21-23). Because the Lord builds up a ministry or Kingdom when it is upright, it can also be said that he will break down the kingdom or ministry when it is in revolt (24-26). For the kingdom to be re-established, sin needs to be dealt with and that is through justice. When you look back in the books of the law, you will notice that each act of sin led to someone or some people being put to death. So it makes sense to me that the nation would be redeemed by justice and for those who repent by righteousness because it is an outcome of obedience (27-28). The rewards for obedience will make those who chose disobedience jealous (29-31). Personal Notes: Obedience to the Lord breeds life just as disobedience breeds death. In the NT the Gentiles would receive the gifts of the Lord that belonged to the Jews. This may not seem popular to many people but let me use an illustration: If you ask a child to do something and promise a monetary reward, and the child agrees to the task but does not do it, doesn’t it make sense that if another sibling does the work he/she gets the reward from the first child? It’s the same principle. In many of our churches, people are leaving in droves to go to a church that is alive. The church that was alive will flounder until hopefully someday that church gets its moral bearing straightened out.

2 Samuel 2:1-11 – David Anointed King over Judah. David was crowned the king of Judah and by the leading of the Lord established his kingdom in Hebron (1-4). Hebron is located about 19 miles south of Jerusalem on the west bank of the mountains surrounding Jerusalem which is about 13 miles from David’s hometown Bethlehem (Hebron). Interestingly, The men of Jabesh-Gilead, Saul’s relatives buried Saul and Jonathan. Understand this, David could have forgotten all about the men of Jabesh-Gilead but by doing so, he continued to set the tone for his reign (5-7). Saul’s death created a void in the leadership of Israel and the last remaining son of Saul was Ish-Bosheth who was 40 some years old (8-9). This setup a confrontation between the tribes that were led by David and the ones led by Ish-Bosheth (10-11). Personal Notes: David was a patient man especially given the situations that he dealt with in the succeeding years from the time he was anointed by Samuel. The reason for his successful reign was his approach to honoring the Lord in all of his dealings before becoming the king. If there is any lesson that can be learned about David it was, prepare now for the ministry and let your actions be consistent in and out of the sight of people.