Daily Bible Reading 8/28/2020

Reading #1 – Joshua 9

Reading #2 – Psalms 134

Reading #3 – Proverbs 30

Reading #4 – John 7

Reading #5 – 2 Samuel 10

Notes

Joshua 9 – The Gibeonite Deception. The Gibeonites who lived within the boundaries of Canaan knew they would be next on the hit list so they resorted to deception. “This bread was hot from the ovens when we left our homes. But now, as you can see, it is dry and moldy. These wineskins were new when we filled them, but now they are old and split open. And our clothing and sandals are worn out from our very long journey.” So the Israelites examined their food, but they did not consult the LORD. Then Joshua made a peace treaty with them and guaranteed their safety, the leaders of the community ratified their agreement with a binding oath (12-15). Once the deception had been discovered, the Gibeonites confessed to their sin. Unfortunately, Joshua and the elders were powerless to do anything because they ratified it on an oath in the name of the Lord G_d. The people were conscripted to hard labor. Regretfully, this would not be the last we will hear about the Gibeonites and the problems they would cause the nation. King Saul would be s decedent from Gibea. In the book of Judges, the Gibeonites would teach the descendants of Benjamin in the ways of sodomy and would lead to outright war against the tribes of Israel ending in their near demise (Judges 19-21).

2 Samuel 10 – David Defeats the Ammonites. This was another case of people not thinking before they act. Hanun had just been instilled as King of the Ammonites. Before Hanun Nahush had been loyal to David. David sent a contingency to congratulate king Hanun but, the king acted on the words of the commanders and mistreated the men only the did he consider the ramifications and called for support. Of course, the little nation of Amnon was no match for mighty Israel. When all the kings allied with Hadadezer saw that they had been defeated by Israel, they surrendered to Israel and became their subjects. After that, the Arameans were afraid to help the Ammonites (19). There was no need for this blood bath but because of one foolish decision, the whole nation ended up in slavery.

Psalms 134 – Prayer for the Night Priests. This prayer encourages those who watched the temple in the evening hours. Oh, praise the LORD, all you servants of the LORD,
you who serve at night in the house of the LORD. Lift your hands toward the sanctuary,
and praise the LORD (1-2).

Proverbs 30 – The Sayings of Agur. In Proverbs 1, the admonition is given for mankind to seek wisdom. Seeking wisdom is not a mere matter of reading nor is it just listening to the words, it is acting upon them before committing to a course of action. Mankind has always had its way of screwing up just about everything it does simply because he or she refuses to seek wisdom. King Hanun did not think through his course of action and because of it, he lost his kingdom before it even started (2 Samuel 10). Joshua and the elders accepted the Gibeonites without seeking the counsel of the Lord and because of it, a war would break out between Gibeah and the tribes of Israel (Joshua 9). I am weary, O God; I am weary and worn out, O God. I am too stupid to be human, and I lack common sense. I have not mastered human wisdom, nor do I know the Holy One (1-3).

John 7 – Jesus and His Brothers. Jesus was never in a hurry to do or say anything. But soon it was time for the Jewish Festival of Shelters, and Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, where your followers can see your miracles! You can’t become famous if you hide like this! If you can do such wonderful things, show yourself to the world!” 5 For even his brothers didn’t believe in him. Jesus replied, “Now is not the right time for me to go, but you can go anytime. The world can’t hate you, but it does hate me because I accuse it of doing evil.  You go on. I’m not going to this festival, because my time has not yet come.” After saying these things, Jesus remained in Galilee (2-9). Jesus had a plan and was always careful to honor his Father in everything he did or said. The religious leaders didn’t like him because he held up a mirror for them to see their duplicity. “I did one miracle on the Sabbath, and you were amazed. But you work on the Sabbath, too, when you obey Moses’ law of circumcision. (Actually, this tradition of circumcision began with the patriarchs, long before the law of Moses.) For if the correct time for circumcising your son falls on the Sabbath, you go ahead and do it so as not to break the law of Moses. So why should you be angry with me for healing a man on the Sabbath? 24 Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly (21-24).”

 

 

Daily Bible Reading 8/26/2020

Reading #1 – Joshua 7

Reading #2 – Psalms 132

Reading #3 – Proverbs 28

Reading #4 – John 5

Reading #5 – 2 Samuel 8

Notes

Joshua 7 – Achan’s Sin. Achan from the tribe of Judah saw somethings he wanted and so he took them. The sin was uncovered when the nation sent a contingency of warriors up to AI in the town of the Amorites (1-4). The defeat at AI brought about the fearful prayer of Joshua. The Lord responded with “Get up! Why are you lying on your face like this? 11 Israel has sinned and broken my covenant! They have stolen some of the things that I commanded must be set apart for me. And they have not only stolen them but have lied about it and hidden the things among their belongings. 12 That is why the Israelites are running from their enemies in defeat. For now, Israel itself has been set apart for destruction. I will not remain with you any longer unless you destroy the things among you that were set apart for destruction (10-12). Achan’s actions caused the whole nation to be guilty of sin. Because Achan sinned his whole family was killed and thrown into the valley of Achor. Sin by its very nature infects everyone and everything.

2 Samuel 8 – David’s victories. King David honored and served the Lord G_d in all that he did and everywhere he went. Former autonomous kingdoms served King David and brought tribute to him. The LORD will send rain at the proper time from his rich treasury in the heavens and will bless all the work you do. You will lend to many nations, but you will never need to borrow from them. 13 If you listen to these commands of the LORD your God that I am giving you today, and if you carefully obey them, the LORD will make you the head and not the tail, and you will always be on top and never at the bottom. 14 You must not turn away from any of the commands I am giving you today, nor follow after other gods and worship them (Deuteronomy 28:12-14). So David reigned over all Israel and did what was just and right for all his people. 16 Joab son of Zeruiah was commander of the army. Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud was the royal historian.  Zadok son of Ahitub and Ahimelech son of Abiathar were the priests. Seraiah was the court secretary. 18 Benaiah son of Jehoiada was captain of the king’s bodyguard. And David’s sons served as priestly leaders (15-18).

Psalms 132 – In Honor of King David. Before David’s death, he had amassed an exorbitant amount of supplies to build the temple. Solomon was given the design and the materials to build the temple. David honestly believed that the prophecy “For when you die and are buried with your ancestors, I will raise one of your descendants, your offspring, and I will make his kingdom strong. 13 He is the one who will build a house—a temple—for my name. And I will secure his royal throne forever. 14 I will be his father, and he will be my son. If he sins, I will correct and discipline him with the rod, as any father would do. But my favor will not be taken from him as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from your sight. 16 Your house and your kingdom will continue before me for all time, and your throne will be secure forever (2 Samuel 7:12-16)” pointed to Solomon the next king of Israel and Judah. From this prophecy, Solomon would go on to build the temple but it came at a price that would infect many generations. The dedication of the temple was a time of great joy.

Proverbs 28 – Two Different Spectrums. The two types: a fool and righteous produce the fruit of some type at a price. Modern-day society would say, “take all that you can while you can” and not understand that at some point in time the debt for these actions will come up for payment.  Income from charging high-interest rates will end up in the pocket of someone kind to the poor (8).

John 5 – Jesus Heals a Man Who Is Lame. Jesus healed the man on the Sabbath day which the leaders thought to be “sacrilege”. When Jesus claimed to be the “Son of G_d” this set the religious leaders over the edge and so they wanted to kill him. “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him everything he is doing. The Father will show him how to do even greater works than healing this man. Then you will truly be astonished. For just as the Father gives life to those he raises from the dead, so the Son gives life to anyone he wants. Besides, the Father judges no one. Instead, he has given the Son absolute authority to judge, 23 so that everyone will honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Anyone who does not honor the Son is certainly not honoring the Father who sent him (19-23).” To the Sanhedrin, Moses was the “be all end all” of religious service yet they skipped a few key phrases of their canon of scripture. “You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life (39-40).

 

 

Daily Bible Reading 7/19/2020

Reading #1 – Deuteronomy 16

Reading #2 – Psalms 111

Reading #3 – Proverbs 3

Reading #4 – Luke 3

Reading #5 – 1 Samuel 13

Notes

Deuteronomy 16 – Passover and Festivals. The Passover celebration commemorates the nation’s release from slavery. The people ate their meal in a hurry to be ready to leave when the signal was given. The celebration was carried out even today. The purpose of it was so that the people would never forget their origins. “You may not sacrifice the Passover in just any of the towns that the LORD your God is giving you. You must offer it only at the designated place of worship—the place the LORD your God chooses for his name to be honored. Sacrifice it there in the evening as the sun goes down on the anniversary of your exodus from Egypt (5-6). Passover, like all of the celebrations, was organized, methodical, and steeped in tradition. The reason for “tradition” was so that the people would not forget who it was that got them out of slavery. It is the same for our daily tradition of Bible reading, praying, and seeking the face of G_d for our day. When stop doing that or become slack in our ways, we forget why we did it and then piece by piece our lives are dismantled, and a pseudo-religion is put in place. The festivals were away showing what G_d had done in the people’s lives and to give evidence of his provision.

1 Samuel 13 – Continued War With Philistia. Johnathan and small contingent won a minor skirmish which caused a bigger issue. The battle plan was poorly put together and so the men were afraid. Saul,  the king, should have led the people in the fear of the Lord but. He didn’t and so the men started to run away from the battle. The funny part is that the Hebrews only sought G_d when the war was against them. Honoring G_d implies, “I will follow all of the regulations so that I can show by my actions who I trust.” When we refuse to honor G_d, he will appoint someone else to replace us.  “How foolish!” Samuel exclaimed. “You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you. Had you kept it, the LORD would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom must end, for the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart. The LORD has already appointed him to be the leader of his people because you have not kept the LORD’s command (13-14).” These words were spoken long before David entered Saul’s camp and defeated the giant foe, Goliath. The implication was that Saul’s kingdom would end with him and that his son would not become king of Israel/Judah.

Psalm 111 – Praise the Lord. Commentary titles this Psalm as “The Truth Appropriated”. When I consider all that G_d has done, I am humbled. The good things in the land are not because of my prowess for gardening nor am I strong enough to fight against the enemy of my soul on my merit. Everything he does reveals his glory and majesty. His righteousness never  (3). The Bible contains G_d’s promises and it shows man’s utter contempt for Him and the saga of man’s failures. Today, that saga continues and exacerbates. Because G_d made this world, He knows what it takes to manage it. All he does is just and good, and all his commandments are trustworthy. They are forever true, to be obeyed faithfully and with integrity. He has paid a full ransom for his people. He has guaranteed his covenant with them forever. What a holy, awe-inspiring name he has! Fear of the LORD is the foundation of true wisdom. All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom (7-10).

Proverbs 3 – Wisdom’s Framework. Everything we do must be driven by the G_d’s commands. Our wisdom is insufficient as it relies solely on our understanding. Because we do not know “everything”, we misunderstand why others act as they do. My child, never forget the things I have taught you. Store my commands in your heart. If you do this, you will live for many years, and your life will be satisfying (1-2).  How we treat others is a direct reflection of how we treat G_d. My child, don’t lose sight of common sense and discernment. Hang on to them, for they will refresh your soul (21-22). Stuff and self-importance will never satisfy the desires of our hearts because their importance will shift over time.

Luke 3 – John’s Ministry. John’s message and focus of ministry were “Preparing the pathway for the King.” It is important to note that no one was better or more revered than the other. The religious teachers were not elevated above the commands of G_d. When the crowds came to John for baptism, he said, “You brood of snakes! Who warned you to flee the coming wrath? Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Don’t just say to each other, ‘We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.’ That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones. Even now the ax of God’s judgment is poised, ready to sever the roots of the trees. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire (7-9).”

 

Daily Bible Reading 6/29/2020

Reading #1 – Numbers 37

Reading #2 – Psalms 94

Reading #3 – Ecclesiastes 3

Reading #4 – Mark 2

Reading #5 – Revelations 17

Notes

Numbers 35 – Towns for the Levites and Cities of Refuge. The Levites’ inheritance would come through the support of the towns they ministered in. Each town was to provide a farm area for the Levites. The “Cities of Refuge” were maintained by the High Priest of the time. Anybody who killed somebody “accidentally” could flee to these towns and stay until the old High Priest passed away. The caveat for fleeing to the city is that if you murdered stepped outside of this town, the avenger of blood (nearest relative) could capture and kill the person which would pollute the land (33).

Psalms 94 – Appeal to the Court Room of Heaven for Justice. Life is full of injustice and no one is exempt from it. When we first begin praying, we look at the issue(s) we are having and ask G_d to condemn the wicked. Somehow, or another, G_d doesn’t grant that request because we are speaking from the hurt of our heart. As we continue praying with the help of the Holy Spirit, our request turns inward and looks deep into our hearts to see if there is any offense in us that is contributing to the problem. I cried out, “I am slipping!” but your unfailing love, O LORD, supported me. When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer (18-19).

Ecclesiastes 3 – A Time for Everything. The Teacher brings out the point that “life is cyclic” and “it repeats itself”. In our futility, we think that no one has ever faced the depth of issues that we are embroiled in. The reason we think this is, “we haven’t been around for 500 years” and much of human history is unrecorded so we have no idea what happened in the years before our parents. This is encouraging because, just as someone else has faced our problem and succeeded, so can we. What do people get for all their hard work? I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God (9-13).

Mark 2 – Jesus Heals the Paralytic and the Call of the Levite Matthew. The healing of the paralytic was a miracle in the eyes of the public but just another day in the Kingdom of G_d for Jesus. The religious leaders did not like Jesus and were not happy that he was healing the people. In healing the people, the leaders walked away with egg on their faces and the people praised G_d and not the leaders. Levi was a tax collector one of the worst breeds of Jews because that person was able to help himself to a few pieces of silver simply by increasing the amount of money required (Luke 19 calling of Zaccheaus).

Revelations 17 – The Great Prostitute. The prophet got a glimpse of what would happen to the dreaded threat of Rome in the coming years. The prostitute who sat over the seven hills referred to Rome; NIV uses the phrase “Seven Hills” whereas NLT says “many Waters” (1-2). Rome’s time was short just like of the centuries of mankind on earth; only in heaven is time, not a factor. Rome fell in about 406 AD or about 390 years following the prophecy of Revelations and would not be heard from again until about 1939 when the 3rd Reich came into existence.

 

 

Daily Bible Reading 6/25/2020

Reading #1 – Numbers 34

Reading #2 – Psalms 93

Reading #3 – Ecclesiastes 2

Reading #4 – Mark 1

Reading #5 – Revelations 16

Notes

Numbers 34 – Boundaries of the Land. As with all of G_d’s commands, everything is “fair” to be equitable. Just as Edom (Esau) was given a piece of land that would remain their inheritance, so it was with Israel. Each tribe would be given as much land based on the size of the tribe; for the small tribes, the land was smaller than the large. The same could be said about us; while we do not get land, we get gifts and callings as we use them and grow, so does the power of the gift; when we cease to use the gift, its power also ceases. Along that same line, G_d will never give us a direction for which we are not prepared nor have prepared for it. What is important to note is that Moses was not in the soul charge of giving direction or allotting the land. 7 “Eleazar the priest and Joshua son of Nun are the men designated to divide the grants of land among the people. 18 Enlist one leader from each tribe to help them with the task (17-18).

Psalms 93 – The King of Glory. The Kingdom of G_d (KOG) has never changed its rules, laws, nor direction. The world, unlike the KOG, changes with the seasons of mankind. The people who come into the Kingdom are honor-bound to follow the rules and laws. G_d’s laws because they never change provide the stability that is so desperately needed. The Psalmist asked, “How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word. I have tried hard to find you—don’t let me wander from your commands (Psalms 119:9-10).” G_d’s laws have withstood the test of time and have endured despite the worst that man could throw against it (3-4). Your royal laws cannot be changed.
Your reign, O LORD, is holy forever and ever (5).

Ecclesiastes 2 – The Futility of Pleasure. G_d’s word has clearly shown that pleasure and things cannot make us happy nor bring contentment because the heart of man will always want more. Things bring temporary pleasure until something new comes out. I said to myself, “Come on, let’s try pleasure. Let’s look for the ‘good things’ in life.” But I found that this, too, was meaningless. 2 So I said, “Laughter is silly. What good does it do to seek pleasure?” 3 After much thought, I decided to cheer myself with wine. And while still seeking wisdom, I clutched at foolishness. In this way, I tried to experience the only happiness most people find during their brief life in this world (1-3). Each of us has a hole in our heart that we try to fill with stuff only to find that the stuff will never completely nor permanently fill it because that is the place with G_d resides.

Mark 1 – John the Baptist Prepares the Way. John’s message was simple, “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight paths for him” (1-3). To “prepare the way” is to move aside and get out of the way of the King”. When royalty is coming, heralds would cry out, “The King is coming clear the way”. The problem is that when we are in the way, the King cannot lead the way. When we steep in sin, G_d cannot work in our lives and because of it, we must be baptized as to wash the filth away. John announced: “Someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not even worthy to stoop down like a slave and untie the straps of his sandals. 8 I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit (7-8)!” When Jesus came to John to be Baptized, he showed himself to be approved although it would have been easy for him to believe he was above the law. Because of his humility, people thronged to hear his message. Certainly, it would have been expeditious to bypass the formalities and move onto the “Kingdom of G_d” sort of like the Pharisees and Sadducees but to do so would have had much larger consequences. Compromising at first seems rather hard because we challenge our foundation but, after that, compromise becomes away of life. Jesus’ message and ministry were far too important to sidestep the smallest part of the law. Because he followed G_d’s laws completely, he was blessed and many came to him to hear his message because he taught with authority and not like the scribes and religious leaders.

Revelations 16 – The Seven Bowls of G_d’s Wrath. There is a concept that we must come to grips with and that is, G_d owns this world and by proxy has the right to give it away, take it back, destroy it, build it up, and outline the specifications. Man, on the other hand, simply lives here and is given stewardship of the earth. If we fail to take care of what is given to us, it will be taken away. “You are just, O Holy One, who is and who always was because you have sent these judgments. Since they shed the blood of your holy people and your prophets, you have given them blood to drink. It is their just reward (5-6).” The parable Jesus told about the talents, showed how the one with the most brought in a great reward conversely, the one who was given a little hid it in the earth. Both got a reward the one with the most was given more and the one with a little had his taken away from him (Mattew 25:14-30). Rewards are not always positive. In the case of the seven bowls, it is a negative reward to pay back those who killed the prophets. Those who took on the image of the beast to keep themselves out of hawk with the beast ended up with boils on their body. Walking with our Lord does not mean that we will escape trouble nor does it mean that we will live long lives; rather, it means that despite the troubles, G_d is bigger than our weaknesses and He will come through for us.

 

Daily Bible Reading 6/14/2020

Reading #1 – Numbers 24

Reading #2 – Psalms 83

Reading #3 – Proverbs 23

Reading #4 – Matthew 19

Reading #5 – Revelations 6

Notes

Numbers 24 – The Prophecies of Balaam. After the first two blessings uttered by Balaam, he understood that G_d had determined to bless Israel despite Balak’s insistence to curse them. But little Mouse, you are not alone, In proving foresight may be vain: The best-laid schemes of mice and men Go often awry, And leave us nothing but grief and pain, For promised joy (Ode to a Mouse – Robert Burns 1785)! Balak wanted to destroy Israel even though he had no reason to be afraid because Israel had not threatened them. It is important to note that Moab was a descendant of Abraham’s cousin Lot (Genesis 19:30-38). Eventually, Moab would be crushed by David King of Israel. In previous prophecies, Balaam had used divination which is the practice of “foretelling future events by occultic practices or, “necromancing”. When Balaam saw the work of G_d from the outside, the spirit of the Lord came upon him and uttered a blessing that, if Israel had heard it first hand, would have catapulted the nation to higher places in the Kingdom of Heaven. In the same way, in our life today, we do not see G_d’s deliverance and we do not always hear his comments about us because we would become complacent believing we had the “golden ticket”. The nation did not know that Balaam was even watching them so, Balaam’s words did not come from Moses nor any of his leadership or people. This is important because it implies the word came from the Lord, it was pure, and it is true. Balaam had connections to Israel but was not from the family. The next words out Balaam’s mouth by the same spirit that blessed Israel was the demise of Moab by the hands of a future king of Israel/Judah (15-19). Balaam was not a “Prophet of G_d” simply a vessel by which the message of G_d was transmitted. Matthew Henry’s commentary says, “No man could seem to express a greater respect to God; yet he had no true fear of him, love to him, nor faith in him; so far a man may go toward heaven, and yet come short of it at last (15).”

Psalms 83 – Psalm of Asaph. Fear of what people are doing or preparing against you will cause you to react in two different ways depending on whether or not the attack is justified. The spies sent out from Joshua were told how the people of Jericho were shaking with fear; Jericho was known for its illicit behavior (Joshua 2:8-11). Balak’s failed attempt to curse Israel would come back to cause the nation to be destroyed by the King of Israel years later (Numbers 24:15-19). When we come under the microscope of judgment, we need to thoroughly look at our life without justifying our actions, changing the meaning of words to appear innocent in our eyes, and by it come to apologize for our indiscretions, and repent or do a 180-degree turn. When we search our hearts because of the judgment if we find that we did nothing wrong then we can sit quietly trusting G_d will show the way through it. For this reason, Jesus said “But before all this occurs, there will be a time of great persecution. You will be dragged into synagogues and prisons, and you will stand trial before kings and governors because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell them about me.  So don’t worry in advance about how to answer the charges against you, for I will give you the right words and such wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to reply or refute you (Luke 21:12-15).” Let them be ashamed and terrified forever. Let them die in disgrace. they will learn that you alone are called the LORD, that you alone are the Most High, supreme over all the earth (17-18).

Proverbs 23 – Becareful of What You Do. There is a truth about life that is important to note and that is, “You are responsible for what you do, how you do it, and who you do it with.” Life will offer many opportunities that appear non-threatening yet, beneath the exterior veil lies a deeper plan. You are not judged by the ways of the world but by the paths you have chosen to walk on. While dining with a ruler, pay attention to what is put before you. If you are a big eater, put a knife to your throat; don’t desire all the delicacies, for he might be trying to trick you (1-3). Knowing when to quit is a difficult line to draw especially when it comes to garnering wealth (4). Understand this, the Devil will stop at nothing to see that we are destroyed and that we do it by our own hands. Judas’ demise is an illustration of how the Devil works by inviting him to a meal. Judas was a thief so it is reported (John 12:5-6). Being a thief made 30 pieces of silver sound pretty enticing. The Devil will always play to your appetite or what gets your mind to turn. After we have given into our appetites and have gotten ourselves into trouble, it is too late to question our motives and then we pay the price. In the end, it bites like a poisonous snake; it stings like a viper. You will see hallucinations, and you will say crazy things. You will stagger as a sailor tossed at sea, to a swaying mast. And you will say, “They hit me, but I didn’t feel it. I didn’t even know it when they beat me up. When will I wake  I can look for another drink (32-35)

  Matthew 19 – Oh the Paths We Take. The Pharisees and Sadducees came to test Jesus by interjecting their version of Torah law. In Hebrew culture, it is a common practice to discuss the Torah, Neviim, and Ketuvim to always stay connected with G_d and with each other (hillel.org). So, the religious leader’s proposed questions were expected. The problem comes down to the “reason for their questions”. It was in essence a “trap”. Proverbs encourage us to “think before we speak” (Proverbs 16:23-33). Jesus knew the TNK like the back of his hand yet, he also understood the warning to watch out for “wolves in sheep’s clothing”. Jesus’ answers to the questions were not based on his understanding, it was based on what the Torah said. “Then why did Moses say in the law that a man could give his wife a written notice of divorce and send her away?” they asked. Jesus replied, “Moses permitted divorce only as a concession to your hard hearts, but it was not what God had originally intended. And I tell you this, whoever divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery—unless his wife has been unfaithful (7-9). Consider the “Bathroom Scale” when you weigh yourself, you should make sure you balance the scale to get an accurate weight. This same concept applies to our spiritual life because we need to daily balance our life or “zero it out” by seeing what G_d has to say about us and where we are going. We may not like what the Word of G_d has to say but we need to know that it is neither for us nor against us simply a “plum-line”.

Revelations 6 – The Six Seals Are Opened. This segment, like others in Revelations, is difficult to decipher. The encouragement I would have for anybody reading this is, “do not read into the book what is not present. The first horse, the “White Horse” went out to win many battles and gain the victory. Zondervan’s Commentary cites this, “One long-established interpretation understands this of the victorious progress of the gospel, the rider on the white horse is Christ (1). For a while, the disciples of Christ Jesus would rock the 1st century by the power of the Gospel and many would be saved but, a time would come when that door would be shut. The second horse “firey red” was sent to destroy the earth by starting fights from the inside. When a nation is invaded, it will rise to fight the invaders and the people would rally against it. The Devil will always start working from the inside because, if tensions rise between members the work will stop. Consider the “Tower of Babel” at first, the people worked willingly until confusion entered the picture then people stopped working and dispersed. Following the civil war, a nation is decimated and is unable to do anything as we would not know who to trust(Luke 12:53). The Black horse represented a time for rationing as the resources dwindled. When we grow used to having an over-abundance, we do not think about what it would be like to lose everything. When troubles are miles away from us, we do not consider them as being “important” until the fires of trouble enter our home then we complain. The power of Rome would end but not in the way Israel expected. The fourth seal “Pale Green Horse” (7-8) represented “gangrene” which is an infection that first begins with a wound that is not treated. When gangrene sets in, it takes over everything one piece at a time. The fifth seal was the reward for those who had been martyred (10-12). Remember this and write it on page one of the book of Revelations, this was given as an encouragement to the dispersed nation under the microscope of Rome of whom John the Revelator was a member. The sixth seal was the defeat of the invaders that would utterly decimate Rome. Rome’s power was crushed by the Germanic forces in 476 CE and was no more.

 

Daily Bible Reading 5/23/2020

Reading #1 – Numbers 4

Reading #2 – Psalms 64

Reading #3 – Proverbs 2

Reading #4 – Malachai 3

Reading #5 – 1 Peter 3

Notes

 

Leviticus 3 – Duties of the Kohathite Clan. G_d directed Moses to assign the tasks to different clans. Kohath was the son of Amra.  and Jochebed. Moses, Aaron, and Miriam are descendants but Aaron was set aside or “sanctified” as the High Priest a position that would be passed down to his children Eliazar and Ithamar. The men from 30 – 50 were counted from each of the clans of Levi. According to commentary, the actual age the men started service was 25 but the first five years might have been a time of apprenticeship. Each of the different clans had a separate responsibility, although the tasks were minuscule as compared to being the “High Priest” line, the position was important. It is with the same line of thought that the varying positions in a church family, although seemingly unimportant or “out of the limelight” are important and just as holy an assignment as the Pastor.

Psalms 64 – A Psalm of David. In the world you will have trouble but fear not, I have overcome the world (John 16:33). David had been chased from one end of the desert to the other. If anybody knew what it was like to be harassed, rejected, and/or abused, it was David. Equally, if anybody knew what it was like to live under the banner of the lord G_d it was David. These two things made him uniquely qualified to speak to them. His Psalms, as I have said, were not “mere words”. This Psalm like all of the rest is written for our encouragement (2 Timothy 3:16-17). When we face trials and frustrations, we can rely on these words because the same G_d that watched over David and the Patriarchs is the same and has never changed His mind ( Hebrews 13:8). The godly will rejoice in the LORD and find shelter in him. And those who do what is right
will praise him (10).

Proverbs 2 – Benefits of Wisdom. Seeking wisdom requires diligence. To diligently work at anything is to put your heart, mind, soul, and body into finding the will of G_d and earnestly working towards it. Seeking wisdom is not a simple matter of saying “Hey G_d give me some wisdom”; you may get it but the answer will be more like a “swat on the back of the head”. Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding. Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding. Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasures. Then you will understand what it means to fear the LORD, and you will gain knowledge of God (2-5).

Malachi 3 – The Coming Day of Judgement, a call to repentance, and the Lord’s Promise. In this chapter, we read about the coming days of John the Baptist who will prepare the way of the Lord (Mark 1:3). This man will baptize the people with water to purify them. The one who comes after John will baptize them with the Holy Spirit. Up to this point, the Levitical Priests had been a “blot” in G_d’s eye and they were leading the people astray by their actions. “At that time I will put you on trial. I am eager to witness against all sorcerers and adulterers and liars. I will speak against those who cheat employees of their wages, who oppress widows and orphans, or who deprive the foreigners living among you of justice, for these people do not fear me,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies (5). The nation Judah just as the people of this time are daily called to “repentance”. As children of the Living G_d, we are to be “salt and light” (Matthew 5:13-16). When use our position to feather our pockets or to set an agenda, we are scorning G_d. When people learn the truth about us, they will walk away from the church as they are already doing. If we repent and return that which we have stolen from the church that is, “our tithes and offerings”, the blessings will return in time.

1 Peter 3 – Duties of Wives and Husbands. In a marital bond, there is strength to overcome any obstacle that may come up. When we allow room for the Devil to come into our home, he will set out to separate us from the bond. This liar will remind us of everything the other person has ever done that made us mad. The Devil’s pathway starts with the recordings of wrong, then leads to slacking off on tasks, then to insults, and ending in divorce. The Devil knows that if the bond can be broken, then the children are not far behind (1 and 7). Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. 9 Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will grant you his blessing (8-9).

Daily Bible Reading 5/9/2020

Reading #1 – Leviticus 17

Reading #2 – Psalms 50

Reading #3 – lamentations 1

Reading #4 – Zechariah 3

Reading #5 – Hebrews 7

Notes

 

Leviticus 17 – Forbidden Sacrifices. There is nothing more important to G_d then to understand the importance of sacrificing in “the one” place. For the peoples all around the nation, there were as many altars as there were gods. This case just like the following may raise many questions in your mind like, “who would do such a thing” or “Isn’t that barbaric”? It is not uncommon for mankind to put the 21st century thought into this 15th century BC words. Every word and command in this section was for a purpose meaning, “someone had been doing these things in that time” and G_d called his people to be separate or to be “the difference”. G_d knew what lay in store for the nation in the promised land and much of it was “no good” and the reason it would cease to exist. 8 “Say to them: Anyone from the house of Israel or from the foreigners who live among them who offers a burnt offering or a sacrifice 9 but does not bring it to the entrance to the tent of meeting to sacrifice it to the LORD, that person must be cut off from his people (8-9). If we were to change these detestable practices with modern-day practices like, “working to our death” or “spending everything in the face of harming our family’s well being”, you would come up with the same results. Doing “these things” separates us from G_d although we call ourselves by his name.

Psalms 50 – G_d as Judge. The Psalmist is presenting the Judge like one would in the court of law. The admonitions in this Psalm were written directly against the nation Israel who had been calling themselves by the name of “Chosen People”. Unfortunately, G_d’s chosen people were not acting like children of G_d. You may have wondered why this admonition or any other admonition of G_d against the nation has anything to do with you. If you were to take out the actions spoken of in here and put in modern-day behaviors like overspending, fearful living, and being judgemental, you would come up with the same results and that is, “G_d calling us into his court. Today, the church struggles with the demands of the world to change their ways so that they can continue to exist or face being ostracized. Equally, the church has been an outspoken advocate against the Gay community while all of the time having ministers in its cadre who were acting just like the world. It must be understood that not everybody in the group of “Israelite” was doing detestable things just as not every person who calls themselves “Christian” or “Muslim” is evil. There still many thousands of people that have not “bowed a knee to Baal” or marched in step with the Devil. 3 Whoever sacrifices a thank offering honors Me,whoever orders his conduct, I will show him the salvation of God (23).” In Revelations it says, Then the One seated on the throne said, “Look! I am making everything new.” He also said, “Write, because these words are faithful and true.” 6 And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give water as a gift to the thirsty from the spring of life. 7 The victor will inherit these things, and I will be his God, and he will be My son. 8 But the cowards, unbelievers, vile, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars — their share will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death (Revelation 21:5-8).

Lamentations 1 – According to commentary, these paragraphs are “elegies”. An elegy is a sad poem written to express sorrow and praise to God. These elegies are read even today. The elegies are an acrostic beginning with the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet “Alef”. The writer was Jeremiah who prophesied during the time of Josia who was the 2nd to the last king of Judah before the exile. Acknowledging one’s sins must be accompanied by contrition or “accepting the blame”. Accepting the blame and repenting of our sins will not stop the onslaught of the “consequences”. Judah has gone into exile following affliction and harsh slavery; she lives among the nations but finds no place to rest. All her pursuers have overtaken her in narrow places (3).

Hebrews 7 – Melchizedek the Priest. Melchizedek was not a priest in the order of Aaron so how could he call himself a “priest”? This priest was a “new covenant” in which the sacrifices and practices of many centuries earlier have no value. The salvation offered by Melchizedek was not predicated on the quality of our sacrifice nor the oaths that we take. Instead, it is the power of salvation from repentance to atonement. The former priesthood had to sacrifice animals once a year for the nation. The new Priesthood of Melchizedek sacrificed once on the Cross of Calvary not only for the people of the 1st century or the disciples but for all who would come after them or, “believed in their message” (John 17:20). The same sacrifice on the Cross over 2000 years ago still holds power today for those who will believe in him. The Devil will always poke at our conscience and cause us great pain when we think back on the things we have done. Yet, we can remind him of the Cross and the shed blood that covered that sin and allowed for us to reunite with the people we have offended with full confidence that we can work through the issues that separate us because the “bloodguilt” no longer holds power over our lives. Like the events that separated Jacob from Esau, G_d’s eternal forgiveness will open the doors to healing relationships if we chose to act on them; otherwise, the wounds can be re-opened.

Daily Bible Reading for 4/28/2020

Reading #1 – Leviticus 6

Reading #2 – Psalms 39

Reading #3 – Proverbs 21

Reading #4 – Nahum 3

Reading #5 – 2 Timothy 4

Notes

 

Leviticus 6 – Laws for Burnt Offerings – As I have said in all chapters in the five books of Moses, there is concern for the welfare of the community. Thievery, lying, stealing, and deception are all traits of the enemy. In order to bring the people back to the place of fellowship, or as is stated “and when he sins and is guilty, then he shall bring back the things he had stolen or what he had extorted or something with which he had been entrusted or the lost property that he had found,  or regarding anything about which he has sworn falsely, then he shall repay it according to its value and shall add one-fifth of its value to it—he must give it to whom it belongs on the day of his guilt offering (4-5 Lexham English Version).” The reason for the increased offering is to pay restitution. Being forgiven is not the same as having paid the price for our actions. For a community to remain intact, just as it is for families, there must be established rules. Rules bring about “consequences” for violating the rules. When the person receives the restitution, they are under obligation to forgo any right to harbor anger towards the person that violated them. The trespass offering is given to make things right with God through the death of the animal (future writings “Lessons from the Cross). Both offerings had to be made simultaneously in order to deal with the offense.

Psalms 39 – I said, “I will guard ‘my ways’ that I may not sin with my tongue. I will keep a muzzle over my mouth as long as the wicked are before me (1).” This personal commitment before God sets a course for our life. The one thing that gets us into the most trouble is always the “tongue”. This commitment sets the course for our life if we let it. The writer was going through a time of immense pain and it would have been understandable if he wanted to lash out, complain bitterly about his oppressive situation; however, he vowed before God and was going to see it through no matter what may come of it.  “Let me know, O Yahweh, my end, and what is the measure of my days. Let me know how transient I am (4 Lexham English) .”

Proverbs 21 – Whatever you are looking for in life, you will find it. Whatever you want out of life, it will provide. The challenge is how we view life, is all we will ever see life to be. IF we see life as full of charlatans, thieves, despicable people, we’ll find plenty of evidence to prove our viewpoint. The king’s heart is like a stream of water directed by the Lord; he guides it wherever he pleases. People may be right in their own eyes, but the Lord examines their heart (1-2 NLT).

Nahum 3 – The Great and Powerful Nineveh has Fallen – Once so powerful, her allies were a mighty horde but even with all of the strength from her allies, she was no match for the cruelty of Babylon which would destroy the puny Nineveh.

2 Timothy 4 – Future Battles for Pastor Timothy – Paul exhortation for the young Timothy was, “But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you (5 NLT).” This charge was not given like one would give a flimsy gift to assuage or brush off Timothy, it was heartfelt in that Paul himself was in chains awaiting his death sentence. The hard times of ministry were already taking place in the community. This was towards the end of the 1st century and Jesus had been gone from the earth for about 36 years. For the past 36 years, Hellenism was still in play, Hedonism was rampant, and “compromise” became a way of life for the communities of Israel. The remnant of “spiritual Israel” was small and struggling to keep its ways before the Lord God. The same struggles Timothy faced in AD 1 is the very same things we face today. So, I dare say that the very same charge Paul gave Timothy is the very same charge we have today. “But you _____________ keep your head about you and do not cave in and compromise your ways to match the demands of the world.