Reading #1 – Deuteronomy 16:18-20
Reading #2 – Psalms 31:9-13
Reading #3 – Proverbs 1:20-33
Reading #4 – John 18:19-24
Reading #5 – 1 Samuel 6:10-21
Deuteronomy 16:18-20 – Justice. In each town, the people were to appoint a judge to hear disputes. Justice is perverted when bribes, mob justice, and/or favoritism are entered into the mix (18-19). For this reason, towns were established in cases of “accidental murder” (Deuteronomy 19, Cities of Refuge). Miriam Webster defines justice as the process of fairly judging people accused of a crime and administering punishment/reward fairly. In the early days of the exodus, Moses would hold court from sunup to sundown until his father-in-law stepped in. For the years that followed, men were appointed from each of the tribes to hear the people’s cases and judges would consult with Moses for the more difficult cases (Exodus 18:17-23). Despite how dispersed the people would become, they were still admonished to obey the laws and administer justice correctly and fairly (20).
Psalms 31:9-13 – The Friend and the High Executioner. The Devil is the architect of “temptation”. Temptation gets us to dream of what it is like to hold/have _____. When we are tempted, it is always with the thing we physically think we need which is why it is so effective. When a righteous man/woman caves into temptation and sins, everything he/she said or did previously is called into question or scrutinized (9-10). The people we opposed, including our neighbors, will become our judge and jury as the case of Lot points out (11-13, Genesis 19).
Proverbs 1:20-33 – Wisdom’s Call. Amid the banter, noise, and cries of the city dwellers is the woman called “Wisdom” (20-21). Wisdom’s voice is not the loudest but what she has to say packs the biggest and most powerful punch (22-24). Temptation drowns out all other noises including Wisdom’s voice. For this reason, we need to carefully listen to what she has to say before committing to a course of action. Once we commit, everything that comes as a result, we will be held accountable before the throne (25-28). Wisdom will never cajole, plead, nor push her ways on anyone. All who listen to her find out later why it was a good decision. Likewise, when people refuse to listen to wisdom, they will find out later why it was to their disadvantage (29-33).
John 17 – The High Priestly Prayer. I will come back to this chapter in more in-depth writing.
John 18:19-24 – The High Priest Questions Jesus. After Jesus was arrested, he was brought before Annas for his inquisition (19-20). For 3.5 years Jesus had taught the community in the Synagogs and Temple about the Kingdom of G-d. During that time, people were healed and a couple restored from death. This should have been a “non-plus” for the High Priest except for the fact that Jesus’ teaching did not always align with that of the Sanhedrin. Unfortunately, people clung to Jesus’ every word which brought about jealousy and it was the reason why John said what he did to his disciples, “I must become less and he must become greater still” (John 3:30). The High Priest, Annas, was looking for some incriminating evidence but Jesus knew better than to fall into that trap (21). One of the officers hit Jesus as a punishment for a perceived infraction of the law (22). When Jesus reminded the High Priest what the law said, the man could say nothing without implicating himself (23-24).
1 Samuel 6:10-21 – The Ark is Returned. So the advice of the Philistine priests and diviners was acted upon (10-11). The cows once pointed in the right direction, carried the ark in the direction of Beth-Shemesh munching on grass all of the way (12). The day the ark was returned was the Fiest of First Fruits and the beginning of the 49 weeks. The cows stopped at Joshua’s field. In the same way that the Lord provided Moses with everything, he would need to build the ark and the wilderness temple, so the Lord provided the men of Beth-shemesh everything they needed for a sacrifice (13). The community’s levitical priests took down the ark and put it in a safe place. The rock was an immovable object that would be a witness of the ark’s return and the guilt offering that was sent with it (14-18). Unfortunately, someone opened the ark to look in and take inventory and it too did not end well. So, the men of Kriath-jearim were called upon to come and take the ark to safety. Once in Kiriath-Jearim, it would be the last we would hear about the ark until the time of David (19-21).