Reading #1 – Exodus 17
Reading #2 – Psalms 49
Reading #3 – Lamentations 4
Reading #4 – Hosea 8
Reading #5 – 1 Corinthians 6
Exodus 17 – Water in the Rock. The nation was traveling through the desert which is not known for its water supply. The nation was thirsty and when there was no water to be found, they became upset once again (1-2). One of the basic needs of the body is “water” and when it is not available the body becomes dehydrated. This condition led the people to quarrel with Moses and ask “is the Lord with us or not”? Moses in turn cried out to the Lord for help and was told to take his staff and hit the rock (3-6). The rock was named Massah or “test” and Meribah or “contention” as a reminder to the people (7). Because there was no way to record the event, landmarks like the name of the rock were visual reminders to the people. During the battle with Amalek at Rephidim, Moses put Joshua in charge of the battle. Moses sat on a hillside overlooking the battlefield with the staff of G_d in his hand. The success or defeat of the battle depended on how long Moses could hold up his hand. When he held up his hand, Israel prevailed consequently, when his hand grew weary, Amalek prevailed. In the end, Israel won the battle and the events were recorded for Joshua’s sake (14-15). Key name mentioned: Jehovah Nissi “The Lord is my banner”.
Psalms 49 – The Folly of Trusting in Riches. Possessing riches and wealth, although being fodder for Pulpit propaganda, is not wrong. Where the person gets into trouble is when his/her possessions possess them (7-8). “Trusting in the Lord” because the snares of the world play on our emotions and pander to our fears. So, when we see people garnering wealth at the expense of others, we are told “don’t be afraid of them” because they can’t take it with them so somebody else will inherit it (5-8, 16-20). While we live, we can name places after ourselves for as long as we have the power and prestige to do it. After we die, those place names can and will be changed when mandated by social/economic changes demand it (10-12). When we put our trust in anything or anyone but G_d and His eternal word, we are setting ourselves up for failure at some point in time (13-15).
Lamentations 4 – Distress and the Siege Described. In the waning years of Judah’s autonomy, the king led the people to believe in an immortal reign or “one that would not die” (20). While we may possess the amount of income to continue our lifestyle, prolonged attacks will eat away at our resources eventually. If the attacks existed for a moment, we would pay our way out of it sort of like 2020 however, when the attacks are prolonged, the money dwindles, the food supplies diminish, we become disheveled, and then nobody comes to our rescue because we have become a liability. Modern-day readers might think that the prophet Jeremiah was crazy and was simply embellishing his claim however, that is not the case. Soddom and Gomorrah were destroyed in a moment or a brief time but Judah’s attack went on for over 2 years. During the attack, the water and food supply was halted and people became prisoners in Jerusalem. Remember, the farm fields were outside the city so the product could not be delivered so the people went hungry. When people are hungry long enough, they will do whatever it takes to salve the pain but eventually, they will do the unthinkable. The biggest problem was the water supply which was blocked up. Without water, the people not only become thirsty, but they also become filthy, people were wounded in battle and could not be healed, and then sanitary issues become a problem causing illness to break out in the city (1-8).
Hosea 8 – Israel Reaps the Whirlwind. In Proverbs, it warns the reader about bringing trouble into our home (Proverbs 11:29). Israel as a nation and an autonomous kingdom inherited the whirlwind which stemmed from their desire “to be like all of the other nations”. The false prophets promised victories that never materialized. People were put in places of leadership that should never have been allowed, they established a national idol that only served to further the nation’s destruction (4-7). The nation’s population and resources were immense but, over time both were stripped away until the nation was but a shell and subject to destruction (8-9). The sin of Israel spread to Judah through marriage which united the two kingdoms on tenuous terms (10-14, 1 Kings 22:41-53).
1 Corinthians 6 – Law Suits Discouraged. Lawsuits, in general, bring discord between 2 or more opposing parties. Paul is encouraging the church to talk to each other and reason on disputes without bringing in the legal system. If we cannot solve our differences, then we are no better than the world we are called out of. G_d’s intention for us is that we would live to please him and therefore bring peace to the world around us but how can we do that when there is a triad with a judge from the world? The world judges by following its laws however, the person with the most power or power of persuasion can persuade the jury to convict the innocent person and that’s what happened to Jesus (4-8, Luke 23:23-25). When we “judge angels”, we are saying “I am covered in the blood of the lamb, and my sins are forgiven for all of my sins”. Unfortunately, the world doesn’t see it that way and for that reason, there is and will always be a bone of contention between us (9-11). Our body belongs to the Lord and we need to treat it as such. The reference to “marrying a prostitute” points to the spiritual condition of Corinth. Undoubtedly, the battle against the “culture of the world around us” is one of the most difficult battles to win. When we consider the battle, we need to consider what is at stake and who will be hurt by our actions. Sexual unions, while pleasing for the moment, lead to the conception of children eventually and those kids will be continual reminders of our sinful actions (15-18, Hosea 1).