Reading #1 – Genesis 15
Reading #2 – Psalms 147
Reading #3 – Proverbs 19
Reading #4 – Ezekiel 15
Reading #5 – Job 12
Genesis 15 – Abram Promised a Son. Faith requires us to see beyond the temporal or “what the eye can see” (Hebrews 11:1-2). When Abram mentioned the dilemma to the Lord about “having no heir”. If he had no heir, what good would the promise be (2-3)? This, of course, might seem like Abram is doubting the Lord G_d but that is farthest from his mind. The Lord then advised Abram that his relative from Damascus would not be the heir to Abram’s family. When told to look up into the sky and see the stars, how they were innumerable, and that’s how his lineage would be; this, of course, did not answer Abram’s objection because “he asked for proof” or something solid to hang onto. So he is told to gather the evening sacrifice and put them on the wood. The next vision was that of 400 years of slavery in a land that was not theirs and that in the 4th generation they would return to Canaan; this answered Abram’s objection because except for his wives and few children, he was alone so it would not make much of a family (12-18).
Job 12 – Job Chides His Accusers. The men that came to visit Job did so with good intentions but along the way, they became convinced of their superior wisdom. Job knew he was suffering and everybody who saw him understood his predicament however, he nor the three friends understood “why” or what was going on behind the scenes. Job trusted the Lord and that He in His infinite wisdom would make it clear to Job in His time. The Lord G_d, unlike the creation, didn’t accuse the outward man as to ridicule the misspoken words or to “miss the point”, He judges by the motives of the heart; that is, “how do we handle both the good and bad events that we face in our life (7-12). G_d has perfect wisdom although it doesn’t always look like it but, things are not always as they appear. Judging other people without once considering the heart, is not difficult “just open your mouth”. The thing is, G_d can humble the proud and uplift the humble by changing the seasons in which the proud are put into the bad seasons (23-25, Proverbs 29:23, Psalms 138:6).
Psalms 147 – Praise the Lord for Jerusalem’s Restoration and Prosperity. Praising the Lord G_d when life is at its best and cursing when the winds of adversity blow upon us are the essence of the old stories. There is nothing wrong with Praising the Lord for it is right and just and everything rightfully belongs to Him (Psalms 95:4-6). The thing is, when praise is only uttered in the good and forgotten in the bad times, we tell G_d “I am shallow”. Praising G_d through the seasons of our life requires us to hold onto a promise and never let go. When the Psalmist recorded this Psalm, he most likely did not see “Jerusalem built up” but he knew enough of Jerusalem’s history to know that G_d will always accomplish what He promises if we will only remain faithful. Before Joseph’s death, he knew from the family stories that G_d promised Abram the land of Canaan and that they would be brought back to Canaan after 400 years of slavery. So before his passing, Joseph made his family promise to bring his bones back and bury them in the tomb that his Great-grandfather purchased (2-4, Genesis 50:12-13, 25-26). G_d promises great and mighty things but, if we don’t consider them nor even think about them, they just “words”.
Proverbs 19 – On Life and Conduct. Many a man and/or woman have been promised great things by the Lord that never materialize. The reason the promises have not materialized is that mankind will try to make promises come to fruition sort of like Abram and Sarai (Genesis 15:4-6). Sarai gave her servant girl Hagar to Abram and Hagar conceived and gave birth to a child. While the child through Hagar was Abram’s, it wasn’t what the Lord had in mind for his friend. Add the mix, future problems were created that Abram’s lineage would have to contend with (3).
Ezekiel 15 – Jerusalem like a Useless Vine. We are given everything we need for life and Godliness (2 Peter 1:3). When we misuse the gifts we are graciously provided, the intended use will be marred can and will be seen as a “curse”. The southern kingdom, like the northern kingdom, had been blessed by righteous kings, prophets, and musicians but after the good kings had passed away, the nation struggled with sin; sin brought the nation to its knees. Once the fire was started, there was no stopping it because the Devil knew that once the fire stopped, the nation would rekindle its love for the Lord (7-8, Revelations 2:4-5). Some good did come for the southern kingdom but anywhere near what G_d had in mind for her.