Reading #1 – Genesis 9
Reading #2 – Psalms 141
Reading #3 – Proverbs 13
Reading #4 – Ezekiel 9
Reading #5 – Job 6
Genesis 9 – Covenant of the Rainbow. G_d gave dominion to Noah and his sons and their families. Having dominion and keeping it, means we need to adhere to the laws surrounding it. The law given to Adam and Eve was very simple, “Don’t eat from the tree in the middle of the garden..”. The laws handed down to Noah and his sons were much lengthier (1-5). The shedding blood by violence carried a stiff penalty (6). Eight people went onto the Ark and, except for newborn children, eight people came off of the Ark; so, the numbers were few. For this species to survive, they needed to multiply as quick as possible. Unfortunately, it takes a minimum of 17 years for the child to grow up. The visible token to G_d’s covenant was the “Rainbow”, which shows in the skies after a rainstorm because of the Sun, would be a perpetual reminder of His promise (8-11). The thing is, what we do with the earth we are held responsible for it. In the same way, when Canaan saw that his grandfather was naked and in a drunken stupor, instead of shutting the door to the tent and forgetting about it, he told his father and uncle about it. Fortunately, Noah’s kids wisely covered him up without looking at him or making “sport of him”. When Noah found about it, he cursed Canaan by making him a servant of servants and not one to take Dominion (20-27). It was said that Noah lived 350 years after the flood so all of the days of Noah were 950 or about 95-97 years old (28-29).
Job 6 – Job’s Friends Are No Help. Unfortunately, the three friends could not completely understand Job’s suffering. Job’s words sound like “whining” when they are the cries of a heart deep in anguish. His “anguish” goes beyond the loss of stuff, family, and the afflictions, it goes to the core of “In what way did I offend G_d” (2-4)? This was a nagging question and would resound throughout the book of Job. Suffering, like Job, is facing, often causes problems for the mouth (9-10). The three men saw Job’s situation through the clouded lens of their sinful life (14-17); this is where we get deceived into judging other people which is what the three friends were doing. Job’s reproof sounded a whole lot like “Dear friends, you don’t know what you are talking about. If you are so certain about your admonitions, then point them out otherwise, be quiet” (24-28).
Psalms 141 – An Evening Prayer for Sanctification and Protection. At the end of the day when the last words are spoken, it should be our desire to square away the books. During the daytime, we conduct business, speak words, and act on the decisions we make. When the day ends, after all of the friends have gone home, all of the chatter dies down, and we are ready for bed, our heart will show the good, the bad, and the boy oh boy. If we do not resolve the issues of the heart and make a resolution “tomorrow I will take care of the mess”, tomorrow becomes today, days become weeks, weeks become months, months become years and the mess never gets fixed. Let my prayer be counted as incense before You; The lifting up of my hands as the evening offering. Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips [to keep me from speaking thoughtlessly] (2-3). When we can stand confidently before the Lord at the end of the day, we have peace that will bring about rest.
Proverbs 13 – Contrast the Upright and the Wicked. In the story of Noah and the Ark, Canaan saw his grandfather naked and in a drunken stupor but did nothing to cover him up instead, he told others about the situation. Noah’s sons covered him up and said nothing more about it. In the same way, there are two people that this segment of Proverbs speaks about. The upright in heart do things that develop peace and prosperity for his/her family. The wicked do things that lead to war (4). The reality is that we hold in our hands the power to live for peace or make pathways that lead to destruction. In the ground of the heart lies uncultivated potential but when we do nothing with it, injustice will sweep it away (23).
Ezekiel 9 – The Vision of Slaughter. Abraham Lincoln once said, “If destruction is our lot, then we must be the author and the finisher” (Lyceum Address). Judah and Jerusalem were being destroyed because of the choices of the few to cause problems and the many who ignored them. The shekinah glory of G_d which had rested on the Ark of the covenant from the time of Moses (Exodus 40:34-35), was now over the Ark and about to be removed (). The angelic scribe was sent through Jerusalem to mark those that grieved over the destruction. Those that were not marked were destroyed by the angels. The ones that were marked became the “remnant” or “what was left”. The Temple was to defiled that is “to be filled with dead people” (4-8). It was a normal human response for Ezekiel to mourn over his homeland. After all, why would G_d say “kill the wicked”? The answer is that if He let the wickedness go unchecked and unresponded to, He would be just as guilty as the people who perpetrated the acts. Ezekiel had been criticized and rebuked for daring to proclaim the coming judgment and by all rights, he could have said “Give one more for me G_d” but he didn’t (9-11).