Reading #1 – Genesis 38
Reading #2 – Psalms 20
Reading #3 – Proverbs 6
Reading #4 – Ezekiel 38
Reading #5 – Job 35
Genesis 38 – Judah and Tamar. Judah went down to Canaan to stay with an Adullamite named Hirah. It was during this stay that Judah married a Canaanite woman named Shua (1-2). In the time of Moses, the command was given “do not intermarry with the Canaanite women” (Exodus 34:12-16) and the reason was probably due to this incident. From the union with Shua, Judah had three sons Er, Onan, and Shelah. When Er was old enough to marry, Judah got a Canaanite woman for him named Tamar (6). We are not told what Er did that brought about his premature death but that Judah’s 2nd son was told to go have sex with Tamar to bring descendants for his now-deceased brother Er which is a Levirate marriage custom something that is part of the Israelite, Africans, and Asia customs. Onan did not want to marry Tamar because any children that were conceived would be considered children of Er. Again we are not told why Onan felt strongly against having children for Er, maybe the two brothers had a falling out and it might be a logical argument; Onan was killed because he was unfaithful by not having children for Er. The third son was too young for Tamar so she was told to be a widow in Judah’s home until Shelah was old enough to marry (6-11). When Judah did not give Shelah to Tamar, she hatched a plan to have children through Judah. When Judah saw Tamar, she was dressed as a temple prostitute which was common in the Canaanite system of beliefs. Before the man could have sex with the prostitute, he had to give something in exchange for the service. Judah promised a goat but would have to bring it at a later date so she asked for his staff and seal and he gave it to her without considering the implications. Judah had sex with her and from that union would come twins: Perez and Zerah (27-30). When Judah was told about Tamar being pregnant out of wedlock, she was to be stoned to death but she showed Judah’s Staff and seal (24-26).
Job 35 – Elihu Sharply Reproves Job. Elihu’s argument addresses Job’s question “what have I done to you oh Lord”. Elihu’s argument is that if and when Job sinned, it doesn’t affect G_d nor anybody else. In the same way, when Job was righteous it didn’t affect G_d either (6-8). The problem is if Job had sinned or done something to incur the troubles, Job would have shut up and the whole meeting would never have occurred because it would have been “justice” (Job 10:14-15). The thing is when we sin it breaks the heart of G_d and it affects everyone around us that is, our family, coworkers, church family, and friends. In the same way, when we live a righteous life, it affects everyone around us and it is a light that shines. For this reason, Job is correct in his assumption that the righteous have no advantage over the wicked (16).
Psalm 20 – Prayer for Victory over Enemies. This simple prayer addresses some key points about the value of living a righteous life. When we are righteous before G_d, He does answer our prayers and listens to the words of our mouth and the meditation of our heart. David, King of Judah, was locked in battle and things did not look so good. Trouble will come our way whether or not we live a righteous life but when the trouble comes, we can stand in assurance that G_d has our back (1-2). G_d never takes us out of the battle, he strengthens us through the battle so that we see His salvation and we will be greatly encouraged. In the storms, we need to trust that no matter what happens, G_d still has everything under control (6-7).
Proverbs 5 – Parental Counsel. Solomon in a letter to his sons, talks about the things that will cause problems for them as they grow up. Being lazy while it gives the person rest will also cause issues with the supply of food (6-8). Getting yourself into financial straights, while it is your right, will also cause problems for your family when the house is taken away (1-5). A wicked person, while it is again his/her prerogative, will also cause problems for the person and his/her family (12-15). The time to fix these problems is before they have germinated and spread poison in the body.
Ezekiel 38 – Prophecy about Gog and Future Invasion of Israel. According to online documentation, this chapter, and chapter 39 lay the groundwork for end-times teachings. The problem I have with the idea of “end-times” is that every prophecy uttered had meaning for a people of the present time and it was not uttered in “open-air for a people 2600 years later. The nations Meshech and Tubal originated from Japheth the third son of Noah (Genesis 10:2). So what I am seeing in this chapter is “civil war”. The G_d of Meshech and Tubal were “Goga” The northern kingdom worshipped the G_ds of the Canaanites which is where the Golden calf came into being (1 Kings 12:25-33). In battle, it is not uncommon for panic to set in and cause mayhem in which the Devil is an expert at creating panic. Interestingly, the chapter starts talking about “an invasion” but it is one that never occurs and that is how it is with the Devil. For Gog to engage in battle, a venue needs to be open and that is, “a nation at peace” (14-16). According to an online document, an earthquake can cause volcanic eruptions such as Mount Herman which is the holiest mountain because of its height (Psalms 133:3), Mount Bental, and Golan which leads to fish, birds, and animals on the earth dying (19-20).