Reading #1 – Exodus 38
Reading #2 – Psalms 70
Reading #3 – Proverbs 8
Reading #4 – Jonah 2
Reading #5 – 2 Corinthians 9
Exodus 38 – The Tabernacle Completed. The tabernacle was surrounded by curtains and pillars so no one could see what the priests were doing. The building of the tabernacle and its furnishings was not a simple nor cheap undertaking (21-31). The tabernacle items were made following the word of the Lord through Moses. The materials used to construct the temple were already on hand, they simply had to be donated or were available resources in the area where the Israelites were staying and they were made from ordinary products.
Psalms 70 – Prayer for Help against Persecutors. Persecution is common to mankind. The difference between the world and children of the Almighty is how persecution is dealt with. The world says, “revolt when you are persecuted and call it “Jihad” or “Holy War”. The Devil loves nothing more than for mankind to start wars and destruction because, as long as fights endure “peace” cannot reign supreme even when a battle is won. The writer turns the direction of his eyes from the situation to problem solver the Lord G_d (1). To be turned back because of our decisions implies “Let their decisions alter their course, not mine” (2-3). When we undermine people, we become as much a part of the problem as the problem we were trying to solve. When we keep our eyes on our Father and remain obedient even in time of persecution, those who also seek to honor G_d’s Word will come alongside us to help us (4). Of course, having help doesn’t make the problem go away, it will encourage us to hold on one more time knowing that G_d will never forsake us nor abandon us (5).
Proverbs 8 – The Commendation of Wisdom. Wisdom’s commendation is to listen to the Lord G_d and be obedient even if you do not completely understand “why you have to do ____” (4). The world replies to Wisdom’s commendation with “I will do things my way, I don’t need your help”. The thing is when trying to do things “our way” and we end up falling short or have to modify our plans and this creates a crisis in our life (5). Anybody who has ever trusted in the Lord and honored Him by obedient never had cause to be ashamed. Man is prone to thinking he/she knows better than G_d but always finds out that they were duped. When Moses was tasked with building the tabernacle, G_d did not ask for Moses’ input he simply said “just do what I tell you and follow the pattern” (Exodus 25:40). Wisdom will never defy the Word of the Lord by giving bad directions (6-8). Wisdom was with G_d in the beginning meaning, she saw all that the Lord had done so we can trust her implicitly (30-31).
Jonah 2 – Jonah’s Prayer. Jonah was in a place he could not run away; He was in a place no one could help him and his wit, finances, nor strength could not save him. Jonah was in the belly of large fish or “Hell” as he called it (1-2). Though he was in a dark, cold, and lonely place, yet he had faith that G_d was not finished with him; this place was being used by G_d to break down the wall of pride, fear, and doubt. When there was nothing was left of his worldly hold, G_d would build him up to fulfill G_d’s desire for his life (3-4). When Jonah first started to pray, he was not physically spirited out of the belly of the large fish and it is the impetus for Jesus’ statement to the Sanhedrin when they asked for a sign; (5-6, Matthew 12:38-41). When the Spirit of the Lord breaks through our hard outer shell, our prayers turn from “mere words” to power and strength that elicits a change in our hearts; at this point, we leave our belly of the whale and our ministry becomes empowered (7-10, Acts 2:1-4).
2 Corinthians 9 – G_d Gives Most. The people of Corinth had sent a letter promising funds for the saints in Jerusalem so Paul was sending a delegation to get the donations. The problem is that, more often than not, the spirit is willing but the flesh does not want to follow through (1-4, Matthew 12:40-41). Paul had boasted about the generous offerings from the church at Corinth to the people of Macedonia. To preclude any problems such as being perceived as an “arm twister” or a “collection goon”, Paul was giving the church time to get the funds so that it would be presented “willingly” (5-9). The natural conclusion of the heart is, “what about my needs”. The thing is, our giving needs to be considered in the light of our obligations. That said when we give we receive in proportion to the gift (10-12). Giving is an act of ministry because the funds meet the needs of the saints and they, in turn, praise the Lord. Paul recognizes the sacrificial giving on behalf of the church and is treated with great respect (13-15).