Do you know what you have need of? Do you know what needs to be done? Do you know what is your calling? Do you know where to go? Why not turn to God and be filled with the Holy Spirit? Why not invite God into your life and allow His wisdom to lead and guide you? Why not invite God into your life and allow the Holy Spirit to give you the ability to get it done? Why not invite God into your very situation in order that the expertise necessary can be found and meet the needs? Do you know where to turn? Don’t be fooled! Don’t be lead astray! Stay close to God and allow Jesus to be your Lord and Savior! Don’t forget! Don’t turn away from God! Draw closer to God and allow Him to draw closer to you! Do you know who to turn to?
Today’s reading starts in the book of Exodus with Exodus 31.
‘Then the Lord said to Moses, “Look, I have specifically chosen Bezalel son of Uri, grandson of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. I have filled him with the Spirit of God, giving him great wisdom, ability, and expertise in all kinds of crafts. He is a master craftsman, expert in working with gold, silver, and bronze. He is skilled in engraving and mounting gemstones and in carving wood. He is a master at every craft! “And I have personally appointed Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, to be his assistant. Moreover, I have given special skill to all the gifted craftsmen so they can make all the things I have commanded you to make: the Tabernacle; the Ark of the Covenant; the Ark’s cover—the place of atonement; all the furnishings of the Tabernacle; the table and its utensils; the pure gold lampstand with all its accessories; the incense altar; the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils; the washbasin with its stand; the beautifully stitched garments—the sacred garments for Aaron the priest, and the garments for his sons to wear as they minister as priests; the anointing oil; the fragrant incense for the Holy Place. The craftsmen must make everything as I have commanded you.”
The Lord then gave these instructions to Moses: “Tell the people of Israel: ‘Be careful to keep my Sabbath day, for the Sabbath is a sign of the covenant between me and you from generation to generation. It is given so you may know that I am the Lord , who makes you holy. You must keep the Sabbath day, for it is a holy day for you. Anyone who desecrates it must be put to death; anyone who works on that day will be cut off from the community. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day must be a Sabbath day of complete rest, a holy day dedicated to the Lord . Anyone who works on the Sabbath must be put to death. The people of Israel must keep the Sabbath day by observing it from generation to generation. This is a covenant obligation for all time. It is a permanent sign of my covenant with the people of Israel. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day he stopped working and was refreshed.’” When the Lord finished speaking with Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant, written by the finger of God.’—Exodus 31
Today’s reading continues into Exodus 32.
‘When the people saw how long it was taking Moses to come back down the mountain, they gathered around Aaron. “Come on,” they said, “make us some gods who can lead us. We don’t know what happened to this fellow Moses, who brought us here from the land of Egypt.” So Aaron said, “Take the gold rings from the ears of your wives and sons and daughters, and bring them to me.” All the people took the gold rings from their ears and brought them to Aaron. Then Aaron took the gold, melted it down, and molded it into the shape of a calf. When the people saw it, they exclaimed, “O Israel, these are the gods who brought you out of the land of Egypt!” Aaron saw how excited the people were, so he built an altar in front of the calf. Then he announced, “Tomorrow will be a festival to the Lord !” The people got up early the next morning to sacrifice burnt offerings and peace offerings. After this, they celebrated with feasting and drinking, and they indulged in pagan revelry. The Lord told Moses, “Quick! Go down the mountain! Your people whom you brought from the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves. How quickly they have turned away from the way I commanded them to live! They have melted down gold and made a calf, and they have bowed down and sacrificed to it. They are saying, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you out of the land of Egypt.’” Then the Lord said, “I have seen how stubborn and rebellious these people are. Now leave me alone so my fierce anger can blaze against them, and I will destroy them. Then I will make you, Moses, into a great nation.” But Moses tried to pacify the Lord his God. “O Lord !” he said. “Why are you so angry with your own people whom you brought from the land of Egypt with such great power and such a strong hand? Why let the Egyptians say, ‘Their God rescued them with the evil intention of slaughtering them in the mountains and wiping them from the face of the earth’? Turn away from your fierce anger. Change your mind about this terrible disaster you have threatened against your people! Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. You bound yourself with an oath to them, saying, ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars of heaven. And I will give them all of this land that I have promised to your descendants, and they will possess it forever.’” So the Lord changed his mind about the terrible disaster he had threatened to bring on his people. Then Moses turned and went down the mountain. He held in his hands the two stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant. They were inscribed on both sides, front and back. These tablets were God’s work; the words on them were written by God himself. When Joshua heard the boisterous noise of the people shouting below them, he exclaimed to Moses, “It sounds like war in the camp!” But Moses replied, “No, it’s not a shout of victory nor the wailing of defeat. I hear the sound of a celebration.” When they came near the camp, Moses saw the calf and the dancing, and he burned with anger. He threw the stone tablets to the ground, smashing them at the foot of the mountain. He took the calf they had made and burned it. Then he ground it into powder, threw it into the water, and forced the people to drink it. Finally, he turned to Aaron and demanded, “What did these people do to you to make you bring such terrible sin upon them?” “Don’t get so upset, my lord,” Aaron replied. “You yourself know how evil these people are. They said to me, ‘Make us gods who will lead us. We don’t know what happened to this fellow Moses, who brought us here from the land of Egypt.’ So I told them, ‘Whoever has gold jewelry, take it off.’ When they brought it to me, I simply threw it into the fire—and out came this calf!” Moses saw that Aaron had let the people get completely out of control, much to the amusement of their enemies. So he stood at the entrance to the camp and shouted, “All of you who are on the Lord ’s side, come here and join me.” And all the Levites gathered around him. Moses told them, “This is what the Lord , the God of Israel, says: Each of you, take your swords and go back and forth from one end of the camp to the other. Kill everyone—even your brothers, friends, and neighbors.” The Levites obeyed Moses’ command, and about 3,000 people died that day. Then Moses told the Levites, “Today you have ordained yourselves for the service of the Lord , for you obeyed him even though it meant killing your own sons and brothers. Today you have earned a blessing.” The next day Moses said to the people, “You have committed a terrible sin, but I will go back up to the Lord on the mountain. Perhaps I will be able to obtain forgiveness for your sin.” So Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Oh, what a terrible sin these people have committed. They have made gods of gold for themselves. But now, if you will only forgive their sin—but if not, erase my name from the record you have written!” But the Lord replied to Moses, “No, I will erase the name of everyone who has sinned against me. Now go, lead the people to the place I told you about. Look! My angel will lead the way before you. And when I come to call the people to account, I will certainly hold them responsible for their sins.” Then the Lord sent a great plague upon the people because they had worshiped the calf Aaron had made.’—Exodus 32
Today’s reading next brings us into the book of Job starting with Job 22.
‘Then Eliphaz the Temanite replied: “Can a person do anything to help God? Can even a wise person be helpful to him? Is it any advantage to the Almighty if you are righteous? Would it be any gain to him if you were perfect? Is it because you’re so pious that he accuses you and brings judgment against you? No, it’s because of your wickedness! There’s no limit to your sins. “For example, you must have lent money to your friend and demanded clothing as security. Yes, you stripped him to the bone. You must have refused water for the thirsty and food for the hungry. You probably think the land belongs to the powerful and only the privileged have a right to it! You must have sent widows away empty-handed and crushed the hopes of orphans. That is why you are surrounded by traps and tremble from sudden fears. That is why you cannot see in the darkness, and waves of water cover you. “God is so great—higher than the heavens, higher than the farthest stars. But you reply, ‘That’s why God can’t see what I am doing! How can he judge through the thick darkness? For thick clouds swirl about him, and he cannot see us. He is way up there, walking on the vault of heaven.’ “Will you continue on the old paths where evil people have walked? They were snatched away in the prime of life, the foundations of their lives washed away. For they said to God, ‘Leave us alone! What can the Almighty do to us?’ Yet he was the one who filled their homes with good things, so I will have nothing to do with that kind of thinking. “The righteous will be happy to see the wicked destroyed, and the innocent will laugh in contempt. They will say, ‘See how our enemies have been destroyed. The last of them have been consumed in the fire.’ “Submit to God, and you will have peace; then things will go well for you. Listen to his instructions, and store them in your heart. If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored— so clean up your life. If you give up your lust for money and throw your precious gold into the river, the Almighty himself will be your treasure. He will be your precious silver! “Then you will take delight in the Almighty and look up to God. You will pray to him, and he will hear you, and you will fulfill your vows to him. You will succeed in whatever you choose to do, and light will shine on the road ahead of you. If people are in trouble and you say, ‘Help them,’ God will save them. Even sinners will be rescued; they will be rescued because your hands are pure.”’—Job 22
Today’s reading continues into Job 23.
‘Then Job spoke again: “My complaint today is still a bitter one, and I try hard not to groan aloud. If only I knew where to find God, I would go to his court. I would lay out my case and present my arguments. Then I would listen to his reply and understand what he says to me. Would he use his great power to argue with me? No, he would give me a fair hearing. Honest people can reason with him, so I would be forever acquitted by my judge. I go east, but he is not there. I go west, but I cannot find him. I do not see him in the north, for he is hidden. I look to the south, but he is concealed. “But he knows where I am going. And when he tests me, I will come out as pure as gold. For I have stayed on God’s paths; I have followed his ways and not turned aside. I have not departed from his commands, but have treasured his words more than daily food. But once he has made his decision, who can change his mind? Whatever he wants to do, he does. So he will do to me whatever he has planned. He controls my destiny. No wonder I am so terrified in his presence. When I think of it, terror grips me. God has made me sick at heart; the Almighty has terrified me. Darkness is all around me; thick, impenetrable darkness is everywhere.’—Job 23
Today’s reading out of the Old Testament concludes with Job 24.
‘“Why doesn’t the Almighty bring the wicked to judgment? Why must the godly wait for him in vain? Evil people steal land by moving the boundary markers. They steal livestock and put them in their own pastures. They take the orphan’s donkey and demand the widow’s ox as security for a loan. The poor are pushed off the path; the needy must hide together for safety. Like wild donkeys in the wilderness, the poor must spend all their time looking for food, searching even in the desert for food for their children. They harvest a field they do not own, and they glean in the vineyards of the wicked. All night they lie naked in the cold, without clothing or covering. They are soaked by mountain showers, and they huddle against the rocks for want of a home. “The wicked snatch a widow’s child from her breast, taking the baby as security for a loan. The poor must go about naked, without any clothing. They harvest food for others while they themselves are starving. They press out olive oil without being allowed to taste it, and they tread in the winepress as they suffer from thirst. The groans of the dying rise from the city, and the wounded cry for help, yet God ignores their moaning. “Wicked people rebel against the light. They refuse to acknowledge its ways or stay in its paths. The murderer rises in the early dawn to kill the poor and needy; at night he is a thief. The adulterer waits for the twilight, saying, ‘No one will see me then.’ He hides his face so no one will know him. Thieves break into houses at night and sleep in the daytime. They are not acquainted with the light. The black night is their morning. They ally themselves with the terrors of the darkness. “But they disappear like foam down a river. Everything they own is cursed, and they are afraid to enter their own vineyards. The grave consumes sinners just as drought and heat consume snow. Their own mothers will forget them. Maggots will find them sweet to eat. No one will remember them. Wicked people are broken like a tree in the storm. They cheat the woman who has no son to help her. They refuse to help the needy widow. “God, in his power, drags away the rich. They may rise high, but they have no assurance of life. They may be allowed to live in security, but God is always watching them. And though they are great now, in a moment they will be gone like all others, cut off like heads of grain. Can anyone claim otherwise? Who can prove me wrong?”’—Job 24
Today’s reading brings us into the New Testament starting with Mark 4.
‘Later, when Jesus was alone with the twelve disciples and with the others who were gathered around, they asked him what the parables meant. He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secret#4:11 Greek mystery. of the Kingdom of God. But I use parables for everything I say to outsiders, so that the Scriptures might be fulfilled: ‘When they see what I do, they will learn nothing. When they hear what I say, they will not understand. Otherwise, they will turn to me and be forgiven.’#4:12 Isa 6:9-10 (Greek version).” Then Jesus said to them, “If you can’t understand the meaning of this parable, how will you understand all the other parables? The farmer plants seed by taking God’s word to others. The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message, only to have Satan come at once and take it away. The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word. The seed that fell among the thorns represents others who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things, so no fruit is produced. And the seed that fell on good soil represents those who hear and accept God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” Then Jesus asked them, “Would anyone light a lamp and then put it under a basket or under a bed? Of course not! A lamp is placed on a stand, where its light will shine. For everything that is hidden will eventually be brought into the open, and every secret will be brought to light. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.” Then he added, “Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given#4:24 Or The measure you give will be the measure you get back.—and you will receive even more. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them.”’—Mark 4:10-25
Today’s reading continues into 1 Corinthians 10.
‘So, my dear friends, flee from the worship of idols. You are reasonable people. Decide for yourselves if what I am saying is true. When we bless the cup at the Lord’s Table, aren’t we sharing in the blood of Christ? And when we break the bread, aren’t we sharing in the body of Christ? And though we are many, we all eat from one loaf of bread, showing that we are one body. Think about the people of Israel. Weren’t they united by eating the sacrifices at the altar? What am I trying to say? Am I saying that food offered to idols has some significance, or that idols are real gods? No, not at all. I am saying that these sacrifices are offered to demons, not to God. And I don’t want you to participate with demons. You cannot drink from the cup of the Lord and from the cup of demons, too. You cannot eat at the Lord’s Table and at the table of demons, too. What? Do we dare to rouse the Lord’s jealousy? Do you think we are stronger than he is?’—1 Corinthians 10:14-22
As we come to the close of today’s reading, let’s take a moment to meditate on today’s psalm coming from Psalms 62.
‘I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken. So many enemies against one man— all of them trying to kill me. To them I’m just a broken-down wall or a tottering fence. They plan to topple me from my high position. They delight in telling lies about me. They praise me to my face but curse me in their hearts. Interlude Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken. My victory and honor come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me. O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge. Interlude Common people are as worthless as a puff of wind, and the powerful are not what they appear to be. If you weigh them on the scales, together they are lighter than a breath of air. Don’t make your living by extortion or put your hope in stealing. And if your wealth increases, don’t make it the center of your life. God has spoken plainly, and I have heard it many times: Power, O God, belongs to you; unfailing love, O Lord, is yours. Surely you repay all people according to what they have done.’—Psalms 62