You realize that our time here is limited right?

The Story of Job. – Day 19

You realize that there is something after this life on earth right? Will you make the most of your time here? Will you make decisions that will last for a time or will you make decisions that will last forever? Will you be a good steward of your time? Will you be a good steward of your energy? Will you be a good steward of your resources?

In this world there will be troubles. How will you choose to respond? In this life you will face trials of many kinds. How will you choose to respond? We can’t control what will come our way but we can control how we respond!

In the midst of everything, are you able to keep the hope that comes from keeping your focus on God rather than yourself? Are you able to look beyond yourself? Are you able to look beyond your situation? Are you able to look beyond your circumstances? In a world that can be filled with such hopelessness, can you still be a light of hope no matter what you are going through?

Today’s Reading: Job 14

‘“Man, who is born of a woman, Is short-lived and full of turmoil. Like a flower he comes forth and withers; He also flees like a shadow and does not remain. You also open Your eyes upon him And bring him into judgment with Yourself. Who can make a clean thing out of the unclean? No one! Since his days are determined, The number of his months is with You [in Your control], And You have made his limits so he cannot pass [his allotted time]. [O God] turn your gaze from him so that he may rest, Until he fulfills his day [on earth] like a hired man. “For there is hope for a tree, If it is cut down, that it will sprout again, And that the shoots of it will not cease nor fail, [but there is no such hope for man]. Though its roots grow old in the earth And its stump dies in the dry soil, Yet at the scent of water [the stump of the tree] will flourish And bring forth sprigs and shoots like a seedling. But [the brave, strong] man must die and lie face down; Man breathes his last, and where is he? As water evaporates from the sea, And a river drains and dries up, So man lies down and does not rise [again]. Until the heavens are no longer, The dead will not awake nor be raised from their sleep. “Oh, that You would hide me in Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead), That You would conceal me until Your wrath is past, That You would set a definite time and then remember me [and in Your lovingkindness imprint me on your heart]! If a man dies, will he live again? I will wait all the days of my struggle Until my change and release will come. [Then] You will call, and I will answer You; You will long for [me] the work of Your hands. But now You number [each of] my steps; You do not observe nor take note of my sin. My transgression is sealed up in a bag, And You cover my wickedness [from Your view]. “But as a mountain, if it falls, crumbles into nothing, And as the rock is moved from its place, Water wears away the stones, Its floods and torrents wash away the soil of the earth, So You [O Lord] destroy the hope of man. You prevail forever against him and overpower him, and he passes on; You change his appearance and send him away [from the presence of the living]. His sons achieve honor, and he does not know it; They become insignificant, and he is not aware of it. But his body [lamenting its decay] grieves in pain over it, And his soul mourns over [the loss of] himself.”’

Job 14:1-22

Today’s study includes information from:

Study Notes:

We read about how Job sees life as being short. Be it when he compares it to but a few days or when he compares it to the life of a flow or even a shadow that fades. In the midst of everything, we see that Job leans on the fact that God is in control of everything in life, even though he may not understand or comprehend their meaning and even challenged with some of them. We learn Job’s view of how life works as the chapter beings from how short life is to how we are all sinners to how soon death comes. We learn how Job uses these facts to request grace from God in the midst of this trials he was going thru in hopes of the intensity reducing as his hope was wading in the pain and suffering going on. Feeling that God’s judgement was taking place, we also learn how Job was at the point of asking to die and remain in the earth till the end of the time of judgement when he could be raised to life when called again by God. It is interesting that he would speak of the subject of revelation when the dead would rise too. We see how even in the midst of the wading hope, the pain and the suffering, the trials and tribulation in his life, Job still reached for the hope of resurrection because of his hope and trust in God. We see how even though Job asked for death it had the hope of life again. We learn through Job’s questioning how we all go through the questions and process of trying to understand the who we are, why are we here, and where are we going. Everyone is looking for and wanting to have purpose.

God creates us all on purpose, with purpose, and for a purpose! I remember the study of A Purpose Driven Life years ago and what it speaks to these questions. When we know the purpose, it gives meaning to our lives (Jer 29:11 – New Century Version). When we know our purpose, it simplifies our lives (Isa 26:3 – Today’s English Version). When we know our purpose, it focuses our lives. When we know our purpose, it keeps us from changing directions, school subjects, university courses, jobs, relationships, churches, etc. We we know our purpose, it helps to magnify life (Philippians 3:13 – NLT).

Job raises so many questions. Some questions will be answered later in the book of Job like:

‘If a man dies, will he live again? I will wait all the days of my struggle Until my change and release will come. ‘

Job 14:14

which gets answered in Job 19:

‘“Oh, that the words I now speak were written! Oh, that they were recorded in a scroll! That with an iron stylus and [molten] lead They were engraved in the rock forever! For I know that my Redeemer and Vindicator lives, And at the last He will take His stand upon the earth. Even after my [mortal] skin is destroyed [by death], Yet from my [immortal] flesh I will see God, Whom I, even I, will see for myself, And my eyes will see Him and not another! My heart faints within me. ‘

Job 19:23-27

where the study notes will call out (jumping ahead a bit):

Verses 23-27: God has humiliated Job (verses 8-12), his friends and relatives have abandoned him (verses 13-20), and he has been reduced to pleading for pity (verses 21-22). But from the depths of degradation he expresses the confidence that if his case could only be recorded for posterity, future generations would judge him favorably (verses 23-24). Furthermore, he knows confidently that he has a “Redeemer” (verse 25, Hebrew goel), One who will champion his cause and vindicate him. The Redeemer is more than an arbiter (9:33) or a witness (16:19) but a Kinsman-Redeemer who will avenge him. Clearly, Job viewed God Himself as the Redeemer, and the Hebrew word is in fact used often of God (Psalm 19:14; Isa. 41:14; etc.). Chapter 19

As Christians, we don’t need to live out our lives without hope like the world does but instead let’s take hold of the words of 1 Thessalonians 4:13:

My friends, we want you to understand how it will be for those followers who have already died. Then you won’t grieve over them and be like people who don’t have any hope.

1 Thessalonians 4:13

We need to be hope and light into the world around us. People are looking for hope. People are looking for a reason to have hope. We need to point people to God so that they won’t need to live lives of hopelessness.

Today’s study continues to speak to us believers the following:

Verses 18-22: The Christian response to suffering should be neither denial nor fatalistic surrender. Jesus offers people hope beyond the immediacy of their pain. The promise of eternal life prevents present anguish from having the last word. Job returned to his complaint before God, and reverted to a hopeless mood, speaking about death as inevitable (verses 18-20), and causing separation (verse 21). He was painfully sad to think of it (verse 22).

Job 14:18 “And surely the mountain falling cometh to nought, and the rock is removed out of his place.” Rather: But (compare Job 13:3-4). The “mountain falling” is the mountain from which great forces detach pieces, as man is subjected to the shattering strokes of God. The second clause shows this to be the meaning. Job was comparing his loss of everything he had, including his children, with the sudden collapse of a mountain. When a volcano erupts, sometimes half of the mountain comes off at the top. Rocks are thrown sometimes for miles away from where they had been. Just as this calamity of the mountain had been sudden, Job’s loss was sudden.

Job 14:19 “The waters wear the stones: thou washest away the things which grow [out] of the dust of the earth; and thou destroyest the hope of man.” The turbulent waters wear away the stones of the brook by their constant action. “Thou washest away”: Rather, the floods thereof (i.e. of the waters), do wash away the soil of the earth. “And thou destroyest”: I.e. so thou destroyest. The “hope” of man which God destroys is not the specific hope of a renewed life (Job 14:7). This idea is dismissed; but more general, the hope of life. The never ending washing of water over rocks can finally cut a hole into them. The never ending pain of Job’s had cut a hole into his heart. He was full of despair and hopelessness.

Job 14:20 “Thou prevailest for ever against him, and he passeth: thou changest his countenance, and sendest him away.” When once thou takes away this life, it is gone forever. For he speaks not here of man’s future and eternal life in another world. “He passeth”: I.e. he dies, or is about to die. Man’s death is oft called a passage, or a going, to intimate that it is not an annihilation, but only a translation of him into another place and state. His countenance; either, (1) His visage, which by death and its harbingers is quite transformed in color and shape, as we see by daily experience. Or; (2) The face and state of his affairs, as to worldly riches, and pleasures, and honors, all which he leaves behind him. “Sendest him away”: To his long home by death. Job would feel like fighting back, if he had known this was an attack from Satan. He knew it was useless to fight God. Job thought God was sending this endless oppression, and he was aware he would not be able to endure for long.

Job 14:21 “His sons come to honor, and he knoweth [it] not; and they are brought low, but he perceiveth [it] not of them.” The meaning seems to be, “If his sons come to honor, it is of no advantage to him. In the remote and wholly separate region of Sheol he will not be aware of it.” “And they are brought low, but he perceiveth it not of them”: Equally, in the opposite case, if his sons are brought low, he is ignorant of it, and unaffected by their fate. After a man is dead, his family can come to honor him, but he would not even know they were there.

Job 14:22 “But his flesh upon him shall have pain, and his soul within him shall mourn.” This is man’s condition; he is miserable both when he dies, because he dies without hope of returning to life, as he had discoursed before. And (as he now adds), while he lives, while his flesh is upon him, and his soul within him. While the soul is clothed with or united to the body, he feels sharp pain in his body, and bitter grief in his soul. Seeing therefore the state of man upon earth is so vain and unhappy every way, Lord, give me some comfort to sweeten my life, or take away my life from me. A man in such great pain as Job is here, was sorrowful of soul. Chapter 19

So where are you at today? How will you respond to the offer from God of grace, mercy, and salvation? Are you ready to lean into all that God has for you? Are you ready to persevere and trust and have your faith built up? My hope and prayer is that You will ask Jesus into your heart so that I will get to spend eternity in God’s presence with you. Are you ready for forgiveness and peace? Are you ready for a hope and a future? Are you ready for a transformation where the old is gone and the new has come? Are you ready to being the journey of knowing right from wrong? Then let’s pray together to invite Jesus into your heart and your life so that His peace which surpasses all understanding can guide you and comfort you, protect your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. If this is the first time you have prayed to invite Jesus into your heart, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If this is a re commitment to Jesus, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If you are still questioning or seeking, don’t go it alone, feel free to leave me a comment so we can discuss it.

Let’s pray:

^^^^^^^^^^^Will you be willing to put your name there today?

How far do you have to go before you realize you have gone too far?

How far away do you have to go before you realize you have to turn back? How far down the road do you have to go before you need to turn back? How far down the process do you have to go before you stop and turn back? Do things have to get really bad? Do things have to get out of control? Will it take an act of God to stop you from going the wrong way? Will it take a wakeup call that is so loud and so clear that it will get your attention and make you stop and turn around? How far do you have to go before you realize you have gone too far?

Will you forget what you have learned? Will you forget to pass along the learnings to your children? Will you allow comparison with others to make you ask for or do things that aren’t beneficial? Will you allow comparison with other to move your focus off of God and onto people? Will you reject God? Will you turn from Him? Will you reject God’s Word and God’s instruction? Where is your focus? Where are you trying to go? How far do you have to go before you realize you have gone too far?

Today’s reading from God’s Word gets us started in 1 Samuel 7 with a wakeup call…

‘Then Samuel said to all the people of Israel, “If you want to return to the Lord with all your hearts, get rid of your foreign gods and your images of Ashtoreth. Turn your hearts to the Lord and obey him alone; then he will rescue you from the Philistines.” So the Israelites got rid of their images of Baal and Ashtoreth and worshiped only the Lord . Then Samuel told them, “Gather all of Israel to Mizpah, and I will pray to the Lord for you.” So they gathered at Mizpah and, in a great ceremony, drew water from a well and poured it out before the Lord . They also went without food all day and confessed that they had sinned against the Lord . (It was at Mizpah that Samuel became Israel’s judge.) When the Philistine rulers heard that Israel had gathered at Mizpah, they mobilized their army and advanced. The Israelites were badly frightened when they learned that the Philistines were approaching. “Don’t stop pleading with the Lord our God to save us from the Philistines!” they begged Samuel. So Samuel took a young lamb and offered it to the Lord as a whole burnt offering. He pleaded with the Lord to help Israel, and the Lord answered him. Just as Samuel was sacrificing the burnt offering, the Philistines arrived to attack Israel. But the Lord spoke with a mighty voice of thunder from heaven that day, and the Philistines were thrown into such confusion that the Israelites defeated them. The men of Israel chased them from Mizpah to a place below Beth-car, slaughtering them all along the way. Samuel then took a large stone and placed it between the towns of Mizpah and Jeshanah. He named it Ebenezer (which means “the stone of help”), for he said, “Up to this point the Lord has helped us!” So the Philistines were subdued and didn’t invade Israel again for some time. And throughout Samuel’s lifetime, the Lord ’s powerful hand was raised against the Philistines. The Israelite villages near Ekron and Gath that the Philistines had captured were restored to Israel, along with the rest of the territory that the Philistines had taken. And there was peace between Israel and the Amorites in those days. Samuel continued as Israel’s judge for the rest of his life. Each year he traveled around, setting up his court first at Bethel, then at Gilgal, and then at Mizpah. He judged the people of Israel at each of these places. Then he would return to his home at Ramah, and he would hear cases there, too. And Samuel built an altar to the Lord at Ramah.’

— 1 Samuel 7:3-17

‘As Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons to be judges over Israel. Joel and Abijah, his oldest sons, held court in Beersheba. But they were not like their father, for they were greedy for money. They accepted bribes and perverted justice. Finally, all the elders of Israel met at Ramah to discuss the matter with Samuel. “Look,” they told him, “you are now old, and your sons are not like you. Give us a king to judge us like all the other nations have.” Samuel was displeased with their request and went to the Lord for guidance. “Do everything they say to you,” the Lord replied, “for they are rejecting me, not you. They don’t want me to be their king any longer. Ever since I brought them from Egypt they have continually abandoned me and followed other gods. And now they are giving you the same treatment. Do as they ask, but solemnly warn them about the way a king will reign over them.” So Samuel passed on the Lord ’s warning to the people who were asking him for a king. “This is how a king will reign over you,” Samuel said. “The king will draft your sons and assign them to his chariots and his charioteers, making them run before his chariots. Some will be generals and captains in his army, some will be forced to plow in his fields and harvest his crops, and some will make his weapons and chariot equipment. The king will take your daughters from you and force them to cook and bake and make perfumes for him. He will take away the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his own officials. He will take a tenth of your grain and your grape harvest and distribute it among his officers and attendants. He will take your male and female slaves and demand the finest of your cattle and donkeys for his own use. He will demand a tenth of your flocks, and you will be his slaves. When that day comes, you will beg for relief from this king you are demanding, but then the Lord will not help you.” But the people refused to listen to Samuel’s warning. “Even so, we still want a king,” they said. “We want to be like the nations around us. Our king will judge us and lead us into battle.” So Samuel repeated to the Lord what the people had said, and the Lord replied, “Do as they say, and give them a king.” Then Samuel agreed and sent the people home.’

— 1 Samuel 8

‘The Lord gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, “Remind the people of Judah and Jerusalem about the terms of my covenant with them. Say to them, ‘This is what the Lord , the God of Israel, says: Cursed is anyone who does not obey the terms of my covenant! For I said to your ancestors when I brought them out of the iron-smelting furnace of Egypt, “If you obey me and do whatever I command you, then you will be my people, and I will be your God.” I said this so I could keep my promise to your ancestors to give you a land flowing with milk and honey—the land you live in today.’” Then I replied, “Amen, Lord ! May it be so.” Then the Lord said, “Broadcast this message in the streets of Jerusalem. Go from town to town throughout the land and say, ‘Remember the ancient covenant, and do everything it requires. For I solemnly warned your ancestors when I brought them out of Egypt, “Obey me!” I have repeated this warning over and over to this day, but your ancestors did not listen or even pay attention. Instead, they stubbornly followed their own evil desires. And because they refused to obey, I brought upon them all the curses described in this covenant.’” Again the Lord spoke to me and said, “I have discovered a conspiracy against me among the people of Judah and Jerusalem. They have returned to the sins of their ancestors. They have refused to listen to me and are worshiping other gods. Israel and Judah have both broken the covenant I made with their ancestors. Therefore, this is what the Lord says: I am going to bring calamity upon them, and they will not escape. Though they beg for mercy, I will not listen to their cries. Then the people of Judah and Jerusalem will pray to their idols and burn incense before them. But the idols will not save them when disaster strikes! Look now, people of Judah; you have as many gods as you have towns. You have as many altars of shame—altars for burning incense to your god Baal—as there are streets in Jerusalem. “Pray no more for these people, Jeremiah. Do not weep or pray for them, for I will not listen to them when they cry out to me in distress. “What right do my beloved people have to come to my Temple, when they have done so many immoral things? Can their vows and sacrifices prevent their destruction? They actually rejoice in doing evil! I, the Lord , once called them a thriving olive tree, beautiful to see and full of good fruit. But now I have sent the fury of their enemies to burn them with fire, leaving them charred and broken. “I, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, who planted this olive tree, have ordered it destroyed. For the people of Israel and Judah have done evil, arousing my anger by burning incense to Baal.” Then the Lord told me about the plots my enemies were making against me. I was like a lamb being led to the slaughter. I had no idea that they were planning to kill me! “Let’s destroy this man and all his words,” they said. “Let’s cut him down, so his name will be forgotten forever.” O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, you make righteous judgments, and you examine the deepest thoughts and secrets. Let me see your vengeance against them, for I have committed my cause to you. This is what the Lord says about the men of Anathoth who wanted me dead. They had said, “We will kill you if you do not stop prophesying in the Lord ’s name.” So this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says about them: “I will punish them! Their young men will die in battle, and their boys and girls will starve to death. Not one of these plotters from Anathoth will survive, for I will bring disaster upon them when their time of punishment comes.”’

— Jeremiah 11

‘Once Jesus was in a certain place praying. As he finished, one of his disciples came to him and said, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” Jesus said, “This is how you should pray: “Father, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. Give us each day the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation.” Then, teaching them more about prayer, he used this story: “Suppose you went to a friend’s house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You say to him, ‘A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.’ And suppose he calls out from his bedroom, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is locked for the night, and my family and I are all in bed. I can’t help you.’ But I tell you this—though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence. “And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. “You fathers—if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.”’

Luke 11:1-13

‘Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world. If you are insulted because you bear the name of Christ, you will be blessed, for the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you. If you suffer, however, it must not be for murder, stealing, making trouble, or prying into other people’s affairs. But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being called by his name! For the time has come for judgment, and it must begin with God’s household. And if judgment begins with us, what terrible fate awaits those who have never obeyed God’s Good News? And also, “If the righteous are barely saved, what will happen to godless sinners?” So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you.’

— 1 Peter 4:12-19

‘Beautiful words stir my heart. I will recite a lovely poem about the king, for my tongue is like the pen of a skillful poet. You are the most handsome of all. Gracious words stream from your lips. God himself has blessed you forever. Put on your sword, O mighty warrior! You are so glorious, so majestic! In your majesty, ride out to victory, defending truth, humility, and justice. Go forth to perform awe-inspiring deeds! Your arrows are sharp, piercing your enemies’ hearts. The nations fall beneath your feet. Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever. You rule with a scepter of justice. You love justice and hate evil. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you, pouring out the oil of joy on you more than on anyone else. Myrrh, aloes, and cassia perfume your robes. In ivory palaces the music of strings entertains you. Kings’ daughters are among your noble women. At your right side stands the queen, wearing jewelry of finest gold from Ophir! Listen to me, O royal daughter; take to heart what I say. Forget your people and your family far away. For your royal husband delights in your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord. The princess of Tyre will shower you with gifts. The wealthy will beg your favor. The bride, a princess, looks glorious in her golden gown. In her beautiful robes, she is led to the king, accompanied by her bridesmaids. What a joyful and enthusiastic procession as they enter the king’s palace! Your sons will become kings like their father. You will make them rulers over many lands. I will bring honor to your name in every generation. Therefore, the nations will praise you forever and ever.’

–Psalms 45

What would it take for you to return something that isn’t yours?

Would you return it if it had an address on it? Would you return it if it had a phone number? Would you return it to someone local to where you know it belongs? Would you return it to a lost and found? Would you return it to a police station? What would you do with something you had but you know doesn’t belong to you? Would it matter the value of it? Would it matter if you knew the sentimental value of it? Would it matter if you knew who it belonged to? Would it matter if it was a stranger? Would it matter if you couldn’t find the owner? What would it take for you to return something that isn’t yours? Is it integrity? Is it honesty? Is it righteousness? Is it love? Is it hope? Is it purpose? What is your return policy? Do you have a reason? Are you ready to give a reason?

Today’s reading from God’s Word (NLT) kicks off in 1 Samuel 6 and the Philistines:

‘The Ark of the Lord remained in Philistine territory seven months in all. Then the Philistines called in their priests and diviners and asked them, “What should we do about the Ark of the Lord ? Tell us how to return it to its own country.” “Send the Ark of the God of Israel back with a gift,” they were told. “Send a guilt offering so the plague will stop. Then, if you are healed, you will know it was his hand that caused the plague.” “What sort of guilt offering should we send?” they asked. And they were told, “Since the plague has struck both you and your five rulers, make five gold tumors and five gold rats, just like those that have ravaged your land. Make these things to show honor to the God of Israel. Perhaps then he will stop afflicting you, your gods, and your land. Don’t be stubborn and rebellious as Pharaoh and the Egyptians were. By the time God was finished with them, they were eager to let Israel go. “Now build a new cart, and find two cows that have just given birth to calves. Make sure the cows have never been yoked to a cart. Hitch the cows to the cart, but shut their calves away from them in a pen. Put the Ark of the Lord on the cart, and beside it place a chest containing the gold rats and gold tumors you are sending as a guilt offering. Then let the cows go wherever they want. If they cross the border of our land and go to Beth-shemesh, we will know it was the Lord who brought this great disaster upon us. If they don’t, we will know it was not his hand that caused the plague. It came simply by chance.” So these instructions were carried out. Two cows were hitched to the cart, and their newborn calves were shut up in a pen. Then the Ark of the Lord and the chest containing the gold rats and gold tumors were placed on the cart. And sure enough, without veering off in other directions, the cows went straight along the road toward Beth-shemesh, lowing as they went. The Philistine rulers followed them as far as the border of Beth-shemesh. The people of Beth-shemesh were harvesting wheat in the valley, and when they saw the Ark, they were overjoyed! The cart came into the field of a man named Joshua and stopped beside a large rock. So the people broke up the wood of the cart for a fire and killed the cows and sacrificed them to the Lord as a burnt offering. Several men of the tribe of Levi lifted the Ark of the Lord and the chest containing the gold rats and gold tumors from the cart and placed them on the large rock. Many sacrifices and burnt offerings were offered to the Lord that day by the people of Beth-shemesh. The five Philistine rulers watched all this and then returned to Ekron that same day. The five gold tumors sent by the Philistines as a guilt offering to the Lord were gifts from the rulers of Ashdod, Gaza, Ashkelon, Gath, and Ekron. The five gold rats represented the five Philistine towns and their surrounding villages, which were controlled by the five rulers. The large rock at Beth-shemesh, where they set the Ark of the Lord , still stands in the field of Joshua as a witness to what happened there.

But the Lord killed seventy men from Beth-shemesh because they looked into the Ark of the Lord . And the people mourned greatly because of what the Lord had done. “Who is able to stand in the presence of the Lord , this holy God?” they cried out. “Where can we send the Ark from here?” So they sent messengers to the people at Kiriath-jearim and told them, “The Philistines have returned the Ark of the Lord . Come here and get it!”’

— 1 Samuel 6

‘So the men of Kiriath-jearim came to get the Ark of the Lord . They took it to the hillside home of Abinadab and ordained Eleazar, his son, to be in charge of it. The Ark remained in Kiriath-jearim for a long time—twenty years in all. During that time all Israel mourned because it seemed the Lord had abandoned them.’

— 1 Samuel 7:1-2

‘Hear the word that the Lord speaks to you, O Israel! This is what the Lord says: “Do not act like the other nations, who try to read their future in the stars. Do not be afraid of their predictions, even though other nations are terrified by them. Their ways are futile and foolish. They cut down a tree, and a craftsman carves an idol. They decorate it with gold and silver and then fasten it securely with hammer and nails so it won’t fall over. Their gods are like helpless scarecrows in a cucumber field! They cannot speak, and they need to be carried because they cannot walk. Do not be afraid of such gods, for they can neither harm you nor do you any good.” Lord , there is no one like you! For you are great, and your name is full of power. Who would not fear you, O King of nations? That title belongs to you alone! Among all the wise people of the earth and in all the kingdoms of the world, there is no one like you. People who worship idols are stupid and foolish. The things they worship are made of wood! They bring beaten sheets of silver from Tarshish and gold from Uphaz, and they give these materials to skillful craftsmen who make their idols. Then they dress these gods in royal blue and purple robes made by expert tailors. But the Lord is the only true God. He is the living God and the everlasting King! The whole earth trembles at his anger. The nations cannot stand up to his wrath. Say this to those who worship other gods: “Your so-called gods, who did not make the heavens and earth, will vanish from the earth and from under the heavens.” But the Lord made the earth by his power, and he preserves it by his wisdom. With his own understanding he stretched out the heavens. When he speaks in the thunder, the heavens roar with rain. He causes the clouds to rise over the earth. He sends the lightning with the rain and releases the wind from his storehouses. The whole human race is foolish and has no knowledge! The craftsmen are disgraced by the idols they make, for their carefully shaped works are a fraud. These idols have no breath or power. Idols are worthless; they are ridiculous lies! On the day of reckoning they will all be destroyed. But the God of Israel is no idol! He is the Creator of everything that exists, including Israel, his own special possession. The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is his name!

Pack your bags and prepare to leave; the siege is about to begin. For this is what the Lord says: “Suddenly, I will fling out all you who live in this land. I will pour great troubles upon you, and at last you will feel my anger.” My wound is severe, and my grief is great. My sickness is incurable, but I must bear it. My home is gone, and no one is left to help me rebuild it. My children have been taken away, and I will never see them again. The shepherds of my people have lost their senses. They no longer seek wisdom from the Lord . Therefore, they fail completely, and their flocks are scattered. Listen! Hear the terrifying roar of great armies as they roll down from the north. The towns of Judah will be destroyed and become a haunt for jackals.

I know, Lord , that our lives are not our own. We are not able to plan our own course. So correct me, Lord , but please be gentle. Do not correct me in anger, for I would die. Pour out your wrath on the nations that refuse to acknowledge you— on the peoples that do not call upon your name. For they have devoured your people Israel ; they have devoured and consumed them, making the land a desolate wilderness.’

— Jeremiah 10

‘One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?” The man answered, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” “Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!” The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

Jesus replied with a story: “A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road. “By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side. “Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, A denarius was equivalent to a laborer’s full day’s wage. telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’ “Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked. The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.” Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”

As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.” But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”’

–Luke 10:25-42

‘So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude he had, and be ready to suffer, too. For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin. You won’t spend the rest of your lives chasing your own desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God. You have had enough in the past of the evil things that godless people enjoy—their immorality and lust, their feasting and drunkenness and wild parties, and their terrible worship of idols. Of course, your former friends are surprised when you no longer plunge into the flood of wild and destructive things they do. So they slander you. But remember that they will have to face God, who stands ready to judge everyone, both the living and the dead. That is why the Good News was preached to those who are now dead —so although they were destined to die like all people, they now live forever with God in the Spirit. The end of the world is coming soon. Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers. Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay. God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.’

–1 Peter 4:1-11

‘O God, we have heard it with our own ears— our ancestors have told us of all you did in their day, in days long ago: You drove out the pagan nations by your power and gave all the land to our ancestors. You crushed their enemies and set our ancestors free. They did not conquer the land with their swords; it was not their own strong arm that gave them victory. It was your right hand and strong arm and the blinding light from your face that helped them, for you loved them. You are my King and my God. You command victories for Israel. Only by your power can we push back our enemies; only in your name can we trample our foes. I do not trust in my bow; I do not count on my sword to save me. You are the one who gives us victory over our enemies; you disgrace those who hate us. O God, we give glory to you all day long and constantly praise your name. Interlude But now you have tossed us aside in dishonor. You no longer lead our armies to battle. You make us retreat from our enemies and allow those who hate us to plunder our land. You have butchered us like sheep and scattered us among the nations. You sold your precious people for a pittance, making nothing on the sale. You let our neighbors mock us. We are an object of scorn and derision to those around us. You have made us the butt of their jokes; they shake their heads at us in scorn. We can’t escape the constant humiliation; shame is written across our faces. All we hear are the taunts of our mockers. All we see are our vengeful enemies. All this has happened though we have not forgotten you. We have not violated your covenant. Our hearts have not deserted you. We have not strayed from your path. Yet you have crushed us in the jackal’s desert home. You have covered us with darkness and death. If we had forgotten the name of our God or spread our hands in prayer to foreign gods, God would surely have known it, for he knows the secrets of every heart. But for your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep. Wake up, O Lord! Why do you sleep? Get up! Do not reject us forever. Why do you look the other way? Why do you ignore our suffering and oppression? We collapse in the dust, lying face down in the dirt. Rise up! Help us! Ransom us because of your unfailing love.’

–Psalms 44

Do you realize what you have been given? Do you realize why?

Do you realize there is a reason? Do you realize there is a plan? Do you realize there is a purpose? Do you realize the value? Do you realize the impact? Do you realize the influence? Do you realize the difference?

Are you on your guard? Are you getting prepared? Are you focused? Are you on track? Are you on mission? Are you aligned? Are you aware? Are you ready?

Today’s reading from God’s Word comes from:

Will you be a good steward of your allotment? Will you trust God’s allotment with which He is trusting you? Will you live showing that you are worthy of what has been given to you? Will you live out your life in order to fulfill God’s purpose and plan for you and your life? Are you ready to receive what God has to offer you? Are you ready to accept what God has available to you? Will you receive and accept God’s offering of salvation? Are you willing to obey what He asks? Are you ready to seek Him in order to find Him? Are you ready to align with God’s ways and God’s thoughts? Will you produce good fruit? Will you prosper in doing His good work? Will you live out your life by the Holy Spirit? Will you act and speak by His power and wisdom and direction? Will you do things according God’s way and will, putting on your new nature? Will you forgive others? Will you live without allowing a bitter root to hold? Ask God for wisdom and discernment!


What comes to mind when you are doing something and you see 99? 99th step? 99th reading? 99th day? 99th year? 99th …? Does it feel like you are getting to the end? Does it feel like you are just about to start something new? Does it feel like you are almost there? Does it feel like you have gone a long way? Does it motivate to press thru or press on to get it done? What if it was 99%, does it change your thoughts, ideas, feelings about the number 99? Are you willing to press in when you are feeling like you are almost at the end of your rope? Are you willing to look for alternatives to help you make it thru to the other side? What if it is about how many times or repetition? What if it points to the importance of legacy? What if it points to the importance of faith, hope, and confidence in God? What if it points to the importance of prayer? Does it point to a time?

What if we consider it in terms of the parable of the 99? Are you willing to go after the 1? Would you notice that one was missing?

What if we consider it in terms of the life of Abraham and how it was the beginning of his relationship with God? What if we consider it a renewing or new beginning as Abram became Abraham?

Today’s reading gets started with Numbers 6.

‘Then the Lord said to Moses, “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. “If any of the people, either men or women, take the special vow of a Nazirite, setting themselves apart to the Lord in a special way, they must give up wine and other alcoholic drinks. They must not use vinegar made from wine or from other alcoholic drinks, they must not drink fresh grape juice, and they must not eat grapes or raisins. As long as they are bound by their Nazirite vow, they are not allowed to eat or drink anything that comes from a grapevine—not even the grape seeds or skins. “They must never cut their hair throughout the time of their vow, for they are holy and set apart to the Lord . Until the time of their vow has been fulfilled, they must let their hair grow long. And they must not go near a dead body during the entire period of their vow to the Lord . Even if the dead person is their own father, mother, brother, or sister, they must not defile themselves, for the hair on their head is the symbol of their separation to God. This requirement applies as long as they are set apart to the Lord . “If someone falls dead beside them, the hair they have dedicated will be defiled. They must wait for seven days and then shave their heads. Then they will be cleansed from their defilement. On the eighth day they must bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons to the priest at the entrance of the Tabernacle. The priest will offer one of the birds for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering. In this way, he will purify them from the guilt they incurred through contact with the dead body. Then they must reaffirm their commitment and let their hair begin to grow again. The days of their vow that were completed before their defilement no longer count. They must rededicate themselves to the Lord as a Nazirite for the full term of their vow, and each must bring a one-year-old male lamb for a guilt offering. “This is the ritual law for Nazirites. At the conclusion of their time of separation as Nazirites, they must each go to the entrance of the Tabernacle and offer their sacrifices to the Lord : a one-year-old male lamb without defect for a burnt offering, a one-year-old female lamb without defect for a sin offering, a ram without defect for a peace offering, a basket of bread made without yeast—cakes of choice flour mixed with olive oil and wafers spread with olive oil—along with their prescribed grain offerings and liquid offerings. The priest will present these offerings before the Lord : first the sin offering and the burnt offering; then the ram for a peace offering, along with the basket of bread made without yeast. The priest must also present the prescribed grain offering and liquid offering to the Lord . “Then the Nazirites will shave their heads at the entrance of the Tabernacle. They will take the hair that had been dedicated and place it on the fire beneath the peace-offering sacrifice. After the Nazirite’s head has been shaved, the priest will take for each of them the boiled shoulder of the ram, and he will take from the basket a cake and a wafer made without yeast. He will put them all into the Nazirite’s hands. Then the priest will lift them up as a special offering before the Lord . These are holy portions for the priest, along with the breast of the special offering and the thigh of the sacred offering that are lifted up before the Lord . After this ceremony the Nazirites may again drink wine. “This is the ritual law of the Nazirites, who vow to bring these offerings to the Lord . They may also bring additional offerings if they can afford it. And they must be careful to do whatever they vowed when they set themselves apart as Nazirites.”

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron and his sons to bless the people of Israel with this special blessing: ‘May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.’ Whenever Aaron and his sons bless the people of Israel in my name, I myself will bless them.”’

Numbers 6

Today’s reading continues with words from Solomon in Ecclesiastes 3

‘For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. A time to embrace and a time to turn away. A time to search and a time to quit searching. A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak. A time to love and a time to hate. A time for war and a time for peace. What do people really get for all their hard work? I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God. And I know that whatever God does is final. Nothing can be added to it or taken from it. God’s purpose is that people should fear him. What is happening now has happened before, and what will happen in the future has happened before, because God makes the same things happen over and over again.

I also noticed that under the sun there is evil in the courtroom. Yes, even the courts of law are corrupt! I said to myself, “In due season God will judge everyone, both good and bad, for all their deeds.” I also thought about the human condition—how God proves to people that they are like animals. For people and animals share the same fate—both breathe and both must die. So people have no real advantage over the animals. How meaningless! Both go to the same place—they came from dust and they return to dust. For who can prove that the human spirit goes up and the spirit of animals goes down into the earth? So I saw that there is nothing better for people than to be happy in their work. That is our lot in life. And no one can bring us back to see what happens after we die.’

Ecclesiastes 3

and Ecclesiastes 4

‘Again, I observed all the oppression that takes place under the sun. I saw the tears of the oppressed, with no one to comfort them. The oppressors have great power, and their victims are helpless. So I concluded that the dead are better off than the living. But most fortunate of all are those who are not yet born. For they have not seen all the evil that is done under the sun. Then I observed that most people are motivated to success because they envy their neighbors. But this, too, is meaningless—like chasing the wind. “Fools fold their idle hands, leading them to ruin.” And yet, “Better to have one handful with quietness than two handfuls with hard work and chasing the wind.”

I observed yet another example of something meaningless under the sun. This is the case of a man who is all alone, without a child or a brother, yet who works hard to gain as much wealth as he can. But then he asks himself, “Who am I working for? Why am I giving up so much pleasure now?” It is all so meaningless and depressing. Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.

It is better to be a poor but wise youth than an old and foolish king who refuses all advice. Such a youth could rise from poverty and succeed. He might even become king, though he has been in prison. But then everyone rushes to the side of yet another youth who replaces him. Endless crowds stand around him, but then another generation grows up and rejects him, too. So it is all meaningless—like chasing the wind.’

Ecclesiastes 4

Today’s reading then brings us into the New Testament starting in the book of Matthew with chapter 1

‘This is a record of the ancestors of Jesus the Messiah, a descendant of David and of Abraham : Abraham was the father of Isaac. Isaac was the father of Jacob. Jacob was the father of Judah and his brothers. Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah (whose mother was Tamar). Perez was the father of Hezron. Hezron was the father of Ram. Ram was the father of Amminadab. Amminadab was the father of Nahshon. Nahshon was the father of Salmon. Salmon was the father of Boaz (whose mother was Rahab). Boaz was the father of Obed (whose mother was Ruth). Obed was the father of Jesse. Jesse was the father of King David. David was the father of Solomon (whose mother was Bathsheba, the widow of Uriah). Solomon was the father of Rehoboam. Rehoboam was the father of Abijah. Abijah was the father of Asa. Asa was the father of Jehoshaphat. Jehoshaphat was the father of Jehoram. Jehoram was the father of Uzziah. Uzziah was the father of Jotham. Jotham was the father of Ahaz. Ahaz was the father of Hezekiah. Hezekiah was the father of Manasseh. Manasseh was the father of Amon. Amon was the father of Josiah. Josiah was the father of Jehoiachin and his brothers (born at the time of the exile to Babylon). After the Babylonian exile: Jehoiachin was the father of Shealtiel. Shealtiel was the father of Zerubbabel. Zerubbabel was the father of Abiud. Abiud was the father of Eliakim. Eliakim was the father of Azor. Azor was the father of Zadok. Zadok was the father of Akim. Akim was the father of Eliud. Eliud was the father of Eleazar. Eleazar was the father of Matthan. Matthan was the father of Jacob. Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Mary gave birth to Jesus, who is called the Messiah. All those listed above include fourteen generations from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the Babylonian exile, and fourteen from the Babylonian exile to the Messiah.

This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. Joseph, to whom she was engaged, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly. As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet: “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’” When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. ‘

Matthew 1

and continuing into 2 Corinthians 11

‘Again I say, don’t think that I am a fool to talk like this. But even if you do, listen to me, as you would to a foolish person, while I also boast a little. Such boasting is not from the Lord, but I am acting like a fool. And since others boast about their human achievements, I will, too. After all, you think you are so wise, but you enjoy putting up with fools! You put up with it when someone enslaves you, takes everything you have, takes advantage of you, takes control of everything, and slaps you in the face. I’m ashamed to say that we’ve been too “weak” to do that! But whatever they dare to boast about—I’m talking like a fool again—I dare to boast about it, too. Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham? So am I. Are they servants of Christ? I know I sound like a madman, but I have served him far more! I have worked harder, been put in prison more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again. Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not. I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm. Then, besides all this, I have the daily burden of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak without my feeling that weakness? Who is led astray, and I do not burn with anger? If I must boast, I would rather boast about the things that show how weak I am. God, the Father of our Lord Jesus, who is worthy of eternal praise, knows I am not lying. When I was in Damascus, the governor under King Aretas kept guards at the city gates to catch me. I had to be lowered in a basket through a window in the city wall to escape from him.’

2 Corinthians 11:16-33

As we consider the significance of today and what it is that we need to complete, prepare, investigate, plan, focus on, let’s stop and ponder everything God has given us through His Word today. Let’s not be robbed by fear but putting our hope and our trust in God, leaning not on our own understanding, let’s make time for Him to show up. Let’s make time for Him to speak. Let’s allow His wisdom and direction through the Holy Spirit to have reign over our plans and purpose for today.

Today’s reading concludes with Psalms 99.

‘The Lord is king! Let the nations tremble! He sits on his throne between the cherubim. Let the whole earth quake! The Lord sits in majesty in Jerusalem, exalted above all the nations. Let them praise your great and awesome name. Your name is holy! Mighty King, lover of justice, you have established fairness. You have acted with justice and righteousness throughout Israel. Exalt the Lord our God! Bow low before his feet, for he is holy! Moses and Aaron were among his priests; Samuel also called on his name. They cried to the Lord for help, and he answered them. He spoke to Israel from the pillar of cloud, and they followed the laws and decrees he gave them. O Lord our God, you answered them. You were a forgiving God to them, but you punished them when they went wrong. Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at his holy mountain in Jerusalem, for the Lord our God is holy!’

Psalms 99

Do you want to know? Do you get it?

So what is the most important reading you do? How important is it that you understand it? How important is it that you believe it? How important is it that you know it? How important is it that you apply it?

For me it is the Bible. It is the way I start my day to hear from God and get filled up for the day. It amazes me how applicable and real it is into my every day, my today. It’s so amazing that I have had others from my workplaces wonder how I pick my reading since it is so applicable to what my life is going through. What’s even more incredible is that I don’t pick my daily readings, I just pick the devotional for the year and it selects which reading will be for each day. God is good and He knows what you will need! God doesn’t get surprised and so He is able to speak into your very situation. His Word never returns void! His Word speaks truth in love! His Word is a love letter to us!

Not sure about trying to make it all the way through the Bible in a year? Why not start in the New Testament? Why not start in one of the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John)? Why not start small so that you can do more than read and understand and believe? The new year has just begun and I am getting towards the end of my current 365 day reading with today being from day 351 (with 2 days missed that I will do at the end to finish it up completely). So don’t lose hope or stop because you miss a day! You can choose to either continue from where you are or depending on your devotional, you can stick with whatever day you are at and go back later. Every year, I also choose which translation to read through (NIV, NLT, NKJV, KJV, …) and this year I have chosen to use NLT). A great resource for Bible reading plans is where you can pick from topical studies, versions that will read to you, versions where you can listen and watch, chronological, new to the faith, work related, leadership related, even versions for kids, walk through the Bible, and so many more types. Why not find one that seems interesting to you at and get started?

This is the day that the Lord has made, don’t you want to hear about what He has to say?

How to Read and Understand the Bible

Day 351: Bible In One Year 2018

Helpers in reading the Bible:

  • The Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:2–16)
  • The Church (Ephesians 3:18) – the church isn’t the building but a body of believers
  • Reason through your own mind (Romans 14:5) – we need to be more than just convinced, we need to be fully convinced in our own minds.

Guides and questions to interpreting the Bible: (we need to let the Bible interpret the Bible)

  • What does it actually say? [We need to remember that the Old Testament was written in Hebrew and Aramaic, whereas, the New Testament was written in Greek.]
  • What does it mean? [We need to understand the type of writing and the author]
    • What sort of literature is it? Is it historical writing? Poetry? Prophecy? Apocalyptic? Law? Wisdom? Gospel?
    • Who wrote it? Who read it or was the recipient of it?
    • Consider the coming of Jesus and how it relates to the Old Testament and how it connected with the people at the time of His life… (John 5:39–40)
  • How does this apply to my life? [Not only how does it but how can I apply it]
    • We need to take it from the intellectual exercise to the practical application

So, how can we read and understand the Bible?

  1. Be real with God … Psalms 144:9-15 (poetry)
  2. Make a difference by your prayers … Revelation 8, Revelation 9:1-12 (apocalyptic)
  3. Fulfill God’s purpose for your lifeEzra 1, Ezra 2:1-67 (history)

Today’s devotional Day 351: Bible In One Year 2018 provides some insight into the reading too while at the same time allowing you to read through God’s Word. Using a devotional can help getting started by having a plan to follow. Using a devotional can help getting into the Word of God by selecting a topic that is very relevant to you today which can be a 3 day, 5 day 7 day, etc. to help you get kicked started without having the pressure of reading all the Bible. So if you haven’t started making reading God’s Word a part of your daily schedule and giving Him priority into your life, why not get started today.  If you are reading this then you know how you found it and so you know how to find me and contact me if you want to chat. Be it social networks or just this blog via comments, you can connect with me. Or if you happen to be someone closer who knows me don’t hesitate to approach me and let’s chat.

Do you care? Do you love? Do you share or express it?

Do you care about others? Do you love others? Do you share that fact with them? Do you express it in ways that others would realize it? We are to love God and love people – by doing both of these we should be able to fulfill the law. When we look at times over history when God has sent prophets to correct the people it has been because they were missing the mark in one of these two areas. When people see you, do they know that you care? Do you share and help people in the area of reconciliation? Do you care about people with grace?

Today’s reading starts with David weeping over Absalom who had been out to get him…

David Weeps Over Absalom

1The king was shaken. So he went up to the chamber over the gate and wept. As he walked he cried, “My son Absalom! O my son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you! Absalom, my son, my son!” 2Then Joab was told, “Look, the king is weeping and mourning over Absalom!” 3So the victory that day was turned into mourning for all the troops, for the troops heard it said that day, “The king is grieving over his son.” 4So the troops entered into the city stealthily that day, like troops who are ashamed after running away in battle. 5The king covered his face and cried with a loud voice, “My son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son!” 6Then Joab came into the house to the king and said, “Today you have humiliated all your servants—who this day have saved your life, the lives of your sons and daughters, and the lives of your wives and the lives of your concubines— 7by loving those who hate you, and hating those who love you! For you have shown today that officers and officials are nothing to you. For today I realize that if Absalom were alive and all of us were dead, then it would have pleased you well. 8So now arise, go out, and speak to the heart of your servants! For I swear by Adonai that if you do not go out, not a single man will stay with you tonight, and that would be worse for you than all the evil that has befallen you from your youth until now.” 9So the king arose and sat in the gate. When they told all the troops saying, “See, the king is sitting at the gate,” all the troops presented themselves before the king. Meanwhile, Israel had fled each man to his tent.

David’s Restoration and Grace

10All the people throughout all the tribes of Israel were at strife saying, “The king delivered us from the hand of our enemies and he saved us from the hand of the Philistines. Yet now he had to flee from the land because of Absalom, 11but Absalom, whom we anointed over us, has died in battle. So why are we silent about restoring the king?” 12Then King David sent word to Zadok and Abiathar the kohanim saying, “Speak to the elders of Judah saying, ‘Why should you be the last to bring the king back to his palace? The talk of all Israel had reached the king at his residence. 13‘You are my kinsmen, my bone and my flesh! Why then should you be the last to bring back the king?’ 14“Also say to Amasa, ‘Are you not my bone and my flesh? May God do so to me and even more if you do not become my army commander before me continually, in place of Joab!’” 15Thus he turned the heart of all the men of Judah as one man, and then they sent word to the king, “Come back, you and all your servants.” 16So the king returned and reached the Jordan. Meanwhile, Judah came to Gilgal in order to meet the king, to escort the king over the Jordan. 17Then Shimei son of Gera, the Benjamite who was from Bahurim, hurried and came down with the men of Judah to meet King David 18accompanied by 1,000 men of Benjamin. Also Ziba the servant of Saul’s household, with his 15 sons and 20 slaves, rushed to the Jordan ahead of the king. 19They ferried across the ford to bring the king’s household and they did whatever seemed good in his eyes. Now, Shimei son of Gera fell down before the king when he was crossing over the Jordan, 20so he implored the king, “Let my lord not hold me guilty, and not remember the iniquity that your servant committed on the day my lord the king left Jerusalem. Let the king not take it to his heart. 21For your servant knows that I have sinned. So behold, I have come today the first of all the house of Joseph to go down to meet my lord the king.” 22But Abishai son of Zeruiah answered and said, “Shouldn’t Shimei be put to death for this, because he cursed Adonai’s anointed?” 23But David said, “What have I to do with you sons of Zeruiah that you should be my adversary today? Should any man be put to death in Israel this day? Don’t I know that today I am king over Israel?” 24Then the king said to Shimei, “You shall not die,” and the king swore it to him. 25Then Mephibosheth son of Saul came down to meet the king. Now he had neither dressed his feet nor trimmed his beard nor washed his clothes from the day the king departed until the day he came home in shalom. 26Now it came to pass when he came from Jerusalem to meet the king, the king asked him, “Why did you not go with me Mephibosheth?” 27“My lord the king, my own servant deceived me,” he answered. “For your servant had said, ‘I will saddle a donkey for myself, ride on it and go with the king,’ because your servant is lame. 28However, he has slandered your servant to my lord the king. But my lord the king is like an angel of God. So do what is good in your eyes. 29For all my father’s household deserved only death at the hand of my lord the king; yet you set your servant among those eating at your own table! What right do I have yet to cry to the king?” 30Then the king said to him, “Why do you still speak of your affairs? I have decreed, ‘You and Ziba shall divide the land.’” 31“So let him take all,” Mephibosheth replied to the king, “as long as my lord the king has come back to his own home in shalom.” 32Then Barzillai the Gileadite came down from Rogelim, and he approached the Jordan with the king to escort him over the Jordan. 33Now Barzillai was a very aged man—80 years old—and he had provided for the king during his residence at Mahanaim, for he was a very wealthy man. 34The king said to Barzillai, “Cross over with me, and I will provide for you with me in Jerusalem.” 35But Barzillai said to the king, “How many years are left of my life that I should go up with the king to Jerusalem? 36I am now 80 years old. Can I distinguish between good and bad? Can your servant taste what I eat or what I drink? Can I listen any more to the voice of singing men and women? Why then should your servant be yet a burden to my lord the king? 37Your servant would merely cross over the Jordan with the king. But why should the king reward me with such a reward? 38Please let your servant go back, and let me die in my own hometown, near the grave of my father and my mother. But look, here is your servant Chimham—let him cross over with my lord the king, and do for him what seems good in your eyes.” 39The king answered, “Chimham will cross over with me, and I will do for him what seems good in your eyes. Whatever you ask of me, I will do for you.” 40When all the people had crossed over the Jordan and as the king was about to cross over, the king kissed Barzillai and blessed him, so he returned to his own place. 41Then the king crossed over to Gilgal, and Chimham and all the people of Judah crossed over with him, and also half the people of Israel escorted the king over. 42Then all the men of Israel came to the king and said to him, “Why did our brothers, the men of Judah, steal you away by escorting the king and his household over the Jordan, along with all David’s men that were with him?” 43Then all the men of Judah answered the men of Israel, “Because the king is our close relative. So why are you angry over this matter? Have we eaten at all at the king’s cost? Or has he given us any gifts?” 44Then the men of Israel answered the men of Judah and said, “We have ten shares in the king, so in David we have even more than you. Why then did you despise us? Weren’t we the first to speak of restoring our king?” Yet the words of the men of Judah were harsher than the words of the men of Israel.

–from 2 Samuel 19

Will justice prevail? Will reason prevail? Will grace and mercy prevail? Will truth prevail?

1Now a worthless fellow happened to be there, a Benjamite named Sheba son of Bichri. He blew the shofar and said, “We have no portion in David, no inheritance in the son of Jesse! Every man to his tents, O Israel!” 2So all the men of Israel withdrew from following David and followed Sheba son of Bichri, but the men of Judah kept close to their king from the Jordan to Jerusalem. 3Now when David arrived at his palace in Jerusalem, the king took the ten women, the concubines whom he had left to take care of the palace, and put them in a guarded house. He provided for them but he did not cohabit with them. So they were confined until the day they died, living in widowhood. 4Then the king said to Amasa, “Summon to me the men of Judah within three days and be here yourself.” 5So Amasa went to summon Judah but he took longer than the set time that he had allotted him. 6Then David said to Abishai, “Now Sheba son of Bichri will do us more harm than Absalom. So take your lord’s servants and pursue him lest he find for himself fortified cities and escape from our sight.” 7So Joab’s men went after him, along with the Cherethites, the Pelethites, and all the mighty men, and set out from Jerusalem to pursue Sheba son of Bichri. 8When they were at the great stone that is in Gibeon, Amasa came to meet them. Now Joab was dressed in his military uniform, and over it was a belt with a sword in its sheath fastened on his waist; and as he stepped forward, it fell out. 9Then Joab said to Amasa, “Is it well with you my brother?” With his right hand Joab took Amasa by the beard to kiss him. 10But Amasa took no heed to the sword that was in Joab’s other hand. So he stabbed him with it in the groin and poured out his entrails to the ground, and did not strike him again, for he died. Then Joab and his brother Abishai pursued Sheba son of Bichri. 11Meanwhile, one of Joab’s young men stood over Amasa and said, “Whoever favors Joab and whoever is for David, let him follow Joab!” 12Yet Amasa lay wallowing in his blood in the midst of the highway. So when the man saw that all the people stood still, he dragged Amasa from the highway into the field and threw a garment over him because he saw that everyone passing by him paused.  13Once he removed him from the highway, everyone passed on, following Joab to pursue Sheba son of Bichri. 14Now he went through all the tribes of Israel, to Abel and Beth-Maacah. All the Berites gathered together and indeed followed him. 15They came and besieged him in Abel of Beth-Maacah and cast up a siege ramp against the city. It stood against the outer fortification and all the people with Joab battered the wall in order to topple it. 16Then a wise woman cried out from the city, “Listen! Listen! Please tell Joab to come over here that I may speak with him.” 17When he approached her, the woman asked, “Are you Joab?” “I am,” he answered. Then she said to him, “Listen to the words of your handmaid.” “I’m listening,” he answered. 18Then she spoke up saying, “They used to say in old time, ‘They shall surely seek counsel at Abel and that’s how they settled any dispute. 19I am of those who are peaceable and faithful in Israel. Are you seeking to destroy a mother city in Israel? Why would you devour Adonai’s inheritance?” 20Joab replied saying, “Never! Far be it from me that I would devour up or ruin. 21The matter is not so; but a fellow from the hill country of Ephraim, Sheba son of Bichri his name, has lifted up his hand against King David. Give him up alone and I will withdraw from the city.” So the woman replied to Joab, “Look here, his head will be thrown to you over the wall.” 22Then the woman approached all the people wisely. So they cut off the head of Sheba son of Bichri and threw it over to Joab. He then blew the shofar and they were dismissed from the city, each to his tent. Then Joab returned to Jerusalem to the king. 23Now Joab remained over all the army of Israel; Benaiah son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and the Pelethites; 24Adoram was over the forced labor; Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was the recorder; 25Sheba was scribe; Zadok and Abiathar were kohanim; 26and Ira the Jairite also was a kohen to David.

–from 2 Samuel 20

Will you step up to do what is right? Will you step up to do what is just? Will you be someone who helps bridge relationships in a spirit of reconciliation? How will you help?

Justice for the Gibeonites

1Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year, so David sought the face of Adonai. Adonai replied, “It is because of Saul and his bloody house, for he put the Gibeonites to death.” 2So the king summoned the Gibeonites and spoke to them. (Now the Gibeonites were not of Bnei-Yisrael but a remnant of the Amorites; however, Bnei-Yisrael had sworn a covenant with them. Yet Saul had tried to eradicate them in his zeal for Bnei-Yisrael and Judah.) 3David asked the Gibeonites, “What should I do for you? How may I make atonement so that you would bless the inheritance of Adonai?” 4The Gibeonites said to him, “It is not a matter of silver or gold between us and Saul or his house; nor is it our right to put any man to death in Israel.” “Whatever you say, I will do for you,” he said. 5Then they said to the king, “The man who consumed us and plotted against us to annihilate us from remaining in any of Israel’s territory, 6let seven men of his sons be given over to us and we will hang them up before Adonai at Gibeah of Saul, Adonai’s chosen.” “I will give them over,” the king said. 7Now the king spared Mephibosheth, son of Jonathan son of Saul, because of Adonai’s oath that was between them, between David and Jonathan son of Saul. 8But the king took the two sons of Rizpah daughter of Aiah, whom she bore to Saul—Armoni and Mephibosheth; also the five sons of Michal daughter of Saul, whom she bore to Adriel son of Barzillai the Meholathite, 9and he gave them into the hands of the Gibeonites. So they hanged them on the hill before Adonai, so that all seven fell together. They were put to death during the days of harvest, at the beginning of barley harvest. 10Then Rizpah daughter of Aiah took sackcloth and spread it on the rock for herself, from the beginning of harvest until the rain poured on them from the sky. She did not let the birds of the sky rest on them by day nor the beasts of the field by night. 11David was told what Rizpah daughter of Aiah, the concubine of Saul, had done. 12So David went and took the bones of Saul and the bones of his son Jonathan from the men of Jabesh-gilead, who had stolen them from the open square of Beth-shan, where the Philistines had hanged them on the day that the Philistines killed Saul in Gilboa. 13He had the bones of Saul and the bones of his son Jonathan brought up from there, and they gathered the bones of those who were hanged. 14So they buried the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan in the country of Benjamin in Zela, in the tomb of his father Kish. They did all of what the king commanded. Afterward, God was moved by prayer for the land. 15Once again the Philistines made war with Israel, so David went down with his servants and fought against the Philistines. But David became weary. 16So Ishbi-benob—who was a descendant of the Raphah, whose spear weighed 300 shekels of bronze, who was girded with new armor—thought to kill David. 17But Abishai son of Zeruiah came to his aid, struck the Philistine and killed him. Then the men of David swore to him, saying, “You must not go out with us to battle anymore. You must not quench the lamp of Israel!” 18Now it came to pass after this that there was war again with the Philistines at Gob, and Sibbecai the Hushathite killed Saph, a descendant of the Rapha. 19Then there was war again with the Philistines at Gob, and Elhanan son of Jaare-oregim the Beth-lehemite killed Goliath the Gittite—his spear had a shaft like a weaver’s beam. 20Once again there was war at Gath, where there was a champion that had on every hand six fingers and on every foot six toes— a total of 24, and he also was a descendant of the Rapha. 21When he taunted Israel, Jonathan son of David’s brother Shimea killed him. 22These four were born to the Rapha in Gath, and they fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants.

–from 2 Samuel 21

So let’s not grow weary in doing what is good! Let’s provide God’s wisdom to those around us! Let’ provide guidance in alignment to God’s Word! Let’s share our faith, our hope, and our trust in Jesus with the world around us that they may see it and praise our Father in heaven! Let’s share good and sound advice to those around us!

Advice for Behavior in Community

1But as for you, speak things that are fitting for sound instruction.
2Older men are to be clear-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, in patience.
3Likewise, older women are to be sanctified in demeanor—not backbiting or enslaved to much wine. Let them be teachers of what is good, 4so that they may train the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5to be self-controlled, pure, managing their household, kind, submitted to their own husbands, so that God’s word may not be dishonored.
6Likewise urge the younger men to be self-controlled, 7in all things showing yourself to be an example of good deeds—integrity in instruction, dignity, 8sound speech beyond criticism—so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.
9Urge slaves to submit themselves to their own masters in all things, well-pleasing and not back-talking, 10not stealing but showing all good faithfulness, so that they may do credit to the teaching about God our Savior in everything.
11For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12training us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live in a manner that is self-controlled and righteous and godly in the present age. 13We wait for the blessed hope and appearance of the glory of our great God and Savior, Messiah Yeshua. 14He gave Himself for us so that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and so that He might purify for Himself a chosen people, zealous for good deeds.
15So communicate these things, and encourage and correct with complete authority. Let no one look down on you.

–from Titus 2



How much do you love? How much do you care?

What is your motivation? What is your purpose? What is your reason? Are you doing it out of love? Are you doing it in love? How much do you love? How much do you care?

You are where you are for a reason! You are where you are for a purpose! So what are you going to do about it? What is going to be your motivation to get it done and done right? So what are you going to use as your driving factor? What will help keep you on track? How much will you love? How far will it take you? What difference will it make? What difference will you make?

Do you realize the benefit of relationships? Relationship with God? Relationship with your spouse? Relationship with your friend? Relationship with your neighbor? Relationship with your co-workers? Relationship with your church? Relationship with your pastor? Do you realize the benefits?

There are three types of love: EROS – Romantic Love (ex. Michal’s love), PHILEO – Brotherly Love (ex. Jonathan’s love), and AGAPE – Unconditional Love (ex. God’s love)

Today’s reading starts with Jonathan and his love for David…

Jonathan’s Covenant Love for David

1Now it came to pass, when David had finished speaking to Saul, Jonathan’s soul was knit to David’s soul, and Jonathan loved him as himself. 2Saul took him that day and did not let him return to his father’s house. 3Then Jonathan cut a covenant with David, because he loved him as himself. 4Jonathan stripped off the robe that was on him and gave it to David, along with his armor: his sword, bow and belt.

Saul’s Jealousy

5So David went out wherever Saul sent him and had success, so Saul set him over the men of war. It was pleasing in the eyes of all the people as well as in the eyes of Saul’s courtiers. 6Upon their coming back, upon David’s return from killing the Philistine, the women came out of all the towns of Israel, singing and dancing in circles to greet King Saul, with timbrels, with joy and with three-stringed instruments. 7So the women sang one to another, as they were dancing saying, “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands!” 8Then Saul became very angry—this saying was evil in his eyes—and he commented, “They’ve ascribed to David ten thousands and to me they’ve ascribed thousands. Now what more does he lack but the kingdom?” 9So Saul eyed David from that day on. 10It came about the next day that an evil spirit from God came mightily upon Saul, so that he was raving within the palace. While David was playing music with his hand, as he did day by day, Saul had his spear in his hand, 11and Saul hurled the spear, thinking, “I’ll pin David to the wall!” But David eluded him—twice. 12Now Saul became afraid of David, because Adonai was with him but had departed from Saul. 13Therefore Saul removed him from his entourage by appointing him as a captain of a thousand. So David went out and came in before the troops. 14David had success in all his undertakings, since Adonai was with him. 15When Saul saw that he had great success, he dreaded him. 16But all Israel and Judah loved David, for he went out and came in before them. 17Then Saul said to David, “Here is my older daughter Merab—I give her to you as a wife. Only continue to be my son of valor and fight Adonai’s battles.” For Saul thought, “My hand needn’t be against him—let the hand of the Philistines be against him.” 18But David replied to Saul, “Who am I, and what is my life or my father’s family in Israel, that I should become the king’s son-in-law?” 19But when it was time to give Saul’s daughter Merab to David in marriage, she was given as wife to Adriel the Meholathite instead.

Michal’s Love for David

20Now Saul’s daughter Michal loved David. When they told Saul, the matter pleased him. 21Saul thought, “I will give her to him, so that she may become a snare to him—and the hand of the Philistines will be against him.” So Saul said to David, “You can still become my son-in-law, even today, with the second one.” 22Then Saul commanded his courtiers, “Speak with David privately and say, ‘Behold, the king delights in you and all his courtiers love you. So now, become the king’s son-in-law!’” 23So Saul’s courtiers whispered these words in David’s ears. But David said, “Is it a light thing to you becoming the king’s son-in-law, considering that I am a poor man and of little account?” 24Saul’s courtiers reported back to him what David had said. 25Then Saul said, “Thus you will say to David, ‘The king desires no bridal dowry except 100 foreskins of the Philistines—to take vengeance on the king’s enemies.’” So Saul schemed to make David fall by the hand of the Philistines. 26When his courtiers told David these words, the word seemed right in David’s eyes to become the king’s son-in-law. Before the days were fulfilled, 27 David had risen, gone with his men and killed 200 Philistine men. Then David brought their foreskins and gave them in full number to the king—to become the king’s son-in-law. So Saul gave him Michal his daughter as a wife. 28When Saul saw and realized that Adonai was with David and that Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved him, 29Saul grew even more afraid of David. Thus Saul became David’s enemy for all days. 30When the chiefs of the Philistines marched out, as often as they came out, David proved more successful than all of Saul’s officers. So his name became highly esteemed.

–from 1 Samuel 18

Don’t be afraid! Walk in trust of God! Even when you are feeling attacked or chased, put your trust in God! He knows what He is doing!

Saul Tries to Kill David

1Now Saul told his son Jonathan and all his courtiers to kill David. But Saul’s son Jonathan delighted much in David. 2So Jonathan informed David saying, “My father Saul is seeking to kill you. So now, please be on guard in the morning, and stay in a secret place and hide yourself. 3I will go out and stand beside my father in the field where you will be, and I will speak with my father about you. If I notice anything, I will tell you.” 4So Jonathan spoke well of David to his father Saul and said to him, “May the king not sin against his servant David, since he has not sinned against you, and since his deeds have been very beneficial for you; 5For he put his life in his hand and killed the Philistine, and Adonai won a great victory for all Israel—you saw it and rejoiced. So why would you sin against innocent blood by killing David without a cause?” 6Saul listened to the voice of Jonathan, and Saul swore, “As Adonai lives, he will not be put to death.” 7So Jonathan called David, and Jonathan told him all these things. Jonathan brought David to Saul and in his presence as before. 8Once again war broke out, and David marched out and fought the Philistines, and inflicted a great slaughter on them and they fled before him. 9Yet once again an evil spirit from Adonai came upon Saul as he was sitting in his house with his spear in his hand, as David was playing music with his hand. 10Saul sought to pin David to the wall with the spear, but he slipped away from Saul’s face, so that he drove the spear into the wall. That night David fled and got away. 11Then Saul sent agents to David’s house to watch him, in order to kill him in the morning. But David’s wife Michal warned him saying, “If you don’t escape for your life tonight, tomorrow you will be dead!” 12So Michal lowered David down through the window, and thus he went, fled and escaped. 13Then Michal took a household idol, laid it in the bed, put a quilt of goats’ hair at the head and covered it with a cloth. 14When Saul sent messengers to arrest David, she said, “He’s sick.” 15So Saul sent the agents back to see David, saying, “Bring him up to me in the bed so I may put him to death.” 16When the messengers came in, behold, the household idol was in the bed with the quilt of goats’ hair at its head. 17Saul then said to Michal, “Why have you deceived me like this and let my enemy get away, so that he escaped?” Michal answered Saul, “He said to me, ‘Let me go or I’ll kill you!’” 18So David fled and escaped, went to Samuel at Ramah, and told him all that Saul had done to him. Then he and Samuel went and stayed at Naioth. 19Saul was told, “Behold, David is at Naioth in Ramah.” 20So Saul sent agents to seize David, but they saw a band of prophets prophesying, and Samuel standing and presiding over them. Then the Ruach of God came upon Saul’s agents and they too prophesied. 21When Saul was told, he sent other agents and they too prophesied. Then Saul sent a third group of messengers, and they too prophesied. 22Then he himself went to Ramah, and when he arrived at the great cistern in Secu, he asked, “Where are Samuel and David?” Someone answered, “Look, they are at Naioth at Ramah.” 23So he proceeded there, to Naioth at Ramah, and the Ruach of God came upon him as well, and he prophesied as he kept walking until he arrived to Naioth at Ramah. 24Then he too stripped off his clothes, and he too prophesied before Samuel, and lay down naked all that day and all that night. That is why people were saying, “Is Saul too among the prophets?”

–from 1 Samuel 19

When the enemy tries to frighten you – turn to God! When the enemy tries to threaten you – turn to God! When the enemy tries to attack you – turn to God! TRUST HIM in every situation!

God Is My Strong Tower

1For the music director: “Do Not Destroy,” a Michtam of David, when Saul sent men to watch the house to kill him. 2Deliver me from my enemies, my God! Set me on high, away from those who rise up against me. 3Deliver me from workers of iniquity. Rescue me from bloodthirsty men. 4For behold, they lie in wait for me. Defiant men stir up strife against me— not for my transgression or sin, Adonai. 5For no guilt of mine, they run and set things up. Awake! Help me! Look! 6For You are Adonai Elohei-Tzva’ot, the God of Israel! Rouse Yourself to punish all the nations. Show no mercy to any iniquitous traitors. Selah 7They return at evening, snarling like a dog, prowling about the city. 8See, they are spewing with their mouth —swords in their lips— “After all, who is listening?” 9But You, Adonai, are laughing at them. You scoff at all the nations. 10O my strength, I watch for You— for God is my strong tower. 11My God in His lovingkindness will go before me. God will let me look down on my foes. 12Do not slay them, lest my people forget. With Your power shake them and bring them down, O Lord our shield. 13The sin of their mouth is the words of their lips. So let them be caught in their pride, and for uttering a curse and a lie. 14Consume them in wrath, consume them till they are no more. Let them know that God rules over Jacob to the ends of the earth. Selah 15They return at evening, snarling like a dog, prowling about the city. 16They wander around for food. If they are not full, they stay up all night. 17But I—I sing of Your strength! Yes, in the morning I sing aloud of Your lovingkindness. For You have been my fortress, a refuge in the day of my trouble. 18O my strength, to You I sing praises. For God is my strong tower— my God of lovingkindness.

–from Psalms 59

Will you answer the call? Will you step out in faith? Will do what you have been called to do? Will you do it all in love? Will you do it all in obedience to God?

Instructions to the Twelve

1Yeshua summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, so they could drive them out and heal every kind of disease and sickness. 2Now these are the names of the twelve emissaries: first, Simon, called Peter, and his brother Andrew; Jacob the son of Zebedee and John his brother; 3Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; Jacob, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4Simon the Zealot, and Judah the man from Kriot, the one who also betrayed Him. 5Yeshua sent out these twelve and ordered them, “Do not go to the Gentiles, and do not enter into any Samaritan town. 6But go instead to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7As you go, proclaim, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near!’ 8Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those with tza’arat, drive out demons. Freely you received, freely give. 9Do not get gold or silver or copper for your money belts, 10or a bag for the journey, or two shirts, or sandals, or a walking stick; for the worker is entitled to his food. 11“Whatever town or village you shall enter, find out who in it is worthy and stay there until you leave. 12As you come into the house, greet it. 13If the household is worthy, let your shalom come upon it. But if it’s not worthy, let your shalom return to you. 14And whoever will not receive you or listen to your words, as you leave that house or that town, shake the dust off your feet. 15Amen, I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the Day of Judgment than for that town. 16“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. 17But beware of men, for they will hand you over to the courts and flog you in their synagogues. 18You will be brought before governors and kings because of Me, as a witness to them and to the Gentiles. 19But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you should say, for it shall be given to you in that hour what you should say. 20For it is not you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. 21“Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against their parents and have them put to death. 22And you will be hated by all because of My name, but the one who endures to the end shall be saved. 23Whenever they persecute you in one city, flee to the next. Amen, I tell you, you will never finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes. 24“A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master. 25It is enough for the disciple to become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of the house beelzebul, how much more the members of his household! 26“So do not fear them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be revealed and nothing hidden that will not be made known. 27What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear in your ear, proclaim from the housetops! 28And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Instead, fear the One who is able to destroy both soul and body in Gehenna. 29“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them shall fall to the ground apart from your Father’s consent. 30But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31So do not fear; you are worth more than many sparrows. 32“Therefore whoever acknowledges Me before men, I will also acknowledge him before My Father who is in heaven. 33But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven. 34“Do not think that I came to bring shalom on the earth; I did not come to bring shalom, but a sword. 35For I have come to set ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.’ 37“He who loves father or mother more than Me isn’t worthy of Me, and he who loves son or daughter more than Me isn’t worthy of Me. 38And whoever does not take up his cross and follow after Me isn’t worthy of Me. 39He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it. 40“He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives the One who sent Me. 41He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward, and he who receives a tzaddik in the name of a tzaddik shall receive a tzaddik’s reward. 42And whoever gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, amen I tell you, he shall never lose his reward.”

–from Matthew 10

We don’t have to be afraid for the Holy Spirit will lead us and guide us, protect us and encourage us, be our comforter and our guide! We are out in a world where we are like sheep amongst wolves.But we have God on our side! So let’s walk with God and allow Him to lead us, guide us, protect us, encourage us, comfort us and grant us wisdom for each and every situation we face. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life! Jesus is the only way to the Father! So let’s invite Him into our hearts and allow Him to help us get our lives cleaned up from the inside out!




What are you asking for? Do you realize what will happen if you get what you want?

Consider closely what you are asking for. Consider the consequences and the reason for the ask. Consider the benefits and the drawbacks. Consider how your priorities should be. Consider your needs vs your wants. What are you asking for? Do you realize what will happen if you get what you want? What is your heart in that area? What is your intent? What is your reason? What is your purpose?

Is God enough? Is there any reason you might try to do God plus? Is there any reason why you might try inserting someone else into part of the areas that God takes care of? Are you rejecting him?

Today’s reading start in 1 Samuel when the people of Israel are asking for a king…

Israel Demands a King

1Now when Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as judges over Israel. 2The name of his firstborn was Joel and the name of his second Abijah—they were judges in Beersheba. 3His sons, however, did not walk in his ways, but turned aside after dishonest gain—they took bribes and perverted justice. 4Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah, 5and said to him, “Behold, you have grown old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us—like all the nations.” 6But the matter was displeasing in Samuel’s eyes when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” So Samuel prayed to Adonai. 7Then Adonai said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in all that they say to you. For they have not rejected you, rather they have rejected Me from being king over them. 8Like all the deeds that they have done since the day I brought them out of Egypt to this day—forsaking Me and worshiping other gods—so they are doing to you also. 9So now, listen to their voice. However, you must earnestly forewarn them, and declare to them the rulings of the king who will reign over them.” 10Now Samuel reported all the words of Adonai to the people who were asking him for a king. 11“This will be the practice of the king that will reign over you,” he said. “He will draft your sons and assign them as his charioteers and horsemen, and they will run before his chariots. 12He will appoint them as commanders of thousands and captains of fifties, also some to plow his fields, reap his harvest, make his weapons of war and the equipment for his chariots. 13Also he will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks and bakers. 14He will seize the best of your fields, vineyards and olive groves, and give them to his courtiers. 15He will take a tenth of your grain and your vintage and give it to his officials and slaves. 16He will also take your male and female servants, your best young men and your donkeys and make them do his work. 17He will also take the tenth of your flocks. Then you yourselves will become his slaves. 18When the day comes and you cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, Adonai will not answer you on that day.” 19But the people refused to listen to Samuel, and they said, “No! But a king should be over us! 20So we may become like all the nations—having our king who will judge us, go out before us and fight our battles.” 21After Samuel heard all the words of the people, he reported them back in the hearing of Adonai. 22Adonai said to Samuel, “Listen to their voice and appoint a king to reign for them.” So Samuel said to the men of Israel, “Go, each one to his town.”

–from 1 Samuel 8

Consider the warning signs. Consider the consequences. Realize you will need to live with your decision. We all have free wills and as such we get to choose, so choose wisely!

Do you realize that in the midst of the daily things, God can raise you up? Do you realize within the mundane or boring tasks of a day, God can open up a door you didn’t even realize was available? God has a plan! God has a purpose! How will you respond? How will you act? How will you be? When you are wondering or having questions where do you turn? Will you turn and ask God? Will you ask a friend who has godly wisdom? Will you ask someone who has faith and will pray and give you an answer?

Saul Meets Samuel

1Now there was a man of Benjamin whose name was Kish son of Abiel son of Zeror son of Becorath son of Aphiah son of a Benjamite. He was a mighty man of valor 2and he had a son whose name was Saul—young and handsome—there was no one among Bnei-Yisrael better than him. From his shoulders and up he was taller than any of the people. 3Now the donkeys of Kish, Saul’s father, were lost. So Kish said to his son Saul, “Take now one of the servants with you, get up and look for the donkeys.” 4So he passed through the hill country of Ephraim and passed through the land of Shalishah, but they did not find them. Then they passed through the land of Shaalim, but they were not there. Then he passed through the land of Benjamin, but still did not find them. 5When they arrived in the land of Zuph, Saul said to his servant with him, “Come, let’s go back—otherwise my father will stop worrying about the donkeys and start worrying about us.” 6Then his servant said to him, “Behold now, there is a man of God in this town, and he is a man held in honor—everything he says is sure to come true. Now, let’s go there. Perhaps he’ll tell us the way we should go.” 7Then said Saul to his servant, “But look, if we go, what would we bring the man? For the bread is gone from our sacks, and there is nothing to bring to the man of God as a present. What do we have?” 8The servant answered Saul again and said, “Behold, I have in my hand a quarter of a shekel of silver. I will give it to the man of God and he will tell us our way.” 9(Formerly in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, he said, “Come, let’s go to the seer”—for today’s prophet was formerly called a seer.) 10Then Saul said to his servant, “Well said. Come, let’s go!” So they went to the town where the man of God was. 11As they went up the hill to the town, they found some girls going out to draw water, and they asked them, “Is the seer here?” 12They answered them and said, “He is there, ahead of you. Hurry now, for he has come today to the town because people have a sacrifice at the high place today. 13As soon as you enter the town, you’ll find him before he goes up to the high place to eat. For the people will not eat until he comes, because he must first bless the sacrifice—afterward the guests can eat. So now, get up, for you will find him at once.” 14So they went up to the town. As they were entering the town, behold, Samuel was coming out toward them to go up to the high place. 15One day before Saul came, Adonai had revealed to Samuel saying: 16“Tomorrow about this time, I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you will anoint him ruler over My people Israel. He will deliver My people from the hand of the Philistines. I have observed My people, because their cry has come to Me.” 17When Samuel saw Saul, Adonai spoke to him, “Behold, this is the man I told you about. This one will govern My people.” 18Then Saul approached Samuel inside the gate and asked, “Tell me, please, where the seer’s house is?” 19Samuel answered Saul by saying, “I am the seer. Go up ahead of me to the high place. For today you will eat with me. In the morning when I send you off, I will tell you everything that is in your heart. 20As for the donkeys that you lost three days ago, don’t set your heart on them, for they have been found. Now, for whom is all that is desirable in Israel? Is it not for you and for all your father’s household?” 21Saul answered by saying, “Am I not a Benjamite, from the smallest of the tribes of Israel, and my clan is the least of all the clans of the tribe of Benjamin? So why do you say such things to me?” 22Then Samuel took Saul and his servant and brought them into the hall, and gave them a place at the head of the guests, who numbered about 30 people. 23Samuel said to the cook, “Bring the portion that I gave you and told you to set aside.” 24So the cook took up the thigh, raised it, and set it before Saul. Then he said, “Here is what has been reserved! Set it before you and eat, because it has been kept until this appointed time for you, since I said, ‘I have invited the people.’” So Saul ate with Samuel that day. 25When they came down from the high place to the town, he spoke with Saul on the roof. 26They rose early, and at daybreak Samuel called to Saul on the roof saying, “Get up, so I may send you off.” So Saul got up, and both of them, he and Samuel, went outside. 27As they were going down toward the edge of town, Samuel said to Saul, “Tell your servant to go ahead of us and pass on, but as for you, stand still awhile, so that I may proclaim to you the word of God.”

–from 1 Samuel 9

Don’t let success or position or power go to your head! Stay humble! Stay with a servant’s heart! Don’t try to go it alone, put your trust in God! Success can be one of the biggest challenges and struggles in life! So realize it, prepare for it, and press through it with God and in God’s way!

Do you realize how God’s views are different from those of the world! Do you realize the importance of attitude? Do you realize it is possible to be content in every situation? Do you realize that you have a purpose? Do you realize that you are to make a difference? Do you realize that you are supposed to be different? Do you realize that you are being called to a higher standard? Do you realize your response is supposed to be different? Do you realize you are to respond with love? Do you realize that means even if someone is attacking or hating you? So what will you do now that you do know?

Drash on the Mountain

1Now when Yeshua saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain. And after He sat down, His disciples came to Him.
2And He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying,
3“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
5“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
6“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
7“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy.
8“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
9“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
10“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me.
12Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great! For in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Called to Be Salt and Light

13“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt should lose its flavor, how shall it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.
14“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.
15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they put it on a lampstand so it gives light to all in the house.
16In the same way, let your light shine before men so they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Filling the Law to the Fullest

17“Do not think that I came to abolish the Torah or the Prophets! I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill.
18Amen, I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or serif shall ever pass away from the Torah until all things come to pass.
19Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever keeps and teaches them, this one shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
20For I tell you that unless your righteousness exceeds that of the Pharisees and Torah scholars, you shall never enter the kingdom of heaven!
21“You have heard it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever commits murder shall be subject to judgment.’
22But I tell you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be subject to judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca’ shall be subject to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be subject to fiery Gehenna.
23“Therefore if you are presenting your offering upon the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you,
24leave your offering there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.
25“Make friends quickly with your opponent while you are with him on the way. Otherwise, your opponent may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the assistant, and you will be thrown into prison.
26Amen, I tell you, you will never get out of there until you have paid back the last penny!
27“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’
28But I tell you that everyone who looks upon a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
29And if your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away! It is better for you that one part of your body should be destroyed, than that your whole body be thrown into Gehenna.
30And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away! It is better for you that one part of your body should be destroyed, than that your whole body go into Gehenna.
31“It was said, ‘Whoever sends his wife away, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’
32But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
33“Again, you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall carry out your oaths to Adonai.’
34But I tell you, do not swear at all—not by heaven, for it is the throne of God;
35or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King.
36And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make a single hair white or black.
37But let your word ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’—anything more than this is from the evil one.”

Overcoming Evil with Good

38“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’
39But I tell you, do not resist an evildoer. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him also the other.
40And the one wanting to sue you and to take your shirt, let him also have your coat.
41Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two.
42Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
43“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
44But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
45so that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
46For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Even the tax collectors do the same, don’t they?
47And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than anyone else? Even the pagans do that, don’t they?
48Therefore be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.”

–from Matthew 5




Are you doing it right? Are you acting out of obedience?

Why are you doing what you are doing? What is the reason or motivation for trying to do it that way? Have you checked with God to get wisdom on or into what is going on? Have you checked with God to get wisdom on or into how you should respond? Are you assuming based on what God’s done that you should be able to get it work this way or that way? Are you using the created rather than seeking the creator for direction into what you need or should do? We need more than a symbol of God being with us, we need God to be with us! We need to turn back to Him and walk with Him through each day and every situation! No assumptions, just listening and acting in obedience. Are you doing it right? Are you acting out of obedience?

This morning’s reading starts off with an interesting view of a situation and we see how they act and respond…

Defeat and Loss of the Ark

1So it was that the word of Samuel went forth to all Israel. Now Israel went out against the Philistines in battle. They camped at Eben-ezer while the Philistines camped in Aphek. 2The Philistines drew up in battle array to meet Israel, and when the battle was fought, Israel was defeated before the Philistines, who killed 4,000 men on the battlefield. 3When the people came back to the camp, the elders of Israel asked, “Why did Adonai bring defeat on us today before the Philistines? Let’s fetch the ark of the covenant of Adonai from Shiloh that He may come among us and deliver us from the hand of our enemies.” 4So the people sent to Shiloh, and from there they carried the ark of the covenant of Adonai-Tzva’ot who sits above the cheruvim. Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God. 5Now when the ark of the covenant of Adonai entered the camp, all Israel shouted with a great shout, so that the ground resounded. 6When the Philistines heard the noise of the shout, they wondered, “What’s this noise of a great shout in the camp of the Hebrews?” When they realized that the ark of Adonai had come into the camp, 7the Philistines were afraid, for they said, “God has come into the camp.” So they said, “Woe to us! For nothing like this has ever happened before. 8Woe to us! Who will deliver us from the hand of this mighty God? This is the God that struck down the Egyptians with all kinds of plagues in the wilderness. 9Be strong, and conduct yourselves like men, O Philistines, or else you will become enslaved to the Hebrews as they have been to you. Be like men and fight!” 10So the Philistines did fight and Israel was defeated—they fled every man to his tent. The slaughter was very great, as 30,000 of Israel’s foot soldiers fell. 11Moreover, the ark of God was captured, and Eli’s two sons Hophni and Phinehas died. 12Now that same day a man of Benjamin ran from the battlefield and came to Shiloh with his clothes torn and dust on his head. 13When he arrived, behold, Eli was sitting on his seat by the wayside watching, for his heart was trembling for the ark of God. When the man arrived to announce it in the town, the entire town cried out. 14And when Eli heard the noise of the outcry, he asked, “What’s this noisy commotion?” So the man rushed and came and told Eli. 15Now Eli was 98 years old, and his eyes were fixed in a blind stare. 16Then the man said to Eli, “I am one coming from the battlefield—I escaped from the battlefield today.” “What is happening, my son?” he asked. 17And the messenger answered and said, “Israel fled before the Philistines and there has also been a great slaughter among the people. Also your two sons died—Hophni and Phinehas—and the ark of God was captured.” 18As soon as he mentioned of the ark of God, Eli fell backward from his seat beside the town gate. His neck broke and he died, for he was old and heavy. He had judged Israel 40 years. 19Now his daughter-in-law, Phinehas’ wife, was with child and about to deliver. When she heard the report that the ark of God was captured and that her father-in-law and her husband were dead, she crouched down and gave birth because she was seized with her labor pains. 20As she was dying, the women attending her said to her, “Don’t be afraid, for you have brought forth a son!” But she did not respond or take it to heart. 21Then she named the child Ichabod saying, “The glory has departed from Israel”—because of the capture of the ark of God, and because of her father-in-law and her husband. 22So she said, “The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been taken!”

–from 1 Samuel 4

How long will you try to doing it your own way? How long before you take God seriously? What will it take for you to do what God has called you to do? Will you return and finish strong? We need to take the things of God and the ways of God seriously! We need to align to and align with God’s will and God’s way! There is no other god but our God! In the end every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord! So let’s not pretend, let’s take a hold of the truth and step forward and step out believing and living what God has created to be and do!

The Ark Afflicts the Philistines

1Now the Philistines had taken the ark of God and they brought it from Eben-ezer to Ashdod. 2The Philistines took the ark of God and brought it to the temple of Dagon, and placed it beside Dagon. 3But when the Ashdodites arose early next morning, to everyone’s surprise, Dagon had fallen to his face on the ground before the ark of Adonai. So they took Dagon up and put him back in his place. 4But when they arose early the following morning, surprisingly, Dagon had fallen to his face on the ground before the ark of Adonai, and the head of Dagon and both palms of his hands were cut off on the threshold; only Dagon’s trunk was left on him. 5That is why to this day neither the priests of Dagon nor any who enter Dagon’s house will tread on Dagon’s threshold in Ashdod. 6Then the hand of Adonai was heavy upon the Ashdodites, ravaging them and afflicting Ashdod and its vicinity with tumors. 7When the men of Ashdod saw what was happening they said, “The ark of the God of Israel must not stay with us, for His hand has dealt harshly against us as well as against our god Dagon.” 8So they sent word and gathered all the lords of the Philistines to them and asked, “What will we do with the ark of the God of Israel?” They replied, “Let the ark of the God of Israel be carried over to Gath.” So they carried the ark of the God of Israel over. 9But it came about, that after they had carried it around, that the hand of Adonai was against the city causing very great panic, as He struck the people of the city, from the youngest to the oldest, so that tumors broke out on them. 10So they sent the ark of God to Ekron. But it came about as the ark of God came to Ekron that the Ekronites cried out saying, “They’ve brought around the ark of the God of Israel to us to kill us and our people!” 11So they sent word and gathered all the lords of the Philistines and said, “Send the ark of the God of Israel away—let it go back to its own place, so it won’t kill us and our people!” For a panic of death was throughout the entire city, as God’s hand was very heavy there. 12The people who did not die were afflicted with tumors, so that the outcry of the city went up to heaven.

–from 1 Samuel 5

Do you have something that doesn’t belong to you? What would it take for you to return it to the rightful owner? If you find it and then find out who owns it do you return it immediately? If you find it and then find out who owns it do you try to get to enjoy it for a bit before returning it? You don’t the difference between right and wrong! You know what you should do! What would or will or is keeping you from doing what is right?

Philistines Send the Ark Back

1After the ark of Adonai had been in the country of the Philistines seven months, 2the Philistines summoned the priests and the diviners saying, “What should we do with the ark of Adonai? Tell us how we should send it back to its place.” 3So they said, “If you are going to send the ark of the God of Israel back, do not send it empty. For you must surely return it with a guilt offering. Then you will be healed and it will be revealed to you why His hand has not been removed from you.” 4“What guilt offering should we return to Him?” they asked. So they said, “Five golden tumors and five golden mice—according to the number of the lords of the Philistines, for one plague was on each of you and on your lords. 5So you will make images of your tumors and images of your mice that mar the land, and you must give glory to the God of Israel. Perhaps He will lighten His hand off of you, your gods and your land. 6Why harden your hearts as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? When He afflicted them, didn’t they send them away so they left? 7Now therefore get a new cart ready, two milk cows on which there has never been a yoke, hitch the cows to the cart, and return their calves home, away from them. 8Then take the ark of Adonai and place it on the cart; also put the golden objects that you return to Him as a guilt offering in a box by its side. Then send it off so it may go. 9Then watch—if it goes up by the way of its own territory to Beth-shemesh, then it was He who inflicted on us this great harm. But if not, then we will know that it was not His hand that struck us; it just happened to us by chance.” 10So the people did so—they took two milk cows and hitched them to the cart, and shut up their calves at home. 11Then they placed the ark of Adonai on the cart together with the box, the golden mice, and the models of their tumors. 12So the cows took the way straight toward Beth-shemesh—they kept along the same highway, lowing as they went, and turned aside neither to the right nor to the left. The lords of the Philistines followed them to the border of Beth-shemesh. 13Now the people of Beth-shemesh were reaping their wheat harvest in the valley. When they lifted up their eyes and saw the ark, they rejoiced to see it. 14The cart came to the field of Joshua of Beth-shemesh and stopped there, where there was a large stone. Then they chopped the wood of the cart and offered up the cows as a burnt ­offering to Adonai. 15The Levites took down the ark of Adonai and the box that was with it that contained the gold objects, and placed them on the large stone. Then the people of Beth-shemesh offered burnt offerings and sacrifices to Adonai that day. 16Now when the five lords of the Philistines had seen it, they returned to Ekron that same day. 17So these are the golden tumors that the Philistines returned as a guilt offering to Adonai: one for Ashdod, one for Gaza, one for Ashkelon, one for Gath, one for Ekron. 18The golden mice also corresponded to the number of all the cities of the Philistines belonging to the five lords—both the fortified cities and their country villages—as far as the large stone on which they had set down the ark of Adonai. It remains to this day in the field of Joshua of Beth-shemesh. 19Then He struck down some of the men of Beth-shemesh because they had gazed into the ark of Adonai. He struck down the people—70 out of 50,000 men—the people mourned because Adonai had struck the people a great slaughter. 20So the men of Beth-shemesh asked, “Who is able to stand before Adonai—this holy God? To whom should it go up from us?” 21So they sent messengers to the inhabitants of Kiriath-jearim, saying, “The Philistines have brought back the ark of Adonai. Come down—bring it up to you.”

–from 1 Samuel 6

Will you give God the praise, the honor, and the glory He deserves? Will you share with people the goodness and the love of God? Will you get rid of the distractions? Will you get rid of the fakes? Will you get rid of the things? Will you get rid of the stuff? So that you have a single focus? Will you turn back to God with all of your heart, all of your mind, all of your strength, and all of your soul? Will you give up the lies and the deception? Will you follow fully after Him and His Word and His ways? It’s not our battle, the battle belongs to the Lord! So whose side will you join and be on? Choose wisely! I read the end of the book and God wins! And based on your choice, you get to determine your final destiny!

Samuel’s Victory at Mizpah

1Then the men of Kiriath-jearim came and fetched up the ark of Adonai, brought it into the house of Abinadab on the hill, and consecrated Eleazar his son to guard the ark of Adonai. 2From the day the ark rested in Kiriath-jearim it was a long time, 20 years, and the whole house of Israel yearned after Adonai. 3Then Samuel spoke to the whole house of Israel saying, “If you are returning to Adonai with all your heart, then remove the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you, direct your hearts to Adonai and serve Him only. Then He will deliver you from the hand of the Philistines.” 4So Bnei-Yisrael removed the Baalim and the Ashtaroth, and served Adonai alone. 5Then Samuel said, “Gather all Israel to Mizpah and I will pray to Adonai for you.” 6So they gathered together at Mizpah, drew water and poured it out before Adonai. They fasted on that day and said there, “We have sinned against Adonai.” Then Samuel was judging Bnei-Yisrael at Mizpah. 7Now when the Philistines heard that Bnei-Yisrael had assembled at Mizpah, the lords of the Philistines marched against Israel. When Bnei-Yisrael heard it, they were afraid of the Philistines. 8So Bnei-Yisrael said to Samuel, “Don’t stop crying out to Adonai our God for us, so He may save us from the hand of the Philistines!” 9Samuel took a nursing lamb and offered it as a whole burnt offering to Adonai. Then Samuel cried out to Adonai for Israel and Adonai answered him. 10As Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel. But Adonai thundered with loud thunder on that day against the Philistines and confused them so that they were defeated before Israel. 11Then the men of Israel went out of Mizpah and pursued the Philistines, and struck them down all the way to below Beth-car. 12Then Samuel took a stone and set it between Mizpah and Shen, and named Eben-ezer saying, “Thus far Adonai has helped us.” 13So the Philistines were subdued and they did not invade the border of Israel anymore. The hand of Adonai was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel. 14The towns that the Philistines had taken from Israel, from Ekron to Gath, were restored to Israel, and Israel recovered its territory from the hand of the Philistines. There was also peace between Israel and the Amorites. 15Now Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. 16He used to go annually on a circuit to Beth-el and Gilgal and Mizpah, and would judge over Israel in all those places. 17Then his return was to Ramah, because his home was there, and from there he would judge Israel. So he built an altar to Adonai there.

–from 1 Samuel 7

The devil wants to trip you up! The devil wants to draw you away! The devil wants to tempt you! The devil wants you to question God! The devil wants you to think you don’t need God! The devil wants you to be more focused on yourself than on God! The devil is looking for ways to trick you and get you not only off course but also off balance! He will twist God’s Word to try and get you off track! Remember God’s Word so that you can respond and stand firm! Every day put on the full armor of God and stand strong and stand firm and after you have done so, keep standing strong and firm! The devil even tried to twist God’s Word and tempt Jesus, let’s see how that went and prepare ourselves so that we don’t fall into the snares of the devil! He goes around roaring like a lion trying to scare us so that he can get us off guard and to be afraid! But God’s Word tells us to “Fear Not, Just Believe!”

God’s Word is the way to anchor yourself and ground yourself so that you won’t be swayed or distracted or tempted! And let’s help point people to Him! Let’s help people start their own journey and relationship with Jesus! Let’s help them learn how to fish so that they too can become fishers of men.

Overcoming Temptation with God’s Word

1Then Yeshua was led by the Ruach into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2After He had fasted for forty days and forty nights, He was hungry. 3And when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are Ben-Elohim, tell these stones to become bread.” 4But He replied, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” 5Then the devil took Him into the holy city and placed Him on the highest point of the Temple. 6“If You are Ben-Elohim,” he said, “throw Yourself down. For it is written, ‘He shall command His angels concerning you,’ and ‘upon their hands they shall lift you up, so that you may not strike your foot against a stone.’” 7Yeshua said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put Adonai your God to the test.’” 8Again, the devil takes Him to a very high mountain and shows Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.” 10Then Yeshua says to him, “Go away, satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship Adonai your God, and Him only shall you serve.’” 11Then the devil leaves Him. And behold, angels came and began to take care of Him.

Yeshua Withdraws to Seek God

12Now when Yeshua heard that John had been handed over, He withdrew to the Galilee. 13Leaving Natzeret, He came and settled in Capernaum, which is by the sea in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali. 14This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet, saying, 15“Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations— 16the people sitting in darkness have seen a great light, and those sitting in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.” 17From then on, Yeshua began to proclaim, “Turn away from your sins, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”

Raising Up Fishers of Men

18Now as Yeshua was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter and Andrew his brother. They were casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 19And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. 21Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, Jacob the son of Zebedee and John his brother. They were in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and He called them. 22Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed Him. 23Yeshua was going throughout all the Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and sickness among the people. 24News about Him spread throughout all Syria. And they brought to Him all the sick—those tormented by various diseases and afflictions, those plagued by demons, the epileptics, the paralyzed—and He healed them. 25And large crowds followed Him from the Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan.

–from Matthew 4


Do you realize the benefits of obedience?

Do you realize there is a benefit to being obedient? Do you realize there are disadvantages to being disobedient? Do you realize that there is a reason behind the direction? Do you realize there is a reason behind the instruction? Will you receive the wisdom and walk it out obediently? God’s plans for you are for good and not for evil! God’s plans for you are to give you a hope and a future! So will you receive it and walk it out in obedience?

Today’s reading…

Blessings for Obedience

1“Now if you listen obediently to the voice of Adonai your God, taking care to do all His mitzvot that I am commanding you today, Adonai your God will set you on high—above all the nations of the earth. 2Then all these blessings will come upon you and overtake you, if you listen to the voice of Adonai your God: 3“Blessed will you be in the city, and blessed will you be in the field. 4“Blessed will be the fruit of your womb, the produce of your soil, and the offspring of your livestock—the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. 5“Blessed will be your basket and your kneading bowl. 6“Blessed will you be when you come in, and blessed will you be when you go out. 7“Adonai will cause your enemies who rise up against you to be struck down before you. They will come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways. 8Adonai will command the blessing on you in your barns and in every undertaking of your hand, and He will bless you in the land Adonai your God is giving you. 9Adonai will establish you as a holy people for Himself, just as He swore to you—if you keep the mitzvot of Adonai your God and walk in His ways. 10Then all the peoples of the earth will see that you are called by the name of Adonai and they will stand in awe of you. 11Adonai will make you overflow in prosperity—in the fruit of your womb, the offspring of your livestock and the produce of your soil—on the land Adonai swore to your fathers to give you. 12Adonai will open for you His good storehouse—the heavens—to give rain for your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hand. You will lend to many nations, but you will not borrow. 13Adonai will make you the head and not the tail, and you will be only above and not below—if you listen to the mitzvot of Adonai your God that I am commanding you today, careful to do them, 14and do not turn aside from any of the words I am commanding you today, to the right or the left, to go after other gods in order to serve them.

Curses for Disobedience

15“But if you will not listen to the voice of Adonai your God, to take care to do all His mitzvot and statutes that I am commanding you today, all these curses will come on you and overtake you: 16“Cursed will you be in the city, and cursed will you be in the field. 17“Cursed will be your basket and your kneading bowl. 18“Cursed will be the fruit of your womb, the produce of your soil, the increase of your herd and the young of your flock. 19“Cursed will you be when you come in, and cursed will you be when you go out. 20“Adonai will send on you cursing, confusion and frustration in every undertaking of your hand that you will do—until you are destroyed and perish quickly, because of the evil of your deeds by which you have abandoned Me. 21Adonai will make the plague cling to you, until He has put an end to you from the land that you are going in to possess. 22Adonai will strike you with weakness, fever, inflammation, fiery heat, the sword, blight and mildew—they will pursue you until you perish. 23Your sky above your head will be bronze, and the earth beneath you iron. 24Adonai will make the rain of your land powder and dust—it will come down on you from the heavens, until you are destroyed. 25“Adonai will bring you to defeat before your enemies. You will go out one way against them and flee seven ways before them. You will become a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth. 26Your carcass will be food for every bird of the heavens and beast of the earth, and there will be no one to frighten them away. 27“Adonai will strike you with the boils of Egypt, with hemorrhoids, with scabs and with itching, from which you cannot be healed. 28“Adonai will strike you with madness, with blindness, and with confusion of heart. 29You will grope at noon as the blind person gropes in darkness, and you will not prosper in your ways. You will be only oppressed and robbed all the time, and there will be no one to save you. 30“You will become engaged to a woman, but another man will sleep with her. You will build a house, but you will not dwell in it. You will plant a vineyard, but you will not put it to use. 31Your ox will be slaughtered before your eyes, but you will not eat of it. Your donkey will be stolen in front of you, and it will not be returned to you. Your sheep will be given to your enemies, and you will have no one to save you. 32“Your sons and daughters will be given to another people while your eyes look on, longing for them all day long—but your hand will be powerless. 33A people you do not know will eat up the produce of your soil and all your labor, and you will be only oppressed and crushed all the time. 34You will be driven mad by the sight that your eyes will see. 35“Adonai will strike you on the knees and thighs with severe boils, from which you cannot be healed—from the sole of your foot to the crown of your head. 36“Adonai will bring you and the king you set over you to a nation you and your fathers have not known—and there you will serve other gods, wood and stone. 37You will become a horror, a proverb, and a byword—among all the peoples where Adonai will drive you. 38“Much seed you will take out to the field—but little will you bring in, for the locust will eat it up. 39Vineyards you will plant and tend—but wine you will not drink or bring in, for the worm will devour it. 40Olive trees you will have in all your territory—but oil you will not rub on yourself, for your olives will drop off. 41Sons and daughters you will father—but they will not be yours, for they will go into captivity. 42All your trees and the produce of your soil the whirring locust will possess. 43“The outsider who is in your midst will rise up higher and higher above you, and you will go down lower and lower. 44He will lend to you, but you will not lend to him; he will become the head and you will become the tail. 45“All these curses will come upon you and pursue you and overtake you until you are destroyed—because you did not listen to the voice of Adonai your God, to keep His mitzvot and statutes that He commanded you. 46They will be a sign and a wonder on you and your descendants forever. 47Instead of serving Adonai your God with joy and goodness of heart, out of the abundance of everything, 48you will serve your enemies, whom Adonai will send against you, in hunger and thirst, in nakedness and lacking everything; and He will put an iron yoke on your neck until He has destroyed you. 49“Adonai will raise up a nation against you from far away, from the end of the earth, just as the eagle swoops down—a nation whose language you will not understand, 50a brazen-faced nation that will not respect the old or be gracious to the young. 51It will devour the offspring of your livestock and the produce of your soil, until you are destroyed. It will not leave behind for you grain, new wine, or oil, the increase of your herds or the young of your flock, until it ruins you. 52It will besiege you within all your town gates throughout your land, until your high and fortified walls—that you trusted in—come down. It will besiege you within all your gates throughout your land that Adonai your God has given you. 53“You will eat the fruit of your womb, the flesh of your sons and daughters Adonai your God has given you, in the siege and stress with which your enemies will distress you. 54The most tender and delicate man among you—his eye will become evil against his brother and the wife of his bosom and the rest of his children that he has left. 55He will not give to a single one of them from his children’s flesh that he will eat, because nothing else is left for him in the siege and stress with which your enemy will distress you within all your town gates. 56The tender and delicate woman among you, who never ventured to set the sole of her foot on the ground out of delicateness and tenderness—her eye will become evil against the husband of her bosom and her son and daughter. 57For in secret she will eat her afterbirth that issues from between her legs and the children she bears, for lack of anything else in the siege and stress with which your enemy will distress you within all your gates. 58“If you do not take care to do all the words of this Torah, the things written in this scroll, to fear this glorious and awesome Name, Adonai your God, 59then Adonai will make your plagues and the plagues of your descendants extraordinary—terrible and prolonged plagues, severe and prolonged illnesses. 60He will bring back on you all the diseases of Egypt that you were afraid of, and they will cling to you. 61Also every illness and plague that is not written in the scroll of this Torah, Adonai will bring on you, until you are destroyed. 62“You will be left few in number, instead of being like the stars of the sky in number—because you did not listen to the voice of Adonai your God. 63Now just as Adonai rejoiced over you to do you good and to multiply you, so Adonai will rejoice over you to ruin and destroy you; and you will be uprooted from the land that you are going in to possess. 64“Adonai will scatter you among all peoples from the one end of the earth to the other, and there you will serve other gods—wood and stone—that you and your fathers have not known. 65Among these nations you will find no rest, and there will be no rest for the sole of your foot. But there Adonai will give you a trembling heart and failing eyes, and a despairing spirit. 66“Your life will hang in the balance before you; you will be afraid night and day, and you will have no assurance of your life. 67In the morning you will say, ‘If only it were evening!’ and at evening you will say, ‘If only it were morning!”—from the fear of your heart that you will fear and the sight of your eyes that you will see. 68Adonai will bring you back to Egypt in ships, by the way that I said to you, ‘You will not see it again.’ There you will sell yourselves to your enemies as slaves and maids, but there will be no buyer.”

Renewing the Covenant

69These are the words of the covenant that Adonai commanded Moses to make with Bnei-Yisrael in the land of Moab, in addition to the covenant He made with them at Horeb.

–from Deuteronomy 28

So let’s receive Jesus, the answer to it all! Let’s ask Him into our hearts and start a living relationship with Him and allow Him to guide our every thought, word, step and action. Let’s be living by faith, trusting Him! Let’s allow our actions speak to our faith! Let’s allow our actions and what we produce show people who we believe in and how great is our faith in Him! Faith without deeds is dead!

By Deeds or by Faith?

1O foolish Galatians, who cast a spell on you? Before your eyes Yeshua the Messiah was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2I want to find out just one thing from you: did you receive the Ruach by deeds based on Torah, or by hearing based on trust? 3Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Ruach, will you now reach the goal in the flesh? 4Did you endure so much for nothing—if it really was for nothing? 5So then, the One who gives you the Ruach and works miracles among you—does He do it because of your deeds based on Torah or your hearing based on trust and faithfulness? 6Just as Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” 7know then that those who have faith are children of Abraham. 8The Scriptures, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, proclaimed the Good News to Abraham in advance, saying, “All the nations shall be blessed through you.” 9So then, the faithful are blessed along with Abraham, the faithful one. 10For all who rely on the deeds of Torah are under a curse—for the Scriptures say, “Cursed is everyone who does not keep doing everything written in the scroll of the Torah.” 11It is clear that no one is set right before God by Torah, for “the righteous shall live by emunah.” 12However, Torah is not based on trust and faithfulness; on the contrary, “the one who does these things shall live by them.” 13Messiah liberated us from Torah’s curse, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”)— 14in order that through Messiah Yeshua the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so we might receive the promise of the Ruach through trusting faith.

Slaves or Sons?

15Brothers and sisters, I speak in human terms: even with a man’s covenant, once it has been confirmed, no one cancels it or adds to it. 16Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. It doesn’t say, “and to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “and to your seed,” who is the Messiah. 17What I am saying is this: Torah, which came 430 years later, does not cancel the covenant previously confirmed by God, so as to make the promise ineffective. 18For if the inheritance is based on law, it is no longer based on a promise. But God has graciously given it to Abraham by means of a promise. 19Then why the Torah? It was added because of wrongdoings until the Seed would come—to whom the promise had been made. It was arranged through angels by the hand of an intermediary. 20Now an intermediary is not for one party alone—but God is one. 21Then is the Torah against the promises of God? May it never be! For if a law had been given that could impart life, certainly righteousness would have been based on law. 22But the Scripture has locked up the whole world under sin, so that the promise based on trust in Messiah Yeshua might be given to those who trust. 23Now before faith came, we were being guarded under Torah—bound together until the coming faith would be revealed. 24Therefore the Torah became our guardian to lead us to Messiah, so that we might be made right based on trusting. 25But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian. 26For you are all sons of God through trusting in Messiah Yeshua. 27For all of you who were immersed in Messiah have clothed yourselves with Messiah. 28There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female—for you are all one in Messiah Yeshua. 29And if you belong to Messiah, then you are Abraham’s seed—heirs according to the promise.

–from Galatians 3





Don’t jump to conclusions!

Ever been in a situation where because where are at or what happened to you, people assumed you must have done something to deserve it? Ever been in a situation where you saw someone else and jumped to a conclusion about them? Avoid that! Don’t judge them! That’s God’s job since He has all the knowledge and facts! It may be that they are going through it for some other reason, for some greater purpose! So don’t jump to conclusions! Ask God for wisdom and discernment!

Today’s reading speaks to this. It starts with the topic of purification and then in the new testament gives an example of this with the example of a blind man.

Purification of One with Tza’arat

1Then Adonai spoke to Moses, saying: 2“This is the Torah of the one with tza’arat in the day of his cleansing. He shall be brought to the kohen, 3and the kohen is to go to the outside of the camp. The kohen is to examine him, and behold, if the mark of tza’arat is healed in one with tza’arat, 4then the kohen is to command that two clean living birds, cedar wood, scarlet and hyssop be brought for the one being cleansed. 5The kohen shall command them to kill one of the birds in a clay pot over living water. 6As for the living bird, he is to take it, the cedar wood, the scarlet and the hyssop, and dip them with the living bird into the blood of the bird that was killed over the living water. 7He is to sprinkle on the one being cleansed from the tza’arat seven times and pronounce him clean, then release the living bird over the open field. 8“The one to be cleansed must wash his clothes, shave off all his hair, and bathe himself in water. Then he shall be clean. After that he may come into the camp, but is to dwell outside his tent for seven days. 9Then on the seventh day, he is to shave all his hair from his head, his beard, and his eyebrows—he must shave off all his hair. He is to wash his clothes, and bathe his body in water. Then he will be clean. 10“On the eighth day he is to take two male lambs without blemish, a one-year-old ewe lamb without blemish, three tenths of a pint of fine flour as a grain offering, mingled with oil, and a pint of oil. 11The kohen who cleanses him is to set the man who to be cleansed along with those items before Adonai, at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting. 12The kohen shall then take one of the male lambs, and offer it for a trespass offering, with the pint of oil, and wave them as a wave offering before Adonai. 13“Then he is to slaughter the male lamb in the place where they slaughter the sin offering and the burnt offering, in the Sanctuary area. For the sin offering like the trespass offering belongs to the kohen. It is most holy. 14Then the kohen is to take some of the blood of the trespass offering and dab it on the tip of the right ear of the one being cleansed, on the thumb of his right hand and on the big toe of his right foot. 15The kohen shall then take some of the pint of oil and pour it into the palm of his own left hand. 16He is to dip his right finger in the oil that is in his left hand and sprinkle some of the oil with his finger seven times before Adonai. 17Then the kohen shall dab some of the rest of the oil that is in his hand on the tip of the right ear of the one being cleansed, on the thumb of his right hand and on the big toe of his right foot, on top of the blood of the trespass offering. 18From what remains of the oil that is in his hand, the kohen is to dab on the head of the one being cleansed. In this way the kohen will make atonement for him before Adonai. 19“The kohen shall offer the sin offering and make atonement for the one being cleansed because of his uncleanness. Afterward he is to slaughter the burnt offering. 20Then the kohen is to present the burnt offering along with the grain offering on the altar. So the kohen shall make atonement for him, and he will be clean. 21“If he is poor and cannot afford so much, then he shall take one male lamb for a trespass offering to be waved, to make atonement for him, plus one tenth of an ephah of fine flour mingled with oil for a grain offering, a pint of oil, 22two turtledoves or two young pigeons, such as he is able to afford. The one shall be a sin offering and the other a burnt offering. 23“On the eighth day he is to bring them to the kohen for his cleansing, at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting before Adonai. 24The kohen is to take the lamb of the trespass offering and the pint of oil, and wave them for a wave offering before Adonai. 25He is to slaughter the lamb of the trespass offering. The kohen is to take some of the blood of the trespass offering and dab it on the tip of the right ear of the one being cleansed, on the thumb of his right hand, and on the big toe of his right foot. 26The kohen shall then pour some of the oil into the palm of his own left hand. 27He is to sprinkle with his right finger some of the oil that is in his left hand seven times before Adonai. 28Then the kohen is to dab some of the oil that is in his hand on the tip of the right ear of the one being cleansed, also on the thumb of his right hand, and on the big toe of his right foot, on top of the place of the blood of the trespass offering. 29The rest of the oil that is in his hand the kohen is to dab on the head of the one being cleansed, to make atonement for him before Adonai. 30He is to offer one of the turtledoves or the young pigeons, from what his hand can afford, 31the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering, with the grain offering. The kohen shall make atonement for him being cleansed before Adonai.” 32This is the Torah for one on who is the mark of tza’arat, who is not able to afford the sacrifice for his cleansing.

Purification of a House

33Adonai spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying: 34“Suppose you have come into the land of Canaan, which I give to you for a possession, and I put a mark of tza’arat in a house in the land you possess. 35Then the one who owns the house shall come and tell the kohen, saying: ‘Something like a mark has appeared in my house.’ 36The kohen is to order the house emptied before he goes in to examine the mark, so that nothing in the house might be made unclean. Then afterward the kohen is to enter to inspect the house. 37He is to examine the mark, and behold, if the mark is in the walls of the house with hollow streaks, greenish or reddish, and appears deeper than the wall, 38then the kohen is to go out of the house to the door and close up the house for seven days. 39Then the kohen is to come again on the seventh day, and behold, if the mark has spread in the walls of the house, 40then the kohen is to command that they take out the stones which are marked and throw them into an unclean place outside of the city. 41He shall also have the inside of the house scraped all throughout, and they are to dump the mortar that they scraped off outside of the city into an unclean place. 42They may then take other stones and put them in the place of those stones. Likewise he can take other mortar, and plaster the house. 43“But suppose the contamination returns, breaking out in the house, after he has pulled out the stones and after he has scraped the house, and it has been re-plastered. 44Then the kohen is to go examine, and behold, if the plague has spread within the house, it is a destructive mildew inside. It is unclean. 45He is to break down the house, its stones, its timber, along with all the house’s mortar, and carry them out of the city into an unclean place. 46“Moreover, whoever goes into the house while it is shut up will be unclean until the evening. 47The one who lies down in the house must wash his clothes, and he who eats in the house must wash his clothes too. 48“But if the kohen comes in, inspects it, and behold, the plague has not spread within the house after it was re-plastered, then he shall pronounce the house clean, because the contamination is healed. 49In order to cleanse the house he is to take two birds, cedar wood, scarlet and hyssop. 50He is to kill one of the birds in a clay pot over living water. 51Then he is to take the cedar wood, the hyssop, the scarlet and the living bird, and dip them into the blood of the slain bird as well as the living water, and sprinkle the house seven times. 52He shall cleanse the house with the blood of the bird, with the living water, with the living bird, the cedar wood, the hyssop and the scarlet. 53But he is to let the living bird go out of the city into the open field. So he is to make atonement for the house, and it will be clean.” 54This is the Torah for any mark of tza’arat—even for a scab, 55or the tza’arat in a garment or for a house 56or for a swelling, a scab, or a bright spot—57to teach when it is unclean, and when it is clean. This is the Torah of tza’arat.
–from Levitus 14

Today’s reading concludes with Jesus answering, providing wisdom, and healing…Will you get out of your comfort zone to meet someone at their point of need? Will you reach into someone else’s life to make a difference? Will you answer the call? Will you help others see the light? Will you help others see the truth? Will you see others see the hope? Will you help others see the reason for the hope that is in you?

Bringing Light to the Blind

1As Yeshua was passing by, He saw a man who had been blind since birth. 2His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind?” 3Yeshua answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned. This happened so that the works of God might be brought to light in him. 4We must do the work of the One who sent Me, so long as it is day! Night is coming when no one can work. 5While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6Having said these things, He spat on the ground, made mud with the saliva, and spread the mud on the blind man’s eyes. 7He told him, “Go, wash in the Pool of Siloam” (which is translated Sent). So he went away, washed, and came back seeing. 8Therefore his neighbors and those who had seen him as a beggar kept saying, “Isn’t this the one who used to sit and beg?” 9“This is the one!” some said. “No, but it looks like him,” said others. But the man himself kept saying, “I am!” 10So they asked him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” 11He answered, “The Man who is called Yeshua made mud, rubbed it on my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went away and washed, and then I received my sight!” 12“Where is He?” they asked him. “I don’t know,” he said. 13They bring to the Pharisees the man who once was blind. 14Now the day was Shabbat when Yeshua made the mud and opened the man’s eyes. 15So again the Pharisees were asking him how he received his sight. He responded, “He put mud on my eyes, and I washed, and I see!” 16So some of the Pharisees began saying, “This man isn’t from God, because He doesn’t keep Shabbat!” But others were saying, “How can a sinner perform such signs?” So there was a split among them. 17Again they say to the blind man, “What do you say about Him, since He opened your eyes?” And he said, “He’s a prophet.” 18So the Judean leaders didn’t believe that he had been blind and received his sight until they called his parents. 19They questioned them, “Is this your son, whom you say was born blind? Then how does he see now?” 20Then his parents answered, “We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. 21We don’t know how he now sees, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him—he’s old enough. He will speak for himself.” 22His parents said this because they were afraid of the Judean leaders. For the Judean leaders had already agreed that anyone who professed Yeshua to be Messiah would be thrown out of the synagogue. 23That’s why his parents said, “He’s old enough—ask him.” 24So a second time they called the man who had been blind and said, “Give glory to God! We know that this man is a sinner!” 25The man replied, “I don’t know whether He’s a sinner. One thing I do know is that I was blind, but now I see!” 26So they asked him, “What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?” 27“I told you already and you didn’t listen!” the man responded. “What, do you want to hear it again? You don’t want to become His disciples too, do you?” 28They railed at him and said, “You’re a disciple of that One, but we’re disciples of Moses! 29We know that God has spoken to Moses; but as for this fellow, we don’t know where He is from.” 30The man replied to them, “That’s amazing! You don’t know where He is from, yet He opened my eyes! 31We know that God doesn’t listen to sinners; but if anyone fears Him and does His will, He hears this one. 32Since the beginning of the world, no one has ever heard that anyone has opened the eyes of a man born blind. 33If this man were not from God, He couldn’t do anything.” 34They replied to him, “You were born completely in sin, and you’re teaching us?” And they threw him out.

Is Seeing Believing?

35Yeshua heard that they had thrown him out. Finding him, He said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36The man answered, “Who is He, Sir? Tell me, so that I may believe in Him!” 37Yeshua said, “You have seen Him—He is the One speaking with you.” 38He said, “Lord, I believe!” And he worshiped Him. 39Yeshua said, “For judgment I came into this world, so that those who don’t see may see, and the ones who do see may become blind.” 40Some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard Him say this and asked, “We’re not blind too, are we?” 41Yeshua said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin. But now you say, ‘We see.’ So your sin remains.”
–from John 9