Old Testament reading: 1 Samuel 3-6
“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we will remember the name of the Lord our God” (Ps 20:7). 1 Samuel 4 reveals the fallacy of the faith of Israel. Following a defeat at the hands of the Philistines, they decided to trot out the ark of the covenant as some kind of super power or shield of invincibility. When the ark was brought forth (by Eli’s wicked sons no less), Israel shouted so loudly that the earth shook. Hearing this shout, and fearing that the Lord had come to destroy them, they fought anyway, declaring it was better to fight and die than to become servants of the Hebrews. Not only did the Philistines defeat Israel, they captured the ark of the covenant and carried it to Ashdod. Friend, improper faith is powerless to change or save! We cannot place our faith in our parents’ religion or even the actions of our own religious practice. Our faith must be in God! Baptism saves us because it is an act of faith in God (cf 1 Pet 3:21; Col 2:11-12). I don’t believe in baptism; I believe in the God who commanded baptism for remission of sins! If you recall from our New Testament reading two days ago, the Jews had the same problem regarding their faith toward the temple and the gold in it (Matt 23:16-17).
New Testament reading: Matthew 26
“You search the scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life, and these are they which testify of Me” (John 5:39). Matthew 26 contains the fulfillment of several Messianic prophecies… “They weighed out for my wages thirty pieces of silver” (Zech 11:12). This was fulfilled in the agreement between Judas and the chief priests to betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver (vv 14-16). “Strike the shepherd; and the sheep will be scattered” (Zech 13:7). Jesus expressly foretold of the fulfillment of this prophecy in Matthew 26:31, and it was fulfilled in verse 56, “Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled.” Though there are others, we will conclude here with the fulfillment of Psalm 41:9, “Even my old familiar friend, in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.” This prophecy of David was also fulfilled in Judas’ agreement in verses 14-16. The fulfillment of these prophecies only serves to strengthen our faith in God and the Divine record.