Reading #1 – Genesis 5
Reading #2 – Psalms 137
Reading #3 – Proverbs 9
Reading #4 – Ezekiel 5
Reading #5 – Job 2
Genesis 5 – Descendents of Adam. This is a rather tricky chapter to read because of the very long number of years attributed to the individuals. I looked on the biological web page to get some idea of how they came up with the numbers. It is believed that the number of years attributed was due to the use of “numerological” which means the ages are mystic or sacred. In Chaldean culture, the names are converted into numbers. Of course, that doesn’t tell us too much about the life or death of Adam. We do not have birth and death records for Adam as they were not employed until about 1900 AD. From this chapter, we also get some idea where Cain’s wife came from (Genesis 4:17). Remember, scripture is likened to a puzzle because the pieces are strewn throughout scripture. The purpose of the puzzle is for the reader/student’s benefit. For modern-day students of the Bible to wrap their minds around what is said in the Bible, he and/or she must also understand the culture of the time.
Job 2 – Job Loses His Health. So removing all of Job’s wealth, destroying his family, and wreaking havoc on his property did not cause Job to lose faith in the G_d he served. The next attack would be meted out to the flesh. When prompted, G_d could have told Satan to go skip a rope and refused to let the Devil do his worst. Sometimes, and I say this respectfully, we have to let things happen without us interfering. G_d knew Job would pass the test without a doubt in His mind. G_d could have put limitations on the Devil’s permissions like, “You can only give him a minor headache” and the Devil would have to comply. So the Devil attacked Job with the full force of G_d’s authority (4-8). His wife used the opportunity to ridicule him for “his faith in G_d” yet, Job stood his ground (9-10). After that, three of his friends came to “comfort him” and when they saw him, they were greatly moved (11-13).
Psalms 137 – Experience of Captivity. During the exile, the people brought with them their musical instruments and everything they could carry with them. At the river, opposite Jerusalem, the captors demanded a song as a way of saying “now sing about glorious G_d and the strength of Jerusalem”. Instead, the people left their musical instruments behind (1-3). Jerusalem was many things to many people. For the upright in heart, it was a source of Joy to worship in Solomon’s Temple. To the wicked kings, it was a “piggy bank” to pay off the attacking kingdoms. To the Babylonian empire, it was a thorn in the side something that had to be dealt with but, they were unaware of the cost it would be to a future generation (8-9). To Edomites, it was a reminder of what happened when Isaac abandoned blessed their nemesis Jacob and had nothing to offer their ancestor, Esau (7). To the nations defeated by David and who was Solomon’s slave labor force, it was a reminder of the back-breaking work their ancestors were put through for a pittance. To the ones who loved Jerusalem and the Temple, promised they would never forget her and they kept that promise (5-6, Ezra 2:1). The question remains, though, “How can we worship in a foreign land” (4)? The answer is “when we come to grips with the fact that we are in a foreign land because of disobedience, and the only way back is repentance, G_d will meet us where we are. The Psalmist, asked the question “Where can I go from your Spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence (4 Psalms 139:7)? The answer is, “Nowhere”.
Proverbs 9 – Wisdom’s Invitation. The Attorney at Law Dean Mead said, “The time to prepare for a crisis is before it arrives” (Dean Mead). The same is said of our spiritual weapons (Ephesians 6:14-17), the time to put them on is not 15 minutes into the battle, they are to be put on before going into battle. In the same way, Wisdom is offering those who never listened to her to open their spiritual heart, eyes, and ears to what she has to say so that they will be equipped for the battle that will occur at some point in time. Wisdom is speaking to a diverse audience and what she has to say applies to where people are and where they are going. What Wisdom has to offer is genuine food, the environment is safe, and all the gifts she gives are without strings attached (1-5, Isaiah 55:1-2).
Ezekiel 5 – Jerusalem’s Desolation Foretold. Ezekiel was a portent of events to come for Israel/Judah. Those who watched him didn’t seemingly ask “what are you doing you fool”. Israel/Samaria had abandoned the Lord in favor of false gods and would be decimated in 589. In the time of Josiah, the invitation to come to the Temple for the sacrifice was sent to the Northern kingdom and some did come (2 Kings 23:21-23). Unfortunately, the nation Judah in the time of Manassah had put the final nail in the coffin that would lead to Judah’s captivity. Judah was the “center of the nations” and had received the best that G_d had to offer but the people went in search of another god to serve. Their disobedience and flagrant disregard for G_d’s word would bring about the desolation promised in Daniel (5-9 Daniel 12:10-11). The nation Judah was allowed time to get their hearts right but not everybody accepted the gracious offering.