Reading #1 – Genesis 40
Reading #2 – Psalms 22
Reading #3 – Proverbs 8
Reading #4 – Ezekiel 40
Reading #5 – Job 37
Genesis 40 – Joseph Interprets a Dream. When Joseph was in prison, two men of Pharaoh’s court were imprisoned in the same place Joseph was. Joseph was in prison for daring to defy the Captain of the Guard’s wife with sexual pleasure and chose instead to run away from her leaving his coat behind him. He could have given into the woman and lived long in his place of service but, he would not be in the place of G_d’s providence. One night the two men each had a dream which was interpreted differently. The Cupbearer to the King dreamt of squeezing the grape juice into Pharaoh’s cup as he did before. The Chief Baker dreamt of the three loaves of bread that were being eaten by the birds of the air and the interpretation was that in three days he would be hung on the gallows; both dreams came true as Joseph had said. The cupbearer forgot all about the promise he made until a later time (20-23). Joseph spent 10 years in prison so he was about 30-33 years old before the time of the famine.
Job 37 – Elihu Says G_d has Authority over the Storm. Elihu’s supposition was that G_d is a “wrathful G_D” and that Job’s issues were due to G_d’s wrath rather than His mercy. The problem with his argument is that there is no room for mercy. In Elihu’s eyes, Job should have no ability to say anything because G_d does what He pleases and in any manner He chooses (19-20). Elihu was speaking arrogantly with the little knowledge he possessed but did not understand why Job was being attacked so all he could do was muster his words. Because neither Elihu and his friends nor Job understood the debate in heaven, all they could do was speak according to how they understood things to be (22-24).
Psalms 22 – A Cry of Anguish and a Song of Praise. In this Psalm, we have a general outline of the crucifixion although the death by crucifixion had not been invented yet. All of the scripture has a background that is, “why it was written and by whom”. Unfortunately, the original language was Hebrew and Aramaic and then later in Greek. It is easy to look at this Psalm and say, “it’s about the crucifixion so it had to be written around the 1st century AD or shortly after the events on Golgotha”. The problem is, as Paul surmised “all scripture is G_d breathed and is useful for teaching mankind in the ways of righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16-17) and everything that Jesus said and taught had its origins in the canon of scripture and Torah law so that the people would know he was the authentic Messiah. So the writer had to be going through a momentous struggle that was tearing at the fabric of his life. The writer steadfastly declared G_d’s faithfulness and it was for this reason he did not lose faith. If the writer had arrogantly spoken or spoken too soon and then doubted G_d, the world would castigate him (4-8, Ezra 8:21-23). The “strong bulls of Bashan” refers to Og King of Bashan who was a giant that was defeated by Moses (Deuteronomy 3:1-10). So it made sense to refer to the “giants” as the ones who would appear unconquerable (12-13, Job 26:5-7, 2 Samuel 5:18-21). Faith is not “believing the impossible” but holding onto G_d’s promise until it comes to pass (23-26).
Proverbs 8 – Commendation of Wisdom. Four forces on this earth are difficult to come to grips with Wickedness and Righteousness, Wisdom and Folly. The world says, “follow me and you’ll learn a trick or two. Wisdom says, “follow me and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). The difference between the two is the “outcome”. Folly’s outcome is most certainly “death”; so, whoever follows her finds himself/herself in the pit designed for Folly. The disciples were ordinary unschooled men who had been in the presence of the Master during the three-year ministry (Acts 4:13). Yet, these men while no one special turned the city and the kingdom upside down and would make a profound impact on the nation. Wisdom is not something you can learn from books or there would be no reason to listen to the Master (Matthew 11:19).
Ezekiel 40 – Vision of the Man with a Measuring Rod. As the time draws near to restore Jerusalem, the Lord sends a specific prophecy to Ezekiel. Rebuilding the temple required specific instructions. In the time of David, a floor map was drawn up which outlined every square inch of the property so that there would no confusion and every detail was outlined. The reason for this, I believe, is to curtail any confusion or interpretation so that there would not need to be an interpretation. In the time of Jesus, the same thing was true. All references had to line up to the prophecy and not subject to anyone’s interpretation.