Reading #1 – Genesis 22
Reading #2 – Psalms 4
Reading #3 – Proverbs 26
Reading #4 – Ezekiel 22
Reading #5 – Job 19
Genesis 22 – The Offering of Isaac. Abraham’s faith was tested when he was asked to take his only son Isaac and sacrifice on the mountain of Moriah (2). So, Abraham did what he was told to do and he did it without a qualm. The thing about faith is that it is the evidence of things hoped for (Hebrews 11:1). Abraham was given a promise by G_d that through his son Isaac, the nations of the world would be blessed. How can the nation become like the sands of the sea or the stars of the heavens if the child is sacrificed? It would be tempting to believe that Abraham was sold a bad bag of goods but, Abraham knew that G_d always honored His covenants so he wasn’t afraid to face the mountain. I’m sure that Abraham was questioning what he believed all of the ways up the side of the mountain. When the group reached the place of sacrifice, Abraham acted on faith when he said “the boy and I will return” (4-5); this was pure faith on Abraham’s part because there were no animals with them to sacrifice. When they got to Moriah, Isaac asked “where is the sacrifice”? Abraham trusted that G_d knew what He was doing and that an animal would be provided even if that animal was his only son (7-13, John 3:16-19). Jesus was G_d’s only son and sacrificed his life for ours.
Job 19 – Job Feels Insulted. Of all the things we see in this world, the hardest is to be crushed by those who are supposed to be our friends. Job is seen as the “villain” in this play because from what these men see he is afflicted by G_d and Job doesn’t seem to get it (3-4). When we have sinned, the judgment we receive would be “justified” (7-9). Job lost everything, including his wife and children. People that once thronged to him now run in the opposite direction (15-18). Job’s only consolation was that his redeemer lives and because He was alive, He has all things under control even when it doesn’t look like it (23-26). The problem the counselors had was that when they were through judging Job, their judgment would be just beginning (28-29).
Psalms 4 – Evening Prayer Trust in G_D. trust in G_d is not just for when things go right but also when things go wrong. David knew both sides of prayer and because of it was loved by G_d. The world is fickle in that it expects the good and frowns on the bad (2). At the end of a bad day, it is very difficult to not feel bruised and beaten yet, in these times we can turn to G_d and know that He will not abandon us if we do not lose hope (4-6, Luke 18:1-8).
Proverbs 26 – Simlitures, Instructions. What we do with our tongue will either bring the credit or discredit depending on how it is used. When we speak to each other, we think we are saying the right thing but find out too late that it had the reverse effect; consider the case of Job. When the three friends pointed out that the destruction he faced was due to a sinful action on his part (4).
Ezekiel 22 – The Sins of Israel. Israel’s history just like the US’ history is linked both in righteousness and unrighteousness. Just as there were bright spots in Israel so, were there bright spots in the US. G_d’s argument through Ezekiel was that the nation had shed blood (6), those who lived in Israel and those from outlying areas have been steeped in sin (5), and guilty of idol worship (4). G_d’s goal for the nation is that they would be a righteous nation but sin found its way into the nation partly due to the nations that were not removed according to G_d’s commands and partly due to the leadership. When the leadership found it convenient to adhere to the idols of the world around them, the nation became corrupt. It is hard to understand how a nation that was over 10,000 people that no one would consider it important enough to pray for the nation (30) but because of that, the nation was destroyed.