June 14


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Jeremiah 22-24

We are in the Prophetic Stream reading with the New American Standard Bible this week.

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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis

Lord, the cost of disobedience is so grave.  Give us hearts of obedience. We offer up to you, as the song says, “here’s my heart, o’ take and seal it, seal it for thy courts of above. Amen.

22 – This chapter is a warning to King Jehoiakim.  He reigned until 598 B.C. when the Babylonians were “at the door” and the first (not the final) captivity began for Judeans.  The final caravan of captives occurred 12 years later in 586 B.C. when Zedekiah was king.  Speaking of Zedekiah, all inference points to him being the one spoken to in Jer. 22:2; “hear the word of the Lord, O King…”  Zedekiah ended up witnessing the finale~ in time, but the literature of this chapter takes us back through a listing of the final five kings that covered the last 50+ years of the Kingdom during its demise. Josiah gave goodness a fair effort, but the other four were wretched, demented, and duplicitous to the core. they were unjust, oppressive, robbers, violent, cruel to orphans and widows, and treacherous to the innocent. God gives a last offer to change their ways before ruining the place.  God had offered always to preserve them but the snubbing of God’s reminders and The Covenant was too incessant. The invaders will reverence nothing. They will be like vandals with clubs storming through a jewelry store made of glass shelves [to use some modern picture].  The violence, the death/killing, the fires … there won’t even be any time for mourning or funerals. And no allies will come to help.  The chapter ends railing upon Jehoiachin; the 4th of the last 5 kings. His uncle Zedekiah actually followed him and none of Jehoiachin’s children ever ended up being king.

23 – As Hitler was ransacking Europe and looking to go in all directions with his plan to conquer and absorb. There were two opinions: Churchill in England was telling people to prepare for war or be conquered, and there was Chamberlain in England who was telling them to relax, rest, and be well for “there is peace in our time.”  The prophets that Jeremiah is scolding were oblivious as Chamberlain and they were dark as darkness in their hearts, their words, and their plans. They cared nothing for God’s people. The people would be scattered from following these false prophets.  Later, God would gather them again and one day reign. This “Righteous Branch of David” is One who will reign in a Messianic era.  That was coming.  For now, there are lying prophets to shush.  They are using Baal, bringing on disaster, doing deals with evil, wretched as Gomorrah.  These prophets spread evil across the land, they do NOT speak for God, yet claim that they do while touting about peace as they work their evil.  Because of them, all will be cast out.  God wants a memorandum to go national: The prophets claim they have the Word of the Lord – but it didn’t come from me-says the Lord!
24 – The people God would preserve [1] and the people God would allow to be decimated [2] are illustrated as two baskets of figs.  One was like first fruits, ripe and sweet and desirable. These were akin to the initial captives taken to Babylon in 597 B.C.  Jehoiachin was on this trek of those hauled away as slaves to Babylon, as were Ezekiel and Daniel. [Remember we read Daniel last winter.] He was a young teen of about 13 walking to Babylon. He started out a slave and became virtual regent of the country!  Strangely enough, God carried these ones away to preserve them; they were the “good basket of figs.”  The second basket were the ones who thought they would stay in Judah and call up help from Egypt to resist the Babylonians who were on their final push to take all of Judah.  Those who stay back, like rotten figs, will be only fit for discarding. Their future is bleak, they will be cursed, and ridiculed and devastated.  Rotten figs get thrown out and buried in a compost heap. The people who remain to fight Babylon have a similar fate.

June 13


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Psalm 73-77

We are in the Wisdom stream and starting the 3rd of 5 books in the Psalms. We are reading from the New American Standard Bible this week.

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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis

God you certainly lead your children in triumph.  You are true to those who follow and obey you and you are terror to those who fight against you.  May we always be on YOUR side of righteousness; not self-righteous, not seeking approval from men, but seeking you for your sake alone.  Amen

Asaph wrote Psalms 73-83 (along with #50).  He was David’s song leader.  He was appointed to such position in I Chronicles 15:17.

73 – is his frustrated musing about the wicked prospering so and the righteous having struggles. These two scenarios contrasted against each other were troublesome.  The topic arises today as well.  And granted, the petition has merit.  All this grated against Asaph’s senses until he came and prayerfully sat with God in the sanctuary.  Asaph is transparent enough to strongly insinuate that his personal musing was only making things worse and it implies he should have never tortured himself with such thinking…i.e. and that he should have come into God’s house sooner.  God knows what to do with good people and He knows what to do with wicked people.  And He will!

74 – National disaster had struck and Asaph was writing in sheer despair. Some say it was during Shishak’s invasion from Egypt.  This would have been a few years after Solomon’s death and therefore Asaph would have been quite old at this time.  Nonetheless, Asaph is horribly distressed and calling on God to act fast instead of withdrawing his hand of retribution as the enemy attacks. His recalling all the faithful and mighty deeds of God on behalf of Israel, the natural wonders He has done – Asaph is virtually cheerleading, “hey God, you helped in the past, and uh, we need you again, –> now!”  His call in v. 22 is accurate to the bone: “Arise, O God, and plead your own cause;…”  He’s almost retreating and asking that if God won’t do what is needed for us, then do it for yourself and your own sake.  It’s certainly a fetching line.
75 – God is judge and will judge.  The wicked will be sifted through for destruction and the righteous will be cherished by God and exalted.  Yes the unfairness of this earth will tumble and juxtapose matters against what seems to be right and fair, but God is going to sort things aright in the end, [at times sooner], and permanently for certain.
76 – A great victory has been had in Judah.  The God of Israel has arisen again on behalf of His people.  It was a relief and a triumph.  The timing does not match to be in Asaph’s era, but some attribute this Psalm to be a response to learning that Sennacherib’s Army of Assyrians has been struck dead, all 185,000 of them [during I Kings 19].  The same phrasing could be sung as the Exodus was completed and Pharaoh’s army drowned in the sea. It is a Psalm of God meteing [sp?] out justice.  It is a warning to remain humble before Him and not be among the crass princes of the earth who have no regard for God.

77 – this and Psalm 78 are theologically linked but we will end this day with Psalm 77 and pick up with 78 next week.  77 is Asaph crying out to God for the people; longing for a reprieve from God – and no one else will do. There are sentiments of feeling forgotten by God, but regardless of how feelings fluctuate, remembering God’s deeds and meditating on what He has done plus His redemption for us brings us back to truth and anchors us.  He ends with illustrations of God leading His children amid natural and colossal wonders; the terrifying power of nature that God stirs and works amidst.

June 12


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I Kings 8-10

We are in the Nation Stream today and will attend the dedication of the Temple by King Solomon. What a treat! We are reading from the New American Standard Bible this week.

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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis

Lord, today is yet another reminder of the glory and wonders you are preparing for us.  Thank you and Amen.

8 – It is fascinating in this reading pattern that we are doing together that yesterday we read about Bezalel making the Ark of the Covenant. And today it is being brought into the finished Temple (not the Tabernacle/[tent] that was carried throughout Sinai. The two stone tablets inside the Ark and the Ark itself were made well over 500 years prior and today, in our reading, they are finally in place! Imagine the “it’s done!” sentiment that swept over the people after all these centuries.  Well they probably felt this way because God felt this way.  The Cloud, signified God’s Presence, and The Glory of God filled the house as soon as the Ark was in place.  I don’t know who else feels this way, but it sure would have been exhilarating to be there!
Solomon’s address to the people is historical!  The ceremony that followed was regal  – perhaps excessive, but it was for God (with a definite ‘touch of Solomon’) so let’s do it in a big way!  This initial dedication is not going to happen again.   Solomon’s prayer included remembering David, seeking God’s blessing, prayers and rituals of worship, dealing with sins, enemies and their related interaction, famine and pestilence, foreigners, and battles.  The blessing Solomon gave to the people was marvelous – it would have been good if Solomon had followed his own advice all his life.  but So it goes.  At any rate, the 14 day celebration was ‘one for the books!’
9 – This chapter is a continuation of ch. 4.  Note that ch’s 5-8 are a hiatus to describe the Temple, then 9 continues where 4 left off.  God opens with a promise for following Him and a warning against turning from Him.  It applied to Solomon AND his sons, btw.  They all must follow God in perpetuity.
The activity is impressive as Solomon and Hiram interchange and trade and gift eachother..  Solomon built cities, and rebuilt others.  He commissioned a staggering amount of workers. Solomon built a navy fleet of ships that sailed the Mediterranean, and others that sailed from the gulf to the south traversling into Arabia, India, and Africa.  In the last verse, did you perceive the size of the gold shipment loaded for Solomon from Ophir? It was 31,000+ lbs. of gold.  My math could be wrong, but in today’s rates, that is $665million.  It was a gift and it was simply loaded and taken to Solomon.  Holy Smoke, these folks are living a dream. AND, it was only part of what was brought to Solomon for that one year.  The gifts kept coming annually
10 – The Queen of Sheba visits Solomon and it too was an encounter fit for the history books; the real history books for that matter.  She marveled at his world, his acquisitions, his staff, his wisdom, knowledge, and insight. 10:5b is interesting, “…and there was no more spirit in her. ” [all her curiosities and questions were answered]  She was truly overwhelmed at what she saw.  She had heard of Solomon’s Kingdom, but amid all the telling, she had only heard “the half of it.”   She leaves him a gift of precious gems, spices that ranked as the best in the world, and 4+1/2 tons of gold (imagine that! and it was all brought by camel from Central Africa).  The chapters final phrase/phase ends with a tally of the splendor, riches, glory of Solomon’s Kingdom.  The immensity is almost too much to take in. If anyone is wondering, the horses that came from “Kue”… Kue is in AsiaMinor near where Apostle Paul was from in Tarsus; Remember “Saul of Tarsus”?  One very famous preacher shared his studies revealing that Solomon had more wealth as a single individual than the country of Canada has among it’s 35+ million people.  It’s hard to perceive such wealth all attached to one man.  y’ever wonder what he’s going to do with it all, or if he’s even going to keep it?