Reading #1 – Deuteronomy 12:29-32
Reading #2 – Psalms 25:11-18
Reading #3 – Lamentations 3:1-9
Reading #4 – John 7
Reading #5 – 1 Samuel 1:21-28
Deuteronomy 12:29-32 – Warning Against Idolatry. Idolatry is the practice of extreme admiration of an item as though it were G-d. In Abrahamic religion, an idol was anything that causes us to take our eyes off of the Lord and worship a manmade item. The very first commandment was “I Am the Lord who rescued you from the hands of the Egyptians, you shall have no other G-ds before me” (Exodus 20:1-3). Notice the word “shall not” is an expressed assertion whereas the word “cannot” implies, “I haven’t yet found a way”. The reasoning behind the expressed assertion is that the Lord knew that if the people bowed down to these idols, they would be ensnared in a trap bigger than the one He rescued them from. An argument has been made that the reason for having idols is to have “a face to associate G-d with”. The problem would be that the nation would not be filled in on the gravity of worshipping the idols that are, “what are the rules of worshipping it?”. In that time, children were burned in the fires to pacify this G-d and things haven’t changed a whole lot since that time. These laws were finite and complete. So any new laws would come from mankind, not G-d and that is where many of our societal ails stem from (29-32, Revelations 22:18-19).
Psalms 25:11-18 – Teach Me Your Paths. When we come to the, we must understand that it is by grace not by an obligation that we are saved (11[MK5] ). All who come to the Lord to learn of Him must first realize that the pathway that he/she has been on doesn’t work and something is broken (12). The Lord, unlike the world, does not use us, He heals us and restores us and for this reason, our eyes need to be on the Lord (13-15). Recognizing our brokenness is a humbling experience because it means taking stock of where we are in life and is the part that keeps us from coming to the Lord. When we refuse to acknowledge that we were wrong and dig our heels further into the mud, the Lord turns up the heat until we reach our breaking point. For the young man in Luke 15:11, his breaking point was in the pigpen looking down at the pigs’ evening meal (16-18). The question we need to ask ourselves is, “how long will we stay in our pigpen?” which is a subject I will address in 2022.
Lamentations 3:1-9 – Great is Your Faithfulness. When you read this segment, you might think that Jeremiah was just complaining about his sorrowful lot but, that’s not what was happening. Jeremiah was writing on behalf of Israel as though he was repenting for Israel. Israel enjoyed lengthy periods of living off of the fat of the land until the bad years came (Genesis 41:1-8). Sinfulness had brought the nation over the cusp into slavery something that was not ordained by the Lord. For sinfulness to be unwound or forgiven, there must first come a time in which we realize that we were in the wrong and needed forgiveness (1-6). How long we endure the mess we created is up to us. The Lord hates sin because He knows all too well what the outcome is even if the sin seems “harmless”. When we capitulate into sin, whatever happens, is a direct result of our foolishness. The thing is, G-d isn’t looking for and nor does He relish it when we are forced repentance, it must come from a genuine heart for the Lord. The enemy of our soul leads us down a crooked road and that is by design (7-9).
John 7:14-24 – My Teaching is not Mine. Jesus was teaching Kingdom principles which set the learned teachers on a tizzy. When Jesus taught, it was always in his Father’s name hence the name “I Am”. When we seek to do G-d’s will through obedience to His commands and precepts, we will know by the outcome that Jesus was right (14-17). When seeking His word for our lives, we will know the truth and whatever lie that has been told will be found out whether it be prophecy or misconstrued theology (18-19, John 8:31-32). The Moses that the Sanhedrin called their “Standard” was not “thee Moses”, it was a Moses who was their mouthpiece. When we make G-d’s word align with our theology, we are one step from the abyss (20-24).
1 Samuel 1:21-28 – Samuel Given to the Lord. After the birth of Samuel, Hannah waited the prescribed time before presenting the child as she had vowed. After the child was weaned, she took her sacrificial animal according to Mosaic law to the Temple at Shiloh (21-24). Lending her only son to the High Priest to raise was a sacrifice of obedience and faithfulness (25-28 ). According to Mosaic law, if a woman makes a vow and her husband does not refute it, it stands and must be honored (Numbers 30:10-11).