Reading #1 – Exodus 22
Reading #2 – Psalms 54
Reading #3 – Ecclesiastes 4
Reading #4 – Hosea 13
Reading #5 – 1 Corinthians 11
Exodus 22 – Property Rights. The goal or purpose for going to such extremes as to mention the items that cause problems in the community is that there would be peace. Theft, improper accountability for their animals and family, and personal accountability separates community members into factions. Making oaths, at that time, just like it should be even in this time, was a matter of personal integrity. The person invoking an oath or covenant was responsible for honoring it (5-6). When a person was given an animal or cloak to hold onto for a pledge or safekeeping, he/she was accountable for the item to ensure it was given back in the shape it was given in (7-10).
Psalms 54 – Prayer for Defense against Enemies. This didactic or reflective poem speaks to the heart of David. David was on the run from Saul and not everybody was a friend. So when David reflected back on the situation, he had to know that he would have to do one of two things give up or dig in, he chose to dig in and put his trust in the Lord (1-3). The same G_d who kept safe when he was a shepherd in the mountains would also be the one to hold him amid this threatening situation (4-5). A freewill offering is given without compulsion and out of a desire to please his G_d (6-7).
Ecclesiastes 4 – The Evils of Oppression. When we live our life to please ourselves, we gain everything but lose everything too. If the oppressor and the oppressed are tied by the common bind “I have no comforter” then, they will end with the same problem: I die alone (1-3). Solomon was looking at life from a distance so that he could see the problem and the solution (4-6). “Vanity” means “excessive pride in one’s appearance or accomplishments”. According to the Teacher, mankind is all about his/her vanity and how it destroys they destroy their lives without considering helping others (7-8). For this reason, we admonished to unite with others so that by our strong suit we can face the storms of life (9-13). Earthly leadership will never bring us closer to G_d and no matter who is in power, people will not be happy and will find something to complain about (16).
Hosea 13 – Ephraim’s Idolatry. Ephraimites were listed above or ahead of the other tribes in Israel because of Joseph the righteous their ancestor. From the time of the conquest in Canaan, the nation had become reckless, disobedient, and rebellious (1-3). Though the nation was like Assyria concerning “idolatry”, it would not stop Assyria from attacking and conquering them. While the nation was defeated and enslaved by Assyria, this was not a part of G_d’s plan but their repeated actions said, “I want to live like the world enslaved to a worthless idol and have my strings pulled by the Puppet Master the Devil of old (4-6). Samaria or the Northern kingdom of Israel had been misled by Jeroboam the son of Nebat but the people willingly followed his lead only to find out in the end that all they really got was a worthless idol to carry around with them. In the end, the 10 tribes of Israel would dissipate into history most to be never seen or heard from again (15-16). A lion, according to research, is highly territorial that is, it will not let other lions or predators enter their domain. In the same way, G_d is highly territorial of his domain, the earth and specifically Canaan, and the peoples of the earth (7-8).
1 Corinthians 11 – Christian Order. In the New Testament specifically the time of the Apostles, the world had been changed by one man, Jesus the son of Joseph and Mary a “Carpenter’s Son”. Jesus’ example was guided by G_d’s laws, the poetic words of David King of Israel, the wisdom of Solomon, the words of the Prophets, and the examples of fallen mankind. Likewise, Paul is the Overseer of the church at Corinth and he followed Jesus’ example (1-2). For Paul, Jesus was his headship or his Commander and king; these were not idle words or “beautiful poetry”, Paul had a firm conviction about who and who was not the Lord of the church and of his life (3). For the church to survive the onslaught to come, it needed to have a firm understanding of where its authority lied just like the example of the commander who came to ask Jesus to heal his servant (Matthew 8:9). The institution of the Lord’s supper goes back to the “Last Supper”. The meal was a reminder of what Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection meant to the church and the body as a whole (23-32). When the people ate the bread and drank the wine, the resurrection became personal and was to be taken with sincerity and deep appreciation (33).