Reading #1 – Genesis 19
Reading #2 – Psalms 1
Reading #3 – Proverbs 23
Reading #4 – Ezekiel 19
Reading #5 – Job 16
Genesis 19 – Doom of Sodom. When the angels arrived in Sodom, Lot invited them to his home in an act of hospitality and protection due to the sinfulness of the town’s populace. I believe that this single act saved him and his family but it was also due to Abraham’s friendship with G_d (1-3,29). Lot’s hospitality was learned from Abraham. Predictably, the people showed up in mass to demand the visitors’ presence; the men who came to the door were struck with blindness (4-11). The two towns were located in eastern Africa they were destroyed around 1900 BCE by an earthquake. As the story goes, the angels asked Lot if there were any sons-in-law for the unmarried daughters so, Lot tried to persuade his future sons-in-law to escape with their future families. The young men thought Lot was telling a joke which, parallels Noah’s account with building the Ark (12-13, Genesis 6). At dawn, the two angels escorted Lot, his wife, and two daughters out of Sodom for the last time. Once out of Sodom, the angels told Lot to escape to the mountains to save himself or you too will be swept away (17). Lot asked if he could stay at Zoar which was far enough away from Sodom and it was granted (20-22). Once Lot and his family arrived at Zoar, Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by fire and brimstone (23-25). Lot’s wife had to look back at her hometown and was turned into a pillar of salt (26). The next morning Lot and his two daughters left Zoar in an unfounded fear that Zoar would also be destroyed and built their home in a cave (30). Lot’s daughters hatched a plan to get their dad drunk, have sex with him, and bear children out of fear that they would never marry (31-36). From this incest, two nations were conceived Moab and Ammonites (37-38).
Job 16 – Job Says Friends Are Sorry Comforters. Sadly, when we face trouble to the degree of Job, words of comfort are like fingernails on the back of a chalkboard. When we look in on a person suffering, like Job’s friends, it is easy to become judgmental and offer words of unofficial counsel; it is much harder, to find words of encouragement and offer, an open ear with the mouth shut, any help needed (4-5, Ecclesiastes 9:17-18, Matthew 25:40). It would appear that no matter what Job said or didn’t say, he could not win with these “comforters” (6). When Job couldn’t figure out where the “wheels came off of the axels”, it was natural to look beyond the physical to the spiritual realm to get justice (7-15). Although unable to convince the trio, Job had convinced G_d “no matter how bad it gets I will remain faithful to you oh Lord” (16-22).
Psalm 1 – The Righteous and the Wicked Contrasted. Living a G_dly life in an ungodly world is perhaps one of the most difficult tasks because of the conflict of ideas; the man or woman who decides which G_d or god to follow must understand this issue. The writer, David, understood the power of living righteously because of the things he had faced since his youth and it made him singularly qualified to speak to the issues (1-3). The flip side of the argument, “why do the unrighteous get away with mischief but I have to stay righteous” is answered also by evidence of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (4-6, Genesis 19:23-25).
Proverbs 23 – On Life and Conduct. If life were to be compared to anything, it would be a “supermarket”. The populace would go to that “Supermarket” to buy what he or she is hungry for. The problem is that we need to carefully consider what is before us before we purchase it. At the topical layer, everything looks good but what it does internally either builds up or destroys us (1-3, Proverbs 27:7, Matthew 5:6). The world’s marketplace offers many venues to get rich and it makes it seem like the rich have no issues, and enjoy lavish ventures which compels people to work to their ends to reach the golden parachute. What you will not see is the brokenness that infiltrates even the very rich (4-5, Matthew 19:24). Being rich is not wrong because Abram was rich and so was Lot. The defining point is what it does to us “internally” and that is what concerns the heart of G_d and should be our focus (7-8, Luke 6:45). The way we treat other people will also feed the heart and build up or harm the person we are interfacing with and it doesn’t matter who we are speaking to the child or stranger; equally, what we do in life will also edify people or give evidence of “what we really believe in” (24-25, John 16:29-33).
Ezekiel 19 – A Dirge for the Princes of Israel. After the two kings: Jehoiachin and Zedekiah were taken from Judah and a governor was put in place, the final nail was put in the coffin for Judah (10-13). In the time of Josiah, the last righteous king, an attempt was made to unite the northern and southern kingdoms (2 Kings 23:21-23) so the kingdoms witnessed what true belief in G_d looks and feels like. After Josiah, the nation went back deeper into sin (14, Psalm 33:11-12).