Reading #1 – Genesis 32
Reading #2 – Psalms 14
Reading #3 – Lamentations 5
Reading #4 – Ezekiel 32
Reading #5 – Job 29
Genesis 32 – Jacob Fears Esau. After more than 20 years of hiding from Esau, Jacob was now going back to Canaan and would now have to deal with the mess he left behind. While en route, two angels came to surround Jacob and encourage him for the daunting task that lay ahead for him (1-2). When we are complicit in a crime like Jacob was, G_d doesn’t let us get away with it eventually, we will have to go back to deal with them. Upon hearing that Esau was coming, Jacob split up his group and prepared an offering to appease Esau’s anger (6-8, 13-21). That night Jacob wrestled with an angel over the mess Jacob had created, the man he hurt, and the broken mess that laid at his feet. We are not told why he wrestled with the angel or what was said. Jacob demanded a blessing before he let the angel go and the angel asked him his name and he said: “Jacob” but the angel said, “you are no longer Jacob (He that grabs the heel) but Israel for you have struggled with G_d and won” (24-30).
Job 29 – Job’s Past Was Glorious. Job recounts the blessings a time now gone. The present situation could not hold a candle to “those days”. Job derived strength from those fleeting memories and while it would seem to be fruitless, it is from the memories of pleasant days that he enjoyed is he able to move on with these trials of the present (2-6). Job was a righteous man no matter what the three said or how they crafted their arguments (23-25).
Psalm 14 – Folly and Wicked Men. Foolish man believes there is no G_d so he/she credits the good or bad that is done to the initiatives of mankind (1). The thing is if we believe there is no G_d then who do we go to for strength in time of our need? To our car? To our Job? For the writer of this Psalm, David King of Judah, his strength was in the Lord and the Lord never failed him (4-6); just as Job had faith in the Lord in the face of the extreme circumstances, so He can do beyond what we expected or believed possible (7, Psalms 31:19-20).
Lamentations 5 – Prayer for Mercy. Israel’s nation was decimated and would never be the same again. The nation enjoyed the richest of fare but now it was empty and nobody wanted anything to do with them (3). In a way, the nation was like Job and Jesus two men who had everything but lost it in service to the Lord. Sin has a high price and it is payable upon presentation and it would cost the nation everything they possessed and the innocent would pay for it alongside the guilty (10-14). Praying for mercy doesn’t stop the onslaught of the consequences, it helps us to prepare our hearts for the trouble to come. G_d will restore us when we drift apart but, we have no idea what it will look like (21-22).
Ezekiel 32 – Dirge for Pharaoh and Egypt. Pharaoh considered Egypt to be too powerful to fall and that was his first mistake. Before the battle, the nation entering the war will think itself to be imposing not knowing their opposition might just be a little bit more powerful. Pharaoh thought himself to be a young viral lion ready to defeat the nemeses Babylon (2-4, Proverbs 30:29-31). This word should have shaken Pharaoh to his core causing him to reconsider his battle plans and who he let into the nation but he didn’t. If mighty Egypt could be destroyed, every nation could be just as susceptible and this message should have caused the surrounding nations to reconsider their plans but they also chose to proceed not knowing what day would be their last (9-12). Egypt was not the first “mighty nation to collapse under the powerful hand of the Lord G_d” and it would not be the last (24-30).