Reading #1 – Exodus 31
Reading #2 – Psalms 63
Reading #3 – Proverbs 1
Reading #4 – Amos 5
Reading #5 – 2 Corinthians 2
Exodus 31 – The Skilled Craftsmen. When we read about G_d’s design for the Tabernacle, a question should pop up in our mind, “How do we do this”? The Lord delegated the responsibility to build the Tabernacle and everything in it. Now, the Lord answers the burning question, “How”? by pointing out who was to do the work (2-11). These two men Bazelel and Oholiab were uniquely qualified for the mission because of the skills they possessed. The articles were to be built to the exact specifications laid out by the Lord and not subject to interpretation. Moses was given the specific mission to tell the Israelites “you will honor the Sabbath”. Up to this point, the Lord had instructed Moses to build the Tabernacle and who was to build it, and where the product would come from. Giving instruction was the job of the commander and this job was not to be delegated (12-13). The Sabbath begins on Friday evening and goes until Saturday evening; during this time, no work was to be done and this was not a suggestion, it was mandatory (14-17). Moses was then given the two stone tablets of the law written by the finger of G_d (18).
Psalms 63 – Thirsting Soul Satisified in G_d. Seeking G_d’s face in the good times and places is easy because we can see our needs being met. Seeking Him when our skies turn to bronze and our earth becomes iron (Deuteronomy 28:23) is most difficult because we have to believe by faith in G_d’s providence (1-2, Hebrews 11:1). Destruction is an undying part of life in a sinful world and we are powerless to stop it however, turning destruction to praise is a personal choice (3-5) so, we can either be a victim or be an overcomer. Developing faith begins by taking note of the areas where G_d has come through, where the storms have been turned back, and/or our worst fears were a figment of our imagination (6-8). One thing we need to get through our thick heads is that we are powerless to change people’s mindsets (Mike Krier). G_d’s word does not say, “make the world live according to your beliefs”, it says “Live to please the Lord in all that you do and He will change the hearts of mankind” (9-11, Matthew 5:14-16).
Proverbs 1 – The Usefulness of Proverbs. The book of Proverbs contains wisdom for living in an unG_dly world. The book is not speaking to the “world at large”, it is speaking to the one whose heart is open and receptive (1-6). Knowing the word and living by it are two different things. Adhering to His word requires the individual to turn his/her eyes to the Lord and become blind to the world’s threats and demands. Certainly, worldly powers can take what does not belong to them, destroy credibility, and/or kill the flesh; the one thing they cannot do is destroy the soul of mankind, that is a personal choice (7).
Amos 5 – “Seek Me that you May Live”. The nation had “perfunctory praise” down to a fine science. The word of the Lord had never changed, David’s Psalms and Solomon’s wisdom never changed but the heart of the nation had (1-3). Even though the nation was on the cusp of being eradicated, there was still hope for the soul of the nation. The G_d who says to the hungry “come unto Me and I will accept you” (4-7, Isaiah 66:5) is the same One who says to the one who rejects the Lord “away with you” (8-17, Matthew 7:21-23). It all boils down to “choice” so, we can either have Heaven on earth amid despair or Hell on earth and no hope (14-16). Sin had become a way of life for the nation and it choked out all of the peace in the kingdom and the people seemed to go from the “frying pan into the fire” (18-20). Religious service and its traditions will not save a nation only by a change of heart could this be done (21-24). The Lord G_d will never contend with the idols that we set before us so, either we serve the world the Lord G_d (25-27, 1 Kings 18:21).
2 Corinthians 2 – Reaffirm Your Love. Previously, Paul admonished the church to remove a man from the fellowship because he sinned and flaunted it and no one said anything (1 Corinthians 5:1-2). Now Paul is telling the church that it is time to heal the wounds and restore that man (1-8). Sin was destroying the church from the inside out and the church’s credibility was at stake. The thing is, there is a time for everything (Ecclesiastes 3) and now it is time to heal the wounds. The Devil loves nothing more than for there to be discord in the church because it is like fungus, it grows in the dark and takes over everything (9-11). Of course, Paul was not exempt from having to deal with discord because he too had separated from Barnabus because of a strong disagreement over taking John Mark who abandoned them (12-13, Acts 15:36-41) which Paul resolved and restored John mark (2 Timothy 4:11). We have a choice, “be a fragrance of death and allow sin to grow or, be a fragrance of life, either way, the world will always see it 180 degrees out of sync (14-17). If we allow sin to grow in the church, we are seen as hypocrites conversely, if we remove the sin, we are seen as “exclusionists” so, it is a “no-win” situation. So, we need to live for the Lord and make no provision for the flesh (Romans 13:13-14).