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Psalm 114 1
1 When Israel came out of Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of foreign tongue, 2 Judah became God’s sanctuary, Israel his dominion. 3 The sea looked and fled, the Jordan turned back; 4 the mountains skipped like rams, the hills like lambs. 5 Why was it, O sea, that you fled, O Jordan, that you turned back, 6 you mountains, that you skipped like rams, you hills, like lambs? 7 Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob, 8 who turned the rock into a pool, the hard rock into springs of water.

clip_image007Background 2

This is the second “Egyptian hallel”. Hallel is a Jewish prayer—a verbatim recitation from Psalms 113-118, which is used for praise and thanksgiving that is recited by observant Jews on Jewish holidays. We are not sure who the psalmist was. They are not sure when he wrote it but know why he wrote it. It was to tell people what God did when he led his people from Egypt. There they were slaves, but now they were free.

Maybe he wrote the psalm when the Jews went into their “Promised Land”. This was the country that God promised to Abraham. The north part they called Israel, the south part Judah. Today these places are Palestine and Israel. Today, Israel is the south part that was Judah 2500 years ago! This easily confuses us! Or perhaps the psalmist wrote it before or when Assyria beat the north part called Israel. Assyria took the people of Israel away. They put other people in their place. These other people became the Samaritans.

We need to know what verse 2 means. Then we can give the psalm a date. If Judah and Israel are countries, then it means the psalmist wrote it between 950 and 650 B.C. If Judah and Israel are the people, then the date could be earlier because this also is another name for the Jewish people.

Biblical Truths

What happened when the people of Israel left Egypt? Several things happened:

  • God led them to the Promised Land, (verse 2).
  • God led them through the Red Sea, which became dry for them, (verse 3).
  • God led them over the River Jordan. It also became dry for them, (verse 3).
  • Mountains and hills like Sinai seemed to jump like animals, (verse 4).
  • God gave them water from the rocks in dry places, (verse 8).

Verse 1. The “strange language” was Egyptian. The Jews spoke Hebrew and wrote their psalms in Hebrew. Here “Israel” means the people, not the place.

Verse 2. “*LORD” is a special name for God. It is the covenant name. A covenant is when two people (or groups of people) agree. Here God agrees to love and send help to his people; the people agree to love and obey God. The covenant started when God led his people from Egypt to the Promised Land. Some Bible students translate verse 2 in a different way: The people of Judah worshipped (the LORD). The people of Israel made him their king. This makes the verse about the covenant, not about the land. The people worshipped (or loved and were the servants of) the LORD. The LORD was their king. He gave them help and he was their leader. Both translations teach us something about God.

Verse 3. The sea was the Red Sea. It is between Egypt and the Promised Land. Exodus 14:10-22 tells us what happened. A dry path appeared in the sea! The *psalmist says that the waters ran away (or fled) from God. This is poetry, or a special way to use words. The same thing happened to the River Jordan. The story is in Joshua 3:7-17. “Turned back” means that the water “stopped going”.

Verse 4. Here rams are male sheep, and lambs are young sheep. The hills and mountains jumped like animals when the LORD was near. Again, this is poetry. Maybe the psalmist means the earthquake in Exodus 19:18-20. An earthquake is when the ground moves.

Verses 5 and 6 ask, “Why did the sea become dry? Why did the River Jordan stop? Why was there an earthquake?” The answer is in verses 7 and 8.

Verses 7 and 8 God is near. So, the earth is like a man who is afraid. Here God is “the Lord”. This is not the same Hebrew word as LORD. Lord is a word that means “master”, (someone that you must obey). He is so powerful that he can make water come from a dry rock! The story is in Exodus 17:1-7. In verse 7, Jacob means either:

  • all God’s people, or
  • Jacob himself, who worshipped God.

Items for Discussion

  • When you think about God, what goes through your mind?
  • Do you see God as mostly someone to fear or a benefactor?
  • What miracles do you regularly celebrate that full credit goes to God?How can we help our children create a relationship with God that is based on a view of God being overly generous to His people?

 

1 Corinthians 12:1, 4-26
1 Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant. …. 4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. 7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines. 12 The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19I f they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

Background 3

Paul wrote this letter to correct what he saw as erroneous views in the Corinthian church. Several sources informed Paul of conflicts within the church at Corinth: Apollos (Acts 19:1), a letter from the Corinthians, the “household of Chloe,” and finally Stephanas and his two friends who had visited Paul (1:11; 16:17). Paul then wrote this letter to the Corinthians, urging uniformity of belief (“that ye all speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you,” 1:10) and expounding Christian doctrine. Titus and a brother whose name is not given were probably the bearers of the letter to the church at Corinth 2 Corinthians 2:13; 8:6, 16–18).

In general, divisions within the church at Corinth seem to be a problem, and Paul makes it a point to mention these conflicts in the beginning. Specifically, pagan roots still hold sway within their community. Paul wants to bring them back to his doctrines, stating that God has given him the opportunity to be a “skilled master builder” to lay the foundation and let others build upon it (1 Cor 3:10). The letter acts as a warning to get things back on track or God will punish them.

Biblical Truths 4

In verses 4-11, Paul shows that each person God places in the body receives gifts for the benefit of the entire body. In verses 14-20, he explains that diversity in the body is necessary because, if the entire body was just one part, it could not function. The diversity in this context is in terms of gifts, not doctrine, nationality, sex, or race. Diversity enables the body to be much more effective, efficient, and versatile in performing its intended purpose. Each person has a specific function necessary to the whole.

In verses 21-25, Paul makes a veiled warning that we need to guard against both pride in our abilities and its opposite—equally vain—that we have nothing to give. We become useful members when we choose to set aside these vanities and begin doing what we should.

Verse 18, combined with verses 22-26, teaches us that God Himself has organized the body. We need to understand that the greatest Authority in all of creation has specifically placed us within it and given us gifts. If the body is to function as He has purposed, each part must recognize his individual dependence upon and concern for the whole. In addition, each must understand what the body is designed to accomplish. It is the responsibility of each part to subordinate himself to God to produce the unity that will enable the whole body to do its work.

God expresses these concerns for the body because He wants it to function efficiently and effectively in unity. Therefore, what happens to one part, or what one part does, affects the whole. What we do does indeed make a difference because we are individual parts of a living, spiritual organism. Our actions will produce an increase of good or evil, efficiency or inefficiency in the use of spiritual resources, effectiveness or ineffectiveness of our witness, and growth or backsliding in the grace and the knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Items for Discussion

  • Why is diversity of gifts so important to an organization’s success?
  • Why is unity so important to an organization’s success?
  • If an organization must be diverse and at the same time, must be unified, how should it act to accomplish this?
  • What is the difference between a Spiritual Gift and a talent or skill?
  • Is one better than another?
  • What are the ways that people find their Spiritual Gifts?

Discussion Challenge

  • Please take time this week and discover what gift God has given you to share with others.
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