Reading #1 – Exodus 11
Reading #2 – Psalms 43
Reading #3 – Proverbs 29
Reading #4 – Hosea 1
Reading #5 – Romans 16
Exodus 11 – The Last Plague. The ongoing struggle between G_d and Pharaoh would boil down to the one thing Pharaoh could not ignore or pray away and that was, the death of his son (4-6). This singular plague, unlike the other plagues, was permanent. Moses was told to have the nation request items of silver and gold from the Egyptian neighbors and they were quite willing to give them (2-3). The final exchange between Pharaoh and Moses ignited the fuse that would cause Pharaoh to see “who had the power and who did not”. Initially, the word to Pharaoh was “Let my people go” now it was “your servants will come and bow down before me and beg me to leave and then I will leave” (8, Exodus 5:1). Remember what I said about how the Devil will always push his pigeon to the edge of no return and that is where Pharaoh is (9-10).
Psalms 43 – Prayer for Rescue. Undoubtedly, one of the hardest battles to fight is the one you cannot see or have a firm grasp of. If the battle were over a transgression, it could be dealt with quickly; however, when it comes to deceitful people there you cannot always decipher what is going on or, “what do they want”? The problem with deceitful people is that is very easy to pay deceit with deceit and end up with a mess like Jacob (1). G_d’s word encourages us to turn from anger so that it doesn’t cause us to step into the trap (Psalms 37:8-9). We will never defeat the Devil by our ingenuity, gift of gab, and/or wisdom for that, we need the light of G_d’s wisdom leading up to, into, and out of trouble. Without His wisdom and guidance, we would never find the altar of G_d and would find ourselves worshiping at the altar of “opinion” (2-4). When we have set our heart on pilgrimage, we can be assured not with the evidence in hand but with the bond of unshakable faith (5).
Proverbs 29 – Warnings and Instructions (V 1-3). When I look at the life of Pharaoh Rameses II of Egypt, I see a broken prideful man who, although having seen all of the wonders, still refused to bow before the Lord. Pharaoh Rameses was not the only man in history to fall on his sword because of “pride” he is simply a “poster child” or an example that is held up like a mirror for us to see. G_d takes no pleasure in the destruction of mankind no matter who he/she is (Ezekiel 33:11). The problem is, we hold in our hands the power to change direction or keep going to our demise (1-2). The Devil is a very real entity and will do his best to get us to destroy ourselves by our foolishness, pride, and arrogance.
Hosea 1 – Hosea’s Wife and Children. The Prophet Hosea was told to marry a prostitute or promiscuous woman which is in stark disagreement with the law of the priesthood (2-3, Leviticus 21:7-8). The Lord had tried to get through to the nation by the Word of the Lord but that failed because sin closes its ears to righteousness. So, Hosea marries Gomer and the daughter of Diblaim. According to the JWA encyclopedia, Gomer means “Lust with her” and Diblaim is a derivative of the “develah” or “fig cake”; so, the implication was that Gomer was as sweet as a fig-cake or had been flattened like one” (JWA.ORG). Remember, Israel at that time was an idolatrous nation under the leading of Jeroboam. So this woman Gomer who was the “talk of the town” became a prominent member of society through Hosea. The man and wife had three children Jezreel, Lo-Ruhamah, and Lo-Ami. Jezreel symbolized the coming battle in the valley of Jezreel that would break Israel’s battle bow “Jehu” (4-5). Lo-Ruhamah resembled G_d’s unwillingness to have mercy on the nation as it was being defeated (6-7). Lo-Ammi or, “not my people” symbolized the breaking of Israel’s independence and the formation of the remnant of Israel (8-11).
Romans 16 – Greetings and Love Expressed. Paul’s letter to the Roman church was written about 57-58 CE to the fledgling church. In the 16 chapters, the church is being encouraged to grow up in the Lord. In the closing paragraphs, the church is reminded about the people that are serving in the church and to help them in their mission (1-2). Although Paul planted the church, it took many people to develop the ministry and to help the people grow in faith. Rome was not a “holy city”, it was an “unholy city” so the people would struggle against the forces of evil in their city (17-18). Now to Him who can establish and strengthen you [in the faith] according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery [of the plan of salvation] which has been kept secret for long ages past, but now has been disclosed and through the prophetic Scriptures has been made known to all the nations, according to the commandment of the eternal G_d, leading them to obedience to the faith, to the only wise G_d, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forevermore! Amen (Romans 16:25-27).