Reading #1 – Exodus 34
Reading #2 – Psalms 66
Reading #3 – Proverbs 4
Reading #4 – Amos 8
Reading #5 – 2 Corinthians 5
Exodus 34 – The Two Stone Tablets Replaced. Moses had broken the original tablets in anger over the rebellion that had occurred. Moses is told to chisel out two more stone tablets and bring them up on the mountain to meet with G_d and he was to go up alone (). Early in the morning, Moses went up on the mountain with the two stone tablets he had chiseled out of rock. When he got to the meeting place the Lord appeared to him and declared “the Name of the Lord” (6-7). Before the Covenant was renewed, Moses requested favor for the people knowing that the Lord could have rejected his pleas but the air would be cleared between Moses and the Lord (8-9). Because the Lord owned Israel after saving them from the pit they were in and taking them by the arm to the mountain and then to the new land, he had absolute right to establish the laws of the covenant. The nation owed it to the Lord to absolutely obey the covenant (10-11). This covenant was being established before the people stepped one foot in the new land. Everything the land that was to be destroyed no matter how much you can find a use for the object. The reason is, leaving the object would be an enticement to worship the idol (12-17). The articles of worship laid in G_d’s laws, commands, and precepts would become the rule of life for G_d’s people regardless of the world’s modus operandi (18-27). When Moses came down from the mountain, his face shone from the light of G_d it was an outward expression of an inward confession (29-35).
Psalms 66 – Praise for G_d’s Mighty Deeds and for His Answer to Prayer. Singing praise to the Lord is not a song, a hymn, nor a poem, it is an outward expression of an inward conviction (Mike Krier). We make “Praise Glorious” when it is spoken in Spirit and in truth (John 4:24). When the Lord begins to bless a church community, family, and/or individual’s life, the world will come to be part of it because, it benefits them; some will stay, others will wane, and still others will turn around and leave a sort of like what happened in Jesus’ time. The thing is, no matter what anybody else does, it doesn’t mean we have to change our opinion (1-4, Matthew 13:1-9). The word of G_d calls his children to be faithful no matter what happens (5-10). Walking with the Lord doesn’t mean that we will never see bad times nor does it mean trouble will never find its way to our tents but if we can just hold onto the hand of G_d just one more day (11-12). Part of being faithful is honoring our promises even if it hurts and never offer excuses for what comes out of our mouth (13-15). The most powerful weapon in our arsenal is our “testimony” that is, “what the Lord has done for us (16-20).
Proverbs 4 – The key element to obedience is “listening to G_d” and acting on what He tells us to do. We know part of G_d’s desire for our life because we have seen how what He does in the lives of His children. Equally, we know what does not please Him because we have seen His children take a right or left-hand turn and get off-kilter. The father in this chapter is telling his sons to “listen to my instruction” and pay attention so that they can gain understanding and discernment. Of course, the father had reasons for his instructions mostly because of the failures of his life that precipitated this proverb (1-2).
Amos 8 – Basket of Fruit and Israel’s Captivity. Since the time of Moses, the people had been warned and dire prophecies had been uttered but the people refused to listen. The over-ripe fruit in the basket was evident proof of the workmanship of the prophets who tried to warn the people. The destruction that would befall both houses of Israel was not G_d’s best for the nation but it was a plan that was precipitated by the leadership and the followership (1-3). The people adhered to the festivities but their heart was far from the Lord in the same way when we celebrate Christmas by buying presents but are bitter, envious, and backstabbing (4-7). The problem is, the captivity would not be just for 70 years but until the day of the crucifixion when the people would look on Him who they had pierced (8-10, Zechariah 12:10). The hunger for the word of the Lord or the 400 years of silence would precipitate the coming of the Messiah (11-14). The problem is, when there is silence from G_d’s throne, the enemy steps into the void and spews his worst so that people would know without a doubt the difference between serving the Lord and the world (Malachi 3:16-18).
2 Corinthians 5 – The Temporal and Eternal. We live in a “Temporary” world in that it is subject to change and it does so regularly. In light of this, the struggles that we face are also “temporary” because they too come and go often when we are not paying attention. What we do with this temporary existence will either credit or discredit us (1-4). While we walk in this world, we are given the Spirit of the Lord to guide us, direct us, and help us to look beyond the current struggles (5). While pain is not good nor does is it helpful, it can build us up depending on our point of view (6-8). It should always be our goal in life to do that which pleases the Lord even if we are in pain (9). Everything we do even while we are in pain we will be held accountable for and that includes the time we spend, and the resources we are given (10). We can either fear the world and do nothing with our lives or walk in obedience to G_d. While we can always come up with a clever excuse for fearing the world when we have the mandate to fear the Lord and think “G_d knows my heart and He’ll forgive me” but when we are judged at the end of our life, we will be judged for what we did in the light of those we leave behind (11-15). When we judge others for how they live their “temporary life”, we don’t have a whole lot to stand on because, if the same spotlight was shined on our life, we’d be seen for who we are (16-19). Our calling in life is to be “an ambassador” not a moral compass. When people look at our life, it should be the sweet flavor that compels them to see the difference and wants to be part of it (20-21).