LET'S PRAY TOGETHER Lord, let our souls rise up to meet you as the day rises to meet the sun. Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Father, we pray for Gabon, Bangladesh, Ukraine, Paraguay, Yemen and the church in these countries as well as the lost. Today Lord be with the sick, especially those facing death alone. Lead our leader and fill them with a hunger for true justice. And help us to turn our hearts towards You. May the peace of the Lord Christ go with us: wherever He may send us; may You guide us through the wilderness: protect us through the storm; may You bring us home rejoicing: at the wonders You have shown us; may You bring us home rejoicing once again into our doors. Amen
MEDITATION "This is what the Lord says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place." (Jeremiah 22:3 NIV) We will continue our discussion of the Bible Project video on justice (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A14THPoc4-4) God made us in His image to rule the world by His definition of good and evil, but humanity rebelled against God. God’s plan to rescue us involved raising up a special people to model for the world what justice and righteousness was supposed to look like. He called Abraham from among the nations, “but the descendants of Abraham (Israel) ends up being oppressed immigrant slaves in Egypt. God confronts Egypt and declares them rashah: guilty of injustice. Then He rescues Israel, but the tragic irony is that Israel goes on to commit the same acts of injustice against the vulnerable.”* As Pastor Mike takes us through the writings of the prophet Amos, we see the types of behaviors that led to Israel’s condemnation; immorality, oppression, and injustice. Of course Israel is not the only ones guilty of injustice. Amos begins by indicting the nations that surround Israel. Today, there are many examples of injustice. “Some people actively oppress and exploit the vulnerable while others receive benefits and privileges from unjust social structures that they take for granted.”* Consider the college entrance scandal that was exposed last year. Wealthy parents were paying thousands of dollars to secure placement for their children at ivy league universities. In doing so better qualified but less wealthy students lost out. All over the world, fully qualified applicants with obviously ethnic or foreign names often are turned down for jobs and housing** When Mike worked for the University of Pittsburgh doing research, most of his colleagues were immigrants. He realized that they were being vastly overcharged for their car repairs. He began making the calls to the mechanics for them and getting the price set before they dropped their cars off to ensure that they would not be taken advantage of simply because they had an accent. God detests all types of injustice and He is calling on us as His representatives to live and act with compassion, kindness, love, and justice. Are there any opportunities to act with justice in your daily life?
-nicole *from the Bible Project video on Justice ** https://www.theladders.com/career-advice/study-ethnic-sounding-name-employers-fewer-calls-back ** https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0183344
DAILY SCRIPTURE READING Our daily scripture reading comes from the following link… http://listenersbible.com/devotionals/biy/ If you have any insights into our daily readings, please feel free to share them with me. I would encourage you to visit https://bibleproject.com/explore/1-2-chronicles/ for an overview of 1st & 2nd Chronicles and https://bibleproject.com/explore/1-corinthians/ for an overview of Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth. These videos will help with the “big picture” and the main themes. 2 Chronicles 5:2-7:10 What does Solomon do as he finishes the temple? (5:2) The Ark was central to Israel's worship of God. What was in the Ark? (5:10, 6:11) Solomon, upon consecrating the temple, will repeatedly encourage people to pray “towards” the temple. We don’t believe this. There is no “one” location that God dwells, that we must pray towards. In Christianity there is an important movement away from the temple and towards the community. Consider what Jesus said... where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them. (Matt 18:20) In chapter 7 we have a record of how many animals are sacrificed. Do you know what happens with the meat? Leviticus talks about the various offerings, how to make them and what to do with them. Part of it is offered to God, part to the priests and part to the community. (Think about the question Paul will ask in 1 Corinthians 10:18) 1 Corinthians 10:14-11:1 Paul will talk about sacrificial meat. Again, thinking back to Chronicles and the large number of animal sacrifices that the community would have participated in and eaten, Paul is asking the question, what about meat sacrificed before an idol. Should we eat that? The meat in the markets came from all sorts of temples to various ‘gods’ or ‘idols.’ What does Paul say is behind these idols? (verse 20) So follow the logic, if we eat meat from the market it is likely coming from some temple sacrifice. What does Paul say then in verse 25? But, if you are eating with someone else, a non-believer, who has specified that meat was sacrificed to a particular idol, then what are you to do? (verse 28) When talking about how we care for others, what does Paul say? (verses 32-33) What is the model for Paul's behavior? (11:1) Proverbs 20:5-14 I feel like proverbs are better read, one a day. To give you something to think about. For example, “The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out.” (20:5) What is Solomon saying? 2 Chronicles 7:11-9:31 Chapter 7 talks about the “if” of the covenant. Starting with verse 19, what is God saying? How do we see this working out in our study of Amos, understanding that Amos is roughly 200 years after God makes this statement to Solomon? The queen of Sheba will talk about Solomon as King. “How happy your men must be,” “How happy your officials,” because… re-read 9:8. 1 Corinthians 11:2-34 Paul is talking about several practices here that are being observed by the church. Prayer, prophesy, communion. And it seems that the way the church in Corinth is observing these is wrong. We don’t really know what they are doing, only Paul’s response to them. So it’s difficult to understand exactly what Paul is saying. Which makes this particular passage hard to wrap our minds around, especially around this image of men and women. What do you hear Paul saying? Psalm 98:1-9 Psalm 98 is another example of a psalm of praise. Who and what are to praise God?