Reading #1 – Genesis 20
Reading #2 – Psalms 3
Reading #3 – Proverbs 25
Reading #4 – Ezekiel 21
Reading #5 – Job 18
Genesis 21 – Isaac is Born. So a full year has passed since the time Abraham and Sarah were promised a son (Genesis 18:10). Sarah conceived a child through Abraham and he was born. After eight days, the child was circumcised according to the Lord’s command (4). After the child was weaned, a feast was given in his honor (8). Now the problem comes to the surface, “what do we do with this child Ishmael”? Sarah tells Abraham to send Hagar and Ishmael away and the Lord G_d condones this (10-12). This segment confused me because it would sound unlike G_d to allow Sarah to do such a thing. According to a web page I found, it states that there was plenty of blame to go around. Abraham was promised a son through Sarah and that was the “baseline promise”. Sarah was in a hurry and didn’t wait for G_d to come through and this is what is the cause of most of the problems in our world today. Once sin is hatched, there is no “undoing it”. Once Abraham had a sexual relationship with Hagar, it was too late to change his mind. So Hagar and Ishmael are sent out into the desert of Paran with a skin of water and a little bit of bread which would not be enough. G_d provided for Hagar and her son (17-19). Hagar grew up and became skilled with a bow and arrow. Hagar got a wife for her son from Egypt. The meeting between Abimelech, Phicol, and Abraham was to ensure that Abraham would continue to honor the king and his son by not fighting against them (22-24) which Abraham agreed to. Abimelech was king of the Philistines who in the time of the judges would be Israel’s enemy.
Job 18 – Bildad Speaks of the Wicked. Bildad’s attack on Job started by calling him “wicked” when even he knew Job’s past. The thing about destruction is that it becomes the 900 lb gorilla in the room. Yes, Job had a splendid past that was filled with riches, and people thronged to hear from him but, “why would G_d allow such an event to occur to his righteous man”? The part that neither of the players would ever know is, the background information was never imparted to them. This unknown variable is the crux of the problem and would be until the end of the play. Bildad’s contention was “that when a man sins, he reaps what he sows. Now that he is caught, why does he think he’s better than anybody else” (21)?
Psalm 3 – Morning Prayer of Trust in G_d. Absalom had taken the kingdom by a coup so David had to run away or be killed. David knew this situation was one of his own makings but yet he trusted in the Lord to bring him through the situation (2-3). Sin is not the end of our relationship with G_d, it is a new chapter and it is where we can put our faith into practice (4-5). When our righteous platform crumbles from beneath us, the world will use it to attack us. When the attacks come about, we can either crumble along with our platform or stand up and clear the pathway which, is the essence of John’s message (6, Isaiah 40:3).
Proverbs 25 – Similitudes, Instructions. Living a righteous life is not without its perils. When we chose to serve and honor G_d’s commands, the Devil will be the first one on the scene to try to change our minds. The world says, “follow us and we’ll show you some fun” but tell us that “we are the subject of their fun.” For one person to serve the Lord G_d, there isn’t much of a challenge but let the community turn its hearts to G_d and that is where the trouble exacerbates (5). The righteous man/woman understands the importance of timing and patience (6-9). When we are too quick to act, we create problems and from it, we reap the storms (9-10).
Ezekiel 21 – Parable of the Sword. The sword of the Babylonians was prepped and ready for slaughter. Israel/Judah had been warned multiple times for its indiscretions but it chose to continue to serve its idols because the conventional wisdom was that “while served them things were good”(Jeremiah 44:18-19). At the core of this whole problem is a “false cause”. When sin reigns in a community for long periods, it is thought that our actions have allowed the peace more than it is “given enough rope to hang ourselves”. Now everyone in the nation would be uprooted from their homeland and sent to a briar patch (Babylon). Ezekiel was a portent of events to come (6-7). By the time the sword was sharpened and polished, it was too late and everything that was promised would occur (8-11). The destruction that would come about would affect everyone despite who they were, what position they held, what wealth they held, and what little they had; even the righteous man Ezekiel would not be exempt. Those who had sworn allegiance to Nebuchadnezzar would also not be exempt from the destruction to come (23).