Reading #1 – Exodus 31
Reading #2 – Psalms 24
Reading #3 – Proverbs 6
Reading #4 – Amos 9
Reading #5 – 1 Thessalonians 2
Exodus 31 – One of the many great things about living in the Kingdom of God is that he never asks us to shoulder the burden all by ourselves. Ministry takes many hands to build but only one set of hands to destroy (a topic for another time). The building of the temple would take not only materials, but it would also take time and manhours. Bezalel from the tribe of Judah and Oholiab of the tribe of Dan was to help Moses because they had the skills to do the work. I noticed that the Lord mentions these two men and not Moses; I think this is significant because, “Unless the Lord builds the house, the laborers work in vain” (Psalms 127:1). These two men would have a cast of thousands to help them do the work. I believe this brought relief to Moses because, if I were him, my eyes would be like silver dollars wondering how on earth I would ever accomplish such a project. Moreover, I have given special skills to all the gifted craftsmen so they can make all the things I have commanded you to make all of the articles (6-11). The Lord’s appointed day of rest is introduced as an abiding regulation. The project and the days ahead would be very difficult for the people, so a day is set aside to do no regular work. This would be a day to remove the burdens so that people and the animals could endure whatever storms faced them. This is a covenant obligation for all time. “It is a permanent sign of my covenant with the people of Israel. For in six days, the Lord made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day he stopped working and was refreshed (17 NLT).” The Sabbath is still in play today albeit people are not put to death, some work themselves to an early death.
Psalms 24 – As the builder of the earth and everything in it, God has the ultimate authority to do what he pleases with the earth and this includes who he gives stewardship to. In the garden of Eden, the man was given authority to name the plants and wildlife (Genesis 2:19-20). As Lord of the earth, He knows how it all works, what it takes to care for them, and what it takes to restore the earth. God can also set the rules and tenants of the kingdom. Who may climb the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? Only those whose hands and hearts are pure, who do not worship idols and never tell lies. They will receive the Lord’s blessing and have a right relationship with God their savior. Such people may seek you and worship in your presence, O God of Jacob (3-6 NLT). When we walk in obedience to the Lord, we can say with authority, Open up, ancient gates! Open up, ancient doors, and let the King of glory enter. Who is the King of glory? The Lord, strong and mighty; the Lord, invincible in battle. Open up, ancient gates! Open up, ancient doors, and let the King of glory enter. Who is the King of glory? The Lord of Heaven’s Armies—he is the King of glory (7-10).
Proverbs 6 – Having freedom in life is predicated upon the things we do either to keep us from the entrapment or further propel us into it (1-5). It is a funny thing about wisdom, it is learned not because someone had an ingenious idea rather, it was because of past events that had caused issues for the writer. When a father gives his child wisdom, it doesn’t mean the father was without faults rather, it is a warning to never go down the road to the place of sin. The references to adultery stem back to the sorted affair of David and Solomon’s mother Bathsheba. The father does not go into the whole affair with his son rather, he says “Don’t go down there”. The child could put up an argument that “He needed it and she was willing” yet, it would not hold water in a court of law or in the court of “vengeance”. “My son, obey your father’s commands, and don’t neglect your mother’s instruction (20 NLT).”
Amos 9 – Israel’s demise and the destruction of the once “Beaulah land”. All sin is the same in the eyes of God just as all man is the same in God’s eyes. Israel loved to proclaim themselves as “God’s chosen” yet, here they were at the point of decimation. “Strike the tops of the Temple columns, so that the foundation will shake. Bring down the roof on the heads of the people below. I will kill with the sword those who survive. No one will escape (1 NLT)!”. This “no one” meant every soul in Israel would face the same judgment and this would include the righteous and unrighteous alike. “Are you Israelites more important to me than the Ethiopians?[“ asks the Lord.“I brought Israel out of Egypt, but I also brought the Philistines from Crete and led the Arameans out of Kir.“I, the Sovereign Lord, am watching this sinful nation of Israel. I will destroy it from the face of the earth. But I will never completely destroy the family of Israel,” says the Lord (7-8 NLT). Israel would come back albeit much smaller and would-be tenants in the land rather than owners and would serve another kingdom and provide for the needs of the kingdom in authority as well as their own.
1 Thessalonians 2 – Paul put a lot of thought, prayer, and manhours to help build the church at Thessalonica. In this passage, Paul outlines his managerial style which included providing for his own needs by putting his “tentmaker skills” to work. Paul could have been like the many church leaders of the time and demanded the people give money to them but, what would be the outcome? As managers and caretakers of the people, Paul understood the direct consequences of being “on the take” instead of giving like a child of Abraham could only do. For this reason, the church was flourishing and the desire to know God and be baptized into his Kingdom would come as naturally as a plant growing in the good earth. As apostles of Christ, we certainly had a right to make some demands of you, but instead, we were like children[b] among you. Or we were like a mother feeding and caring for her own children. We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God’s Good News but our own lives, too (7-8 NLT). Paul would not have said these things unless there was a reason for it like, “having his ministry called into question”. When there is dissension in the church, it opens the door for every evil spirit known or unknown to come in and rattle the church. Paul wrapped up his letter that is echoed in Hebrews 12:2 After all, what gives us hope and joy, and what will be our proud reward and crown as we stand before our Lord Jesus when he returns? It is you! Yes, you are our pride and joy (19-20 NLT).