Reading #1 – Exodus 24
Reading #2 – Psalms 56
Reading #3 – Ecclesiastes 6
Reading #4 – Joel 1
Reading #5 – 1 Corinthians 13
Exodus 24 – The People Affirm Their Covenant with G_d. So the people elected Moses to be their representative before the Lord. The people promised to do everything they were told to do by the Lord (3). The 12 stone pillars were a reminder to Moses who he was serving (4). The sacrifice at the altar was a “peace offering”. The Peace offering is a “goodwill” offer in that the person “had” to do it but “chose to do it” out of a desire for genuine peace. In Moses’ case, the “goodwill” offer involved slaying an animal. The sprinkling of the blood of the animal on the people brought them into covenant with the Lord. For a covenant to mean something or be taken seriously, it must cost the person something sort of like the case of David after the “unauthorized census” (8, 2 Samuel 24). The “manifestation of the Lord” on the mountain showed 12 stones resembling one stone for each of the 12 tribes of Israel thereby consummating the covenant (9-11). After this, Moses is called up onto the mountain to receive the 10 commandments or two stone tablets (12-17).
Psalms 56 – Supplication for Rescue and Grateful Trust in G_d. For the writer to be this confident of his relationship with the Lord, he must have had whatever differences resolved between himself and the Lord (1-4). In essence, the writer and the Lord were in a covenant relationship and requires faithfulness on both sides of the agreement. When an individual enters a relationship with the Lord, whatever sins lurked in the background will be brought to the light so that they can be dealt with. If we do not confess our sins, He will not give us a pass and destroy the opposition even if we chant His name all day and all night (8-9). Faithfulness in all of our houses will illicit courage to face whatever storms are going on in and through our life (10-13).
Ecclesiastes 6 – Futility of Life. It is entirely possible to have all of the wealth, power, and prestige but have never had time to enjoy them (1-2). When this happens, it is said of the individual, “he/she worked to their end and they were gone”. This accurately describes the climate of our world today and it is the reason we do not have peace and that, is by design. We were created to be in a covenant relationship with the Lord G_d. When we live to please ourselves, we do everything possible to bring us pleasure only to find that the thing we were working on did not bring pleasure it brings pain (7). Of course, this is nothing new because other nations and world leaders tried the same thing we are and found out that it would not work (10).
Joel 1 – Devastation of Locusts. As you will remember, in the time before the Exodus from Egypt, the Egyptians were plagued with locusts after other destructive devices had destroyed the land leaving the trees barren (Exodus 10). This type of “locust” was the horde from Babylon which laid 4siege ramps in Judah and who would decimate the land, take every scrap of food, kill its young men, capture its crown, and destroyed the temple (4). The preamble admonishes the people to write these events down, record them for future generations, and tell their kids about the root cause of the destruction (1-3). In the days of the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Elijah, and Elisha, the nation was warned about the days ahead and the leaders disregarded it believing the Prophet to be uttering seditious words. Now, however, those days are past and the destruction will rain down on Judah and Jerusalem with the full power of Babylon and the city would be utterly decimated (5-8). The events that would occur would humiliate the people to a point they had never known or had been a virgin to this type of destruction (9-12). It would not be bad enough that the armies of Judah would lose the battle but the people would starve to death and there would not be a once of water to drink. The thing is, even with destruction at the door, there is still hope in repentance (14-20).
1 Corinthians 13 – The Excellence of Love. Of all the concepts known to mankind, one of the most difficult to comprehend is the power of love. Of course, there are different types of love but the kind that stems from a right relationship with the Lord is “Koinonia” “fellowship” or “joint participation”. For this relationship to work, whatever that comes between the Lord G_d and that of our family must be dealt with and put to rest (1-3). Worldly peace and love come through a concession that is, “you give and I give” whereas G_d’s love says, “in the face of this, I will not break relationship with ___” (4-7). When trouble faces the home, “love” is not the issue, it is “sin” that gets in the way making the relationship unsustainable (8-10). When a child sins against the parents or the parent against the family, they love each other they just cannot maintain the relationship or covenant; this would be the same problem that plagued Israel and plagues mankind today. Love is still the greatest attribute and sin is no match for it (13). When we were children we didn’t understand how our parents could be at odds with us yet say, “I love you but I don’t like your actions” (11-12).