"Person's Hand Holding Book Page," Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash
  

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May 1 (2 Samuel and Psalm 18)

We read two versions of the same Psalm of David: 2 Samuel 22:1-51 and Psalm 18. In them he began with a description of his fear of certain death at the hands of Saul and his army in hot pursuit of him. In poetic language he described how God aroused Himself in a mighty display of power to save David. He affirmed God's attributes of faithfulness, strength to save, power over all creation and the minds of people, care for the needy, authority over all people, judgment of wickedness, supernatural mobility, and His worthiness to be praised by believers before all the world.

An interesting observation of David's that caught my attention is, "To the faithful You show Yourself faithful; to those with integrity You show integrity. To the pure You show Yourself pure, but to the wicked You show Yourself hostile" (vv25-26). This may answer the question as to why there are so many (mostly erroneous) views expressed about God by those who appear to me to be "unbelievers."

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May 2 (2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles)

We read that King David was so proud of his military might and conquests that he conducted a sinful census. For this act of arrogance, God sent a plague that killed 70,000 people. David repented and demonstrated that there is no such thing as a cheap sacrifice. There appears to be a discrepancy in the numbers as recorded in 2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles. A possible explanation may lay with the uncounted tribes of Benjamin and Levi. The writer of 1 Chronicles may have added his estimate of their numbers. On 5/4's reading, we will learn that the numbers were never officially recorded in David's records. It also appears that another discrepancy exists where it was recorded that David paid "50 pieces of silver" in 2 Samuel compared to the "600" pieces of gold in 1 Chronicles. This is not a discrepancy, since one was the price of the threshing floor while the other was of the entire surrounding land. Finally, David gathered the necessary materials for Solomon to build the Temple. God would not permit His Temple to be built by a man of war, but rather He wanted it to be constructed by a man of peace.

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There are several mentions in Scripture about how David was a very lax father, but in today's reading we find one of only two events recorded of David being a good father (both concerning giving advice to Solomon) when he instructed Solomon about building the Temple telling him that he will only succeed in life if he carefully obeys the Law of Moses and if he will, "Seek the LORD [his] God with all [his] heart and soul." (1 Chronicles 22:19).

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May 3 (1 Chronicles)

We read how now the elderly King David, (while not his first order of business, he did not leave undone) organized and assigned duties to the Levites, priests, singers, gatekeepers, administrators, army and kingdom officials. He commissioned 4,000 to sing songs of thanks and praise to God accompanied by lyres, harps, and cymbals (of which he invented and/or made." (Amos 6:5)). The three main leaders were Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun. They were ordered by King David to proclaim God's messages to the people accompanied by the same musical instruments played by the 288 well-trained musicians from their families. Sacred lots were used to choose each of the 24 clans (including 12 relatives from each clan) that were picked, regardless of their age or station, to serve as Temple musicians. Dr. John MacArthur reminds us that the first readers of Chronicles were the returning Jews who had been exiled to Babylon.

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Reading these records reminded the ones who were 60 years or older of the inferiority of the rebuilt Temple as they considered the height of glory (physically, financially, spiritually, and administratively) from which they had fallen. The Ark of Covenant was gone, but most tragically the Shekinah glory of God was gone. This is why the exiles wept bitterly as recorded in Ezra 3:12. (MacArthur, 2005, p489, 524)

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May 4 (1 Chronicles)

We learn of David's administrative skills in dividing the various duties of the gatekeepers, treasurers, and other officials, military commanders, and division leaders, leaders of the Tribes, and the officials of the kingdom. I find it interesting that the gatekeeper's job was to keep the unconsecrated population separated from the holiness of God, not because God's holy things needed security, but to keep anyone from inadvertently stumbling in and causing their own death. (see Numbers 18, 3/4's reading.)

Finally, the second of only three times that Scripture records David acting fatherly, he again instructed Solomon to know God intimately and to serve Him with his entire being. He gave Solomon the blueprint, so to speak, of the Temple that God had dictated specifically to him by the Holy Spirit's divine inspiration.

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May 5 (1 Kings and 1 Chronicles)

We read of David's sacrificial contribution to the storage of materials to be used for building the Temple. Following his example, the officials and the military leaders willingly contributed a great amount of wealth to the cause. David offered his noble prayer of praise where he reminded everyone that the offerings they gave actually came from God's own hand. Then because of his advanced age, David took young Abishag as his last wife, but she remained a virgin. The plan was that her youthful vitality would stimulate him to remain active and keep him warm at night. Meanwhile, Solomon was declared to be next in line to the monarchy, but he had not yet taken the throne. So his older half-brother recruited commander Joab and priest Abiathar for his plan to take the kingship by force. When David learned of this he placed Solomon on the throne and confirmed him by the prophet Nathan, Priest Zadok, the mighty warrior Benaiah, and his own bodyguard. Rightly fearing capital punishment for treason, Adonijah, Joab, and all his followers fled. Solomon spared his half-brother upon the condition of his continued loyalty, but he will have to punish him and his cousin Joab later. 

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May 6 (1 Kings, 2 Samuel,1 Chronicles, and Psalm 4-6, 8-9, 11)

We read King David's final instructions to his son Solomon. He told him to obey Deuteronomy 17:17 (concerning a King's behavior of self restraint) in a way that he had failed to do consistently himself. As I have stated earlier, David's indulgence became Solomon's obsession.

David told Solomon to wisely serve judgment on the evil ones of whom he had previously granted clemency. When he reiterated Joab's crimes, he did not mention Joab's defiance of David's command to spare Absalom. This probably was because David knew that it was a justified death for treason, but I am sure that his anger toward Joab's violent act motivated him to ensure Joab's horrific end for the other crimes. Then "the sweet psalmist of Israel" praised God in his final words. Finally, several of David's earliest psalms are presented.

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May 7 (Psalms 12-17, 19-21)

In these psalms David expressed the sovereignty and justice of God. He begins Psalm. 12 with a contemporary observation: "Help, O LORD, for the godly are fast disappearing!" He affirmed the Lord's compassion for the oppressed and innocent ones. David pleaded for God's protection from evil people. He refused to boast in military strength, but rather, he chose to boast in the name of the Lord our God.

Some well-known quotes are found in Psalm. 14 "Only fools say in their hearts, 'There is no God.'" Paul was undoubtedly familiar with this psalm when he wrote, "There is none righteous, no not one." (Rom. 3:10). Compare it with "But no, all have turned away; all have become corrupt. No one does good, not a single one!" (Psalm. 14:3). Peter quoted from Psalm. 16 when he preached his sermon to the people in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost where 3,000 professed their faith in Christ. And Paul also quoted the same psalm when he first preached the Gospel to the people in Antioch.

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May 8 (Psalms 22-26)

We read Psalm 22, which Dr. Charles Ryrie said is one of the most quoted psalms in the New Testament. He identified it as  "typico-prophetically Messianic." He explains that this means that it is composed in light of the writer's personal experience but will find its ultimate fulfillment in the future (with Jesus). It is referenced in Matthew 27:35-46, John 19:23-24, and Hebrews 2:12; 5:5. Charles Spurgeon called it "The psalm of the cross." Dr. John MacArthur wrote that, "Some in the early church labeled it 'The fifth gospel." In this psalm, David does not let the fact that God seems to have abandoned him prevent him from trusting God because he knows that God has heard his prayer and that ultimately God will be worshiped worldwide.

Psalm 23 is probably the most well known psalm today. Psalm 24, "The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it." Psalm 25 "Do not remember the sins of my youth," Psalm 26 "Test my motives and my heart" and "I wash my hands to declare my innocence." (compare Matt. 27:24 with Deuteronomy. 21:6-8). These are some familiar quotations.

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May 9 (Psalms 27-32)

We read Psalms 27-32. 27 is an anthem of praise. In it David declares his hope in the Lord's deliverance and care. 28 is a song of lament where David asks God to separate and protect him from the punishment that is coming to the wicked. He announces his confidence that the Lord does hear him and will be a defending Shepherd to he and the Israelites. 29 is David's declaration of God's omnipotence. He included the LORD's unpronounceable name (YHWH) eighteen times, declaring that the appropriate response from the observer is to give Him due credit for His mighty acts. 30 is David's personal thanksgiving song in response to God's deliverance.  He called for the believers to join him in praise. He reminds God that allowing him to live is to God's advantage because only then is David able to praise and glorify Him in public. David praised God for replacing his sadness with Joy. 31 is a song of lament. Jesus quoted verse 5 in a way that no other ever could when He displayed the epitome of faith and commitment to God during His crucifixion (Luke 23:46). 32 is a song about forgiveness. In it David teaches the undesirable consequences of sinful denial and the joyful rewards of confession and repentance.

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May 10 (Psalms 35-38)

We read Psalm 35 where David pleaded for God to defend him from those who have attacked him without cause. He promised to praise Him for giving him justice.

In Psalm 36 David gave praise to God for providing salvation to believers who are in the midst of surrounding wickedness. He asked God to continue His protection until the wicked are destroyed.

Psalm 37 is a psalm of wisdom that written as an alphabetic acrostic (the first word of every other verse starts with the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet). Verse 22 summarizes the entire psalm, "For those blessed by Him will inherit the land; But those cursed by Him will be cut off." David encouraged the believers to be faithful and to not fret over the prosperity that the wicked enjoy for a brief period.

Psalm 38 is a penitential psalm. It is in three parts. "The first (vv. 1-8) describes the sufferings from sin; the second (vv. 9-14), the loneliness of sin; and the third (vv.15-22), the confession of sin." C. Ryrie, 1978, p833. 

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May 11 (Psalms 39-41, 53, 55, 58)

We read Psalms 39-41, 53, 55, and 58. Some highlights of these six psalms are (39) that we should be mindful of the brevity of life and that the Lord's discipline for our sins will consume the objects of our affections. (40) In this psalm David states that the Lord's activities are too numerous to count, that delighting to do His will supersedes the value of offerings and sacrifices, and his personal dedication to God pointed us ahead to Jesus who hungered more to obey God than to eat food (compare: vv. 7-8 with John 4:34). (41) This is the last psalm in Book One. David contrasted the behavior of those who were merciless with God who is merciful. Jesus quoted v.9 when He foretold of Judas' betrayal. (53) This psalm is almost identical to psalm 14. It begins with a frequently quoted phrase that denounces those who act as though there is no eternal authority of whom they will ultimately have to give an explanation for their behavior. The Apostle Paul quoted v. 3 when he wrote Roman. 3:12. (55) David is distressed about a traitor's behavior within the walls of Jerusalem. (58) This is an imprecatory psalm against Israel's unjust judges.)

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May 12 (Psalms 61-62, 64-67)

We read Psalms 61-62 and 64-67. In 61, because of David's confidence in God's faithful promise to watch over him, he asks that God shelter him from all his enemies and will in response praise Him in worship for it. In 62, David acknowledges that his success in life comes only from God's generosity. While his enemies connive to destroy him, he will wait quietly in trust before God. David challenges his people to depend on God rather than evil schemes to gain wealth and even if abundance comes, keep God at the center of their attention because ultimately, He will respond justly to every individual's lifetime of behavior. In 64, David draws a picture of his enemies' diabolical strategy in plotting his defeat, but states that God will take their weapons and make them backfire on themselves. "The godly will rejoice in the LORD and find shelter in Him." v.10a. 65 is a thanksgiving psalm. In it David expresses his enjoyment of God's great reputation all over the world for being a mighty creator and provider of abundant harvests. Those who are called by God to come close to Him in worship are the most blessed of all. 66 & 67 were composed in thankfulness as a response to some national deliverance as an example to the other nations.)

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May 13 (Psalm 68-70, 86, 101)

We read Psalms 68-70, 86, and 101. (68) Theologians believe that David composed this psalm for the procession of moving the Ark into Jerusalem (1 Sam. 6:12-15). In it he recalls God's work in concluding Israel's trek from suffering the oppression of slavery in Egypt to enjoying the victorious status of living in an established kingdom in Canaan. Psalm 69 is another one of the most quoted psalms by the New Testament writers who applied much of its contents to many of Jesus' life events and actions. Psalm 70 is nearly a copy of 40:13-17. It includes, "Those who love Your salvation repeatedly shout, "'God is great!'" Any historical reference is unknown, but it contains the common theme of an oppressed believer requesting God's deliverance and then praising Him for the help that they anticipate from Him. Psalm 86 is the only psalm composed by David that finds its place in the third book. It is filled with praise and enveloped by prayer.

Psalm 101 describes the proper behavior for a king, that only the Messiah, Jesus can and will do. My prayer for America is found in verse 8, "[for God] to ferret out the wicked and free the city of the Lord [and the USA] from their grip."

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May 14 (Psalm 103, 108-110, 122, 124)

We read Psalms 103, 108-110, 122, and 124. Some notable and well-known verses in Psalm 103 are "Bless the Lord O my soul." I wonder how David knew that the north had a measurable location when he said, "He has removed our sins as far as the East is from the West." 109 is an imprecatory psalm that is aimed at God's enemies.  It was quoted by the disciples as they applied it to Judas, the betrayer, "Let someone else take his place. "May his curses cling to him." In Matt. 22:44-46 Jesus silenced the Pharisees with a question about verse one of Psalm 110, "The LORD said to my Lord." A couple of well known phrases in Psalm 122 are: "I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go to the house of the Lord" ?" Psalms 122 and 124 are called "Songs of Ascents" because they were a part of a collection of psalms that were sung as the Israelite pilgrims who were traveling through the towns in their ascent to Jerusalem during the three annual festivals being held there.

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May 15 (Psalms 131, 133, 138-141, 143)

We read Psalms 131, 133, 138-141, 143. In Psalm 131 As a song of ascension, David is demonstrating the proper attitude a worshiper should have as he/she approaches the Temple of the LORD. Psalm 133:1 "How good and pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in harmony" was composed following Israel's civil war between the northern and southern tribes after King Saul's death (2 Sam. 2:12-4:12), Psalm 138 is a thanksgiving song. The Lord's brother James quoted this in James 4:6, "Though the Lord is great, He cares for the humble, but He resists the proud." Psalm 139 iterates 4 of God's major attributes, His omniscience, omnipresence, omnipotence, and His absolute holiness. Verses 23-24 contain some of the same ideas as the Lord's Prayer does in Matthew 6. Psalm 140 is an imprecatory song against those who are trying to harm David with various diabolical schemes. Psalm 141 is a song of lament. David asked the Lord to interpret his prayers as an act of worship. He asked for protection from the wicked and affirmed the blessing of chastisement from loving believers who help to keep him on the righteous path. Psalm 143 is a penitential song where David considered the "good-old-days."

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May 16 (Psalms 88-19, 144-145)

We read Psalms 144, 145, 88, 89. Psalm 144 is one of around 18 "royal psalms." These are so called because they were either written for or by a king, or they at least make reference to the worship of the future Messianic King. In it David praises God for his past victories and requests blessings for his present and the distant future, while surrounded by enemies. Psalm 145 is the last of David's 73 psalms. It is the only psalm with the inscription, "A Psalm of Praise." in its title. In it he extols God's greatness, grace, faithfulness, and absolute holiness, enveloped with a call to praise Him for these attributes. Dr. C. Ryrie identifies Psalm 88 as "the saddest psalm in the Psalter." Dr. J. MacArthur notes that, "This lament is unusual in that it does not end on a happy note." Yet, in spite of all this suffering, the composer demonstrates an underlying trust in God. In Psalm 89 the composer iterates his mental conflict between God's faithfulness in keeping the Davidic covenant (vv. 1-37) and his confusion with the apparent unfulfillment of it as Judah suffers defeat and the seemingly end to the Davidic dynasty (vv.38-51) However, in the last verse (v.52) he affirms his worship of God without even trying to resolve the tension.

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Royal Psalms: 2, 18, 20, 21, 45, 72, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 101, 132, 144

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May 17 (Psalm 50, 73-74)

We read Psalms 50, 73, and 74. In Psalm 50 Asaph warned the believers that God will judge their disingenuous worship and sordid lifestyle. God informed the reader that presenting sacrifices is about the worshiper's proper demonstration of a repentant and grateful attitude towards God rather than a system designed to make sure He gets fed. A couple of well-known phrases included in this psalm are, "I own the cattle on a thousand hills,"  and "Giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors Me." Psalm 73 records Asaph's thought process through the perplexing conundrum between the fact that God said that He would bless the righteous and curse the wicked, with the common observation that the wicked often prosper and the righteous often suffer. In the end he is comforted by his realization of the respective eternal consequences and rewards each will receive at the ultimate judgment. Psalm 74 is attributed to Asaph, but he did not live in the day of Babylon's invasion of Jerusalem. So it must have been written by one of his descendants or a choir guild that followed his tradition. This psalm laments the chaos and mayhem surrounding the desecration and destruction of Solomon's Temple.

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May 18 (Psalms 75-78)

We read Psalms 75-78. Psalm 75 is a communal thanksgiving psalm attributed to Asaph, but with the absence of "north" being mentioned in verse 6, the background is most likely the Assyrian invasion, long after he died. So the author may be his descendant or a choir guild organized in his tradition. He praised God for His promise to punish the wicked while warning them to humble themselves before it is too late. It ends with a declaration of praise to God who is always in control of the earth. Psalm 76 is a hymn of thanksgiving for victory, probably also written during the Assyrian invasion of 701 B.C. Dr. C. Ryrie has noted the similarity between vv. 5-6 with 2 Kings 19:35 and Isaiah 37:36. We can take comfort from v. 12 where we learn that God will ultimately deflate the proud strut of the earth's oppressive rulers. Psalm 77 is a lament song. The author expressed his mental, emotional, and spiritual turmoil over God's apparent disfavor. He mused on the LORD's mighty deeds of the past and dedicated many verses on the account of Israel's deliverance from Egypt. In Psalm 78, Asaph narrated the strained relationship between rebellious Israel and patient God as a warning to the future generations.

He commanded each generation to teach their children to know what God has done in their lives so that, "Each generation should set its hope anew on God." (Psalm 78:7).

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May 19 (Psalms 79-82)

We read Psalms 79-82, all composed by the Asaph singers. Psalm 79 is an imprecatory song that describes the Babylonian destruction and desecration of the Temple in Jerusalem in 536 B.C. The author asked God to observe the horrific suffering of His people and to show mercy for the sake of His reputation among the nations. Psalm 80 was written in sad response to the author's shock over the fall of the northern kingdom to Assyria. (There is much extra-Biblical information recorded about the extreme severity of Assyrian cruelty toward their enemies and prisoners.) The writer asked God to revive and restore His people as a vine that was transplanted and became fruitful, but is now being cut and burned. Psalm 81 is associated with the Feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:34-43). The three parts are 1. Praise as a testimony 2. Remember God's deeds and 3. Repent so that God can bless again. Psalm 82, like Psalm 58, is an imprecatory song against Israel's unjust judges who, because of their greed, did not protect the indefensible from the wicked. Jesus, the most righteous judge quoted verse 6 in a double meaning response to the unjust verdicts and abuses inflicted on Him and the people by the Pharisees (John 10:34).

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May 20 (1 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Psalm 83)

We read Psalm 83 where a quote from Israel's enemies (led by Edom*) is made that is still being verbalized in contemporary times, "Come," They say, "Let us wipe out Israel as a nation. We will destroy the very memory of its existence." But the last verse of the imprecatory psalm heralds that ultimately, the enemies of Israel's God will learn that He is the only one true God, Most High, supremely reigning over all the earth.

Then the reading picks up the historical narrative from 5/6 where Solomon was taking the throne. He executed David's four named enemies and fulfilled the Samuel's prophecy against the house of Eli (1 Sam. 2:30-35) when he replaced the priest Abiathar with Zadok. The Lord granted him the wisdom for which Solomon asked as well as abundant prosperity in all other areas for which he did not ask. However, (a seed of sin was noted) he continued to worship by burning sacrifices and incense at the local high places and he allied Israel to Egypt by marriage.

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*Nothing good is ever said about Edom in Scripture.

Dr. C. Ryrie in his introduction to the Book of Obadiah wrote, "The Edomites. Descendants of Esau, Jacob's twin, the Edomites were in constant conflict with Israel, the descendants of Jacob. The rejected Moses' request to pass through their land (Numbers. 20:14-20), they opposed King Saul (1 Sam. 14:47), they fought against David (1 Kings 11:15-16; 2 Sam. 8:14; 1 Chronicles. 18:12), opposed Solomon (1 Kings 11:14-25), and Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles. 20:22), and rebelled against Jehoram (2 Chronicles. 21:8).  Herod the Great was an Edomite."

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May 21 (1 Kings and 2 Chronicles)

We read an example of Solomon's wisdom applied to a conundrum between two opposing single mothers that argued over a child. Solomon demonstrated his negotiating skills with King Hiram of Tyre when he traded food for a skilled metal worker and materials with which to build the Temple. As Samuel had warned the people in 1 Samuel chapter 8, Solomon began conscripting 30,000 laborers to quarry and transport large blocks of high quality stone and to prepare and transport lumber to Jerusalem, which was 35 miles from the seaport of Joppa.

The rest of the reading gave the details of the Temple superintendents, laborers, construction, and materials (which included 23 tons of gold), but God made no comment about all that. Rather, He promised Solomon, "If you keep all My decrees and regulations and obey all My commands, I will fulfill through you the promise I made to your father, David. I will live among the Israelites and will never abandon My people Israel."

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May 22 (1 Kings and 2 Chronicles)

We read the details of Huram's skillful craftsmanship in creating the various parts and accessories of the Temple and Solomon's palace. Huram was hired from Tyre because the Israelites were better at farming than working with metal. I think It is interesting that there is not yet any apparent prejudicial attitude concerning the fact that he was only half Israeli at this time in Hebrew history. The palace took almost twice as long to build, probably because the building materials were not previously gathered nor was there as much urgency to complete it. The apparent discrepancy between the capacity of the bronze "Sea" in 1 Kings versus 2 Chronicles 4:5 may be the exclusion/inclusion of the additional water used outside the tank to supply the flow of the fountain. (MacArthur, 2005, pp.402, 497).

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May 23 (1 Kings and 2 Chronicles)

We read how Solomon instructed the priests and Levites to properly bring the Ark of the Lord's Covenant into the completed Temple. All the Levites dressed up and performed praise in unison with voices and instruments (cymbals, lyres, harps, and trumpets). When they had left the Holy Place, after setting the Ark down, they were unable to continue their duties because the glorious cloud of God's presence filled the Temple. It is noted that the Ark only contained the stone tablets from Mt. Sinai. (I wonder, "What happened to the jar of manna and Aaron's budding rod?") Then Solomon prayed a prayer of dedication reminding God of His promise to maintain David's dynasty as long as they guard their behavior and follow God as David had done (but history proves that David's fatherly example of lustful indulgence became Solomon's consuming obsession that ultimately lured him into repulsive idolatry). Finally, Solomon also prayed for the Lord's favor on everyone, (even foreigners *), who would pray towards God's presence represented in the Temple.

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* foreigners " I suppose the 1st century A.D. Pharisees overlooked this part of Solomon's prayer.

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May 24 (1 Kings and 2 Chronicles)

We read about God's powerful response to Solomon's sacrifices and prayer of dedication he offered for the Temple on his hands and knees. Fire flashed down and burned up the burnt offerings and sacrifices and the glorious presence of the Lord filled the Temple. The people responded with their faces to the ground, "He is good! His faithful love endures forever!" Solomon and the Israelites celebrated for two weeks. Then 12 years later at the completion of the palace, God responded verbally to Solomon's prayer of dedication when He appeared to Solomon a second time and vowed to bless the nation as long as they obeyed His decrees, but that He would utterly reject them and the Temple if they abandoned Him for false gods. He also said that when He sends plagues and drought, "If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land."

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May 25 (1 Kings and 2 Chronicles)

Today we read only about the gathering of wealth by King Solomon and the ensuing prosperity for all of Israel under his leadership, where silver became so plentiful that it was nearly worthless. Basking in God's blessings of peace (with only one military conflict to win in 50 years) and worldwide influence, they had become the envy of all the contemporary nations of the known world. Solomon's fame for wisdom and administration motivated the queen of Sheba to make a personal inquiry. In this reading there is no direct focus on God, the Law, or on spiritual matters, except to make note of Solomon's respect for his father's instructions and God's holiness (by not permitting his heathen Egyptian wife to live on holy ground and by offering his sacrifices only at the Temple). However, as he became exponentially more abundant in money, he continually became more bankrupt toward God.* As he raked in worldly pleasures to himself, he shoveled godly values out the door. He became richer and more powerful than anyone's imagination can conceive. It will become blatantly evident that the Israeli populous gleefully followed his example when his foolish son eventually assumes the throne.

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*Deuteronomy 17:16, 17 instructed that the king was not to return to Egypt to multiply horses for himself. He was not to multiply wives for himself. And he was not to greatly increase his silver and gold. Rather he was to practice copying the Law of Moses, under the watchful eyes of the Levites, so that his heart would be and remain humble.

1 Samuel chapter 8 records Samuel's warning to the people that the king will take advantage of his power to increase his power and wealth by taking the best of everything from them and making them all his servants.

Matthew 6:24 quotes Jesus' observation that it is impossible to serve God and money.

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May 26 (1 Kings and Psalms 72, 127)

We read the listing of Solomon's capable administrators. The people were very contented, with plenty to eat and drink. All of Judah and Israel lived in peace and safety throughout his lifetime. Each family had a home and a garden. Solomon wrote 3,000 proverbs and 1,005 songs and could lecture with authority on any subject, to extent that kings sent their ambassadors to learn from him. This description of Israeli life appears to show the height of the kingdom's glory, but noticeably, without any mention of God.Next, are the only two psalms attributed to King Solomon. Psalm 72 is a royal and messianic psalm that focuses on the prosperity to be enjoyed in both the physical and the spiritual realm. Psalm 127 is a didactic psalm (to teach a moral lesson) that success comes from the Lord so the listener/reader should live in constant dependence on Him.

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May 27 (Proverbs)

Today we begin the Book of Proverbs whose purpose is plainly stated: "To teach wisdom and discipline" so that those who take it to heart and apply it to their daily decision-making will live lives filled with health, happiness, success, and most importantly, friendship with God (3:32b). The wisdom that permeates the Proverbs was actually a culmination of Solomon's observations drawn from watching people's responses to the Laws of Moses followed by the respective rewards and consequences enacted by their choices. His keen perception simplified the Law into a version that could be applied to the common situations found in anyone's daily life.

The first lesson is to "Fear the Lord." (1:7). Only a fool would despise God's essence, which is pure wisdom and knowledge of the right path for which God created man/woman, and in which he/she was divinely expected to delightfully walk before his/her Maker.

There is a theme of two kinds of ladies in Proverbs. The first one presented today is "Lady Wisdom" who wants to freely give instruction to anyone willing to listen and learn.

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May 28 (Proverbs)

Yesterday we were introduced to "Lady Wisdom." Today we read a father's life instructions to his son warning him to seek this "Lady Wisdom" and to flee "Lady Folly." Holding fast to the former will shield him from the coy deception of the latter.  He described the unbalanced scale of sexual immorality: a moment of fleeting pleasure that will reap a lifetime of loss and painful regret. To illustrate this scenario the father described how the foolish naïve youth ignorantly entered the trap of a merciless predator.

He also gave instructions for daily living. As an object lesson, he challenged his son to also observe the benefits of the ant's diligent work ethic and to behave likewise. He listed 7 things that God detested. Finally, he reminded his son that God is watching him as he makes all his life choices and that God will repay him accordingly with a reward or consequence.

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May 29 (Proverbs)

Today we read how "Lady Wisdom" calls out openly to all who are willing to heed her advice so that she can share her knowledge and understanding. The LORD formed her before He created anything else. Even God was delighted with her at creation. After she narrates her joyful cooperation with Him at creation she invites all who are ignorant to come learn from her and find out how to really enjoy life. But then "Lady Folly" prowls in the shadow of her doorway to lure the vulnerable away with savory lies into her trap.

Following this are 32 antithetical (contrasting comparisons) observations of the essence that characterizes the godly wise and the wicked fools.

The basic principle of wisdom is to fear the Lord and to gain knowledge of Him. The greater the amount of respect and comprehension one has, the wiser he/she will be. "The fears of the wicked will be fulfilled; the hopes of the godly will be granted." (10:24).

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May 30 (Proverbs)

Today, like looking into a container filled with a variety of colorful gems, we read a collection of random proverbs that herald the benefits of hard work, clean living, humility, and submission to God-ordained authority. On the other hand they also contain warnings of the harsh and nonnegotiable consequences that come from living lazy, dirty, arrogantly, and in rebellion.

The collection of proverbs we read today instruct the reader on such a diverse number of subjects that it is impossible to summarize well. But one that I like to quote to my family (in jest) when they criticize my personal tendency to save all kinds of "junk" that I come across is, "The diligent make use of everything they find."

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May 31 (Proverbs)

We read more proverbs that teach wisdom on a variety of subjects. There is no common theme except that wisdom is beneficial and foolishness is detrimental. Each person will have his/her own favorites with which he/she will personally identify.

Here are a few of the ones that I have heard often (usually in the KJV). "Pride goes before a fall." "There is a path that seems right to a man, but the end thereof is death." "The Lord is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayers of the righteous." "Commit your actions to the Lord and your plans will succeed."

This last one may have been a conclusion drawn from the story of Achan after the battle of Jericho (3/24's reading): "Greed brings grief to the whole family, "

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"The Holy Scriptures are our letters from home."

           Augustine of Hippo

 

May