Reading #1 – Exodus 6
Reading #2 – Psalms 38
Reading #3 – Proverbs 24
Reading #4 – Daniel 8
Reading #5 – Romans 11
Exodus 6 – G_d Promises Action. Moses and Aaron tried to get Pharaoh’s attention to deliver the LORD’s message, only for it to fall on deaf ears. Instead of releasing the people, Pharaoh made their chores more difficult by making them scour Egypt for the straw to make bricks (Exodus 5:6-9). By the LORD intervening only after Moses and Aaron tried by their power, I believe the purpose was to show even these two men the difference between the Holy and the Common (Reference to the requirement of the Priests Ezekiel 44:23). When the people first heard about “being released”, they were jubilant and would have danced all of the ways out of Egypt until the first crisis occurred sort of like what would happen at the Red Sea. The purpose of the escape from Egypt was for the people to inherit the promised land of Canaan where Jacob and his family lived as tenants in the land (2-4). Nothing that happened in Egypt up to and including Moses’ first attempt at speaking to Pharaoh escaped the LORD’s attention (6-7). The king of Egypt was an arrogant individual who inherited the work of Joseph and those that went after him he thought, “I will raise my fist to the Lord of Heaven and Earth and no one will defeat me (Job 15:24-26). The problem was that Moses fighting a two-front war because Pharaoh wasn’t about to let the slaves go anywhere and the people weren’t about to go with Moses (8-9). The LORD sent Moses to Pharaoh a 2nd time with the same message except for this time, the LORD would take action. Of course, Moses reiterated his complaint about the inability to speak trying any port in a storm to get out of the mission (28-30).
Psalms 38 – The writer, David is enduring a time of discipline which, on the surface appears to be the worst thing that could possibly happen (1-3). Discipline is likened to a mirror in that it helps the willing student to see his/her actions in the light of truth. David would find out the hard way why G_d’s commands seem so strict; had he listened the first time, he would have had no reason to utter Psalms 51, Israel would never have been inflicted with a plague, and/or the normal succession of the throne would have gone to the rightful heir. Sin is the leading cause of premature aging, illness, and injuries (4-7). On the surface, sin seems to be “fun” and “adventurous” but, it is diabolical because it seeps into the soul of man until the sin and the victim become “one person”; that is, the man/woman makes decisions, acts, and decides important matters given the sin because, should the sin be uncovered, it will create chaos in the victim’s life (9-12). David is praying that the LORD would deliver him and G_d did and like the Red Sea, David was led through it but he did not come out unscathed. The king understood that his actions brought trouble to the kingdom and so he repented and he still faced several more challenges (16-22).
Proverbs 24 – Precepts and Warnings. G_d’s desire for his people to avoid sin is not so that they become “poster children” but that they may live in peace. It was for this reason that He sent Moses to lead them into Canaan – The Land Flowing with Milk and Honey. The thing is, even in the “Land flowing with milk and honey” there were also briars and thorns in the form of the heathen nations or, “Goyim”. Because evil has always existed not just in Canaan but in every place man has set foot and conquered, the Teacher instructs or disciplines his students so that they are equipped to face the world’s mess (1-4). The best way to defeat sin in its tracks is to get counsel, discipline, and instruction in righteousness (5-6).
Daniel 8 – The Vision of the Ram and the Goat. This was the 3rd year that Co-Regent Balshezzar reigned over Babylon. The kingdom was for all practical purposes “on its ear” and about to fail. So Daniel receives a vision about a ram that has two horns and one grew higher than the other. The bigger horn was the Medes under King Darius who would ascend the throne after King Cyrus. The vision portrayed the land charging east, west, north, and south and had no limitations or someone to tell him “stop what you are doing”. So the ram acquired a great amount of land and kingdoms including the Beautiful land – Israel (1-4). After this, Daniel saw a rough-looking goat with an imposing horn. The goat or Alexander the Great defeated the ram and acquired Babylon along with the survivors of Jerusalem. The goat would die at an early age because he refused to stop his conquest to rest. After Alexander, four more horns or nations would arise one for each of the four winds of heaven. The “little horn” Antiochus IV Epiphanes), took the empire by intrigue or deception. Antiochus, a Hellenistic king, would stop the daily sacrifice partly because G_d’s people either didn’t care or were so engrained in their sinful practices that they didn’t see what was coming. Antiochus’ name was Mithridates the son of Antiochus the III and would reign from 175 – 164 BC or a little over midway through the 400 years of silence (9-14). The interpretation of the dream talked about the days that would lay ahead for the nation and if they were not continually careful all that they sacrificed for would be lost (15-18).
Romans 11 – Israel Is Not Cast Away. G_d has never abandoned His people either the Jew or the Gentile. This does not imply that there are no problems between His people and Himself (1-3) because many who were called “children of Abraham” walked in disobedience. When Paul could no longer talk to the Jews without being attacked for being a “turn-coat”, he went to the Gentile nations which created a stir among the Jewish communities. Despite the number of people that had turned their backs on Him, G_d still maintained 7000 who did not bow a knee to Baal which, was about a 10th of the overall nation. These people, just like many Christians, tripped over the cornerstone which was in the right place even if the wall was not (7). The failure of Jesus’ family to see the time of the LORD opened the door for the Gentiles to receive the message and then they reached out to the Jews. The problem comes into play when the Gentile nations become arrogant and attack the Jews not knowing that the same LORD that called the Gentiles also called the Jews (11-16). In light of this, we as children of G_d need to carefully consider our life and ministry so that we do not fall in disfavor with the LORD (17-21).