179 – June 28
1 Samuel 2:27-36 – a difficult reading
27 Now a man of God came to Eli and said, “This is what the LORD says: I revealed myself very clearly to your father’s household when they were slaves[i] in Egypt to the house of Pharaoh. 28 I chose your father from all of Israel’s tribes to be my priest, to go up onto my altar, to burn incense, and to wear the priestly vest[j] in my presence. I also gave all of the Israelites’ food offerings to your father’s household. 29 Why then do you kick my sacrifices and my offerings—the very ones I commanded for my dwelling place? Why do you respect your sons more than me, getting fat off the best parts of every offering from my people Israel? 30 Because of all that, this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, declares: I had promised that your household and your father’s household would serve me forever. But now—this is what the LORD declares: I’ll do no such thing! No. I honor those who honor me, and whoever despises me will be cursed. 31 The days are coming soon when I will eliminate both your children[k] and the children of your father’s household. There won’t be an old person left in your family tree. 32 You’ll see trouble in my dwelling place, though all will go well for Israel.[l] But there will never be an old person in your family tree. 33 One of your descendants whom I don’t eliminate from serving at my altar will cry his eyes out and be full of grief. Any descendants in your household will die by the sword.[n] 34 And what happens to your two sons Hophni and Phinehas will be a sign for you: they will both die on the same day. 35 Then I will establish for myself a trustworthy priest who will act in accordance with my thoughts and desires. I will build a trustworthy household for him, and he will serve before my anointed one forever. 36 Anyone left from your household will come and beg him for a bit of silver or a loaf of bread, saying: ‘Please appoint me to some priestly duty so I can have a scrap of bread to eat.’”
Five days later the high priest Ananias went down to Caesarea with some of the elders and a lawyer named Tertullus, and they brought their charges against Paul before the governor. 2 When Paul was called in, Tertullus presented his case before Felix: “We have enjoyed a long period of peace under you, and your foresight has brought about reforms in this nation. 3 Everywhere and in every way, most excellent Felix, we acknowledge this with profound gratitude. 4 But in order not to weary you further, I would request that you be kind enough to hear us briefly.
5 “We have found this man to be a troublemaker, stirring up riots among the Jews all over the world. He is a ringleader of the Nazarene sect 6 and even tried to desecrate the temple; so we seized him.  8 By examining him yourself you will be able to learn the truth about all these charges we are bringing against him.” 9 The other Jews joined in the accusation, asserting that these things were true.
10 When the governor motioned for him to speak, Paul replied: “I know that for a number of years you have been a judge over this nation; so I gladly make my defense. 11 You can easily verify that no more than twelve days ago I went up to Jerusalem to worship. 12 My accusers did not find me arguing with anyone at the temple, or stirring up a crowd in the synagogues or anywhere else in the city. 13 And they cannot prove to you the charges they are now making against me. 14 However, I admit that I worship the God of our ancestors as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets, 15 and I have the same hope in God as these men themselves have, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. 16 So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.
17 “After an absence of several years, I came to Jerusalem to bring my people gifts for the poor and to present offerings. 18 I was ceremonially clean when they found me in the temple courts doing this. There was no crowd with me, nor was I involved in any disturbance. 19 But there are some Jews from the province of Asia, who ought to be here before you and bring charges if they have anything against me. 20 Or these who are here should state what crime they found in me when I stood before the Sanhedrin— 21 unless it was this one thing I shouted as I stood in their presence: ‘It is concerning the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial before you today.’”
22 Then Felix, who was well acquainted with the Way, adjourned the proceedings. “When Lysias the commander comes,” he said, “I will decide your case.” 23 He ordered the centurion to keep Paul under guard but to give him some freedom and permit his friends to take care of his needs.
24 Several days later Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish. He sent for Paul and listened to him as he spoke about faith in Christ Jesus. 25 As Paul talked about righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, “That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.” 26 At the same time he was hoping that Paul would offer him a bribe, so he sent for him frequently and talked with him.
27 When two years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus, but because Felix wanted to grant a favor to the Jews, he left Paul in prison.
Comment: vs 7 is a mere footnote in most translations, not considered a deeply authentic verse so just footnoted.
119 Those whose way is blameless—
who walk in the LORD’s Instruction—are truly happy!
2 Those who guard God’s laws are truly happy!
They seek God with all their hearts.
3 They don’t even do anything wrong!
They walk in God’s ways.
4 God, you have ordered that your decrees
should be kept most carefully.
5 How I wish my ways were strong
when it comes to keeping your statutes!
6 Then I wouldn’t be ashamed
when I examine all your commandments.
7 I will give thanks to you with a heart that does right
as I learn your righteous rules.
8 I will keep your statutes.
Please don’t leave me all alone!
9 How can young people keep their paths pure?
By guarding them according to what you’ve said.
10 I have sought you with all my heart.
Don’t let me stray from any of your commandments!
11 I keep your word close, in my heart,
so that I won’t sin against you.
12 You, LORD, are to be blessed!
Teach me your statutes.
13 I will declare out loud
all the rules you have spoken.
14 I rejoice in the content of your laws
as if I were rejoicing over great wealth.
15 I will think about your precepts
and examine all your paths.
16 I will delight in your statutes;
I will not forget what you have said.
Comment: Psalm 119 is the longest Psalm in the Psalter – 172 verses. Each stanza is made of 8 lines. Each line in the stanza begins with the same letter of the Hebrew alphabet from Alef to Omega. Each stanza has the same theme – over and over again: God’s ways are the best and only way to thrive. This one theme is repeated through 172 verses. Why? To bring home one point: God’s ways are the only way to thrive!
Prayer: your path, O Lord, is the only one I want to take today and tomorrow. I delight in your ways. Amen.