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.

 

Bible Readings for 3/17/2022

Joshua 6:1-14

Psalms 63

Proverbs 23:1-18

Isaiah 1:1-20

2 Samuel 2:12-27

Mike’s Notes

Joshua 6:1-14 – The Fall of Jericho. Jericho was 36 KM south of Gilgal where the nation had spent their first night in the new land. Jericho was occupied by the Natufian people who were known for being affluent foragers and lived off of the resources in the land. The people were one of the first groups to become sedentary hence the walls of Jericho (Jericho). Towards the end of the Ice age, this group migrated to what is now Northern Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria (Jericho). So, the people inside the walls of Jericho thought the walls were impregnable which is why the city was closed up (1). The Commander of the Lord’s Army encouraged Joshua to not be afraid of the imposing walls because the men of valor and the King would be handed over to Joshua (2). The plan of attack should have been seen as a “Fool’s errand” but the Lord knew something Joshua didn’t (3-5). So Joshua passed on the instructions to his commanders and down to the foot soldiers as if it was coming from them (6-7). So the plan was put into action (8-11). For six days the army of Israel marched around the impregnable walls without making a sound (12-14). Personal Notes: Joshua’s actions at Jericho were distinguished from Moses’ because, Joshua did not ask why, did not throw out objections, he went in faith believing. The devoted things would go to the tent of the Lord which would be used to build up the nation in the new land. Except for Rahab and her family, all other living things were to be put to the sword. Taking the gold and silver for yourself was a death sentence because being a thief would make the nation as bad as the Natufians.

Psalms 63 – My Soul Thirsts for You. When our bodies are thirsty, it is often misunderstood by thinking it needs food (Thirst). In the same way, when our soul thirsts for the words of the Creator we think we need things so we buy them and yet we think we need more (1). When we turn our hearts and minds to the Lord, that thirst is satiated and we want nothing else except more of the Lord (2-4). When we set our hearts on pilgrimage to the Kingdom of G-d, everything else will be fodder for the earth (5-11). Personal Notes: It is the spring of the year and I have started my plant seedlings. Initially, the plants are seeds and the package has a picture of the plant. In time, the seedlings will be planted, watered, and in the fall we will have fruit to eat. In the same way, when I consider the seeds of G-d’s word that I plant in my soul. Initially, G-d’s plan for my life is but a dream but in time those seeds will grow and develop fruit. Faithfulness, discretion, and discipline are valuable nutrients to growing in G-d.

Proverbs 23:1-18 – Words of the Wise. In every situation we face in life, we need to exercise discretion because not everything is as it appears (1-8). Unless our counsel is sought after, our wise words will be little more than sandpaper to an open wound (9). Doing things that suit our benefit at the cost of the innocent will in the end be a noose around our neck (10-12). The word “discipline” has become a naughty word in our society because implies that we need to “beat the bad behavior out of children and ourselves”. The word discipline means, “training to obey the rules” (Dictionary.com). When an athlete trains for an event, the discipline he or she receives will teach their body to obey the rules (13-18). Personal Notes: When there is a lack of discretion and discipline, there is a “default response”. Lack of discretion leads to foolishness and fights. Lack of discipline leads to unruliness and laziness.

Isaiah 1:1-20 – The Wickedness of Judah. The kingdom that was built up and united under David, would be divided into two kingdoms after Solomon’s death. Unfaithfulness was at the root of Judah’s problem and it was learned from Solomon (2-3). When we are unfaithful to the Lord, separation from Him is not far behind and we will be the first to turn our backs (4). The enemy of our soul, the Devil, uses this turn of events to compel us to see the futility of serving the Lord. Because of this, the High places are leveled, families broke down, and communities are at odds with each other leading to wars and fights (5-6). The nations that flocked to us in the good times will become our attackers in the bad times (7-8). Hearts that had never left the Lord’s side would be more effective than all of the sacrifices, all of the Festivals, and all the traditions combined (9-11). Until the blood that is on our hands and the sin that separates us from G-d is dealt with, we will still walk away from the Temple as dirty as the moment we walked in (12-17). Amid the flood of sin is an olive branch from the Lord (18-20). Personal Notes: Temptation and sin are like smoke screens that block us from seeing the approach of the enemy (Mike Krier). Solomon could not possibly conceive the problems that lay ahead for the tribe of Judah and how the people who supported him would fight for control of the kingdom.

2 Samuel 2:12-27 – Saul and Jonathan Lamented. The young man who thought he would receive a reward for telling David about the battle ended up being executed. While his story is fabricated, it became his testimony (12-16). The Book of Jashar was a collection of poetry that dated back to Joshua (17-18, Joshua 10:12-13, ). King Saul was the 1st king of Israel and Judah and because of that, he was the glory of Israel (19-20). Mount Gilboa would be a holy place and the sacrifice would be the blood of the slain (21-22). Jonathan would have been the crown Prince and the one to succeed Saul. Unfortunately, he would die on Mount Gilboa beside his brothers and father (23). In life, Saul provided for the daughters of Israel from his campaigns although many of them gave more credit to David and much less to Saul (24). Jonathan’s death was a blow to David because of how Jonathan befriended, protected, and extended royalty to David (25-27). Personal Notes: David opened his heart for all to see. David did not hate Saul no matter what the man did to him. Agape love is an unconditional love that sees beyond the pain, warts, and troubles to the heart of the one you love. Loving a person who is kindly disposed to you is much easier than loving someone who wants to end your life.“How the mighty have fallen”.

Bible Readings for 3/16/2022

Joshua 5

Psalms 62

Proverbs 22:17-29

Acts 28

2 Samuel 2:1-11

Mike’s Notes

Joshua 5 – The New Generation Circumcised. This was a new day for Israel. The kings of the nations currently in Canaan most likely thought that they could wipe Israel out until the nation crossed the Jordan on dry land. After that, every nation walked in fear of Israel because of the supernatural events (1). 40 years earlier every male boy above the age of 7 was circumcised in obedience to the law. The men in the current army had not been circumcised (2-9). The nation observed Passover for the first time in the new land so it was in the early spring of the year. The Mannah “what is it” ceased to flow because the fruit of the new land was now available (10-12). The Angel of the Lord, probably Michael, would command the Lord’s army and would call the shots. Just as it had been when Moses approached the burning bush, the ground was sacred and to be treated with respect (13-15). Personal Notes: The purpose of circumcision is to distinguish which ones are children of Abraham and which are not. The practice of circumcision goes back to the time of Abraham (Circumcision). It is interesting to me that the Lord never takes away one thing until another is put in place. For 40 + years the nation ate manna and it became a staple in their diet. The Commander of the Lord’s Army, I believe would have been with Moses had he not been so fearful.

Psalms 62 – My Soul Waits for G-d Alone. The world says, “Follow the fads” where the Word of the Lord says, “wait patiently for the Lord and He will deliver you from whatever situation that is coming against you” (1-2). Being the “Odd man out” is not an enviable position because we will be labeled as the “heretic” or the “black sheep”. The thing is, all of G-d’s best work and plans always come to fruition in the end after all of the ballots are counted (3-4). When the Spirit speaks to our soul about a choice we are about to make, it is incumbent on us to make the right choice (5-8). Each of us is given control over our life. We are, therefore, responsible for the choices we make (9-12). Personal Notes: Remember, the Lord will never make choices for us nor hound when we are acting foolish; he will, on the other hand, speak to us in the form of the consequences for our actions. When we are forgiven by the Lord, it doesn’t mean that our actions are forgotten in this world but that we will be welcomed into Heaven.

Proverbs 22:17-29 – Words of the Wise. Listening to a wise person is difficult because it is like standing in a very big field of daisies on a warm sunny day. When all of a sudden a cold blast of wind blows across the field signaling a rain shower is about to happen. The foolish person says, “but it is warm outside, stay a little longer”. The wise person says, “I’d take cover if I was you” (17-18). For this reason, the writer jots down the 30 says of counsel and wisdom (19-21). To the Lord, every area of our life is a concern to Him because He knows all too well what happens when even one area of our life gets out of balance (22-29). Personal Notes: Balance is an integral part of our life because, just as a tight rope walker would carefully consider his/her steps, so should we. The Lord is concerned about the welfare of our soul more than any item in this world because the items can be replaced but a damaged soul has long-range implications.

Acts 28 – Paul on Malta. The people of Malta warmly accepted Paul and his traveling companions and provided for their needs (1-2). Paul got bit by a poisonous snake when he reached into a woodpile but he did not die so he was considered a “god” (3-6). By showing kindness to the governor of Malta’s father by healing the man, I believe was the provided so warmly for Paul and his traveling companions (7-10). Syracuse, which is a 2700-year-old city, is located in the southwest corner of Sicily which is located on the boot of Italy beside the Ionian sea (11-13, Syracuse). Having heard about Paul’s arrival, many traveled to Forum of Appius and Three Taverns. The Form of Appius was built by its namesake Appius which was a road that connected Rome to distant settlements and is currently a major superhighway and the oldest one in existence. The “Three Taverns” or Tres Tabernae is a city about 33 miles from Rome and is located along the Appius Way (14-16, Forum of Appius, Three Taverns). When he got to Rome, Paul was given a room by himself with a guard watching over him. At this point in time, Paul had nothing to lose and this gave him the freedom to talk to whoever came many received the salvation message but many others walked out shaking their heads (26-31).

2 Samuel 2:1-11 – David Anointed King of Judah. By the leading of the Lord, David went up to Hebron to rightfully establish his kingdom (1-4). Because of what the people of Jabesh-Gilead did for Saul and Jonathan by rescuing Saul’s body, armor, and Jonathan’s body, David reciprocated with his love and faithfulness in the name of Saul and Jonathan (5-7). Ish-bosheth or IshBaal the seventh son of Saul was 40 years old when Abner son of Ner inducted him as the next King of Israel (8-10). David reigns in Hebron for 7 years 6months before he was inducted as the King of the combined Kingdom of Israel and would move his city to Jerusalem (11). Personal Notes: David rightfully ascended to the throne of Judah because Saul had been killed in battle. Ish-bosheth or Ish-Baal would be the de facto king because there were no other sons left that could ascend to the throne. The reason Saul’s daughters could not ascend to the throne was that it must have been unheard of unless the law was changed. Fast forward 125+ years later and Athaliah would usurp the throne after Jehoram was killed.

 

Bible Readings for 3/15/2022

Joshua 4:15-24

Psalms 61

Proverbs 22:1-16

Acts 27

2 Samuel 1:17-27

Mike’s Notes

Joshua 4:15-24 – The 12 Stones. Once the people carrying the rocks came out of the water, the Priests were told to come up and the water started flowing again (15-18). The people had been obedient and gathered the 12 stones one for each of the 12 ancestral tribes. The one thing we need to understand about the Lord is, He doesn’t tell us why he wants something done, He wants us to be obedient. Those rocks that they gathered, as heavy as they may have been, were to be put to use in the same way that the stuff that was taken from Egyptians (19-24). Personal Notes: If the Lord explained everything he asked us to do, we would never get anything done. We are not G-d’s counselor and nor will ask us our opinion because His ways have worked for thousands of years and ours have failed for the same amount of time ().

Psalms 61 – Lead Me to The Rock. Trusting in the Lord, as I have said before, is easy when nothing is confronting you, the winds of adversity are calm, and the sunshine of providence guides your pathway. When the storm clouds gather, the winds begin to blow, and hail hammers down on your home, we become fearful just like the disciples in the boat. It is in those times that our faith is put to the test (1-3, Luke 8:22-25). In the game “Tag”, there is a designated “safe spot” that you can run to and not be tagged. In some ways, that’s how view the Kingdom of G-d as a “safe spot” and then wonder why our walk with the Lord is so abysmal (4-5). To David, the Lord G-d was the breath that he breathed and the life that he lived and his life and kingdom were proof of it even when he slipped to the further place, G-d was still the G-d he served (6-8). Personal Notes: The Lord wants us to have a walk with the Lord that is unbreakable. The problem is, it takes work, dedication, and patience. When David failed, his critics believed his reign was over with and the mighty David would become “history” but that’s not what happened. David would have to contend with his sins for the rest of his life that would not change.

Proverbs 22:1-16 – Proverbs For Life. Of all the things that we should garner in life, at the top of the list is a “good name”. If our name is no good or it is not respected, all of the plans for our lives are meaningless (1). Having a good name is not limited to the rich nor poor, tall or small, black or white, but is a quality that everyone can and should have (2-3). When we carefully consider our lives and work to build up a life that is pleasing to G-d, we will have enduring riches and not be afraid of every storm or trial that comes our way (4-5). Along that same vein is the parental requirement to train our children that they will be equipped for the ministry ahead of them (6-9). Regrettably, there will always be those times when we need to cut people out of our lives who are causing problems and refuse correction (10-16). Personal Notes: David’s ascension to the throne began the moment Samuel prophesied. It was approximately 15 years from the time of David’s anointing to the day he ascended to the throne. During those years, a lot happened that could have cost him the throne.

Acts 27 – Paul Sails For Rome. Because Paul wanted to appeal his case to the Emporer, he had to travel to Italy which meant a lengthy sea approximately 1300 nautical miles and the ships were powered by sails. Unfortunately, they sail in late August after Pentecost which meant that they would deal with the fall winds and weather that were predominant in that region (1-2). The soldier in charge of the prisoners decided to set sail against Paul’s counsel which would cause problems for the people specifically when the winds began to blow. At one point they tried lightening the load which did not help them. Because of the heavy seas and high winds, the people did not eat most likely because their stomachs were in turmoil (21-22). Paul encouraged the people to eat and take courage because G-d had given him a message that he would make it to Rome (23-26). When the seas and winds act as they did, it is very difficult to know for sure about anything other than “stop these storms”. In the end, the ship ran aground on Malta (39-42). Personal Notes: Paul had been through too much not to trust the Lord at His word. In the storms that confront us, it is easy to think “this is as good as it gets” not knowing how much more the Lord has in mind for us.

2 Samuel 1:17-27 – David’s Lament for Saul and Jonathan. The book of Jashar is a lost book that contained poems that included references to Joshua, Debra, and David. Jashar is interpreted as, “victorious” or “upright” (17-18, ). Remember Saul was like a father to David and Jonathan was like a brother and David loved both men as he did his biological father and brothers. When you read about the times Saul chased David like a dog, you would think David would rejoice because his time to rule Israel was on the horizon (19-21). Mount Gilboa would resonate with David as the place his family died and would be a holy place (22-24). Saul was still the king although he made mistakes in judgment that would cost him the enduring kingdom (25-27). Personal Notes: In the interim years between the prophecy and the ascension to the throne, David did the right things when faced with choices. This is an important thing to remember for anyone that is preparing to step into a leadership role. The problem is that situations that should have brought joy end in sorrow because of the things that we did before stepping into the roles.

 

Bible Readings 3/14/2022

Joshua 4:1-14

Psalms 60

Proverbs 21:16-31

Acts 26

2 Samuel 1:1-16

Mike’s Notes

Joshua 4:1-14 – Twelve Memorial Stones from the Jordan. Once the nation had crossed the Jordan, 12 men one from each of the 12 tribes were selected to pick a boulder up from the place where the priests had stood with the Ark (1-3). These stones would be used to erect an altar as a memorial or reminder to the future generations of Israel of what the Lord had done for the nation (4-7). The people were obedient to Joshua’s direction (8-10). The 2.5 Trans-Jordan tribes in obedience to what they promised crossed over first armed for battle. The events of that day set the tone for Joshua’s tenure as the nation’s Commanding General of the Israeli army (11-14). Personal Notes: There is a defined difference between “being a leader” and being the “G-d ordained leader”. Moses’ departure created problems for the nation because of all that he had done and the power showed during the 40 years in the desert. Certainly, no two leaders are identical in form and fashion. Moses and the Lord G-d did everything in their power to be sure Joshua was equipped for the job ahead of him. The 2.5 Trans-Jordan tribes could have tried to pull a fast one on Joshua in hopes that he was not told about the agreement with Moses.

Psalms 60 – He Will Tread Down Our Foes. There is a funny thing about the Lord and that is, He will get his point across and take as long as is necessary to accomplish this (1-3). G-d’s word is a banner that is unfurled for all who make the journey from the throne room of the enemy to the throne room of G-d (4-5). There is nobody in this world in the past, present, or future that is not welcome into the Kingdom of G-d; the only thing that stops us is “unconfessed sin” (6-8). We will never make a wrong turn and end up in the Kingdom of G-d because we are only admitted by the doorkeeper – Jesus the Son of G-d (9-11). Personal Notes: Sin is a showstopper and will keep us where we are in whatever condition we are until we get some things right before G-d. Even the Apostle Paul spent time following the events on the Damascus road getting some issues resolved.

Proverbs 21:16-31 – Proverbs For Life. Walking away from good sense implies that you know the right thing to do but choose not to do it (16). Most of us think in the “immediate” and forget about the consequences (17-19). The wise man unlike the fool considers his/her long-range goals in his/her decisions (20-23). In every group, there is at least one scoffer who could care less about anyone’s point of view accept theirs. The problem is, that person does not consider the implications of his/her words and who they hurt (24). The sluggard is a sloth in his/her work and spends most of his/her time doing nothing (25). A sacrifice is not just slaughtering an animal, it is a price we pay for our actions. The problem is, the sacrifices we offer for our foolishness would not be necessary. As an example, working overtime because we did not get our work done during the day or missing key events like a child’s baseball game because we showed up for work late (26-28). Whatever we do in life, we need to do it for the glory of G-d so that our time is not wasted and we have a reward for our sacrifice of love (29-31). Personal Notes: While Solomon could be used as the “example of what not to do”, what he has to say is still wise and beneficial providing we do what G-d’s words say and not what Solomon did.

Acts 26 – Paul’s Defense Before Agrippa. Paul was given the floor so that he could defend his actions. Paul began by talking about his early life and his upbringing with the Pharisees (1-5). The part of the scriptures that is admissible in Jewish teachings is that Jesus is the Messiah – the one raised from the dead (6-8, ). Paul then called Saul had done everything in his power to subvert the Christians by arresting them and sending them to their death (9-11). The funny part about Paul’s story was the Damascus road incident. This part of the story would seem to be “whacky” because, Paul didn’t go looking for the Lord, didn’t start praying about the journey he just went with the express purpose of destroying Christians and Jewish sympathizers. The Lord stopped Paul with one question, “Saul why are you persecuting me doesn’t that hurt you ?” (12-14). Paul obviously shook After all, it wasn’t every day that a voice from Heaven calls to you by name (15). Imagine heading for a city with the purpose to stop the Christians just to become one (16-18). Paul used the moment to explain why he was arrested and why he was appearing before the King of Palestine (19-23). Festus tried to interrupt only to be shut down (24-29). The only reason Paul was not released was that he had appealed to Caesar  (30-32).

2 Samuel 1:1-16 – David Hears of Saul’s Death. After the death of Saul and his sons, a young man came thinking he was bringing good news. After relaying the battle report, the young man most likely expected a reward of some type (1-4). When ask how the young man knew Saul was dead, he made the 2nd mistake he fabricated his information (5-10). Normally when a monarch passes away and there is no successor, it would bring joy to those seeking the throne but for David and his men, it was a day of tragedy and a national disgrace (11-12). The young hero would be put to death for daring to lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed when the war was over (13-16). Personal Notes: To David Saul was his King and the Lord’s anointed. Add to this, David loved Saul and respected him although the two were at odds with each other. In the balance of all of David’s decisions was “his kingdom”. The same is said of the individual who rises up against a leader, that person when he/she gets into a leadership position will face similar trials and difficulties.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bible Readings for 3/13/2022

Joshua 3

Psalms 59

Proverbs 21:1-15

Acts 25

1 Samuel 31

Mike’s Notes

Joshua 3 – Israel Crosses the Jordan River. Shittim or Abel-Shittim was located at the foothill of Mount Pisgah was the last stop before crossing the river Jordan into their inheritance (1, ). Three days later, the people were told to pack their stuff and prepare to break camp. The people were instructed to stay back about 3000’ from the Ark which would go ahead of them (2-4). The reason the people were told to consecrate themselves was that the Lord will not dwell where there is sin; without the Lord, the people would never make it across the Jordan much less attack Jericho (5). The Levitical Priests and the Ark were to go first (6). Crossing the river would be a defining time for Joshua that would turn him from the “newbie Commander” to the “Lord’s anointed” in the eyes of the people (7-8). From this day forward Israel would no longer be “former slaves” but “conquerors” (9-11). When the Priests stood in the water, the river parted allowing the people to cross on dry land. Finally, the people were to chose one man from each of the 12 tribes to pick out a rock from the Jordan and bring with them to the opposite side (12-17). Personal Notes: The number 3 is a perfect numeral in scripture and is used 567 times in scripture (Number 3). Everything Joshua did was directed by the Lord. This is important because conquering an ancient land was difficult enough if experienced but is compounded when inexperienced. The Lord seemingly chooses the inexperienced and uneducated because the experienced become proud whereas the inexperienced remain humble.

Psalms 59 – Deliver Me From My Enemies. David is teaching his reader from the viewpoint of when he was being watched by Saul. David was a constant reminder to Saul about the precious gift he lost due to unfaithfulness. David was enjoying the success brought on by obedience and Saul was losing due to disobedience. For that reason, David became Saul’s target (1-2). From his youth, David had been watched over by the Lord and especially during the time Saul (3-5). Because of the struggles with Saul’s violence, David had to keep a careful watch at all times (6-7). In the end, Saul would lose everything and his son and grandson would never see a day when they would rule Israel (8-10). Having an opposition, while sometimes uncomfortable, does serve a purpose. First, the opposition keeps us on our toes, keeps us humble, and focused (11). Second, the opposition has its ways but we do not need to be worried or anxious about them, we need to serve the Lord faithfully (12-17). Personal Notes: Serving the Lord is easier when we are in darkness because it compels us to trust what we cannot see. When the darkness turns to light, we tend to become proud and boastful.

Proverbs 21:1-15 – Proverbs For Life. Whatever we do in life the outcome is in the hands of the Lord and He will channel the plans for His glory. The thing is, we may have our plans whether they be good or bad and we believe we know the outcome (1). It is easy to be become blind to our faults so overlook the problems we cause and blame them on society (2-3). For mankind, it is difficult to conceive the possibility of being wrong or that our actions are wrong until we see the outcome (4-7). Today, as it has been for a long time, the lines between right and wrong are often blurred as we rely on Popularity polls (8-10). Punishing the violator is not well received in our society because it means the punishment is limited to “justice”. The part that is often overlooked is that those who do not receive justice will become the trouble-maker in the next round (11-13). Giving justice to the victim of a crime is not just “good for the person” it is good for society as a whole (14-15). Personal Notes: The reason our society and nation are constantly dealing with the levels of violence is that the offender is glorified on the front pages of the News. Kids take guns to school and deal with the people that have hurt them because nobody does anything. Befriending the unpopular and being a faithful ally will cost us our popularity.

Acts 25 – Paul Appeals to Caesar. Paul was detained at Caesarea by Felix. The Jews wanted to ambush Paul and kill him. Remember, the charges against Paul were limited to breaking Jewish law and so he should have been released without further action. The problem was that he appealed to Caesar which is the right of all Roman citizens (1-5). Porcius Festus would have gladly turned Paul over to the Jews if Paul had not stood on his rights (6-12). King Julius Marcus Agrippa and his Jewish wife Bernice arrived from Rome to hear Paul’s case (13-27). Personal Notes: King Agrippa II was the son of King Agrippa and the great-grandson of Herod the Great. The Herodian dynasty which existed from 55 BCE to 93 CE, knew about Jewish customs and beliefs which is why Paul was glad to see the King. The Herodians were from the Edomites which were relatives of Esau.

1 Samuel 31 – The Death of Saul. Samuel’s prophecy to Saul was fulfilled (1 Samuel 28:19). The battle had turned against Israel and the final stand was on Mount Gilboa which is located in lower Galilee (Mount Gilboa). The remaining Israeli soldiers tried to escape but were killed. In the final moments of the battle, Saul had requested that his armor-bearer run him through which would have denied the Philistines the glory of killing their enemy. In saying the young man “feared greatly”, I think it implied that he feared touching the Lord’s anointed. So Saul did the honorable thing and fell on his sword and the armor-bearer followed suit (1-5). Falling on one’s sword is an idiom for accepting responsibility for something that has gone wrong (Idiom). In Saul’s case, the whole battle was a mistake in judgment and being unfaithful to the Lord. After the battle, the Israelites in the surrounding cities ran for their lives (6-7). Saul’s death was a boon for the Philistines and they celebrated by taking Saul’s body and his armor and offering them to their god (8-10). The men of Jabesh-Gilead of the tribe of Benjamin took their lives in their hands to rescue Saul’s body and armor and burned the body which is an honorable tradition (11-12). Saul’s burial plot was under a (13).

 

Bible Readings for 3/12/2022

Joshua 2

Psalms 58

Proverbs 20:16-30

Acts 24

1 Samuel 30:16-31

Mike’s Notes

Joshua 2 – Rahab Hides the Spies. Joshua sent two men into Jericho to spy out the land. Oddly enough, the men went into the home of a prostitute named Rahab (1). When the king got word about the spies, he went to demand that she hand them over (2-3). Rahab hid the two young men on the roof amid the stacks of hay but lied to the king to get him to chase after them (4-7). The reward she wanted for hiding the young men was for the Jews to protect her and her family. She knew there was no hope for Jericho not if the stories about their conquests were true (8-14). Once the men were let down through the window they were given instructions for evading capture (15-16). In return, the two young men told Rahab to have her, her parents, and her siblings in the house and to put down the rope that the young men had used to escape placed in the window (17-21). Once back in the Israelite camp the men told Joshua all that had happened and how the Lord will bring about a great victory (22-24). Personal Notes: Rahab was in the oldest profession known to mankind and to upright, she was vile. Yet, the Lord used her to open the door for the young men to escape. In the NT, Jesus tells the religious leaders why the unrighteous would get into the Kingdom of G-d ahead of them (Matthew 21:31).

Psalms 58 – G-d Who Judges the Earth. This Miktam speaks to how G-d judges the earth. When we look at the situations presented in other people’s lives, it is easy to think “I’d never do ____” as to think “I’m better than ____ is (1-2). Yet, given the same environment and situations, we might do the same thing so how are we better than anybody else (John Bradford). Our actions indeed lead to consequences for which we are judged and that “judgment” is the outcropping from the seeds we sowed (3-5). When we are wicked, the plans that we make will end in futility and the people who warned them will be proven right (6-9). Living to please the Lord G-d which is affirmed by our decisions and actions is not popular in present-day society but who can argue with results (10-11)? Personal Notes: doubtless, the world believes that we should “get everything coming to us” yet consider how vague that statement is. The Devil would have us believe that we deserve ___ and so we pursue it to our demise. Consider Solomon who exercised his Kingly prerogative when it came to his love of foreign-born women in the end his son would receive less than a ¼ of the kingdom because the Lord took it away from him.

Proverbs 20:16-30 – Proverbs for Life. In life, we make decisions and it is by the outcome that “our decision is judged (Mike Krier). So when lending money and/or possessions, we must under the implication of the loan being defaulted and must prepare for that possibility (16). In the same way, we can act any way we want because we are in a free society, or at least most of us are. Where we run into problems is the outcome or, “the consequences” which is something no one likes (17-19). In Jewish society, as it is for many societies, family is everything. So, when cursing your parents, you will be judged for it because of the clear doctrine of the 10  commandments. While being judged by the law is a “big deal” the hardest part is that we face the same issue at a future time when our children give us what we gave to our parents (20-21).  How we treat other people, including those who disagree with us, will determine our future (22-23). Because the Lord G-d can see the past, present, and future, He knows the outcome of our choices before we make them (24-27). It is by remaining faithful no matter the situation that we can face life and the struggles (28-30). Personal Notes: there is a profound difference between “winning the battle” and “winning the war”. In life, we make bad decisions and we will lose battles but that doesn’t mean we’ve lost the war and should just give up (Mike Krier).

Acts 24 – Paul Before Felix at Caesarea. Governor Felix called the Jewish leaders in to present their case before the court. Tertullus, a Roman Lawyer, would be speaking for the Jewish Leaders (1, ). Tertullus began his oration by buttering up Felix with flattery (2-4). The charges against Paul appeared to be serious and merited his execution. The problem was, there was no evidence presented other than the word of the leaders (5-9). When given a chance to speak, Paul presented his case without flattery or embellishment (10-21). Felix knew Paul was innocent of the charges presented but he was also greedy and so he thought with enough time in prison, Paul would give a bribe (22-26). Felix would be recalled to Rome because of his behavior and succeeded by Porcius Festus. Paul would remain in prison until his death (27, ). Personal Notes: It is important to note that, the case against Paul was superfluous. The reason Paul lost the case was that the Jewish leaders were respected leaders in the society, what they said, “was the law” and no one would buck them until Paul came along.

1 Samuel 30:16-31 – David Defeats the Amalekites. The Amalekites had been so drunk that they did not see David and his men approaching (16). Once the Amalekites were defeated, David and his men drove the flocks and family members back to the brook where the 200 men waited with the baggage (17-20). The evil men among the 400 would have gladly withheld the share of the spoils from the 200 who did not go into battle (21-22). David had a heart for the Lord G-d and knew what would please Him and what would not. So, he made it a law among the 600 that everyone shared in the plunder whether or not they went into battle (23-25). David took obedience one step further by sending a portion of the plunder to the leaders in all of the places he and his men had dwelled (26-30). Personal Notes: The rules and laws we institute in our lives when we have not come into our calling will set the tone when we do come into our calling (Mike Krier). It was for this reason that the book of the law was instituted before crossing into the new land. Those who chose to ignore the law on one side of the Jordan would also ignore the law on the opposite side. David was barely over 18 years old when Samuel prophesied that he, David, would be the next king of Israel. Knowing this, David could have been arrogant about it instead he chose to honor the Lord and because of it, his Kingdom would be an enduring kingdom.

 

Bible Readings for 3/11/2022

Joshua 1

Psalms 57

Proverbs 20:1-15

Acts 23

1 Samuel 30:1-15

Mike’s Notes

Joshua 1 – G-d Commissions Joshua. Joshua is commissioned a 2nd time, this time it was the Lord speaking. It had been 40 days since Moses’ passing and it was time for Joshua to take the reigns and lead the nation. Assuming command of the nation was a daunting task because Moses’ departure left a very big set of shoes to fill (1-2). The word “Lebanon” in this chapter is not the nation “Lebanon” but a white mountain (3-4, ). Joshua’s commission was a faith lesson because he was promised G-d’s abiding presence and the land on the opposite of Jordan before stepping one foot into the land (5-6). The caveat was, “Be strong and courageous …” (7). The book of the law presented to Joshua by Moses would be his guiding principle and was to read the law and apply it to his life (8-9). Giving command to his Officers, Joshua prepared the nation to leave the white mountain (10-11). The promise Moses had given to the 2.5 Transjordan tribes would remain in effect providing they held up their end of the bargain (12-15). The tribal leaders affirmed their promise with the understanding that Joshua was not to renege on his promises and serve the Lord faithfully as Moses had done (16-18). Personal Notes: The statement made by the 2.5 tribes “just as we were faithful to Moses …” should have been disconcerting based on the troubles Moses had with the nation. This was virgin territory for the nation because they were formerly enslaved and now they would-be conquerors.

Psalms 57 – Let Your Glory Be over All the Earth. This Miktam or “teaching Psalm” was written when David had escaped the clutches of Saul and run away to a place where he could hide (1). When facing a situation like David, it is very difficult to know who to trust and who to avoid. Fortunately, David had the Lord who had been beside him in all of the trials he had been through (2-3). The one person other than Jonathan that David knew he could trust was the Lord and soon the 600 men that came to him (4-6). If it had not been for the Lord at his side, he would have run out of hiding places and might very well have killed Saul when had the chance (7-11). Personal Notes: David had enjoyed unparalleled success in Saul’s kingdom. He was accredited for killing his 10s of thousands and now all of that praise is gone and in its place was loneliness and isolation. Yet, David was never alone and we hear this praise echoed in this Psalm.

Proverbs 20:1-15 – Proverbs for Life. How well we guard the affairs of our life will greatly determine how long we stay in power (1-3). Certainly, we can be vile, casually criticize those in authority, and poke fun at the laws but when we step into authority, those words and actions come back to haunt us (4-5). The words we speak tell of the great things we have done but without proof, those are mere words (6-7). As the king, the ruler is responsible for administering justice but how can he administer what he so freely violates (8-11). There is nothing that we do even in the utmost security that will not be made known to the world even if we use executive privilege (12-15).

Acts 23 – Luke’s Journal. Having given his defense before the Roman guard and the Jewish leadership, Paul touched on a matter of contention – “the resurrection of the dead” (6-10). An angel appeared to Paul in the jail cell that night and prophesied about his mission and how it would end (11). The Jews had a plan on how to get Paul away from the Roman guard unfortunately Paul’s nephew heard what was going to happen and went told Paul (12-15). Paul had the boy speak with the Roman guard and was told to “keep it quiet” (16-22). Paul was taken to Rome which circumvented the Jewish leaders’ plans (23-25). The Roman tribune, Claudius Lysias would have been content to have scourged if not for Paul’s citizenship. To solve the problem presented by the Jews, Claudius had Paul taken to the Governor of Palestine Felix (26-30, ). Paul would spend time in Herod’s Pretorium until his accusers arrived from Jerusalem (31-35, ).

1 Samuel 30:1-15 – David’s Wives Are Captured. While David and his men were away at war, the Amalekites swooped in and took all of the wives the men’s belongings. As a parting gift, the Amalekites burned Ziklag to the ground and then ran away (1-3). When the men returned to Ziklag and found the burned remains, the men cried about it and in their pain, talked about stoning David for enticing them to be away from the camp. David found strength in the Lord G-d despite the present situation (4-6). The first thing David did was seek Lord’s guidance by having the priest Abiathar bring the Ephod. Remember, the ephod was used for making decisions (7-10, ). So with 400 men David went in search of the raiders and to get their property back. Along the way, they met an Egyptian servant who after being fed and given something to drink told David where to find the Amalekites (11-15).

Bible Readings for 3/10/2022

Deuteronomy 34

Psalms 56

Proverbs 19:19-29

Acts 22

1 Samuel 29

Mike’s Notes

Deuteronomy 34 – The Death of Moses. Moses was called up to the mountain where he would see the land that Israel would inherit (1-4). Moses died on the mountain but nobody knows where he was buried and the reason for that, I believe, is that if the burial place was known, people pilgrimage to the site (5-7). Moses’ death was a blow to the people because he had been their spiritual headship since leaving Egypt (8). The nation’s eyes and hope were on Joshua who was inducted into being the leader of the nation. Joshua was no Moses but then, Moses was no Joshua (9-12). Personal Notes: The difference between Jesus and Moses was that Jesus taught in the name of his Father and everything Jesus did was aimed at preparing the men to move out. The disciples were obviously frightened by the prospect of Jesus’ death just as the nation was upon Moses’ death. Yet from the loss, Joshua, Peter, and Paul arise to take the helm.

Psalms 56 – In G_d I Trust – A big question most people ask themselves in times of trouble is, “who do I trust”? It is not uncommon for people to have different opinions and each person’s opinion is right in that person’s eyes. David was caught up in this conundrum but, notice his response (1-4). When we seek to serve the Lord and make his judgment be our opinion, He makes whatever situation we are facing turn out for His glory (5-7). The thing we need to get through our thick heads is that the Lord knows what we are going through and is not blind to the pain we are facing. If we can but hold on until the storms clear, we will see the pathway He has laid and how our faith muscle has grown (8-11). Our job in the storm is, “remain obedient even if what we are told to do makes no sense” (12-13). Personal Notes: Consider the case of Paul who faced the judgment of the Jews for trusting in the Lord and being obedient to his calling. It would have been all too easy for Paul to think, “This is G-d’s people so what they are saying must be correct so maybe I’m wrong”.

Proverbs 19:19-29 Proverbs For Life. One of the many difficult lessons to learn in life is, “who do I trust”? The Devil’s lies compel us to believe fiction and reject the truth because the truth sounds so much like fiction. Consider how a wrathful person portrays himself/herself as the victim instead of the perpetrator. As saints, we want to cross the aisle to reach this “wrathful person” only to be caught up in a never-ending cycle of problems (19-21). A common need of mankind is the “need to be wanted” which compels people to seek connections and refuse to hear bad things about the person they are listening to (22). It is not uncommon for people to fear icons like actors and athletes by holding them to standards for which they cannot possibly attain so when the icon fails, our faith is shattered. If our faith is in anything or anyone other than the Lord, we are in for heartache (23-24). Dealing with troublemakers and scoffers is important because the longer they are allowed to carry on, the more potential there will be for others to follow in that person’s path (25-29). Personal Notes: We are given the responsibility for controlling what goes on in our life. Part of that responsibility is carefully reviewing the background of the people we hire to be our counselors.

Acts 22 – Paul’s Defense. Paul defended himself by telling his story. To get the people onboard, Paul spoke in Hebrew which is the language of the Old Testament (). At one point he was a Pharisee which was the strictest sect in Judaism. From his youth, he was indoctrinated in the beliefs of his teacher Gamilea (3-4). Paul’s salvation experience on the Damascus road amazed the people probably because they had been raised hearing about Moses’ experience on the mountain. The crescendo, deflating, and aggravation were when he mentioned the vile word “gentiles” (22-24). Paul would have been flogged except for the fact that he was a Roman Citizen (25-29). Personal notes: Misunderstandings keep people apart which is the goal of the Devil. Consider how “differences of opinion” kept the Jews from speaking to the Samaritans and vice versa (). By going to the Gentiles, Paul was seen as a traitor when he was actually healing the wounds between the people groups.

1 Samuel 29 – The Philistines Reject David. The Israeli army gathered at Jezreel to go into battle against Philistia (1). David and his 600 men went into battle to fight against Israel under the auspices of Achish which drew the ire of the other kings of Philistia (2-3). The problem the kings had with Achish and David was that there was always the probability that David would switch sides in the middle of the battle (4). Remember, David had been run out of Israel by Saul and Achish welcomed David and his men. Despite what the other kings felt, David was loyal to Achish and would have gladly fought alongside him and the armies of Philistia (5). Achish understood the logic of his fellow kings despite how he felt personally about David (6-11). Personal Notes: There is a point to be made about pushing people out of our lives.