Reading #1 – Numbers 1
Reading #2 – Psalms 61
Reading #3 – Song of Solomon 7
Reading #4 – Zechariah 14
Reading #5 – James 5
Numbers 1 – The First Census. In the 2nd month of the 2nd year after coming out of Egypt, a census God gave the command for Moses to conduct the first census of men 20 years and older who could serve in Israel’s army. To assist Moses with this undertaking, 12 men were specifically called out by the Lord (1-5). What is interesting is that the Lord knew which men he wanted to be Moses’ assistants so why didn’t he simply tell Moses “you have 603,550 men able to fight in the army (46)? The answer, I think, is that first of all Moses would know the number without understanding who these people were. The assistants were called out because, if Moses was not told to get help, he might have tried to handle the task all by himself a lesson he hopefully learned earlier before his father in law gave him wise counsel (Exodus 18:13-25). The priests were exempt from the census because, they would be responsible for taking care of the tabernacle (48-53).
Psalms 61 – A Psalm of David. This Psalm gives words to the heart of a person in mourning when there are simply no words that would help to soothe the wound (https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/treasury-of-david/psalms-61-1.html). Commentary suggests that this Psalm was written during the time of exile during Absolom’s attempted take over of the throne. (2 Samuel 15:13 – 17:28). David had committed a horrific sin by murdering Uriah by the sword of the Ammonites to coverup the mess he made in sleeping with Uriah’s wife Bathsheba and the subsequent “love child” (2 Samuel 12:10). G_d forgave David of his sin and while he and his sons would forever pay the price for this senseless act, David could once again freely come before the throne of G_d. For you have heard my vows, O God. You have given me an inheritance reserved for those who fear your name. Add many years to the life of the king! May his years span the generations! May he reign under God’s protection forever. May your unfailing love and faithfulness watch over him. Then I will sing praises to your name forever as I fulfill my vows each day (5-8).
Song of Solomon 7 -The Queen to be was dressed for the wedding day. The similitudes here are different from what they were before, and in the original refer to glorious and splendid clothing. Such honor has all his saints; and having put on Christ, they are distinguished by their beautiful and glorious apparel. They adorn the doctrine of God their Savior in all things. Consistent believers honor Christ, recommend the gospel, and convince and awaken sinners (Matthew Henry’s commentary 1). While we are not able to confirm the validity of Solomon’s description of his wife she could have been as ugly as a gump-stump. Yet, Solomon was deeply and profoundly in love with this woman who would be his first wife. When the child of G_d walks in obedience and faithfulness, G_d blesses the child (Deuteronomy 28:1-14), although they might be as “ugly as a gump-stump”, yet there is something different about them. This woman was Egyptian but after the wedding ceremony, she became an Israelite. When we come to the Lord G_d we take off the clothing of the world and put on the clothing of the Kingdom of G_d are entitled to all of the rights and inheritance of the saints of G_d (Psalms 61:5-6).
Zechariah 14 – The Lord Will Rule the Earth. This was the conclusion of the prophecy uttered by Zechariah. He prophesied during the days of Jehoash son of Josiah who would be the last official king of Judah. In the end, Zechariah would be stoned to death for daring to challenge the king by telling of horrid things that would occur to the kingdom (2 Chronicles 24:20-21). The King that would come to rule the earth would be King Jesus. “The Day” was the one on which the Lord was crucified for daring to proclaim himself to be the Messiah of G_d and “the King”. A new normal was coming when the world would worship the one Lord. The world will have its way until it reaches its end then, it will come to the Lord of all the earth and proclaim the name of Jesus (Philippians 2:10-11). On that day even the harness bells of the horses will be inscribed with these words: HOLY TO THE LORD. And the cooking pots in the Temple of the LORD will be as sacred as the basins used beside the altar. 21 Every cooking pot in Jerusalem and Judah will be holy to the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. All who come to worship will be free to use any of these pots to boil their sacrifices. And on that day there will no longer be traders in the Temple of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies (20-21).
James 5 – Warning to the Rich, Patience, and Endurance. It is an oddity about life in that we see the lives of the rich and famous who enjoy the very best life can offer and it engenders “envy” on our part. 8 I came to hate all my hard work here on earth, for I must leave to others everything I have earned. 19 And who can tell whether my successors will be wise or foolish? Yet they will control everything I have gained by my skill and hard work under the sun. How meaningless! 20 So I gave up in despair, questioning the value of all my hard work in this world (Ecclesiastes 2:18-20). The premise of James exhortation was not to say, “you terrible rich person”, it was to warn them of what will happen when their riches possess them. The saints of G_d are called to persevere and to never give up and never surrender their post (Ecclesiastes 10:4). We are to be “salt and light” (Matthew 5:13-16). Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen. 8 You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord, is near (7-8).