Torah Portion

Dear Torah Portion Reader...

I am very excited that the Spring Feast is just around the corner! We are now in the final preparation count-down, which for us at Lighted Way Ministries is an "all-hands-on-deck" scenario. In the next few weeks and days, I will be finishing the book "God's Amazing Star Secret" (which I pray to have fresh from the press at Passover, on April 1, 2018), I will be writing the sermons, putting together the children's program, cooking (and freezing) the casseroles to serve during the Retreat week, and more...

In order to accomplish all of this, I will not be taking time to write the Torah portion commentaries during this period of time. However, that does not mean that anyone need to get behind. The following is the Torah reading and study schedule for the next few weeks. As you keep up with this schedule, you will be on track to complete all 613 Statutes this year. So, from now to April 14, the Torah portions will be posted without comment. Commentary and the usual Torah portions will resume on April 15. Thank you for your patience! And happy studying in the meantime :-)



Thursday, May 25, 2017

Daily Bible Reading - May 25, 2017

Today's Reading:

Romans 1:1-15

1 Samuel 8

Psalm 54

Listen to the Bible

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading:

In 1 Samuel 8, we find the account of how Israel was dissatisfied with having Yahweh as their leader. They demanded a king to be placed over them. Through the prophet Samuel, God warned the Children of Israel of the many dangers and drawbacks to selecting a king. But, in the end, the people insisted. 

King Saul was anointed to be their king and there were a total of 42 kings and 1 queen (who reigned instead of the king). As Steve Shirley researched and documents, of these kings who reigned over God's people, the Bible says ALL of the kings of Israel were evil. Among the kings of Judah, 12 were evil and 8 were good (Asa, Jehoshaphat, Joash, Amaziah, Azariah, Jotham, Hezekiah, and Josiah)!

Here's a synopsis of how it went:
  1. King Saul ruled over all the 12 tribes of Israel for 40 years.
  2. Ishbosheth ruled over Israel for 2 years, while David ruled Judah during a brief divide after Saul's death.
  3. David ruled over all the 12 tribes for 40 years (after Ishbosheth was assassinated).
  4. Solomon ruled over all 12 tribes of Israel for 40 years.
After Solomon's reign ended, the kingdom divided into what became known as the Southern Kingdom (Judah and Benjamin: but simply called Judah) and the Northern Kingdom (the remaining 10 tribes: called Israel). This resulted in a string of 19 kings ruling over Israel and 19 kings (plus one queen) ruling over Judah. I will list them in order, with the number of years they ruled in parenthesis. 
 
Kings Of IsraelKings Of Judah
1. Jeroboam 1 (22 yrs)1. Rehoboam (17 yrs)
2. Nadab (2 yrs)2. Abijam (3 yrs)
3. Baasha (24 yrs)3. Asa (41 yrs)
4. Elah (2 yrs)4. Jehoshaphat (25 yrs)
5. Zimri (7 days)5. Jehoram (8 yrs)
6. Omri (12 yrs) ***6. Ahaziah (1 yr)
7. Ahab (22 yrs)7. Athaliah (Queen) (6 yrs)
8. Ahaziah (2 yrs)8. Joash (40 yrs)
9. Jehoram (Joram)(12 yrs)9. Amaziah (29 yrs)
10. Jehu (28 yrs)10. Azariah (Uzziah)(52 yrs)
11. Jehoahaz (17 yrs)11. Jotham (16 yrs)
12. Jehoash (16 yrs)12. Ahaz (16 yrs)
13. Jeroboam 2 (41 yrs)13. Hezekiah (29 yrs)
14. Zachariah (6 mos)14. Manasseh (55 yrs)
15. Shallum (1 mo)15. Amon (2 yrs)
16. Menahem (10 yrs)16. Josiah (31 yrs)
17. Pekhiah (2 yrs)17. Jehoahaz (3 mos)
18. Pekah (20 yrs)18. Jehoiakim (11 yrs)
19. Hoshea (9 yrs)19. Jehoiachin (3 mos)

20. Zedekiah (11 yrs)

      (Chart by Steve Shirley, Jesusalive.cc)

The kings who were "good" (meaning they led the people in worshiping Yahweh and destroyed idolatry) are listed in red above. That means that only 19% of the rulers over God's people were godly leaders! If a student scored a 19% on a test, it would be considered a failing grade. In fact anything below 60% is a failing grade! No wonder prophet Samuel tried to talk the people out of having a king!

But while the story of the unfaithful leadership is tragic, the story of how the people of Israel followed their leaders down the primrose-path to Hell is even more so. Did it justify compromises in the supposed people of God that their leaders were ungodly? No! Was idolatry in the people excused before God, because their king was doing it and supporting idolatry in the land? Certainly not!

What about today? Are the statistics for godly leaders better today than they were back then? Honestly, they are worse - not better. But unlike Israel who followed the leadership of their kings, we are to be faithful to God, like Daniel, while living in today's Babylon.

So, today, I'd like to share with you a powerful perspective from the courageous life of Daniel, who remained faithful to God through 4 kings.

The following is excerpted from the Benham brothers' powerful book Living Among Lions:
(In Daniel we find an example of) courage to stand for what was right in a culture that rewarded people for doing the opposite... Daniel's friends had one choice: bow or burn. Daniel himself had one choice: live a lie or die in the lions' den.
They all chose to remain firm in their faith - true to their convictions that defined their lives and glorified the God of their fathers.
In 605 BC, their nation changed, but they did not. Their surroundings shifted to an alien place - geographically, morally, and spiritually. But they chose to remain unchanged, unaffected, and unashamed.
The people of Judah, Daniel's homeland, had rejected God. They removed His boundaries, so He had to remove their blessings. Babylon arose and took many of the Jewish people into captivity. Daniel was among those taken from his homeland to Babylon. God did not spare him from exile. But, years before, his heavenly Father had captured his heart. So when Daniel's nation changed, his relationship with God did not...
Eternity's perspective proves these men (Daniel and his friends) right and upholds their decisions. Daniel and his friends refused to operate strategically or seek to survive in safety. Instead, they lived supernaturally, choosing to thrive in the Spirit. Daniel knew his God was the Ruler over the realm of mankind, and the earth belonged to Him. Daniel's job was simply to live faithfully - even in the face of adversity. His life encourages us that no matter how dire circumstances may seem or how opposed to God our culture becomes, God is always in control. Whatever life throws our way, we will not just survive; we will thrive! (Living Among Lions, pp xvi-xvii)