Reading #1 – Genesis 25
Reading #2 – Psalms 7
Reading #3 – Proverbs 29
Reading #4 – Ezekiel 25
Reading #5 – Job 22
Genesis 25 – Abraham’s Death. After Sarah’s death (Genesis 23:1-2), Abraham married Keturah and they had six children. Before his death, Abraham gave the children of Hagar and Keturah gifts and then sent them away from his son Isaac. Isaac received the promised inheritance of Canaan and all of his father’s flock and treasures (5-6). Abraham had lived a long and full life as is evidenced by how old he was, all that he garnered in his life, and the respect of the nations where he lived (7-10, Proverbs 16:7). The descendants of Ishmael settled in the land east of Egypt towards Assyria. These 12 sheiks would prove to be problematic for Israel later in history. Rebecca had been baren so Isaac prayed that she would conceive and she became pregnant with twins who kicked and pushed each other around in the womb. When Rebeccah prayed for wisdom about what was going on inside of her, she was told “You have two nations inside of you but the older will serve the younger” (21-23). Personally, I think there are things we should not know and the statement in verse 23 is one of them because it will be the groundwork for future problems. When the twins were born, the problems began immediately. The red hairy baby was called Esau. The young, Jacob, grabbed Esau’s heel (24-26). Isaac loved Esau because he was a man who liked the open country something near and dear to Isaac’s heart. Rebecca loved Jacob and protected him. The birthright swap would seem to be innocuous but, in that culture, the older would receive the father’s blessing; the soup would be eaten but the birthright would last until death (29-34).
Job 22 – Eliphaz Accuses and Exhorts Job. Eliphaz’s argument was that “if Job were righteous why did this whole calamity come down on you? Because a loving G_d could never destroy a man unless he was wicked and not righteous. After all, look what happened to you, Job! What did you do wrong?” Eliphaz goes on to mention several sins that Job could have done that would have caused the troubles (5-14). When we are not afflicted by problems like Job has been, it is easy for us to speculate on where the one who is afflicted may have gone wrong which, parallels how the people in the 1st century saw Jesus while he was impaled on the cross (15-20, Mark 15:29-32). After excoriating Job, Eliphaz tells him how Job can make things right with his world which parallels the Devil’s temptation (21-30, Matthew 4:1-11).
Psalms 7 – Protection Psalm. When we are being persecuted or persued for something we did not do and our heart does not convict us, we have peace with G_d (1 John 3:21-22). The thing is the Lord G_d is the ultimate authority and knows the situation and all of its complexities; for this reason, the Psalmist places the situation firmly in the hands of G_d (4-5, Isaiah 54:11-17). This world is fickle because in one time, the nation praises you and in another it excoriates you but with G_d, the difference between righteousness and unrighteousness has not changed (Malachai 3:6-7). G_d is not one side or the other, we must stand on his side and honor His word (Psalms 30:6-7). In our service to the Lord, we must always keep it in the back of our mind that our “righteous” is like a filthy rag, it is used, and then it is discarded (Isaiah 64:6-7). The world does not accept “repentance” as an avenue to healing, but G_d does and that is why we can place our trust in him (10-13).
Proverbs 29 – Warnings and Instructions. The tone we set for our life will either bring the credit or discredit. When we start down the slippery road into sin, all that we have done in our past is forgotten in this world. Maintaining a righteous life is not easy like Job found out. Of course, there is a difference between trouble finding its way to our door and the results of our wickedness. If wickedness had not found its way to the door of the righteous, the Psalmist would never have uttered the prayer of protection (Psalms 7), and nor would Job have endured the mess he did. Wicked behavior will yield wicked results like DUI, incarceration for violence, and/or bankruptcy for mismanaging your finances.
Ezekiel 25 – Judgment on the Gentile Nations. Ammon and Moab descended from the illicit sexual union of Lot and his daughters (Genesis 19:30-36). The Edomites are descendants of Esau, Abraham’s firstborn son. The Philistines were friends with Abraham when he was just a visitor to their nation and the two made a covenant not to fight each other (Genesis 21:22-24). The commonality between these three nations is that as the Hebrews developed into a strong nation in the time of David, they became vassal to Israel (2 Samuel 8:14, 2 Samuel 10, and 2 Samuel 5:17-25). When Israel revolted against Judah, the nations broke away to regain their autonomy (2 Chronicles 21:8). At the time the nations were vassal to Israel, Solomon misused his authority by submitting these nations to harsh labor while the nation was getting the Temple built and later his palaces (1 Kings 5:13-18, 1 Kings 9:15). When the nations scoffed at Israel/Judah’s demise, they forgot that if mighty Israel can be crushed by the hand of G_d, what stops Him from crushing them? The destruction of Israel/Judah would be a warning to all nations that surrounded them to get their homes in order because their days are also numbered.