Reading #1 – Genesis 8
Reading #2 – Psalms 140
Reading #3 – Proverbs 12
Reading #4 – Ezekiel 8
Reading #5 – Job 5
Genesis 8 – The Flood Abates. After 5 months of being sequestered on the Ark, the waters started to Abate. G_d set the timing for the people to be released from the Ark. Noah and his family faithfully executed G_d’s commands and because of it, they were saved from drowning. At the end of 150 days about 6 months, Noah sent out a Raven to see if the waters had receded (7). Next, Noah sent out a Dove but it returned because it could not find a place to perch (8-9). After waiting seven days, Noah sent the Dove back out again in the evening it returned with an olive leaf in its beak (10-11). After waiting another seven days, the dove was sent out but did not return (12). After a full year of being sequestered, G_d told Noah to bring him and his family off of the Ark along with the animals (14-19). Noah built an altar on the mountain where the Ark rested and sacrificed one of every clean animal and one of every clean bird (20). The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma [a soothing, satisfying scent] and the LORD said to Himself, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intent (strong inclination, desire) of man’s heart is wicked from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done (21). This, however, does not mean the earth would not get destroyed because the promise means G_d will not curse the ground but that doesn’t mean that mankind is not capable of destruction (22).
Job 5 – G_d is Just. Eliphaz points to Job and declares him to be guilty of sin. After all, the evidence speaks for itself. It is not possible, according to Eliphaz, for G_d to listen to a sinner (1, John 9:30-31). According to Job’s testimony, he had vast wealth one day and it was gone the next. That should be testimony enough to Job’s sinful life (3-7). Of course, Eliphaz concedes that it is always possible that G_d will hear you despite your pitiful condition; while you are at it Job, why don’t you just confess your sins and see if He will help you? After all, it has been known to happen in the nation’s history that pitiful sinners are listened to from time to time. Once you are reproved and you have made things right, then everything will be returned after all, “G_d is just” (25-27).
Psalms 140 – Prayer for Protection against the Wicked – Psalm of David. In this prayer, David is being hounded by vile men like Saul and Doeg the Edomite (1 Samuel 21:7, 1 Samuel 22:15-19). When we put our trust in the Lord and choose not to react evil for evil, G_d will protect our paths (1 Peter 3:8-9). Wicked people will do wicked things but, it does not mean we need to follow suit (4). Justice is not always done according to our time schedule but, it will be done (12-13).
Proverbs 12 – Contrast the Upright and the Wicked. In scripture, as in life, we have examples of both the upright and the wicked. Each of us, given the chance, would proclaim ourselves to be “upright” and person offending us as being “wicked”. When we proclaim our actions as being “good”, we are most often using a false litmus test (Proverbs 21:2). Similarly, in a court of law, the first to speak is always right until the next person takes the witness stand (Proverbs 18:17). I think it all boils down to, “Results”. The reason people do not always wait for the results is that they take a while and sometimes an undefined period sort of like Job’s friends excoriated him without having the requisite information. This was also the problem the Sanhedrin had by jumping to conclusions and casting lots against him because Jesus did not agree with them (Isaiah 53:4-5). “Righteousness” is not based on “Cultural preferences”, it is based on G_d’s judgment, not ours (5).
Ezekiel 8 – Vision of Repulsive Acts in Jerusalem. On the outside of the temple, the destruction by Babylon might have seemed to be the “wicked acts of a wicked kingdom come to destroy a righteous nation.” When the Prophet Ezekiel was taken by the Spirit into the inner workings of the Temple, he saw first-hand what was going on under “the cover of darkness” (3-4). Inside of the temple in the hidden areas, there were idols erected to honor Baal. What we hide in the inner chambers of our heart, will come out into the open when we least expect it (Numbers 3:23). When sin is found in our life, the investigator (the Lord) will not stop with that event, He will continue until every shred of our life is reviewed by the microscope of His word (12-13). It is not pleasant when we are judged but, it is necessary. G_d will not overlook sin just because of who we are or the name by which we call ourselves (Matthew 7:21-23).