Reading #1 – Numbers 11:31-36
Reading #2 – Psalms 107:1-15
Reading #3 – Job 12:1-12
Reading #4 – Matthew 6:1-24
Reading #5 – Titus 3
Numbers 11:31-36 – The Quail and the Plague. There is a problem that is common to mankind and that is, “we are never satisfied with what we have”. In the case of the Israelites, they got what they asked for but it was a trap. The people greedily gathered the quail to stock up on the meat but, the problem was that the meat perished and so they got sick and many died (31-33).
Psalms 107:1-15 – The Lord Who Rescues. The writer of Israel’s song, King David, is inspiring the people to see the good that the Lord has done on behalf of the nation. The nation enjoyed the fruit of righteousness under the guidance of King David. The reason for referencing the 400 years in slavery was to remind the people of the nation’s history from their time in Egypt to the exodus, the 40 years walking in the desert, to conquest, and the struggles to maintain control of Canaan (1-6). Being remanded to darkness and imprisoned is a direct result of our choices. The thing is, we can stay in darkness and complain about our hardship but when we come to grips with our lot in life, and turn our eyes to the Lord, He will show us the way out (10-15).
Job 12:1-12 – Job Chides His Accusors. Job’s friends chided him because of the events that unfolded in his life. As I said before, it is easy to cast pearls of wisdom and heartfelt counsel when you are not the one enduring the struggles (2-3). To have your life upended for no particular reason is a bitter pill to swallow and this is where Job’s friends missed the mark (4). When we cast stones at people going through hardships, we are most often not aware of the pitfalls that we too will face in time (5-6). If G_d treated us according to our character, we would receive the abundant fruit of it (7-8). Good and evil are a prevalent part of mankind’s story and both can randomly occur or be the direct outcome of our actions (9-10). The problem for Job’s friends, just as it is for us, is that they judge by what they see but do not hear the heart’s cry (11-12). Job had a thorough understanding of G_d’s power and, it is something I believe anyway, that was revealed to him by the power of the Holy Spirit (13-25, Matthew 16:15-19).
Matthew 6:1-24 – Sermon on the Mount. Charitable giving is a staple in the life of the child of G_d. The problem is that it is easy to give with a trophy in mind; when we do this, we set some wheels in motion: bitterness, spoiled gift, and pride. Bitterness comes into place when we feel that our gifts were overlooked. The gift we give is spoiled when the person receives the gift but notices the chains that are attached to it and then gives the gift back. Pride comes into place when we make a show of our gift (1-4). Prayer applied appropriately centers our focus from “Me” to the “Lord the who heals, the Lord my righteousness, the Lord my provider”. Jesus gives an outline for an effective prayer (9-13). The problem is that prayer without action is useless or, “meaningless”. Consider “forgiveness”, to be forgiven you need to be face-to-face with the person you offended; if we are at odds with the person we offended and still think “all I have to say is forgive me”. The problem is, when we are at odds with somebody and refuse to forgive them, we are at odds G_d because we are nurturing our “hurts”, we are separated from Him so the issue can not be resolved (14-15, Matthew 25:31-40).
Titus 3 – G_dly Living. To live a G_dly life is not a matter of “I am better than you”, it is living in the light of our past and treating others like we would like to be treated (Matthew 7:12). “Living a G_dly life” needs to be an overarching theme and all that we see, say, and do need to add to the theme instead of being a distraction. We are entitled to our political opinion but, we are called to be obedient to the rulers and authorities of the land as we need to be with all of mankind (1-2). When we were saved from the mess we were in, the only thing that was wiped away was the tears and sorrow we experienced (3-7). Once we cross the threshold into the Kingdom of G_d, it is incumbent on us to do that which is in line with the Word of G_d. The reference to “endless genealogy” is about the argument between the Hellenistic and the remnant Jews (8-9). In every organization, there will be people who are a distraction to the message and these people need to be dealt with in keeping with the Word G_d (10-11, Matthew 7:1-5).