May 23


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Psalms 55-61

We are in the Wisdom Stream and using the New International Version this week.

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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis

Thank you Lord for being with us, for hearing us, for stepping in for us and defending us even and especially when things are at their worst. You truly are our Savior.  Amen
Today’s run of Psalms is like trouncing through a jungle, escaping the lion to encounter the huge snake, then running into an angry gorilla, and then the demented explorer who sic’s the blood-thirsty warriors on you so you run to a “Tarzan vine” that allows you to swing over and narrowly escape across the pirhana-infested river so you can have a moments rest with … the Lord!  “whew”  Somehow the Lord brought David through harrowing times like this for years on end.
55 – David is pleading for a reply and some relief. He is in anguish, and distraught with terror and worse. Things are bad. Oh, would he love to fly away. David longs to flee back to the desert – probably because it reminds him of peaceful sheep tending during his youth. His prayer for the destruction of his enemies is warranted. And what is compounding matters is that the enemy in this case was once a close companion and believer along with David as they worshiped together – that was then. Now he’s turned on David.  Honestly it sounds like Ahithophel the wretch whom we [red] read about last week. This cut David deep. II Samuel 15 is the narrative that triggered this particular prayer from David.  Amazing that David ends this Psalm, “cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain … as for me, I trust in you.”
56 – This Psalm corresponds with the story from I Sam. 21 when David was being “held” in Gath.  He is being resourceful, thinking quickly on his feet so to speak. And it is of note that his most intense interaction during this time in Gath is with his God.  The timing is intriguing (since you asked!), David is frightened in Gath; I Samuel 21:10-15. He prays this Ps. 56 here, then he escapes unscathed and then prays Psalm 34 to give thanks for delivery.  He is walking with God whatever “jungle” he finds himself in, doesn’t he?
57 – David is hiding in a cave when he writes this Psalm – I Sam. 22 coincides with this prayer. I Sam 24 and 26 are similarly tense for David and David is saying in so many words, “God all I have is you. I cannot count on anyone else.”  Interesting that David killed a lion and a bear perhaps in this same region and he likens those who are chasing him now to lions and ravenous beasts [MEN this time!] whose teeth are actual spears and arrows.  Still David’s heart is steadfast on God, he is praising, knows of God’s great love and David is in worship.
58 – David is especially bothered that the judges and rulers of this era are akin to poison on the land. He wishes that they would befallen upon their own wickedness and things would change quickly. He wants them to have no descendants to carry on the wrong doing.  They were as dangerous for the country of Israel as a lion prowling through a village with children playing outside. David just wants all the rulers who have a corrupted soul to vanish and David uses colorful illustrations to portray the depth of his desire to see them gone.
59 – This Psalm and I Sam.19 is the concurrent literature.  Saul tried to drill David through with a spear (for Saul, btw, this was an “indoor sport” that he was quite unsuccessful at).  Again, the spear stuck in the wall and David fled for his life.  So Saul sent soldiers after David. It was a recurring game of tag where ‘winner takes all’. We remember the crazed excitement of playing tag as children, don’t we?  Well this is just as exciting and it is gone way past being a game. Losing/getting caught was not an option. Yet David is very much on the run and very much filled with faith and trust.  David prays for deliverance and that is what happens.  The “howling dogs” are not victorious. David is victorious because his God is.
60 – was written during a moment when the battles David was embroiled in were not going so well. Thankfully it was a brief enough stint and God responded quickly to David’s discouraged cry.  II Sam. 8 -somewhere during this chapter- was the setting of the prayer of David here. And God responded as we can see in II Sam. 8:14 wherein God granted victory to David wherever he went.
61 – The Psalm opens with a song that is sung even today. You probably remember the melody. .It is most likely that David wrote this when he was “in flight”, far from home, and running from the pesky Absalom who had gone evil as a maniac.  David longed to be home in the house of God and in worship there again.  It would come. David’s faith was anchored forever.  It’s interesting, whether we realize day to day or not, but our prayers and the Psalms are basically assisting us to walk with God like David did.  He is a sterling example for this. We need to be spending our lives in the Psalms.

May 22


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II Samuel 21-24

We are in The Nation Stream and finishing the book of II Samuel. We are reading from the New International Version.

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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis

Dear Lord, we see the greatest of Kings in essence getting his house or rather his soul in order as he is preparing to depart and “be gathered to his people”. May we be souls who have the wisdom to number our days and make sure they count for Christ and His Kingdom.  Amen.

21 – This chapter wraps up the 9 chapters straight of troubles that sprung up in David’s life since the Bathsheba incident. Virtually all of this is in-house trouble.  It’s painful problems that were at an anguish level for David. Life was always turbulent for David since he defeated Goliath. That is the price of leadership. But this last 9 chapters hit close to home since his since was within his own home, among his own home and against his own. One might call the long season of David’s life “when pain hits home.”  The incident of the Gibeonites and avenging the wrong done to them to end the famine was simply awful stuff. That’s one thing about the Bible – it doesn’t gloss over how bad things can get as consequence of breaking a treaty before God or from breaking faith with God. The Philistines took one last swipe at David and his kingdom. It’s legendary as giants came forth and Davids’ army struck and finished them all off.

22 – David is sharing one of his last Psalms as he looks back on his life. God has always been faithful. Though David has erred on occasion – David, however, always had unfailing trust in God’s care and David was always grateful knowing that God always took care of him.  It’s placement here has us looking back over David’s life which is among the richest of lives ever lived.  The adventure, the battles and struggles, the triumphs and devotion, the dark nights his soul walked through, the worship and exultation – this life is what has comprised the best of children’s stories that inspire all ages for 3,000 years.
23 – This is David’s last Psalm and it is an epochal rendition of God’s majestic work of making the Kingdom of Israel.  God has been just. His Covenant is righteous. And God’s Kingdom will grow eternally.  The list of names of great men and their deeds is like an all=star cast of the superhero movie to end all debates about who is the greatest. It’s really quite something!
24 – The census that was taken at the end of David’s life is an issue of puzzlement and discussion that will go on long after today.  To add to a sense of understanding of this reading I Chronicles 21 is the parallel story of this event.  All David’s life he trusted in God alone. This seemed to indicate that, since he was in war much of his life, it was his thinking and orientation so he calculated that he needed some numbers to be assured that the kingdom that had expanded under his reign was sufficient. Satan had urged this census be taken and David complied. Joab was right to question the deed but David prevailed. He got his numbers but there was a plague that swept through in exchange for this faithless deed done with fleshly intent.
The reaction of David and the stopping of the plague was classic David  – though his action was not right initially, his reaction was proper; to commemorate and remember and build an altar to God. Solomon later built the Temple in this same place (II Chr. 3:1)!  It’s marvelous to step back and ponder this, the hand of God that oversees even during and through unfortunate events.

May 21


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Exodus 27-29

We are in the World Stream today reading more about the construction the altar, tabernacle, etc. from the New International Version.

7streamsmethod.com | @7StreamsMethod | @serenatravis | #7Streams

Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis

Dear Lord prepare us for our meeting with you. The beauty of what is coming together in this reading today is simple and intricate and beautiful; beautiful as meeting you daily as we prepare to meet you face to face one day.

27 – Here we find the description of the bronze altar and the court of the Tabernacle. The altar was 15′ X 15′ and 9′ high. The details for the courtyard that would encircle the Tabernacle are many. The court was 150′ X 75′.  The linen curtains and loops and poles and lamps is rather interesting. There are helpful drawings and illustrations if searching then on the internet helps you see it better. “Tabernacle in the wilderness” should take you enough options.

28 – The garments for the priests; Aaron and his sons were of vital importance. The included the ephod (the breastpiece), there were gems within the garments.  The outfits were symbolic, precise, intricate, and beautiful – even inspiring. This was such a significant element of their worship. I may seem hard to grasp for many today when the dresscode has degraded to “hey, wear whatever!”  But Jesus told one parable where those who attended a wedding were expelled from the event for having the wrong outfit on.  This was also illustrative of paradise where those who are clothed in Christ are the only ones allowed to enter. Anyone else with any other outfit is cast into outer darkness.  My husband and I may have a better insight into this as we work in Hollywood and it is crucial that every woman at every event be found in a unique dress. To be seen in any way similar to another woman’s outfit is a perceived nightmare. The opposite rule goes for men – they must all look identical in black tuxedos/white shirt/black bowtie. To be seen in any variance of this is an extreme taboo.  Dressing for God matters FAR more. So it may require some mental effort, but understanding and seeing the priests outfits for the deep meaning that they carried is a rich endeavor.
29 – The consecrating of the Priests was the setting aside these men / their lives unto ministry was a grave matter (deathly serious) <– if we may embrace a tone of such.  They were to have their outfits and to wear them properly.  They were not to be slapped on and then take a dumb stumble into the courtyard for some yaha time with God before the people. Heavens no. This was as serious as the nation’s very existence.  If this stuff didn’t matter, then nothing else mattered…and vice versa.  There were sacrifices to me made and they were to be folllowed to the “T”.  There was food to be prepared and that must be done in a flawless manner also.
 Why all this detail in today’s reading? This is all described here and then it is described again in Exodus 35-40 as they are building it. We may look at this and, putting our thinking today against the mindset in the Sinai, only to be thinking now, “heard that before – got it the first time.”  This repetition only asserts the extreme importance – it is not a laborious repeat.    The TAbernacle was a foreshadow, a “likeness” of something heavenly.  The reminder to look back on this in Hebrews 8:5 is intriguing.  The significance of being right before a glorious God never goes away.  It’s similar to the issue that arrives in construction. Get the blueprints done perfectly, follow them precisely and comprehensively, build it properly and the final product is eternally right.  This matters to all involved in any construction project. and to the occupants that shall reside/and/or work there later? .  How could anything we do be of greater importance that what God wants built. Does precision and beauty and strength and value matter to God. You bet you life it does.  Listen again to the final verse today – God does this “that He might dwell among them for He is the Lord their God.”   Nothing matters more than this!