Reading #1 – Genesis 23
Reading #2 – Psalms 5
Reading #3 – Proverbs 27
Reading #4 – Ezekiel 23
Reading #5 – Job 20
Genesis 23 –. Sarah was 120 years old or thereabout when she died. Abraham was a visitor in the land of the Hittites which was located in Asia Minor. Abraham purchased the cave of Machpelah for 400 pieces of silver so that the property would belong to Israel forever (17-20). The Hittites were honored to give Abraham whatever plot he wanted free of charge because he was a “Prince of G_d” among them (6-9). Efron set the price of the field in a “tongue and cheek” way of saying “Keep your money and take the land” (15-16).
Job 20 – Zophar Says, “The Triumph of the Wicked Is Short”. Zophar, like the other two, believe Job is a sinful man that was hiding in the clothes of the righteous and G_d is having the final say. He is right, though, that wickedness is short-lived (4-5). Because the world is 180 degrees out of sync with G_d’s ways, what we call wickedness is not necessarily wickedness nor is everything we call “righteous” righteous. In a way, it is like looking at a painting, casual observers will see many things in the painting without ever seeking to understand the heart of the painter that is, “what was on his/her mind when he/she painted it.” So, everything this man Zophar said is true but it does not apply to Job.
Psalm 5 – Prayer for Protection from the Wicked. The time to pray for protection is before the day starts (1-3). As we prepare our hearts for the morning, we must understand that wickedness exists but we don’t have to be part of the problem. Because this is a spiritual battle, we must have our armor about us (Ephesians 6:14-17). Eventually, the wicked will get caught in the trap they set for us. When we set our mindset towards honoring G_d in all that we do, we will find joy amid wickedness (11-12). When we seek the Lord’s face for our day, He will make our path straight or “give solid direction through the storms” (8).
Proverbs 27 – Warnings and Instructions. Each day of our life, we are tested by either praise, criticism, instruction, and/or warnings. How we respond to them will greatly depend on the condition of our hearts. If our heart is in disrepair or confused, receiving any one of the above will shake our world. G_d desires that our hearts be always either cold or hot for him (Revelations 3:15-16) but the choice is left to us to make. Praise is an important part of the life of mankind and there is nothing wrong with it when it is received with humility. The Devil, though, uses praise to compel us to have over-exaggerated self-importance like what happened to King Joash ().
Ezekiel 23 – Ohalah and Oholibah’s Sin and its Consequences. The twin sisters Samaria and Jerusalem were caught in adultery (2-3). In time, it would be unpopular for a good Jew to go into Samaria as if saying “I’m too good for you” (John 4:7-9). The difference between the two is that Samaria gave way to idol worship from the time the nation split into two nations (1 Kings 12:25-28). Jerusalem became entangled with Samaria with the marriage between Jehoshaphat’s son Jehoram and Ahab’s daughter Athaliah (2 Chronicles 22:9). From Jehoshaphat, the righteous king of Judah’s alliance with Ahab which should have brought peace to Jerusalem brought trouble in time (2 Chronicles 18:3, Proverbs 11:28). These activities while intended for the good of Judah led to its demise. Oholibah learned from her sister how to do evil and by it got ensnared in the Devil’s trap.