April 25


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Psalm 34-37

We are in the Wisdom Stream reading the writing of King David. We are reading from the International Standard Version this week.

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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis

Thank you God for being our ever present help in times of trouble, our God in every circumstance, our God who there to comfort every pain and receive every praise.  Amen

David had just come through another vortex.  He’s been on the run from Saul.  He seeks “refuge” among the Philistines – whatever that could end up meaning!  He pretended to be a nutcase so to project to the Philistine king that he was not a threat. He absolutely could NOT let the King of Gath know that he was perhaps the most brilliant battle tactician on earth at that time. But it is vital to understand David’s mentality so to ingest this Psalm for all it’s worth. David had no place to go to find safety.  God is training him that the only ‘safe’ place is with HIM; his God in heaven. One literal translation calls God “The LORD of heaven’s armies” and it is a literal translation! David would, in time, be leading a vast army and God wanted David to be ingrained with a deep and unshakable trust in God. He couldn’t have him get complacent due to so many battle victories that were coming for him. He couldn’t have David become spiritually complacent once his power became among the greatest in history, or once wealth and status had accumulated.  These years were necessary for David to walk through. They were his own pilgrimage; it had to happen. The backdrop of Psalm 34 was I Samuel 21:10-15.  David survived this spooky incident and then wrote Ps. 34.

35 – whereas David is rejoicing again about surviving in Ps.34, he is venting [his prayer] in Ps.35.  He just needs to pause and muse about all the people who were coming after him.  I guess he never calculated that dropping Goliath would fester such jealousy in so many.  Yet David’s exasperation with those who hate him is not without the positive interruptions of vv. 9 and 18; “my soul will rejoice in the Lord. [and] I will give give thanks in the congregation.”
36 and 37 Find us in the middle of David’s 72 Psalms. They remind and urge us to TRUST in GOD.  People are wicked. God is merciful. Uh, ya, trusting in God is what we need to be doing and this trusting in God is our only hope of having an anchored soul. The contrast of the hearts of men all around us and the heart of God above is more stark than night and day. It is the most contrasting comparison that can be made under heaven.  So gaze upon God, praise Him and live in Him and the wickedness of others will become incidental.   37 feels like a continuation of the same Psalm/verse/song.  It has become one of the most endearing Psalms in the Bible. It is interesting that th Psalms are truly worth posting in places where we see them often; desk top, coffee station, on dashboard, etc. so that we see them, read them and dwell on these Psalms – especially 37.

April 24


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II Samuel 1-5

We are in the Nation Stream. David is now official king of Israel as we read through the International Standard Version today.

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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis

Lord, these changes we see today were steps in the right direction. Yes, things were turbulent and messy but growth is rarely clean and neat and your hand was upon David in spite of all the intrigue and surprises that were not always pleasant. May our faith be equally as unshakable as we find David’s to be – even when our days are stormy.  Amen
The Book of II Samuel IS the reign of David

Saul is gone and what’s worse for David is that his dear friend Jonathan is dead.  The opening of II Sam. is grief for David.  Yes, Saul spent much of his years on the throne trying to kill David. But David had a character rooted in his walk with God and Israel was God’s land and Saul was Israel’s King and David respected authority.  So he had respect for Saul – odd as it may seem. David’s reaction to someone who had ‘finished off’ Saul is another testament to the depth of honor that David had for the Lord’s anointed. It is in order to mention that II Sam. 1-6 and I Chron. 11-16 is a different perspective on the same time- period. The two portions are worth reading concurrently so to get the full picture.

He was now king of Israel, but needed to grieve a bit. His “farewell song” is a treasure.
2 – David was rightful king now but some of Saul’s men just couldn’t accept the transfer of power though the time had come and there was no other way to perceive this development. The battles and skirmishes are gruesome and unnecessary but Saul’s “groupies” who couldn’t see the bigger picture nor the changing times were ebullient and there were needless deaths because of it. It never is wise to be committed to a dead cause. Nevertheless those loyal to Saul had installed Saul’s son; Ish-Bosheth as king over Israel.  The move was illicit but so it goes. He was there as “king” for two years while David was the rightful king installed at Hebron.  He was there for 7+1/2 years
These years before he was moved up to Jerusalem there was warring between Saul’s followers and David’s.  During these years David had children with six different wives. That was one way to pass the time…  Though David’s movement was growing and strengthening, Saul’s was becoming weaker.
3 – Abner changes to become one of David’s followers and supporters.  If he hadn’t been so intense and spiteful prior to doing this, perhaps there would have been more credibility to his move toward David. But since he joined with David before convincing everyone of David’s men, Abner was murdered. The intrigue and entanglement seemed to mark these years between the death of Saul and David being fully enthroned in Jerusalem.
4 – In another incident, there were two ruffians that went to the house of Saul’s son Ish-bosheth and killed him and brought I-B’s head to David thinking it would please David. David’s reaction was opposite and David had these two men killed. These were wild times in Hebron!
5 – Finally all the tribes gathered at Hebron and David is anointed King.  He moves on Jerusalem even though the Jebusites living there vowed David would not come in. But David being valiant, he and his soldiers prevailed and Jerusalem became “the City of David”.  King Hyram of Tyre soon heard of David’s triumph in Jerusalem and sent gifts.  The Philistines too heard of David’s ascension as King and they marched out twice to end this movement. David was victorious and decisively so. It’s still “The City of David” almost 3030 years later!

April 23


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Exodus 12-14

We covering the 10th plague today in the World Stream. We are reading from the International Standard Version this week.

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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis

Holy Holy holy, Lord God Almighty – we just want to sing to you as you have done the mightiest of mighty deeds on behalf of your children. Thank you God for standing in defense of us too. Teach us to trust in you who fights for us. Take us to your place of rest.   Amen.

The tenth plague was coming and it required preparation for the Israelites.  Egypt would not recover from this plague.  It would break the Pharaoh and he would want Israel gone. They didn’t know if 10 plagues was the end of it, or if more and more were coming – so they would finally resolve to have Moses go and take his people with him.  The firstborn from every Egyptian home were to die the night of Passover. The details are explained and the Israelis follow them “to a T”. Compliance is deathly important here. Sacrificing a perfect lamb, putting blood over the doorposts and lintel of each home, the unleavened bread… this is all intriguing symbolism of a Savior who would be coming some 14 centuries later!

The LORD went through Egypt at midnight, struck all firstborn dead – including animals and the grief was unbearable. It had been roughly a year from the first plague of blood to this final one.  The Israelis were ordered, by a grieving and horrified Pharaoh, to go and do their worship as they please. The “parting gifts” sent them away with immense wealth.  It got the ‘nation of Israel’ off to a good financial start to say the least.  They left and the Exodus had begun. The Passover had been eternally instituted for the Jews, Egyptian slavery years were behind them. 430 years had passed since their arrival.  70 went down there and now millions were leaving! What a sight. The greatest event of the ancient world was in process.
13 – The Passover was then established for all time. The consecrating of the first born was ordered (a little easier to be on God’s side and not have the death of the firstborn, isn’t it?) The dedication of the firstborn would never change for them. The Festival of Unleavened Bread is established. All these matters are so they would REMEMBER what God has done.  We take communion as often as we do today, why? So we wouldremember Jesus’ body given for us…the sacrificial Lamb. The march out of Egypt had begun and God guided them precisely where they needed to go. Joseph’s bones were brought along with them as Joseph ordered in Genesis 50:25 “400 years” prior.
14 – God gave Moses some epochal advice that explains Moses calm and direct leadership during this hurricane-level-5-historical event. Pharaoh changes his tune again and the whole army launches to go after the Israelis and retrieve them. As they draw close, the fear in the hearts of the newly freed slaves is beyond frightening.  Moses’ word at this juncture is the best of the best. “The Lord will fight for you while you keep still.”  The cloud and the fire commence and would be their guides for 40 years.  The fire-defense of the Israeli’s that God puts forth is awesome as He parts the waters of the Red Sea.  The Israelis pass through the Sea, the Egyptians drown. The Exodus is complete and a nation is bewildered and filled with tremendous respect for Moses and a holy fear of the LORD.
Well, that’s something y’don’t see every day.