Reading #1 – Exodus 32
Reading #2 – Psalms 64
Reading #3 – Proverbs 2
Reading #4 – Amos 6
Reading #5 – 2 Corinthians 3
Exodus 32 – The Golden Calf. The people were left under the leadership of Aaron the High Priest. Moses had been in the mountains receiving the first writing of the law. One man riled the people up by challenging the people to make a G_d that would be the commander of the people to lead them back into slavery (1). So, Aaron called the people to donate pieces of gold so that a G_d could be formed (2-4). Aaron then called for a day of celebration to the Lord (5-6). It was at this point that Moses was told to go back to the people because of what was going on. The Lord G_d was angry enough with the people to destroy them without pity (7-10). So, Moses calls on the Lord’s forgiveness and reminds Him of the high points in Israel’s journey and how it would look in the eyes of the world. Of course, destroying the nation would mean that Moses was the start of a new nation. While this would be a “feather in Moses’ hat” however, he was not looking for a reward he simply wanted the people to cross the finish line. So the Lord forgave the people (11-14). When Moses came down from the mountain, Joshua declared “there is victory in the camp” but Moses’ response speaks volumes about sin and its effect on mankind (19-24). Moses knew that sin had its consequences which meant the people were not going to “get a pass” simply because the people were forgiven by the Lord. The two tablets of the law were thrown against the rock in response to the sin of the people. After all, these people had turned their backs on the Lord the moment they sinned against the Lord G_d which, in effect said “I don’t care about the law or who wrote it.” Similarly, when a church group violates the church bylaws and creed, they are saying “I don’t care what the Pastor thinks” so what good are the bylaws? The tablets held no power so they had no power to destroy anybody but violating the G_d’s laws is a personal decision (25-35).
Psalms 64 – Prayer for Protection from Secret Enemies. As children of the Kingdom, it needs to be our goal to live to honor G_d in all that we do. A “right relationship” is not about being “a Holly-Roller” but knowing that we have peace with G_d. The world has its ways and methods that cause us to be looked down on because “we’re no fun” but it is also a firewall that keeps us focused on G_d’s laws (1-4). There is no lack of chatter about the “good times” but the same people are seemingly quiet when trouble finds its way to their doors (5-7). The outcome of a righteous life is threefold: it keeps us from self-inflicted trouble, it blesses our family, and it blesses those who watch the course of our life (8-10).
Proverbs 2 – Pursuit of Wisdom Brings Security. G_d’s laws would seem to make no sense at all because they warn against the evil practices that are portrayed as “fun” but never tells us why should obey them. When we are told “avoid” or “fail not to do ___” we are not told “why”. We are simply told, “listen to me without a reason”. The thing is we find out “why” later on. Honoring G_d does not have a magic formula any more than the power David had was not because of some “built super force” it was simply a human being obedient (1-5).
Amos 6 – Those at Ease in Zion. The nations that surrounded Jerusalem were being taken into exile even though there were still people in Jerusalem. While the nations were being carted away, it must have created an “ease in the city” because they were being overlooked. The Philistines just like the other nations lived sinful lives without remorse. If G_d does not overlook the sin of the nations, how much more will He pay attention when his children sin (1-6)? Sin says, “no one will take notice of Your actions” but this is called a “lie” because sin wants people to follow her master (7-11). In the same way that sin causes its target to stumble, so it is when a horse gallops over rocks. Sin by its very nature is predicated on a lie that grows over a lengthy period. Israel/Judah had been warned right from the very beginning what would happen when they sinned (12-14).
2 Corinthians 3 – Ministers of a New Covenant. Paul is speaking to the church at Corinth which was one that Paul planted. The church was deeply rooted in a sinful community. Paul knew first hand the struggle the church was going through but never used his vantage point to condemn the church nor ask it to do something he was unable to do. In a manner of speaking, the church was Paul’s Resume to the churches as a testimony (1-3). Paul had confidence in the church that no matter what it was going through, they could succeed and do above what they thought possible. Because Paul was a “minister of the new covenant”, he understood that honoring G_d was not a matter of “do and do not” but by living a life pleasing to G_d all that was written could be completed because the Minister, Jesus said, “Because I go to the Father, you shall do this and greater” (4-6, John 14:12). After the first meeting on the mountain, Moses had to wear a veil because his face blinded the people so that they were afraid. When he was through ministering before Lord, Moses put down the veil so all the people saw was a man with a veil. When he went back into the Lord’s presence, he would take the veil off. Paul’s argument about the difference between the ministry of death and life both comes down to the word “obedience” (7-8, 13, Exodus 34:29-35). The ministry we are given is not a matter of “laws and precepts” that is, “if you do ___ you will die” but of obedience to G_d or the “two great laws” which we will do willingly or to tell G_d, I will follow you no matter where you go even if I do not understand it (17-18).