Reading #1 – Exodus 27
Reading #2 – Psalms 59
Reading #3 – Ecclesiastes 9
Reading #4 – Amos 1
Reading #5 – 1 Corinthians 15
Exodus 27 – The Bronze Altar. The bronze altar was for the burnt offerings. The altar was made out of acacia wood and encased in bronze. The altar was 2 high X 3.003 wide X 3.003 long (1). I will put a picture up on my web page so that you can see what it looked like. The pans and utensils used would be stored on the horns of the altar (2-3). The altar was to be hollow so that it was light enough to carry (8). So, the altar was built for the wilderness so that the people could move it and the people carrying it could endure the weight. The Court of the Tabernacle was the meeting place. The dimensions were 67’ long on the north and south sides, 33’ on the east and west sides (11-13). I will put up a picture on my web page. The people were directed to provide beaten olive oil, which was plentiful in that area, for the lights which were to be kept burning always (21).
Psalms 59 – Prayer for Rescue from Enemies. David is teaching his students and his sons the value of a life lived for the Lord in the face of the enemy’s threats. So, the enemy is threatening David, most likely in a physical conflict, instead of becoming frightened into submission, he turns his eyes to Heaven (1-2). David had to have searched his heart to see if there was a good reason for the attack but could not find anything (3-5). The enemy in this illustration, just the Devil, never gives up and will always try us at our weakest point (6-7, 13-15, Luke 4:13). David had an unshakeable faith in the Lord that had been forged in battle so he knew that the Lord would protect him no matter who the enemy was (9-10). It should be our goal and mission in life to “praise the Lord” in every situation, to remain strong and never lose faith in our Lord and G_d (16-17, 1 Corinthians 15:58).
Ecclesiastes 9 – Men Are in the Hand of G_d. Life is a phenomenal thing because, what you put into it, is what you usually get out of it. If you work to deceive others, you are in return deceived by not getting the reward you thought you would get. If you work to bless the Lord by blessing others, you are in return blessed in ways you cannot comprehend. If you commit sinful acts, in the end, you are ruined. Of course, all of mankind faces the same sobering judgment and that is, “death awaits us” (2-3). All of our wealth, gift of gab, and ability to win friends and influence people is no match for the grave (4). While we live, we have hope that we can change, heal wounds, bless others, and/or be redeemed from the messes we have made after we pass away, all that we could do, planned to do, say, plan to say is all for naught. So, we need to make the most of our days by uplifting others, finding joy in our lives, relish our relations, and/or always seek to share the light (7-8).
Amos 1 – Judgment on Neighboring Nations. I guess one of the many questions to ask the Lord is, “what happens to the nations that do what is wicked”? When you read Amos’ prophecy, G_d shows the prophet what is coming. While we may tend to rejoice in this message, it has implications for our lives. If G_d is willing and able to destroy those who do not acknowledge Him, how much more can he and will he do in our lives when we, his servants, do what is wicked? In Jesus’ time, the nation was wicked and it followed the wicked leadership of Herod and later Rome yet, Jesus never surrendered to the ways and whims of mankind. Indeed, destruction does not occur immediately and we may get away with sin once, twice, but most likely not a third time. The wicked nations mentioned in this chapter and the ones to follow are examples so that we can never say, “I didn’t know” and to the world, we are also an example so which one are we going to follow?
1 Corinthians 15:18-42 – What is this Ressurection? Paul is speaking to the church at Corinth through a letter and one of the biggest questions is, “what about this resurrection”? The problem is, we are not afforded a copy of the letter written to Paul so we have no idea what their concerns were. Paul’s encouragement to the church was “to hold fast to what you are taught”. Jesus was raised from the dead and appeared to the 500 and then Paul at the end of the line of apostles. When he died and was resurrected, he showed the fruit of living for the Father. In our life, the Father guides us by His Spirit so that we can overcome the sin in our lives and live a new for Him (20-21). Adam, or the first man, brought sin into this world and it died. When Jesus died on the cross, the sins that kept man apart for countless centuries we overcome, and mankind could start life anew (22-24). While we live, we can let Jesus reign and when we die, the power of the grave is defeated. Because of our union with the G_d of Heaven and Earth through the Cross, every sin we struggle with, every fear, every doubt, and every trouble is put under his feet therefore we have the victory (27-28). We have the choice though, to be subject to the sin or put it under the feet of Jesus (33-34) and the Lord will never make that choice for us. The question asked “How are the dead raised? And what would the body look like” which, was Nicodemus’ question also (35-36, John 3:1-21). When we look to the heavens and see G_d’s immortal glory on display, how can we but be overwhelmed (40-41)?