Reading #1 – Exodus 9
Reading #2 – Psalms 41
Reading #3 – Proverbs 27
Reading #4 – Daniel 11
Reading #5 – Romans 14
Exodus 9 – Egyptian Cattle Die. If it were bad enough that the nation was inflicted by the frogs and blood-sucking insects, now all of the cattle will die. Like the previous plague, the livestock in Israel was not harmed but all of the Egyptian animals that were in the field died (3-7). The plague of boils inflicted the Egyptians personally and caused them great pain and agony (10-12). G_d did not have to bring the plagues on Egypt, all he had to do was stretch out his hand and the nation would be obliterated. The reason He didn’t was to show Pharaoh and Moses the power of the Almighty (14-16). The next plague would be “Hail”. The Egyptians were warned to get their animals into the barn quickly so that the animals would not die (19-20). When the hail dropped, it killed off vegetation which was how the nation got its food supply (30-`35).
Psalms 41 – Of Enemies and False Friends. Enemies and false friends are a reality in this world. While the wicked behavior exists and is more often than not amplified, we are still directed by our King to live for Him in this world. If we keep our eyes on the Lord and walk towards the kingdom, He will direct our hearts for our good (1-3). False friends are a bigger thorn than enemies because they appear to be for us but their motives speak louder than their words because they talk good about us to our face but share our secrets with the world (6). These two will cause us to stumble but if we do not give up hope G_d will come through for us and the enemies and false friends will be speechless (7-12). Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, From everlasting to everlasting [from this age to the next, and forever]. Amen and Amen (so be it) (13).
Proverbs 27 – Warnings and Instructions. We are to be an example of a witness for the Kingdom of G_d. To accomplish this, we need to live by His principles so that fruit can grow that will benefit the world around us. If we boast about the things we do for the Lord but do not do them, we are telling the world “I am superficial”. We are not immune from the temptation to be jealous and the Devil knows just how to bring it out and will keep pulling on the string until fights break out like the example of Aaron and Miriam (4, Numbers 12:1-3). When we are reprimanded, it isn’t easy to accept because we want to defend ourselves instead of listening and learning (5-6).
Daniel 11 – Conflicts to come. Gabriel is telling Daniel about the coming 3 kings that will arise from the current king. I believe the point of the message was to outline the events that would unfold over the next few hundred years and how they would affect Israel. The kings that will be coming will bring further conflicts to the world. Alexander the Great of Greece will arise to conquer the known world between 334 and 323 BC; he was a power-hungry man whose quest for power ended with his death. Alexander the great would bring about a Hellenistic period in which the beliefs and libraries of the nations that are conquered would be included in the Greek beliefs. After Alexander died, the kingdom was divided into four kingdoms as his army commanders fought for control or dominion (3-4). In that time, just as it is in ours, the strong rise to take dominion over the weak. Where the problem enters is when two alpha males fight for control. Hellenism would prevail throughout the world and would continue to be a problem well into the 1st century AD. Each of the succeeding kings would rise to take dominion some through intrigue others through familial relations but, just as quickly as they arise, they disappear by death or defeat. I strongly encourage you to read this chapter and notice the key players.
Romans 14 – Principles of Conscience. In every fellowship, some people are strong in their faith, and some are weak in faith. Because of this, we need to be very careful what we do and what we say (1-4). When it comes to Sabbath, it is a personal choice of which day is our “day of rest”. When it comes to food, some say “eat everything” and others “some meat is an offense to G_d” and will not eat it. When we are in fellowship we need to respect other people’s beliefs and customs by not trampling on them (5-9). When it comes to brothers and sisters, the only debt we should ever owe is a debt of gratitude. The purpose of the church is to uplift the family and strengthen them. It is easy to criticize but it serves only to break bonds of fellowship and all the spirit of confrontation to divide families. Each of us will stand before the Lord and He will judge us by the way we lived our lives not what foods we were eating or the day we chose as “Sabbath” (17-21). Faith in G_d allows us to chose the boundaries of our life that is, “what we believe”. The thing that we always need to keep in the forefront of our mind is, “How can I serve” and “how can I uplift” (22-23).