It is important to know that Moses wrote Exodus for the future generations of Israelites who had not experienced God's deliverance from slavery nor the establishment of the covenant. As you read Exodus chapters 25-31 remember this statement from Exodus 25:8-9. God gave Moses these exact instructions for building the sanctuary so "that I may dwell in their midst." After making the covenant with Israel, God is establishing how the nation is to worship Him properly.
Notice the circumstances surrounding this act of faith; it is suffering the potential loss of a son. It seems that often the thing that moves us towards Jesus is suffering. We all put our trust, faith, hope or belief in something. When suffering comes, we discover what we are really trusting. Until you mistrust the things you have always depended upon, you will not fully trust God. When God brings suffering into my life, it is an act of mercy. Until I truthfully see the inability of the things in which I have placed my trust in (those things that give me meaning and identity), I will never turn to the utterly dependable One. How often do blessings come in a similar form of disguise? A detached view of Jesus is often removed in a time of desperation.
Proverbs 1:2-6 is a syllabus of the course Solomon, son of David, King of Israel intends to teach in this book. Proverbs 1:7 is his thesis sentence. Solomon offers this proposition and intends to prove it through his course material. I want my life to evidence the attributes Solomon plans to teach: wisdom, understanding, righteousness, justice, equity, prudence, knowledge, and discretion. Since 1 Kings 4:29-30 says, "God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding beyond measure...so that Solomon's wisdom surpassed all the people", this seems like a great teacher and course of study worthy of pursuit.
Father, as I read and study Your proverbs, please add and increase these characteristics in my life. Jesus, I know what Scripture says about Solomon, but I also know what You said about Yourself (Matthew 12:42). Since something and someone greater than Solomon is here, I desire Your Spirit to be my ultimate teacher. Thank You for the wisdom of Solomon, but I know the true Teacher. I know You became to us wisdom from God (1 Corinthians 1:30).
2 Corinthians 13:4-7
This passage convicts me. It seems Paul is dealing with three separate subjects in these four verses: weakness, self-examination and success/failure.
Paul has emphasized his weakness so God may be proven strong. In 2 Corinthians 11:21-31, 12:10, and 13:3-9, Paul discusses the necessity of acknowledging God's strength and our weakness, God's sufficiency and our insufficiency. Why do I struggle with such a desire for self-sufficiency? I know from experience that I am not self-sufficient, so why at this age of life is this still an issue for me? Why do I not trust in the sufficiency of Christ to the exclusion of everything else?
"Examine yourselves...Test yourselves". As a disciple of Christ Jesus, isn't this always the issue? Isn't the question I need to be regularly asking myself, "Am I in the faith?" How vital is discerning whether I am walking in the flesh or the Spirit? 2 Peter 1:10-11 tells me to diligently confirm my calling and election by practicing the qualities of Godliness. Living in Godliness and being led by the Spirit richly provides an entrance into the eternal kingdom of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
When I examine myself, I tend to base the test not on strength/weakness or walking in the Spirit/flesh but by success/failure. Unfortunately, my estimation of success/failure often has a worldly quality. Paul says success is gauged by the people to whom he ministers. Are they doing right or wrong? It does not matter whether he appears to be a success or a failure, only that those he loves do what is right.
Abba Father, I know I am insufficient, weak and a failure standing on my own. Thank You for the sufficiency, strength, and success of Your Beloved Son, Jesus. I know it is because of You that I am in Christ Jesus.