April 12


Isaiah 55-59

We are in the Prophetic Stream as we read from the Lexham English Bible this week.

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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis

55-56  God is talking and it is soothing for this first 21 verses.  All of 55 and the first eight verses of ch. 56 is about the work of God expanding and blessing and feeding and watering and including and welcoming more to himself. People are so satisfied and God is shepherding and elevating and assuring. The whole world is invited to come; to come be cared for and ministered to the way God has been reaching out to the Hebrews since Abraham’s day.

56:9 ff – from here to the end of today’s reading, the boom gets lowered and God is giving some of His final warnings.  It isn’t pretty stuff, and God will avenge upon those who are playing the Joker in God’s face. Have you ever seen a kid, a teenager per se~ who was raised in a well-to-do family.  As has been said about what can happen to these types (especially the unmentored), they were born in the palace, so they think they own the place though they’ve done nothing constructive from their beginning.  Well the leadership in Jerusalem is thinking they are blessed regardless and since they have the “inside track” to God, they can bend His rules as they please and God is just going to let this arrogance slide forever.  Well He isn’t.  God is going to cut loose on these men soon. They are blind, ignorant, selfish, stupid, gluttonous, and partying like plastered college sophomores and could not care less about anything; oblivious as well as careless.
57 – By this time Isaiah is calling everything what it is and Israel is acting no different than the pagans, heathens, the godless and satanic people all around them.  Even child sacrifice is going on! for shame!  Their behavior is approaching the bottom if not there already and it’s been there awhile.  It’s nauseating to even mention what is going on. The sin is generational by now and many don’t remember anything different, they don’t know anything is wrong.  Trying to point things out to these people is like lecturing skunks about bad odors. Prostitution is rampant and soon there will be nothing left before long.        Even with all this, God will receive back those who will repent . . . When will He have had enough and just smash the place ?  wow.
58 – What’s going on is corrupted justice, manipulation of the people, “cherry-picking” through the Law and obeying what makes them merely feel holy and having no actual concern for holiness.  God is pointing out their injustice, the brutalizing of each other, the judgmentalism.  God is ordering them to stop this. He wants them to come back to Him. He wants to bless them.  They still aren’t letting God love them however.  They seem to prefer to love themselves [as if they even knew how to!]. They’re singing “i’ll do it my way”
59 – This is the final chapter of this run; this litany of horrid problems with God’s people. Again God is well into a monologue of accusation: There’s blood on their hands, their feet chase evil, their thoughts are all wrong, there’s no justice, and the sinning is endless.  God still has a plan for His nation and it is a good one.  He is going to send a Redeemer to those who will come to Him and turn from sin.
God we can ask, “how can you keep loving these people?” And yet you do.  How can you and why do you keep reaching out to us? It’s better that we just say thank you and not question you. And so we thank you for loving us as we are and yet loving us too much to not Redeem us to better living and better service to you.  Thank you Lord.  Amen.

April 11


Psalm 22-27

We are in the Wisdom Stream today as we read from the Lexham English Bible this week.

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Melissa Disney’s CDs – Sweet Faith & Love

Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis

Today is some of, if not, the most famous literature and prayers EVER written.  Be blessed and keep reading these all your lives. My husband and I read this again and again.  And we are glad to read it with you today.

Ps 22 –   You heard Jesus quote this on the Cross.  God had not forsaken the Son. But to hang on a Cross is to feel forsaken, no matter what the Truth is.  Here is a Psalm that can only be attributed to the Crucifixion of our Lord.  And Jesus; The Truth, is on the Cross feeling forsaken, sneered at, pierced (bit by lions accd’g to this translation), his clothing getting illustratively “auctioned off”.  He’s in a bad way and calling out on God His Father.  That means that when we are in the worst of duress, we are to do that same – for God is listening.  Also it asserts that Jesus understands our plight, regardless.  That means we are never alone.
23 – When the Lord is your Shepherd, you have what you need; there is rest and peace and beauty, restoration, peace in all settings, comfort (strengthening), we are fed regardless of the surroundings.  We have anointing, plenty, goodness, love and mercy along with eternal security.  That should answer all our questions, oy mate? In all seriousness, David likely wrote this when he was a boy in Bethlehem, tending sheep.
Just over 1000 years later, angels announce to shepherds that the Good Shepherd has arrived. It wouldn’t surprise me if it all happened in the same field. Ponder that amazement.
24 –  A series of writers and biblical commentators muse that Ps.24 was what David wrote when the ark was brought back into Jerusalem as told in II Sam. 6:12-15.  The sentiment of the Psalm certainly matches the festivity of the occasion. God IS a celebration of love and remember that our entry and the beginning of heaven for us starts with worship and celebration.
25 – David is looking for rescue, guidance, mercy, a right-standing in God’s Presence,  protection, and redemption.  It’s a Psalm written and recited by a man in anguish who knows where to turn when life has taken a turn such as this.  It’s the same David of whom we see cheering and praising in other places. This is what made David a man after God’s own heart. He wanted to know and have the heart of God – so he did. Such a wonderful model David is for us.
26 – whereas 25 if ‘David lamenting, “God, I’ve messed it up here. Help me”, 26 is David nearly protesting, “God, I’ve been good about it all, don’t “diss’ me out now.  You said you were good … ”    It’s similar to us if we prayed, “uh, God, you told me to call on you and that you would answer me.  I’m calling on you now, and I need you to answer me.  I don’t want to listen to a recording, I want you to ‘pick up’.”   ‘Ever feel this way?  So did David – and it kept him in prayer.
27 – We all know what it’s like to arrive at a favorite place, be it a meadow, or a vista on the trail, or a beach, or a relatives’ house.  We pause and sigh, “wow, I love it here!!”  David says that when he sits with God.  He loves to sit with God and sing and listen and bask and rest.  Let’s let this urge us accordingly.  Don’t drift when we pray. Don’t check your watch during a sermon. Turn off your phone when in a worship service. Pull away from the screen when family is telling you something vital and impassioned. Don’t read the news or popups when your spouse is dining with you.  Come on, now.  God calls us into his courtyard.  Get there.  Psalm 27 helps us all get there.
God thank you.  Thank you and thank you again.  You ARE everything we need.  Fill us with gratitude and may it spill over back into your house as we worship with you.  Amen.

April 10


I Samuel 21-25

We are in the Nation Stream and David is on the run from King Saul. We are reading from the Lexham English Bible this week.

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The jealous venom Saul had for David that began after Goliath was killed has reached full strength.  Saul hates him so furious that the hatred is driving Saul into madness.  Control freaks often end up going mad over time unless they can turn it over to God.  But Saul is turning out to be unable [actually refusing] to turn anything over to God.

David is well into his seven years of being a fugitive on the run.  He lived like a scrapper, did some real quick “thinking on his feet”, remained in pray, ultimately he kept his heart and head in tact (creatively so at times!).  It is interesting to talk to some old soldiers and have them gaze away, admit they were scared and then confess with a sigh, “those were the best months and years ever…”  Things were very exciting for David. Perhaps too exciting at times. But David made the best of it.  Through his “fear of God” [his reverence] David triumphed here too.
The compensating begins immediately when he is fed the holy bread. This isn’t to happen but he is hungry and on the run.  Then he is in hostile territory and exposed.  His feigning insanity erases the appearance of him being threatening and he survives.
22 – This entire chapter proves one thing: Saul has gone utterly manic and crazy.  The battle lines have been drawn and there is no reversing them. The soul of every man in the country had to decide from there on whether they were with Saul or with David.  It was a fatal mistake to choose unwisely. Imagine the devilish soul of Saul to kill 85 Hebrew priests and families and animals. David in his conquests did things that may appear similar but they were completely opposite. David eradicated communities that were so utterly wretched and diabolically sinful they the entire village was well on its way to cultural suicide and self -destruction.  Saul, on the other hand, is killing people that were working for God.  Saul is completely gone bad and is as bad off as Judas by now.
23 – notice that David, when faced with a dilemma of whether/when/how to fight back the Philistines, he pauses to inquire of God…twice.  This is something we do not see Saul doing.  This is a pattern we see over and again, especially in contrast to Saul.  David asks of God. When Saul is perplexed, he takes a poll.  He’s a politician if there ever was one. David is a statesman and king in the making.  The intrigue, the cunning, the meeting with Jonathan, the strategy and countering and countering again is the stuff of legend.  This is the thinking that has David to be a folk hero the world over to this day.
24 – David shows more character when he spares Saul’s life than anyone expects.  Most read this and personalize it to muse, “come on David, do it for Israel. The chump in charge needs to go now and here’s your opening.”  Amazing that David handles the incident in the cave the way he does, simply amazing.  Saul realizes what he is made of when he realizes how merciful David is.  Saul exclaims and confesses that David is a better man then Saul is. Biblical scholar, Dr. Halley humorously quips about this, that Saul acknowledged being a fool — but kept on being one.
25 – Samuel dies here. Note that Samuel was the last one who had had any spiritual input into SAul’s existence. And it had been a long time ago, btw.  This is the last of the last of any sign of any spiritual hope for Saul – and he (Samuel) is gone now.
It is impossible to not assess this chapter; the story of Abigail and Nabal and their vastly differing treatment of David and his men, and not see the obvious.  Nabal is a stin-gy scoundrel and Abigail is gracious and honoring.  Nabal dies and Abigail becomes wife to David before the chapter is out. Eventually Abigail is living in the King’s residence.  Nabal? he is composting in no time.  We need to see that it is vitally important to be about the things of God. Join in what God is doing.  When someone is immersed in the duties of the LORD and you can be of assistance, it is not wise to be one’s usually crotchety self. Honor that person. Pour out for that person. Supply them as you are able. Do we want to be involved in the things of God, or do we want to be found fighting them … like Saul.  It is dangerous to not see this and learn from Abigail and Nabal’s fates here.
Lord, we all go through suffering, but not as bad as David was put through. May we be writing and praying and be in the Psalms especially during difficult times.  Thank you for being with us regardless.  Amen.