Daily Bible Readings 6/20/2021

Reading #1 – Exodus 37

Reading #2 – Psalms 69

Reading #3 – Proverbs 7

Reading #4 – Jonah 1

Reading #5 – 2 Corinthians 8

 

Notes

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).

Daily Bible Readings 6/18/2021

Reading #1 – Exodus 36

Reading #2 – Psalms 68

Reading #3 – Proverbs 6

Reading #4 – Obadiah 1

Reading #5 – 2 Corinthians 7

 

Notes

Exodus 36 – The Tabernacle Underwritten. Bezalel and Ohliab were gifted artisans who were called by G_d to build the Tabernacle and train others in the process. What struck me the most was how these two men compared to Solomon. These men put their talents to use and not just talk about their skillsets. Solomon, on the other hand, asked for wisdom and knowledge on how to lead the people but didn’t employ it in his life as you’ll see in the chapters about his life (1-2, 1 Chronicles 2:9-10). The Tabernacle was to be constructed according to the Lord’s design. When the people were invited to support the construction by donating the supplies and time, people gave more than was needed and would have gladly continued. At one point, though, the workers had to ask Moses to request the people “to stop giving because they had more than enough” (3-7). Everything in the temple was built for functionality that is, it had a purpose and use. The construction was a community project so everyone in the community had a play in it.

Psalms 68 – G_d of Sinai and of the Sanctuary. When the Lord G_d is “G_d” over the sanctuary of our heart, the weapons used against us, the enemy that opposes us, and fears that gripped our life will fall away and that which was forged against us will lose strength (1-2, Psalms 110:1, Isaiah 54:16-17). But what does the Lord want from us in return? He wants to serve Him with a grateful heart, by allowing the direction of His heart to lead us in the pathway, and to honor Him with our whole heart (3-4, Micah 6:6-8). What the Lord G_d becomes Lord not just of our church but of our life, family, and community, we will not be ashamed of allowing Him into our life (5-9, Psalms 126:4-6, Romans 10:11). When we try to tell the world all about this Jesus character without him being Lord of our life, we will struggle immensely and this spills out in our battle against the Devil. Similarly, when our life is not in submission to the Lord with our sins covered in the blood, they will be found out primarily because the Devil will tell you when you least expect it (10-14, Acts 19:14-16). The Lord is a Mighty G_d who has, can, and always will lead His children in victory in any and all battles he/she may face (15-18). Whatever trouble that may confront our lives, if we can but trust Him through the process, He will lead us through storms though we may not see it (19-23). Because we have not been around for all of the years of mankind’s walk on earth, we have the Word of the Lord that depicts in short form the rise and fall of mankind, how men/women who have gone before us have tripped over the “cornerstone”, and how even a foolish man like David was still loved despite his failings (24-27). The only power we are given is “control over our life, passions, and temptations”. The world will not like what we do but cannot argue over results (28-30). We may not understand what the Lord is doing in our life so we need to praise Him and trust Him even if the world appears to be collapsing around us (31-35).

Proverbs 6 – Parental Counsel. One of the most important things about mankind (both male and female) is that they are prone to getting into trouble (Job 14:1). It is for this reason, I believe, that we have stories about David’s epic failure, Solomon’s pride and arrogance, and the rise and fall of kingdoms so that we can see what happens when a person takes an innocuous right/left turn. It is also for this reason that Teacher Solomon is advising his sons to take active steps to get out of trouble and to do so without delay (1-5). Remember, our enemy the Devil never stops working against you until the day you go home to the Lord for that reason, we need to always be on our toes, to be faithful to the Lord, and maintain humility (1 Peter 5:8).

Obadiah 1 – Edom Will Be Humbled. There is an important part of the G_d we serve and that is, “no one gets away with sin” (1-2). Edom was laughing at Israel’s demise not knowing the hour of their judgment. Although they had homes in the clefts of the mountain which should have provided protection from attack, the kingdom was eventually decimated in the 6th century BC by the Babylonian armies (3-6). Although Edom had many allies, they would all abandon her in her hour of need just like that which happened to Israel/Judah (7-9). Edom’s 1st king was Esau the firstborn son of Isaac and Rebecca. When Jacob and Rebecca caused problems for Esau without apologizing for their actions and making it right with Esau, a lifetime battle was started between the two boys; this was most likely the impetus for Solomon to warn his sons about taking immediate steps to rectify a wrong that the young man might commit (Proverbs 6:1-5). Despite what Jacob had done to Esau, the destruction of Edom was the result of the sinful practices of the nation (10-14). Herod the Great and Herod Agrippa were direct descendants of Esau (Acts 12:19). In the second half of Obadiah, we read about “the Day of the Lord” or the time of the Messianic Kingdom (15-21).

2 Corinthians 7 – Paul Reveals His Heart. When it comes to our response to G_d’s correction, it should be our goal to make things right by clearing away the contamination of our life. While Paul’s letters to Corinth may seem rather harsh judgmental, he had a purpose for striking the tone because sin destroys every good thing in our life (1). Paul had invested a tremendous part of his time to plant and develop the church at Corinth and was not willing to stand idly by and see it implode. These people at Corinth were Paul’s students and children who dearly loved and would gladly die for them (2-4). As parents when we have to discipline our children, it isn’t easy because our actions and words may come across as “I hate you” when it could be the furthest thing from our minds. When Titus came to meet with Paul to talk about the good work being done in the church and how Paul’s letter was the medicine the church desperately needed, it was the encouragement that Paul needed at that time (5-11). The letter was a form of love just like a sincere conversation to your children by not pulling any punches (12-13). In scripture, there is a verse “wisdom is proved right by her actions” (Matthew 11:19) and this is particularly true in Paul’s dealing with Corinth because the outcome justified the means (14-16).

Daily Bible Readings 6/17/2021

Reading #1 – Exodus 35

Reading #2 – Psalms 67

Reading #3 – Proverbs 5

Reading #4 – Amos 9

Reading #5 – 2 Corinthians 6

 

Notes

Exodus 35 – The Sabbath and the Temple. The Sabbath or “day of rest” was a time set aside for the people to rest that is, “no work was to be done” (2-3). The offering that was directed by the Lord asked “anybody whose heart is moved” so, it was not compulsory (20-29). The articles requested were for the Holy place and the Holy of Holies. Everything that was requested would be put to use and nothing would be wasted (4-9). Everybody who had a skill or talent was invited to work on the project. Two men were pointed out specifically because of the unique gifts they possessed and these men would train others sort of like an apprenticeship (30-35).

Psalms 67 – The Nations Exhorted to Praise G_d. When we are obedient to our Lord King’s call upon our life, our hearts will overflow in willingness to serve, and kindhearted to bless (1-2). For “all people to praise the Lord” and “for every knee to bow”, it all begins in the confines of G_d’s people (3-6, Romans 14:11). For the earth to yield its harvest, peace must be on the earth not as the world gives it but as the Lord approves it (6-7, John 14:27).

Proverbs 5 – Pitfalls of Immorality. One of the hardest things to get through our hard heads is that G_d’s commands and precepts boil down to two key factors: obedience and faithfulness. There are things we are admonished to do that would seem to be non-sensical. The prostitute mentioned (1-6) is setting a trap that most people will not catch onto until it is too late. The Lord’s goal is not to make us “perfect examples” but to get us to see the trap for what it is and not step into it. The prostitute’s weapons are a smile and an enticing body for which many see as “she or he loves me” and will miss her/his diabolical plan for your life, your home, and your community. The thing is, we too have weapons and one of them happens to be a smile and an open hand that will lead that person from his/her pathway to the eternal pathway; kindness is the key to unlocking a hardened heart.

Amos 9 – G_d’s Judgment Unavoidable. The nation Israel was being hurdled towards a time of great calamity and there was no safe place to go to (). The disobedience of the nation had become a stench in G_d’s nostrils. The Lord had rescued them from Egypt’s whip”, provided for them along their journey, and gave them lands they did not work for (). The thing is, just like it is the present-day world, not everybody in the nation was given to pagan worship nor had they bowed a knee to Baal (7-8, 1 Kings 19:18). Israel because of their sinful ways caused nations that once supported them to become part of the insurgency. The same Lord who leads the nation of Egypt would be the same G_d who would command its destruction and the reason is, He’d rather destroy than give his people over to the Devil (9-10).

2 Corinthians 6 – Their Ministry Commended. Paul is speaking about the problems the church at Corinth was experiencing. Receiving G_d’s grace and not changing the course of your life makes His promises null and void or “receiving it in vain” (). To G_d, the present-time is His time of favor and the best time to get things right before Him (2). Because Paul was a faithful servant, made it his life’s mission to minister the word of G_d without obstructions, pitfalls, and/or skeletons in the closet (3-10); because he ordered his life this way, he demanded it of his preachers, teachers, and the people within the church (11-13). The notion to be “unequally bound” implies connecting two different animals and making them work together; no matter how fast or tall the one animal is, the team will always be negatively affected by the slowest animal. In the same way, when two people forge a friendship if one is a born-again Bible-believing Christian and the other is not, they will be unable to minister to each other or lift each other up (14-16). While this sounds like I am saying “avoid the world at all costs”, you can minister to the world but do not let the world impact your life negatively. When we walk in obedience to the Lord, He walks with us, ministers to our needs, opens doors that we never thought possible, and brings great joy into our life. The world will always have its “community fairs” to entice us but it is our responsibility to always be obedient and faithful in all things (17-18).

Daily Bible Reading 6/15/2021

Reading #1 – Exodus 34

Reading #2 – Psalms 66

Reading #3 – Proverbs 4

Reading #4 – Amos 8

Reading #5 – 2 Corinthians 5

 

Notes

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).

 

Daily Bible Readings 6/13/2021

Reading #1 – Exodus 33

Reading #2 – Psalms 65

Reading #3 – Proverbs 3

Reading #4 – Amos 7

Reading #5 – 2 Corinthians 4

 

Notes

Exodus 33 – The Journey Resumed. Israel’s journey to the “promised land” was halted because of sin. After the sin had been repented for, Moses was given the command to get the people ready to mobilize. Unfortunately, except for a limited number, the people were living one foot in the Kingdom and one foot out hence the reasoning behind being called “Stiff-necked and rebellious” (1-3). When we are confronted with sin one of two possibilities will happen, our heart will either positively or negatively respond (4-6, Romans 2:1-4). The tent of meeting was the demarcation between the world’s ways and G_d’s ways, all that came there received from the Lord. The shekinah glory of G_d was the presence of G_d in spirit form and was evidence that the G_d Moses served was not like the world. When you walk in obedience as Moses did, the prayers you will pray will be effective (7-11, James 5:16). When Moses interceded for the people, there was a concern on his mind, “if not the Lord then who”?. Remember, Moses had not been to the promised land before the journey from Egypt to the mountain so he could not possibly have known how to get there and this, I believe, frightened him. Add to this problem, the nation Israel was looking to Commander Moses for direction. To the world, Israel was just an invading army that would be no different than the tribes already present so the nation had to be unique (1 Peter 2:9-10). So, Moses prayed to see G_d’s glory (12-16). G_d honored Moses’ prayer by showing His glory. Moses could not see G_d’s face because he would die. Moses was to stand on a rock and hidden in a cleft until the Spirit of the Lord passed by and declared the Name of the Lord the “Holy Righteous Loving G_d who never abandons His children” and this was the encouragement Moses needed (17-23).

Psalms 65 – G_d’s Abundant Favor to Earth and Man. G_d made this world over many millions of years and all that He made was unique “He made them from nothing”. When you consider all that He made, one cannot but give reverence to G_d. Sin is man-made (Mike Krier) or is “synthetic” so all of the blight of the world is not because “G_d hates us”. The good news is that the same G_d who created the world, including you and I, has the rightful authority to forgive sin. By forgiving sin, it means that the “sin” will never come back to mind unless we reopen the “kettle of worms” (1-3, Hebrews 6:4-6). The one that remains faithful in and out of storms is called before the throne and is blessed (4-5). The Lord desires to give us all that we need but, in our foolishness, we tell G_d “not yet” so he waits (6-8). The thing that we need to keep in the forefront of our mind is that this planet belongs to G_d and only He knows how to protect it and what it will take to heal the land (9-13).

Proverbs 3 – The Rewards of Wisdom. Knowledge can be learned from books but Wisdom is learned by revering the Lord above the whims of the world. Without the Lord, the words of wisdom are just some “good story” or, “witty sayings” (Proverbs 1:7). Solomon is recounting the words of his father, David, to his students. The first lesson is, “Don’t forget my Teachings”. The second teaching is, “take the wisdom to heart so that your days will be blessed”. The third is, “Don’t let mercy and kindness and truth leave you” that is, “don’t forget the goodness of the Lord and apply His goodness liberally on those around you”. We can utter the words of Solomon, the prophecies of Jeremiah, Isaiah, Moses, and John to an unsuspecting world and accomplish nothing because, if these words are not alive and breathing in and through you, it will do the world no good (1-6).

Amos 7 – Warning Through Visions. Amos stood in intercession for the nation although the nation did not deserve it. The Lord had determined the destruction of Israel so it didn’t matter how it was destroyed. Amos stood between Heaven and Earth so, in the palm of his hand stood the power to intercede or allow the destruction to push through unchallenged. Like David, though, Amos had to choose and by default, the third plan was enacted (7-8). The “plumb-line” is a measuring device that will show how straight a building is. If the building is not straight, it was to be destroyed and a new one built. The implication is that the covenant that was made would be destroyed and a new one erected (9). What Amos had to say was not popular nor was it accepted because his words were like nails on the back of a chalkboard. Amaziah the priest was sent to tell Amos to “move along this is Bethel” or the place where Jacob stopped and built an altar to G_d (Genesis 28:10-22, Genesis 33:17). The problem was that the famous landmark and home of Royalty dating back to Jeroboam was also the place of the famous “golden calf” (10-13, Psalms 106:19-23). What Amaziah heard next ought to have made his blood boil because his wife would be reduced to prostitution and his lineage would be destroyed (17-18).

2 Corinthians 4 – Paul’s Apostolic Ministry. Paul’s ministry was not without challenges, troubles, and trials. To the Sanhedrin, Paul was an “enemy of the state” and an enemy to all that worshipped under the Pharisees. Paul had a choice though, to surrender to the “status quo” or rise above it by living by G_d’s principles and commands (1-2). To the world, Paul’s teachings were absolute “gibberish” because the message was 180 degrees out of sync with the world’s reality (3-6). Just because the world thought Paul’s message was non-sense was no reason to surrender his post (7-12). The Spirit Paul is talking about is nothing new in fact, it is as old as time itself and the purpose of the Spirit is to call people from sin into life (13-15). For the struggling church at Corinth, this was a breath of fresh air because it spoke in the face of the diabolical acts done by the Devil to destroy the church if it would only wake up and listen. It is true that “sin endures for a night” but joy comes in the morning (16-18, Psalms 30:4-5).

Daily Bible Readings 6/7/2021

Reading #1 – Exodus 32

Reading #2 – Psalms 64

Reading #3 – Proverbs 2

Reading #4 – Amos 6

Reading #5 – 2 Corinthians 3

 

Notes

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).

Daily Bible Reading 6/1/2021

Reading #1 – Exodus 31

Reading #2 – Psalms 63

Reading #3 – Proverbs 1

Reading #4 – Amos 5

Reading #5 – 2 Corinthians 2

 

Notes

Exodus 31 – The Skilled Craftsmen. When we read about G_d’s design for the Tabernacle, a question should pop up in our mind, “How do we do this”? The Lord delegated the responsibility to build the Tabernacle and everything in it. Now, the Lord answers the burning question, “How”? by pointing out who was to do the work (2-11). These two men Bazelel and Oholiab were uniquely qualified for the mission because of the skills they possessed. The articles were to be built to the exact specifications laid out by the Lord and not subject to interpretation. Moses was given the specific mission to tell the Israelites “you will honor the Sabbath”. Up to this point, the Lord had instructed Moses to build the Tabernacle and who was to build it, and where the product would come from. Giving instruction was the job of the commander and this job was not to be delegated (12-13). The Sabbath begins on Friday evening and goes until Saturday evening; during this time, no work was to be done and this was not a suggestion, it was mandatory (14-17). Moses was then given the two stone tablets of the law written by the finger of G_d (18).

Psalms 63 – Thirsting Soul Satisified in G_d. Seeking G_d’s face in the good times and places is easy because we can see our needs being met. Seeking Him when our skies turn to bronze and our earth becomes iron (Deuteronomy 28:23) is most difficult because we have to believe by faith in G_d’s providence (1-2, Hebrews 11:1). Destruction is an undying part of life in a sinful world and we are powerless to stop it however, turning destruction to praise is a personal choice (3-5) so, we can either be a victim or be an overcomer. Developing faith begins by taking note of the areas where G_d has come through, where the storms have been turned back, and/or our worst fears were a figment of our imagination (6-8). One thing we need to get through our thick heads is that we are powerless to change people’s mindsets (Mike Krier). G_d’s word does not say, “make the world live according to your beliefs”, it says “Live to please the Lord in all that you do and He will change the hearts of mankind” (9-11, Matthew 5:14-16).

Proverbs 1 – The Usefulness of Proverbs. The book of Proverbs contains wisdom for living in an unG_dly world. The book is not speaking to the “world at large”, it is speaking to the one whose heart is open and receptive (1-6). Knowing the word and living by it are two different things. Adhering to His word requires the individual to turn his/her eyes to the Lord and become blind to the world’s threats and demands. Certainly, worldly powers can take what does not belong to them, destroy credibility, and/or kill the flesh; the one thing they cannot do is destroy the soul of mankind, that is a personal choice (7).

Amos 5 – “Seek Me that you May Live”. The nation had “perfunctory praise” down to a fine science. The word of the Lord had never changed, David’s Psalms and Solomon’s wisdom never changed but the heart of the nation had (1-3). Even though the nation was on the cusp of being eradicated, there was still hope for the soul of the nation. The G_d who says to the hungry “come unto Me and I will accept you” (4-7, Isaiah 66:5) is the same One who says to the one who rejects the Lord “away with you” (8-17, Matthew 7:21-23). It all boils down to “choice” so, we can either have Heaven on earth amid despair or Hell on earth and no hope (14-16). Sin had become a way of life for the nation and it choked out all of the peace in the kingdom and the people seemed to go from the “frying pan into the fire” (18-20). Religious service and its traditions will not save a nation only by a change of heart could this be done (21-24). The Lord G_d will never contend with the idols that we set before us so, either we serve the world the Lord G_d (25-27, 1 Kings 18:21).

2 Corinthians 2 – Reaffirm Your Love. Previously, Paul admonished the church to remove a man from the fellowship because he sinned and flaunted it and no one said anything (1 Corinthians 5:1-2).  Now Paul is telling the church that it is time to heal the wounds and restore that man (1-8). Sin was destroying the church from the inside out and the church’s credibility was at stake. The thing is, there is a time for everything (Ecclesiastes 3) and now it is time to heal the wounds. The Devil loves nothing more than for there to be discord in the church because it is like fungus, it grows in the dark and takes over everything (9-11). Of course, Paul was not exempt from having to deal with discord because he too had separated from Barnabus because of a strong disagreement over taking John Mark who abandoned them (12-13, Acts 15:36-41) which Paul resolved and restored John mark (2 Timothy 4:11). We have a choice, “be a fragrance of death and allow sin to grow or, be a fragrance of life, either way, the world will always see it 180 degrees out of sync (14-17). If we allow sin to grow in the church, we are seen as hypocrites conversely, if we remove the sin, we are seen as “exclusionists” so, it is a “no-win” situation. So, we need to live for the Lord and make no provision for the flesh (Romans 13:13-14).

 

Daily Bible Reading 5/30/2021

Reading #1 – Exodus 30

Reading #2 – Psalms 62

Reading #3 – Ecclesiastes 12

Reading #4 – Amos 4

Reading #5 – 1 Corinthians 17

 

Notes

Exodus 30 – The Altar of Incense – The altar of incense is symbolic of prayer that goes up to the Father. The construction of the altar, like all of the fixtures in the temple, was uniquely designed using acacia wood overlaid in gold and carried by the chosen priests (1-4). The size of the altar was smaller than the Ark of the covenant. The altar was placed outside of the veil that blocked the entrance to the Holy of holies (5-6). Aaron would be responsible for burning incense “prayers of the saints” (Revelations 8:3-4). The incense was a special fragrant mixture that was not to be used for any other purpose (8-9). Once a year Aaron would take the blood from the “sin offering” and cover the horns of the altar (10). When a census was taken of the nation, each person had to give a ½ shekel as a ransom. The money was to be used for the maintenance of the Tabernacle (11-16). The bronze basin for ceremonial washing of the hands and feet before going into the Holy holies (20-21). The anointing oil, like the incense, was a specific mixture and not to be used for any other purpose (22-25). The oil was to be used to cover the articles of the Temple and the priests which consecrated them for service (26-31).

Psalms 62 – In G_d Alone a Refuge from Treachery and Oppression. When you compare the wicked to the righteous, the common denominator is that “they are human”. As humans, we are as subject to our passions as any other man, woman, and/or child. The difference is the attitude and the G_d or G_d the human serves. As children of the Kingdom of G_d, we should know that all of the resources of the Kingdom are available to us if we would just ask for it (1-2, Matthew 26:52-54). For now, the world tries to eradicate Christianity thinking “now we can have peace” (3-4). Our refuge in the storm is the arms of our Lord who holds us through whatever hell, whatever trial, and whatever temptation may come our way (5-7). No matter what may come our way,  “Church, trust in the Lord and make no provision for the flesh” (8, Romans 13:13-14). Oppression cannot save us no matter if it is in the form of “Democracy” or “Totalitarianism”. Even if we steal things to fill our needs it will all be taken away just as quickly as we got it. The power of our life only comes when we are in the right relationship with the Lord of Heaven and Earth. What our heart desires but looks to things of this earth to fill the void is the love and compassion of our Lord (9-12).

Ecclesiastes 12 – Remembering G_d in Your Youth. When I read this chapter, I think of the life of a town. In its infancy, it is alive and growing people are thronging to the town. In its middle age, the town is still alive but older occupants pass away and things like laws and cultural demands change causing problems for the town. In the following years, the town starts to go downhill, things are breaking, the unity in the town dwindles, and fights ensue. In its later years, the town becomes abandoned as people flock to a better place what is left behind are relics and disquiet. For this reason, Solomon the “Teacher” encouraged his students to remember the creator in their youth. While talking about G_d gathers an audience, action will spread the seeds of faith into another generation (Ecclesiastes 12: 1-8). Solomon taught wisdom to his students and though he sinned, the student was responsible for what he/she did with what they learned (13-14).

Amos 4 – “Yet You Have Not Returned to Me”. The nation was on the precipice of destruction because of sin. When you read the account of the nation’s demise, your thoughts may be on the demise of this great nation or the demise of your family. At the inception of the nation, laws were given through Moses to the elders and down through the years. In the same way, the USA had the “Declaration of Independence” and the “bill of rights”. Choosing to serve the Lord in whatever capacity is a personal decision just like “choosing to act on temptation”. The 900lb gorilla in the room is “Pride” which stands between the two polar opposites. Pride will make you blind to what is going on and think your job, your hobby, and/or a relationship will save you (1-3). The southern kingdom had a golden calf which was made in the time of Jeroboam son of Nebat and the people thought this inanimate object was responsible for the good years they had so they didn’t want to offend by stopping their oblations (4-5). The destruction that fell on Samaria was slow and painful beginning with famine and drought, then the women would eat their dead children to stay alive, and in the end, the town was destroyed and the tribes in the kingdom disappeared into history (10). Unlike Sodom and Gomorrah which were held up as a curse because they were destroyed immediately, Samaria was like a log pulled out of the fire which still had smoke and heat that is, “it was alive”. The thing is, the town was dismantled piece by piece until nothing was left. The 10 commandments which were given to Moses, began with “I am the Lord who brought you out of Egypt. You shall have no other G_d’s before Me” was forgotten by Samaria and Judah and that is where the two kingdoms started to implode from within (11-13, Exodus 20:2-3).

2 Corinthians 1 – Introduction. This  2nd letter was written around 55 CE during a time of upheaval in Asia minor. Despite the troubles he was facing, Paul set the tone of the letter to encourage the church (1-2). When Jesus was alive, he pointed out that he didn’t come to usher in a time of “great peace and prosperity but a time of fights to the death” (Matthew 10:34-36) and this is what Paul was enduring. When he rose to the position of “apostolic authority, Paul resolved to tell the truth of G_d’s word despite what the world at that time thought about it. Developing “inner peace” is a personal choice that says to the heart “no matter what goes on on the outside, I will trust my Lord through it all” (). Paul’s troubles without a doubt caused Paul pain but, how he dealt with it would minister life to those who watched him (6-7). Paul was a man with deep personal integrity that blocked the path from having wicked people stop him from conducting the ministry. By his integrity, Paul developed the church and by his integrity, he faced every storm with his eyes on the Lord (12-14). What Paul said in his letters, just like the promises he made, always came through so the church could trust him and would know he would return (15-19). Paul was offering excuses for not being in Corinth and relying instead on letters but some things were beyond his control. Despite this, Paul still encouraged the church to remain strong in their faith in the Lord Jesus (23-24).

Daily Bible Readings 5/29/2021

Reading #1 – Exodus 29

Reading #2 – Psalms 61

Reading #3 – Ecclesiastes 11

Reading #4 – Amos 3

Reading #5 – 1 Corinthians 16

 

Notes

Exodus 29 – Consecration of the Priests. The word “consecration” means to be set aside of a person or thing for the service of G_d. Aaron and his sons were ordained as priests in the service of the Almighty or “Ha Shem Adonai”. The writer does not explain the importance of the specific number of animals, types of unleavened bread, oil, or wheat flour because the Holy Spirit never explained it, He simply said “do it” (1-3). Before Aaron and his sons could put on their priestly garments, they had to wash with water at the tent of the meeting (4). Moses was tasked with dressing his brother and his nephews in priestly garments (5-6). The “holy crown” was the pure gold plate with the inscription “Holy to the Lord” (Exodus 28:36). Aaron was anointed with oil which signified that Aaron was G_d’s specific agent or the “High priest” (7). The laying of hands on the animal, according to commentary, transposed the sin onto the bull and the animal was sacrificed (Zondervan commentary notes). The blood of the animal was poured out at the base of the altar which signified the animal’s death and the penalty was paid (19-20). The “wave offering” was an up and down movement or an “undulation”; the meat once, burnt, was given to the priests to eat (24-25, Zondervan notes). The meat from the second ram was also a wave offering and the meat was given to Moses as his portion (26). The peace offering or, “free-will offering” was a gift from the individual tribes for the service of the altar and was in addition to their normal offerings. The breast was heaved (side to side motion) before the Lord and the meat was burnt. Once the meat was burnt, it was given to the priests as their perpetual share (27-28).

Psalms 61 – Confidence in G_d’s Protection. When we walk in obedience to G_d, we develop confidence and faith in Him. So when troubles come our way, this “confidence” will calm our fears and quell our doubts (1-2). When we go through trials and remain faithful, we see how G_d moves in our life and makes even the most horrid things work for His glory. These events solidify our faith in Him and help us to hold on to His hand in all situations (3-4). We show our love and reverence for Him by the way we conduct our lives and honor our vows that we made before we were in trouble (5, Ecclesiastes 5:4). “Immortality” or “eternal life” is not just for the “sweet by and by” but for how people feed on our faithfulness and grow in faith to the Eternal G_d (6-7). It should be the desire of our hearts to live for Him all of the days of our life (8).

Ecclesiastes 11 – Cast Your Bread on the Waters. G_d’s word calls us to be active participants in our lives by making and acting on our decisions. While not every decision we make will turn out the way we expected, as long as the decisions we make are in line with G_d’s laws and precepts, He will always turn it for His glory (1-2). One of the easiest things we can do is “give an excuse” why we can’t do ____ or why it isn’t the right time (3-5). No one is immune from “dark days” or “days of trouble and trial” but, it should never be the catalyst that holds us in place rather, it should be fuel to propel us to move on and grow up in Him (7-8).

Amos 3 – All the Families Are Guilty. Israel was led out of slavery from Egypt, cared for, provided for, and healed. The nation loved the term “children of G_d” or “chosen ones” yet by their actions, have said, “I want to do it my way”. Unfortunately, the nation’s leadership promised them “good tidings” when the Lord promised “judgment” (1-2). Just as two people cannot walk in agreement with one of them backstabbing the other, so mankind cannot walk in obedience to G_d and yet walk in disobedience. Israel, just like you and I, rightly deserve judgment when we disobey G_d (3-5). The thing is, no one on this planet can say “I didn’t know” because His word has never changed and “sin” is still “sin” even if we disagree (6-8). When we sin, destruction always comes because of the consequences. The nation had said, “I want to be like all of the rest of the world” only to find out that the nations they wanted to emulate would be the same ones that would descend upon them (9-12). When the destruction came, everything would be taken, and everything would be destroyed (13-15). Sin is a predator because it lulls its prey to sleep by making the prey comfortable, takes what does not belong to it, kills the innocent, and makes the temple unusable (Mike Krier).

1 Corinthians 16 – Paul had directed that the churches give a donation for Jerusalem. Each person was to give as they had purposed in their hearts and in keeping with their prosperity. The donation would be couriered by Paul (1-4). The conclusion to this letter encouraged the people to remain faithful and strong in His precepts, to do everything in love, and that included giving donations, which is motivated by Lord’s example (13-14, 21-24). At that time, people came from various backgrounds and nationalities. Timothy, as an example, was from Asia minor, his mother was Jewish, his father was Greek but he was a child of the Kingdom and Paul encouraged the church to accept him in the faith, to be cordial with him, and just as they had done for Paul (15-18).