Reading #1 – Genesis 19
Reading #2 – Psalms 2
Reading #3 – Proverbs 24
Reading #4 – Ezekiel 20
Reading #5 – Job 17
Genesis 20 – Abraham’s Deception. Once again, Abraham portrays Sarah as his sister and he is her brother. Abimelech takes Sarah into his harem or family (1-2, Genesis 12:11-15). Sarah was now over 95 years old when she was taken into Abimelech’s home. The last time, Abram found out that the ploy could have caused problems for the host nation so, it should follow that there would be issues for Abimelech. The king was warned by the Lord that Sarah was married and that he and his house were in deep trouble if he didn’t return the woman (3-7). The king was justifiably upset with Abraham for bringing a potential disaster upon the king’s family (9). What Abraham said, of course, was true in a manner of speaking but the king did not know that it was a “manner of speaking” until Abraham laid it out for the king (11-13). What Abraham should have remembered from the last episode is that he had nothing to fear because the same Lord that called him would be the same Lord that would keep him and his family safe. Abimelech gave Abraham sheep, oxen, male and female slaves,1000 pieces of silver, and offered him land to settle in (14-16). This generous offering was over and above what the Lord told him to do. Abraham blessed Abimelech and prayed for him and his family. The Lord in turn healed Abimelech’s family (17-18).
Job 17 – Job Says He Has Become a Byword. Job sees himself as a broken mess and the best place for him would be in the grave (1). When you do not know who to trust and have no one to turn to, it is easy to feel like you are out on a ledge (2). Job was innocent but who would stand up and testify in his defense? From what he could see before him, the answer would be “nobody”. When the Devil gets his foot into our life, he will beat us until we are one inch from the grave. To be a “byword” means to be an example of being cursed and a warning to not be like that person. Job’s encouragement is, “when you are at your lowest do not give up hope” (9-12). Job’s word to the unofficial counselors was, “if what you are saying is correct, you have a lot to be afraid of and that where I am you will be also” (13-16).
Psalms 2 – The Reign of the Lord’s Anointed. When David became king over Judah and later over Israel, the Philistines came looking for him (1-3, 2 Samuel 5:17). Despite what he had been taken through with Saul, the years being on the run, and the struggles he faced, David had complete trust in the Lord. Being crowned king in place of Saul was G_d’s ultimate gift to David (7-9). Being blessed by G_d comes with a warning that the person needs to be aware of (10-12).
Proverbs 24 – Precepts and Warnings. Solomon is warning his and his students about the importance of “staying the course”. There are two pathways the way of the righteous and the way of the wicked. It was the student the son’s responsibility to decide which path they would go down (1-4, Hebrews 10:38-39). Starting on the course and staying on it requires thought and careful planning. If our thinking is easily infected by the enticement to give up and follow the populace, we will be ineffective in our walk with the Lord (10, Jeremiah 12:5, James 1:5-8). Walking with the Lord G_d requires continual care and maintenance. Being a child of G_d does not mean that we will not be enticed to commit sin or that we can’t slip up in our journey. When we compare the two different pathways, there will be a constant evolution in that the righteous will make it through disaster but the wicked are caught in the traps they set (16).
Ezekiel 20 – G_d’s Dealings with Israel Rehearsed. Seven years after the nation was exiled to Babylon, some of the elders went to Ezekiel to inquire of the Lord (1). In essence, their question was “We are in Babylon now what”? The nation was in exile because they sinned against G_d, rejected His commands, and wanted to live like all of the other nations which is a resounding hymn from the first day they asked for a king. Asking for a king was not the end of their demands, it was the beginning because the defiance to living according to G_d’s laws as seen by the Judges would flow to the kings. When the kings learned to do evil, the nation followed which brought them to where they were. Because of their continual disobedience, G_d would not listen to their inquiry and in reply laid it on the line for them (2-3, 1 Samuel 8:4-5). Many times, G_d restrained his anger towards the nation. Many times, He called in men whose heart was white-hot for the Lord G_d to save the belligerent nation. After living a time of blessing under the coverage of a righteous king or judge, the nation went right back into a sinful lifestyle or “followed the crowd” (11-17). The nation’s descent into exile was not a single event, it was many events that started when they first entered Canaan. So, what the nation heard from Ezekiel should have come as no surprise. The children who entered Canaan were told not to live like their parents who spent 40 years walking in circles until the last the old guard had passed away (18-20, Leviticus 18:2-5). Sadly, the Devil is always at work tearing apart G_d’s children. Once we step across the threshold into sin, it should be no surprise that eventually, we will be caught and that is where Israel was. It is important to note, that not everyone in Israel had sinned and brought down condemnation, so not all of the Israelites would stay in captivity (33-38).