Reading #1 – Exodus 20
Reading #2 – Psalms 52
Reading #3 – Ecclesiastes 2
Reading #4 – Hosea 11
Reading #5 – 1 Corinthians 9
Exodus 20 – The 10 Commandments. When we decide to follow Jesus, we must understand that some things offend G_d and abhorrent to the throne. The Lord brought Israel out of Egypt, defeated Pharaoh and the hordes of Egypt. For this reason, all of Israel owed their lives to G_d. Remember, it wasn’t “multiple G_ds” that carried the nation, it was “one G_d” or “Ha Shem Adonai” (2-3). Man did not form G_d, G_d formed man and because of this, there is no idol to honor him He is to be worshipped because of what He did in our lives (4-6). When accepting G_d’s invitation into His Kingdom, we must understand that above all names, He is to be worshipped not used for name dropping (7). We are given a day of rest to rebuild the broken walls of relationships, fulfill the needs of others, uplift others, and heal the wounds (8-11). Pleasing G_d is more than words, it is intertwined with how we treat others, the respect we have for ourselves, and that of our family, community, and nation (12-17). The people were gathered to the mountain to hear from G_d to show them that Moses was not like the other “so-called leaders” who preached false worship and the introduction of idols. The problem is, the people became alarmed that this G_d would destroy them when there was nothing to fear. After witnessing a minute part of G_d’s power, they said “you talk to Him, tell us what He requires, and we’ll do it (18-21). The balance of the chapter addresses the things the nation would be required in the normal course of their life. The people were told how to live a Holy life in an unholy world (22-26).
Psalms 52 – Futility of Boastful Wickedness. The tongue is the weakest muscle in the body but is also the most dangerous weapon devised by man but created by G_d. When you read the Word of G_d, you must understand that everything speaks of “end results”. The wicked person is destroyed immediately just like walking in step with the Lord does not mean that “you become rich immediately”. So the wicked boasts of the stuff he/she possesses and grows richer develop a meaner following and hurts people by the move of his/her hand (1-3). While the wicked person is at the pinnacle of their glory, he/she will never relent because they think that their run will never end sort of like Nebuchadnezzar (4-5, Daniel 4:28-32). Don’t be mistaken, there is nothing wrong with possessing wealth or riches, it is when they start to possess you that the problem begins. The person who uses their wealth/income or riches to help people in this world will find greater joy stability if not, then when that person dies their wealth will go to people who did not work for it (6-9, Luke 16:9).
Ecclesiastes 2 – The Futility of Pleasure and Possessions. To put it bluntly, “Solomon became bored with life”. Solomon knew the G_d’s law and was in no way confused about the difference between sin and righteousness; the problem is, what do you do when you perceive you have done everything (3-8)? The answer is, you start doing the wrong thing to find out why G_d’s law says “don’t do ____” (9-11). At the end of Solomon’s life, we find out that the righteous king became a foolish man and lost everything he and his father had worked for. When we cross the line into sin, no matter, even if we do it as “an experiment”, we find out why G_d in his providence gave us laws to live by (12-17).
Hosea 11 – G_d is the Loving Father of His People. When your children go as far away from you as they can they possibly get by disobedient and unruly, as a parent you have choices to make. You can put up with the child’s misbehavior and let them play you like a fool or, you will let them go their way to learn their lesson(s). Israel from the time of Moses to the time of their downfall had been a constant nagging headache (1-4, 12). The nation was warned multiple times by multiple prophets yet, they would not change their behavior but still wanted to live by the name “chosen ones” only to find themselves chosen for disaster (5-7). The exile should never have happened, it was never in G_d’s playbook but what do you do when the people said by their actions “go away G_d, don’t tell us about righteousness”! Because sin has a price tag attached to it, someone had to pay it, enter the perfect Lamb Jesus the Messiah of G_d (8-11).
1 Corinthians 9 – Paul’s Use of Liberty. Paul was an Apostle who made his living preaching the word. The church benefited from his ministry and by Mosaic law, he was entitled to some subsistence (1-7). Remember, the church at Corinth was in constant battle with the influence of the world and would be confused on many matters. When Paul spoke to the church, everybody read the message and, to those it applied, they had work to do. Paul was not trying to line his pockets and nor was he drumming up a collection because it would be done with the wrong heart. The preaching of the word was free which feeds the church but, the world does not accept “payment by preaching the word” (16-18). Paul was being excoriated for being a Jew and a Gentile depending on who he was talking to. The church at Corin was a Gentile church with a smattering of Messianic Jews or, “those who accepted the saving message” (19-23). Paul completely understood the importance of his ministry and did not want it impugned simply because “someone was offended”. The word that was preached was also the same word Paul lived by as to live it in and out of the eyes of the church and the world, he was not “two separate people” (24-27).