Reading #1 – Exodus 1
Reading #2 – Psalms 33
Reading #3 – Proverbs 19
Reading #4 – Daniel 3
Reading #5 – Romans 6
Exodus 1 – Israel Multiplies in Egypt. Seventy people entered Goshen in the time of Joseph (1-5). After the deaths of the brothers, the nation grew in size until it potentially outnumbered the Egyptians. When the “new King” came to power who had not heard about how Joseph saved the nation and was owed a great deal of gratitude, saw the nation Israel as a threat and a chance to enslave the nation (6-7). While the date is uncertain when Exodus happened, suffice it to say that between 300 – 500 years have passed since Joseph so it made sense that the king didn’t know about him. The placing of harsh taskmasters over the nation served two purposes, to keep the people busy and reduce the chance of being overrun (9-11). The problem was that the pure size of the nation coupled with the number of children that were born created cracks in Pharaoh’s plans. To avert a catastrophe, Pharaoh concocted a plan to thwart growth at the source “the midwives”; these women were told, “kill the male babies but let the females live” (15-17). What Pharaoh had not counted on was that the midwives feared the G_d of the Universe and refused to do what Pharaoh mandated (18-19, Joshua 24:14-15). Because the women took a bold stance even though they resorted to a “white lie”, G_d gave them the desires of their heart. After the plan to kill by the hand of the midwives had failed, the order was given to the army to kill the male children (22).
Psalms 33 – Praise to the Creator and Preserver. Rejoice in the LORD! We can place our hope and trust in the LORD at all times even when there is no hope (1). Just because the world is on the razor’s edge of destruction doesn’t mean His children need to follow suit. Israel was enslaved by Egypt and there wasn’t much hope to be found but G_d was still at work in the hearts and minds of those who refused to give in to despair. When we give thanks to the LORD, it isn’t “mere words” but trust that no matter bad things got, the LORD was still at work (2-3). Because the LORD G_d made this world and all of the things in it, how much more so can he hold our lives together (6-9)? The changes to our world, including the rise and fall of kingdoms, are by design (11-12). Nothing that man has, is, or will build will last forever even the mighty USA (14-16). Mankind does what he/she has always done, believe that their prowess, strength, and money will accomplish the evil plans of their heart. The unknown variable is, “the hand of the LORD” which, like Babel (Genesis 11:1-9), ends in ruins and future generations try to figure out why we built ___. Our strength today and all of our tomorrows is not our wealth, strength, or prestige, it is a relationship with the LORD all of the days of our life (18-22).
Proverbs 19 – On Life and Conduct. What we do in life and how we do it will either bring us honor or shame (Mike krier). Out of impulse, Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery so when they found themselves in the presence of Joseph the governor, it caused trepidation or fearing for their life (2). When we destroy our lives and that of our families, it is a common human behavior to blame G_d for the destruction. Blaming G_d is easy because He is not physically present so he becomes a strawman (3). The problem is that while we are blaming G_d, we are still doing the things that got us into trouble not realizing how close to the edge we are getting. All of the wealth of the world will not overcome foolishness because it picks at the fabric until the pieces are separated like marriage, jobs, families, and nations (11, 13).
Daniel 3 –. Nebuchadnezzar was a proud and arrogant individual. To honor himself, he had a gold-plated image created that stood about 90’ X 9’ wide and the people had to bow down to it when the instruments played (1, 4-5). Everybody but Shadrach, Meshech, and Abednego bowed down to the image. Because these three men were consultants to Daniel, the prefects and satraps sought to discredit them and the Jews. The punishment for not bowing down to the image was that person was placed in a furnace and burned up. The king offered the men a chance to redeem themselves but they chose to honor the LORD’s command over the king’s command. For this reason, the furnace was turned up seven times hotter than it normally would be. The trio was bound hand and foot and was carried by three strong young men. The excessive heat killed the strong men so the trio was tossed into the fire. Nebuchadnezzar looked in the fire and saw four men dancing in the flames which were bewildering because only three men were put into the fire; so, he called his court to see this to make sure he wasn’t seeing things. When the trio was called out of the fire, their clothes were not burned up and there their skin was not singed (23-26). (28-30).
Romans 6 – Believers Are Dead to Sin, Alive to G_d. As children of G_d, we are called to a higher moral standard. It is impossible to live in this world and not make mistakes or commit sin; the only one to ever accomplish this, according to scripture is Jesus the Son of the Living G_d. Grace, or unmerited unearned favor, helps us through the times when we think we are doing the right thing but do it wrong (A case study of Job). Grace is something that doesn’t get stronger when we exercise it or push G_d to extremes (1-2). Being forgiven is not the end of the matter, it is a springboard to higher ground (3-4). Sin is like a poison that infects everything around it and everything takes on its smell nothing and no one is immune to its effects. For this reason, we are called away from the area that infected our hearts and to come to the light so that whatever weight we are carrying, it can be forgiven (10-11). Choosing not to go back into sin is a personal choice one that the H.S. will guide us (12-14) but we have the ultimate responsibility. G_d’s laws were written in the time of Moses but stem from the events as early as Adam and Eve. When we read from the Bible the stories of David’s, Saul’s, Adam and Eve’s, and other such people’s failures, we see clearly why we are told not to ________. Before we came to the cross, we didn’t know G_d’s laws nor did we care; however, after we came to the cross, we had an impetus or reason why we were at the cross and would not want to go back through those terrible times (20-23).