Reading #1 – Exodus 37
Reading #2 – Psalms 69
Reading #3 – Proverbs 7
Reading #4 – Jonah 1
Reading #5 – 2 Corinthians 8
Exodus 37 – Construction Continues. The ark, altar, and carrying poles were made of Acacia wood. The reason is, the Acacia tree was a natural resource in the area where the nation was temporarily living. Acacia wood is a durable material that would withstand the weight of the structures (1-3). Because the people were to be mobile, the ark also had to mobile. Because the ark contained the covenant, it would be entrusted to the priests to carry it so the incident like that which happened in David’s time would not occur (4-5, 1 Chronicles 13:6-10). The reason the ark was covered in gold is that gold was considered G_d’s purest metal (). The lampstand or Menorah would be made out of gold and has six branches; the reason for having six branches is that it resembles mankind’s weakness to sin coupled with the Devil’s traps; the strength of the nation comes from the tree that is between the six branches; I will put up a picture of the Menorah on my web page under “pictures” (17-24). The altar of incense would also be made out of Acacia wood and covered in gold (25-28). The holy anointing oil and incense were made specifically for use in the temple and could not be made for daily use in any way, shape, or form (29, Exodus 30:30-33).
Psalms 69 – A Cry of Distress and Imprecation on Adversaries. When we get ourselves into trouble, like the writer of this Psalm, the Lord helps us to work through the situation and by it dig ourselves out of the pit we are in (1-3). The reason the Lord doesn’t spirit us out of the trouble we caused, is that if He did, He would have to do it again (Proverbs 19:19). When we sin, we will pay a huge price for it and that is the destruction of our integrity. When we repent that is, “turn 180 degrees”, G_d forgives us and the blood of the new covenant covers the iniquity. Although we are forgiven in the courts of the Lord G_d, the world, on the other hand, will heckle us and spread the word “___ the great Christian is a hypocrite because he/she did _____” (6-12, Isaiah 28:1, 29:1-2). When we have confessed our sinful actions, we have peace with our Lord, and that peace shuts out the sound of the hecklers (Mike Krier). It is human nature to pray for retribution from the Lord upon our enemies (19-25). The funny thing about prayer is that it brings us closer to the heart of G_d and causes us to change the tone of our desire from “destroy___ for what they did” to “Lord forgive them for they know not what they do” (33-36, Acts 7:54-60).
Proverbs 7 – Wiles of the Prostitute. Prostitution is a very old profession that dates back to ancient Mesopotamia (Gerda Lerner). While the world sees nothing wrong with utilizing this service, the Lord sees the heart of the woman/man and his/her handlers and warns his children “stay away from her/him” because the Devil utilizes this person to trap the unsuspecting (2-3). For the same reason, we tell our children “to stay away from _____” or, “do not do _____”. When the child asks the beloved question “why”, all we can tell them is “trust me”. Regretfully, the child will gravitate towards the place or situation and then find the answer to the question “why” sort of like the young man (22-23). When the child returns home or is calling from the Police station “I am in jail”, it is the greatest test of our parental abilities because we will have to help them navigate the waters to help lead our children to learn from the mistake and take steps to hopefully never return to the sin again (24-27, John 4:13-19).
Jonah 1 – Jonah’s Disobedience. Jonah had been chosen by G_d to speak to the heathen nation Nineveh (1-2). The calling frightened Jonah just like Moses was frightened of facing Egypt after the events that drove him of Egypt (3, Exodus 2:11-13, Exodus 4:10). Jonah did not take into account that no matter how far he ran, there is no place he could go that G_d could not reach him which put Jonah in a peculiar position in which he had to chose “ignore G_d to the detriment of the people on board the ship with him (4-11). When Jonah confessed to being the cause of the storm confronting the ship, he had to make a choice to stay and let the ship sink or be thrown into the raging sea and let the people go to their destination safely (12). Out of fear of the Lord G_d Jonah served, the people tried to row the ship out of trouble which was a fruitless attempt (13). So, with a prayer requesting G_d’s favor with the hopes that they would not be found guilty of shedding innocent blood, they threw him into the sea (14-16). To the crew, the matter was resolved because the storm calmed and the journey towards the destination continued but Jonah’s journey had just started (17).
2 Corinthians 8 – Great Generosity. The churches in Macedonia are being held up before the church at Corinth as an example of what happens when the people excel in generosity (1-4). The first step towards being generous is the giving of themselves to the Lord becoming obedient which led to the people becoming enthusiastic about giving to the point that they did not consider their personal interests (5). As the pastor of the church at Corinth, Titus is being encouraged to build the church at Corinth so that they too can experience G_d’s amazing power among them (6). The practice of “joyful giving” is difficult because, we think “what about the things I need, and/or bills that need to be paid?” Learning to trust the Lord’s judgment by letting go of our wallets is difficult because we don’t see everything that lies ahead. When we start giving, we usually start small and when we see our needs getting met, we open our wallets a little bit more until we give liberally (7-9). The church at Corinth was eager to give when they heard about the needs but then “buyer’s remorse” sets in and they clutched their wallets (10-12). Paul assured the church that they would not be holding the burden of the ministry by themselves but that it be shared with all of the churches and that G_d (13-15). The money that was being raised was for the ministry to line Paul’s pockets and every penny would be accounted for. The final exhortation was that Titus was being sent to encourage and grow the people not to be an “arm twister” (16-24).