Reading #1 – Exodus 23
Reading #2 – Psalms 55
Reading #3 – Ecclesiastes 5
Reading #4 – Hosea 14
Reading #5 – 1 Corinthians 12
Exodus 23 – Various Laws. G_d’s laws are not limited to a certain time period but are effective in all generations. Sin is a blight that starts small and then grows until every square inch of the righteous person is ruined. In light of this, it is important to note that all of His laws carry the mandate “Do not” or “do” or, “Let your yes be “yes” and your no be “no” (Matthew 5:37). When it comes to our testimony, it must be “correct” and “unbias” the reason is, people’s lives hang in the balance and we will never know who we are hurting. Remember, every man, woman, and child on this planet belongs to G_d and if we hurt even the smallest or the oldest, we are hurting the heart of G_d (1-8, Matthew 18:2-6). The nation was put on notice about what they did with strangers in the land because the 12 tribes would have intimate knowledge of what it is like to be a stranger in the land (9). The practice of celebrating the Sabbath that was started before the nation left Egypt would be carried on into the new land and beyond (10-13). Three feasts were ordained as special days: unleavened bread, booths/tabernacles, and first-fruits (14-19). The nation is warned about offending the Commander of Heaven’s armies that would be going with them into the new land. The fruits of obedience were: one would put a thousand to flight, the land would be blessed and offer its fruit in all seasons, healthy children, bread and water will not run out, and they would be victorious in every battle; disobedience would carry curses in opposition to the blessings (22-33).
Psalms 55 – Prayer for the Destruction of the Treacherous. When we are facing trouble or persecution, we may pray words as we see in this Psalm. We have no idea what David was going through and we are not told probably because it was a “personal matter” (1-4). Trouble and persecution, are common issues to mankind and nobody likes them; that said, nowhere in scripture will you see how the Prophet, Priest, king, and/or servant is taken out of them as to make them go away rather, he/she is guided through them (5-8). David prayed that the Lord would confuse the enemy (9). But, how does G_d usually confuse the enemy? By our attitude towards prayer and our willingness to be a servant in the face of adversity (16-18, Romans 12:20). Certainly, it is easy to become angry and resort to anger for anger, fist for a fist but what it accomplishes is “fights” (22-23).
Ecclesiastes 5 – Your Attitude Towards G_d. Scripture is very specific when it comes down to how we are to “treat G_d” which includes, our relationship, gifts, and His children (1-3). Reverence for G_d goes deeper than our words. When we talk to each other or about each other, we are also talking about our G_d because each of us is made in the image of the Living G_d (Genesis 1:27). It is a common trait among humans to promise and not deliver because “the other person might just forget or, I could just somehow to forget” but, G_d does not forget. When we do not come through on our promises to each other, we are telling others and G_d “you cant count on me” (4-7); the danger is, when we fail others, we fail Him, and then we are no longer trusted (Luke 16:10).
Hosea 14 – Israel’s Future Blessing. Everything that has been said and done through Hosea boils down to this, “Come back to your senses” (1). The blessing of G_d is through the waterfall of “repentance”. Assyria lied to the nation which is no surprise because they did it to Judah in the time of Hezekiah but were rejected (2-3, 2 kings 18:22-25). If the nation repented, G_d would be willing to heal their backsliding and restore them (4-7). The thing is, while He spoke to the entire nation, not every one of them would receive the message and be healed (9).
1 Corinthians 12 – The Use of Spiritual Gifts. Each of us is given special gifts to be used to edify the body of Christ (1-3). The thing is that not everyone thinks the same way because each of us sees life from different angles. In the church present-day just like it was in the time of Adam, it is easy to become “spiritually proud” that is, “I am a super spiritual person compared to ____” (Luke 18:9-14). When it comes to our gifts, one is not more important than the other but all work for the glory of G_d (14-26). We all belong to G_d, we are all of us to Him, and we are all loved by Him (27-28). Whatever gift we are given, we need to make use of them, develop them, and grow in them.