Reading #1 – Exodus 25
Reading #2 – Psalms 57
Reading #3 – Ecclesiastes 7
Reading #4 – Joel 2
Reading #5 – 1 Corinthians 14
Exodus 25 – Offerings for the Sanctuary. The material that was or would be used to build the sanctuary came from the product taken from Egypt. When the Lord gives us something, it is intended for a specific purpose. This offering was not mandated but each should give as he/she is able and willing (2, 2 Corinthians 9:7). This enters a strange dichotomy in that the world says “give everything you have” where G_d says, “Give as your heart is moved and I will not judge you for it”. Most of the stuff that was needed for the sanctuary came from the location where the children of Israel were living (3-9). The Ark of the Covenant is the carrying case for the Laws that govern the covenant between man and G_d. Acacia wood is a bush that grew in the area where the children of Israel were staying. The Ark was to be carried on the shoulders of the assigned priests; the reason is, G_d knew it would take a tumble and cause problems like what happened in the time of David (10-16, 2 Samuel 6:6-7). The “Mercy Seat” which was placed on top of the Ark was the place Moses would go to meet the Lord in prayer and to be instructed (22). The “bread of the Presence” is an emblem of the Holy Spirit’s presence. The bread was eaten by the Priests. There were 12 loaves one for each of the 12 tribes which meant that the Holy Spirit was not just for the priests, Moses, Aaron, or one specific person but for everybody or, “whosoever” (30, John 6:34-40). The Golden Lampstands, as we’ll find out in Revelations, is the anointed one of G_d for the nation and symbolically the Seven Spirits in the churches of Asia Minor (Revelations 1:12-17). All of the items were to be made according to G_d’s specifications (40).
Psalms 57 – Prayer for Rescue from Persecutors. This Mikhtam or “teaching psalm” speaks to the need for being where we are called to be and obeying G_d’s command for our life. I am a firm believer that when scripture tells us to do something or not to do something that there is an equal but inverse outcome to the verse. For example, “finding rest in the Lord” means that we have to take refuge in him by being honest with Him and with ourselves or the destruction will not pass (1). Similarly, if I do not cry out to him, I cannot expect that He will accomplish anything through me and His purpose will not be done through somebody else (2, Phillipians 4:12-14). If I disobedient to Him and listen to Him only when suits me or I need a good word, whatever I am going through it will continue and the peace that was supposed to be mine, will be lost (3-7). G_d calls us to be faithful to Him not just because we are hoping to gain something but that we desire to please Him. The great men and women of old who served the Lord throughout their lives passed and were given the crown of righteousness and, if we follow their example, we too will know the depths of this Psalm (8-11).
Ecclesiastes 7 – Wisdom and Folly Contrasted. The Prophet Ezekiah was given a message about two sisters, Oholah and Oholibah. Oholah was Samaria. Oholibah was Judah. The only reason we know who the Lord is referring to is that He tells the Prophet and the Prophet tells the scroll (Ezekiel 23). Samaria, the Northern Kingdom of Israel, was foolish from its inception. Judah saw what was happening in Samaria but chose to follow her sister’s path of destruction. Judah, because of the Temple, had the books and stories of the great men/women of old who stood up to fight for her nation, chose to ignore the warnings. Folly always thinks “her way is best” and presents the party atmosphere and downplays the negative consequences. Wisdom, unlike folly, understands “place and time” (3-5). The choice of who will be the headmaster of your life is personal and private. Nowhere in scripture will you read the words “you’d better not do ___” or, “I wouldn’t if I were you”, it says “Do” or “Do not” do ____ (15-18).
Joel 2 – The Terrible Visitation. There is an impending invasion and the Prophet is told to “Sound the Alarm on G_d’s Holy Mountain” (1). This day will not be like all of the other days because pagan, unholy, vicious, and arrogant people will come against Judah like a crescendo in a musical score (2-3). This army driven by a madman will not stop until all of Jerusalem is destroyed. The horde from Babylon would not care about G_d’s laws because Judah did not care about G_d’s laws. Babylon would not respect the Temple because Judah did not respect the Temple. Babylon would not respect the city of David because Judah did not respect the city of David. The horses of the invading army would not stop because the commander did not and will not give the order to stop until there is nothing left of the rebellious city (4-10). It must be known that no matter how intimating the enemy is, there is one person who can call “cease-fire” and that is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. The problem is, the length of time we remain under attack depends on us (11-14). Before the destruction will stop, there are things we need to do among them, pray and seek His face, turn from our wicked way, humble ourselves before the Lord, and call an assembly (15). No matter how bad, dire, and/or frustrating the situations of our life may be, G_d always has a plan and He will wait as long as it takes for us to come to our senses (18-20).
1 Corinthians 14 – Prophecy a Superior Gift. The word “Prophecy” means “prediction”. The purpose of prophecy is to predict an event based on the current path an individual or group is on (6-12). The church at Corinth was in the practice of “babbling in tongues” which, without an interpreter, the message is meaningless (5). The difference between this chapter and the 2nd chapter of Acts is that the disciples spoke in the known languages in Jerusalem at that time (Acts 2:7-12). The keyword Paul is speaking to is, “order” because G_d is not like disorder just like He doesn’t like sin so the church is commanded to have order and discipline in the group and especially on the altar (33). The difference between the false and true Prophet is by whether or not the prophecy comes true without the speaker and/or his/her followers lifting a finger to alter the course of events and if the prophecy comes true without a drastic change which is where Jonah got miffed with the Lord G_d (37, Jonah 3:6 – 4:3).