Reading #1 – Genesis 18
Reading #2 – Psalms 150
Reading #3 – Proverbs 22
Reading #4 – Ezekiel 18
Reading #5 – Job 15
Genesis 18 – Birth of Isaac Promised. G_d’s friend Abraham was hospitable as was evidenced by inviting the three men in for refreshments and rest; This was the background of the writer of Hebrews warning (3-8, Hebrews 13:2). Abraham and Sarah were well advanced in years about 90 years old and would normally be great grandparents by this point in time. The promise made no sense yet, the Angel said “when we return this time next year you will have a son”. Imagine being either of the two thinking how ludicrous it would be yet, with the Lord nothing is impossible in fact, G_d does his best work in the real of “Impossibility” (10-15). At this point, there were rumblings about the troubles in Sodom and Gomorrah which would affect Lot and his family. When Abraham interceded for the two troublesome towns, he started out at 50 righteous people and then went down until he got to 10 righteous people. We are not told a lot about these towns except for the fact that the people loved the sinful life and would not change its mind even if there were 10 righteous people (27-33).
Job 15 – Eliphaz Says Job Presumes Much. As the conversation continues between Job and the three counselors, the tone changes from comforting to hints of a sinful life, to a harsh rebuke. In this case, Eliphaz is defending G_d’s honor (2-4). The implication of Eliphaz’s argument is that to disagree with him is to disagree with G_d this, in and of itself is presumption. Eliphaz’s point was, “Who are you Job to think that you are above others and should not be judged for sin? Do you think you are the only wise man left on planet earth? Look around and see who is in the audience (5-10)! The underlying voice of Eliphaz is the voice of the Devil who is the accuser (11-16, Revelations 12:10).
Psalm 150 – A Psalm of Praise. This concluding Psalm sums up the book of Psalms. When we praise G_d it changes the focus of our spiritual heart to the Lord G_d in the face of our troubles. When we face troubles, it is easy to complain about our hardship but, it is harder to find joy in the midst of them. When Jesus was on the cross, it was the cruelest act mankind could possibly come up with. The people that thronged about him in the 3.5 years, were his hecklers. Despite the sour wine, the nails in his feet and hands, the raucous laughter, he bowed his head and said, “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing and who they are listening to” (Luke 23:34-37). Because he did this, we can stand amid our troubles and situations and with our heads held high saying, “Praise the Lord who is greater than my troubles, greater than my suffering, and greater than the accuser” (6, Colossians 3:16-17).
Proverbs 22 – On Life and Conduct. The writer, possibly Solomon, points out the two pathways of life. On either side, there is a character that is being pointed out. When you consider a fork in the road, the pathway follows the same course but in the westerly or easterly direction; the reader must make the choice which path to take because for him or her to continue a choice must be made. To choose neither nor is to stay put like the people who tried to build the Tower of Bable. Either juncture will get us through the forest albeit with unnecessary bumps and bruises. The thing is, just like our children, G_d warns us about the pathway were are considering but we must make the choice and act on it. If asked, every man, woman, and child on the planet would want the best G_d has to offer but, they would want to live life on their terms. Unfortunately, this is not reality because we cannot expect the best but live like the world. The path we choose to take will greatly determine the path our children will choose to take (6); of course, sometimes no matter how good of a life we live our children will go astray because we contend with the Devil just like they contend with the Devil.
Ezekiel 18 – G_d Justly Deals with Individuals. In the eyes of the nation of that time just as it is in our time, the world says “Because the father was _____ the child would be treated accordingly.” In G_d’s eyes, we are all his children and we are all human. When we sin, it does not define who we are but it will define the path that we go down (2-4). Every one of us has the authority to follow wisdom’s or foolishness’s path. Following G_d’s path is not “ala carte” and nor is it a simple matter because they are watching us. When our children are young, as parents we are responsible for them but as they grow up, they are given the reigns; with these reigns, they hold the power to speed up or slow down, go right, or go left. Just because we have gone down the wrong path, doesn’t mean we have to stay on that path. Similarly, “just because we have gone down the right path doesn’t mean we can’t get derailed. The power of choice is in our hands. G_d doesn’t take pleasure in the death of mankind and it doesn’t matter who we are or which path we have chosen (30-32).