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Genesis 18

1 Yahweh appeared to him at the Oak of Mamre while he was sitting by the entrance of the tent during the hottest part of the day.

2 He looked up, and there he saw three men standing near him. As soon as he saw them he ran from the entrance of the tent to greet them, and bowed to the ground.

3 ‘My lord,’ he said, ‘if I find favour with you, please do not pass your servant by.

4 Let me have a little water brought, and you can wash your feet and have a rest under the tree.

5 Let me fetch a little bread and you can refresh yourselves before going further, now that you have come in your servant’s direction.’ They replied, ‘Do as you say.’

6 Abraham hurried to the tent and said to Sarah, ‘Quick, knead three measures of best flour and make loaves.’

7 Then, running to the herd, Abraham took a fine and tender calf and gave it to the servant, who hurried to prepare it.

8 Then taking curds, milk and the calf which had been prepared, he laid all before them, and they ate while he remained standing near them under the tree.

9 ‘Where is your wife Sarah?’ they asked him. ‘She is in the tent,’ he replied.

10 Then his guest said, ‘I shall come back to you next year, and then your wife Sarah will have a son.’ Sarah was listening at the entrance of the tent behind him.

11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old, well on in years, and Sarah had ceased to have her monthly periods.

12 So Sarah laughed to herself, thinking, ‘Now that I am past the age of childbearing, and my husband is an old man, is pleasure to come my way again?’

13 But Yahweh asked Abraham, ‘Why did Sarah laugh and say, “Am I really going to have a child now that I am old?”

14 Nothing is impossible for Yahweh. I shall come back to you at the same time next year and Sarah will have a son.’

15 Sarah said, ‘I did not laugh,’ lying because she was afraid. But he replied, ‘Oh yes, you did laugh.’

16 From there the men set out and arrived within sight of Sodom, with Abraham accompanying them to speed them on their way.

17 Now Yahweh had wondered, ‘Shall I conceal from Abraham what I am going to do,

18 as Abraham will become a great and powerful nation and all nations on earth will bless themselves by him?

19 For I have singled him out to command his sons and his family after him to keep the way of Yahweh by doing what is upright and just, so that Yahweh can carry out for Abraham what he has promised him.’

20 Then Yahweh said, ‘The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin is so grave,

21 that I shall go down and see whether or not their actions are at all as the outcry reaching me would suggest. Then I shall know.’

22 While the men left there and went to Sodom, Yahweh remained in Abraham’s presence.

23 Abraham stepped forward and said, ‘Will you really destroy the upright with the guilty?

24 Suppose there are fifty upright people in the city. Will you really destroy it? Will you not spare the place for the sake of the fifty upright in it?

25 Do not think of doing such a thing: to put the upright to death with the guilty, so that upright and guilty fare alike! Is the judge of the whole world not to act justly?’

26 Yahweh replied, ‘If I find fifty upright people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place because of them.’

27 Abraham spoke up and said, ‘It is presumptuous of me to speak to the Lord, I who am dust and ashes:

28 Suppose the fifty upright were five short? Would you destroy the whole city because of five?’ ‘No,’ he replied, ‘I shall not destroy it if I find forty-five there.’

29 Abraham persisted and said, ‘Suppose there are forty to be found there?’ ‘I shall not do it,’ he replied, ‘for the sake of the forty.’

30 Abraham said, ‘I hope the Lord will not be angry if I go on: Suppose there are only thirty to be found there?’ ‘I shall not do it,’ he replied, ‘if I find thirty there.’

31 He said, ‘It is presumptuous of me to speak to the Lord: Suppose there are only twenty there?’ ‘I shall not destroy it,’ he replied, ‘for the sake of the twenty.’

32 He said, ‘I trust my Lord will not be angry if I speak once more: perhaps there will only be ten.’ ‘I shall not destroy it,’ he replied, ‘for the sake of the ten.’

33 When he had finished talking to Abraham Yahweh went away, and Abraham returned home.

Genesis 19

1 When the two angels reached Sodom in the evening, Lot was sitting at the gate of Sodom. As soon as Lot saw them, he stood up to greet them, and bowed to the ground.

2 ‘My lords,’ he said, ‘please come down to your servant’s house to stay the night and wash your feet. Then you can make an early start on your journey.’ ‘No,’ they said, ‘we shall spend the night in the square.’

3 But he pressed them so much that they went home with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking unleavened bread, and they had supper.

4 They had not gone to bed when the house was surrounded by the townspeople, the men of Sodom both young and old, all the people without exception.

5 Calling out to Lot they said, ‘Where are the men who came to you tonight? Send them out to us so that we can have intercourse with them.’

6 Lot came out to them at the door and, having shut the door behind him,

7 said, ‘Please, brothers, do not be wicked.

8 Look, I have two daughters who are virgins. I am ready to send them out to you, for you to treat as you please, but do nothing to these men since they are now under the protection of my roof.’

9 But they retorted, ‘Stand back! This fellow came here as a foreigner, and now he wants to play the judge. Now we shall treat you worse than them.’ Then they forced Lot back and moved forward to break down the door.

10 But the men reached out, pulled Lot back into the house with them, and shut the door.

11 And they dazzled those who were at the door of the house, one and all, with a blinding light, so that they could not find the doorway.

12 The men said to Lot, ‘Have you anyone else here? Your sons, your daughters and all your people in the city, take them away,

13 for we are about to destroy this place, since the outcry to Yahweh against those in it has grown so loud that Yahweh has sent us to destroy it.’

14 So Lot went off and spoke to his future sons-in-law who were to marry his daughters. ‘On your feet!’ he said, ‘Leave this place, for Yahweh is about to destroy the city.’ But his sons-in-law thought he was joking.

15 When dawn broke the angels urged Lot on, ‘To your feet! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away in the punishment of the city.’

16 And as he hesitated, the men seized his hand and the hands of his wife and his two daughters — Yahweh being merciful to him — and led him out and left him outside the city.

17 When they had brought him outside, he was told, ‘Flee for your life. Do not look behind you or stop anywhere on the plain. Flee to the hills or you will be swept away.’

18 ‘Oh no, my lord!’ Lot said to them,

19 ‘You have already been very good to your servant and shown me even greater love by saving my life, but I cannot flee to the hills, or disaster will overtake me and I shall die.

20 That town over there is near enough to flee to, and is small. Let me flee there-after all it is only a small place — and so survive.’

21 He replied, ‘I grant you this favour too, and will not overthrow the town you speak of.

22 Hurry, flee to that one, for I cannot do anything until you reach it.’ That is why the town is named Zoar.

23 The sun rose over the horizon just as Lot was entering Zoar.

24 Then Yahweh rained down on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire of his own sending.

25 He overthrew those cities and the whole plain, with all the people living in the cities and everything that grew there.

26 But Lot’s wife looked back, and was turned into a pillar of salt.

27 Next morning, Abraham hurried to the place where he had stood before Yahweh,

28 and looking towards Sodom and Gomorrah and the whole area of the plain, he saw the smoke rising from the ground like smoke from a furnace.

29 Thus it was that, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, he did not forget Abraham and he rescued Lot from the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities where Lot was living.

30 After leaving Zoar Lot settled in the hill country with his two daughters, for he dared not stay at Zoar. He lived in a cave, he and his two daughters.

31 The elder said to the younger, ‘Our father is an old man, and there is no one here to marry us in the normal way of the world.

32 Come on, let us ply our father with wine and sleep with him. In this way we can preserve the race by our father.’

33 That night they made their father drunk, and the elder slept with her father though he was unaware of her coming to bed or of her leaving.

34 The next day the elder said to the younger, ‘Last night, I was the one who slept with our father. Let us make him drunk again tonight, and you go and sleep with him. In this way we can preserve the race by our father.’

35 They made their father drunk that night too, and the younger went and slept with him, though he was unaware of her coming to bed or of her leaving.

36 Both Lot’s daughters thus became pregnant by their father.

37 The elder gave birth to a son whom she named Moab; and he is the ancestor of the Moabites of our own times.

38 The younger also gave birth to a son whom she named Ben-Ammi; and he is the ancestor of the Bene-Ammon of our own times.

Job 7

1 Is not human life on earth just conscript service? Do we not live a hireling’s life?

2 Like a slave, sighing for the shade, or a hireling with no thought but for his wages,

3 I have months of futility assigned to me, nights of suffering to be my lot.

4 Lying in bed I wonder, ‘When will it be day?’ No sooner up than, ‘When will evening come?’ And crazy thoughts obsess me till twilight falls.

5 Vermin and loathsome scabs cover my body; my skin is cracked and oozes pus.

6 Swifter than a weaver’s shuttle my days have passed, and vanished, leaving no hope behind.

7 Remember that my life is but a breath, and that my eyes will never again see joy.

8 The eye that once saw me will look on me no more, your eyes will turn my way, and I shall not be there.

9 A cloud dissolves and is gone, so no one who goes down to Sheol ever comes up again,

10 ever comes home again, and his house knows that person no more.

11 That is why I cannot keep quiet: in my anguish of spirit I shall speak, in my bitterness of soul I shall complain.

12 Am I the Sea, or some sea monster, that you should keep me under guard?

13 If I say, ‘My bed will comfort me, my couch will lighten my complaints,’

14 you then frighten me with dreams and terrify me with visions,

15 so that strangling would seem welcome in comparison, yes, death preferable to what I suffer.

16 I am wasting away, my life is not unending; leave me then, for my days are but a breath.

17 What are human beings that you should take them so seriously, subjecting them to your scrutiny,

18 that morning after morning you should examine them and at every instant test them?

19 Will you never take your eyes off me long enough for me to swallow my spittle?

20 Suppose I have sinned, what have I done to you, you tireless watcher of humanity? Why do you choose me as your target? Why should I be a burden to you?

21 Can you not tolerate my sin, not overlook my fault? For soon I shall be lying in the dust, you will look for me and I shall be no more.

Job 8

1 Bildad of Shuah spoke next. He said:

2 How much longer are you going to talk like this and go blustering on in this way?

3 Can God deflect the course of right or Shaddai falsify justice?

4 If your sons sinned against him, he has punished them for their wrong-doing.

5 You for your part, if you are pure and honest, must now seek God, plead with Shaddai.

6 Forthwith his light will shine on you and he will restore an upright man’s house to prosperity.

7 Your former state will seem as nothing to you, so great will your future be.

8 Question the generation that has passed, meditate on the experience of its ancestors-

9 for we children of yesterday, we know nothing, our life on earth passes like a shadow-

10 but they will teach you, they will tell you, and their thought is expressed in these sayings,

11 ‘Can papyrus flourish except in marshes? Without water can the rushes grow?

12 Even when green and before being cut, fastest of all plants they wither.

13 Such is the fate of all who forget God; so perishes the hope of the godless.

14 His hope is nothing but gossamer, his confidence a spider’s web.

15 Let him lean on his house, it will not stand firm; cling to it, it will not hold.

16 Like some lush plant in the sunlight, he sent his young shoots sprouting over the garden;

17 but his roots were twined in a heap of stones, he drew his life among the rocks.

18 Snatch him from his bed, and it denies it ever saw him.

19 Now he rots on the roadside, and others are springing up in the soil.

20 Believe me, God neither spurns anyone of integrity, nor lends his aid to the evil.

21 Once again laughter may fill your mouth and cries of joy break from your lips.

22 Your enemies will be covered with shame and the tent of the wicked will vanish!’

Proverbs 2 [1-5]

1 My child, if you take my words to heart, if you set store by my commandments,

2 tuning your ear to wisdom, tuning your heart to understanding,

3 yes, if your plea is for clear perception, if you cry out for understanding,

4 if you look for it as though for silver, search for it as though for buried treasure,

5 then you will understand what the fear of Yahweh is, and discover the knowledge of God.

Thoughts and Reflection

In this reading the Bible gets more interesting. Here we have God destroying a whole city. As to why? To seek justice. God shows us that since there weren’t righteous people living in Sodom, he will seek justice (and not vengeance). For he is a just God. This is one of those instances where the Bible doesn’t tell us what someone or some group did wrong, rather shows us it was the wrong thing to do. As Lot’s daughters have relations with their father, their off-spring later become the enemies of the Israelites.

Later in the book of Job, we have his friends trying to comfort him and try to seek an answer for his suffering. This is true with many friends as they may give you an automatic answer of why something went a particular way. Job still remains confused and sad. He believes that God is just but why is there so much evil in the world and why do good people suffer?

This is a central question I have in my life as well. Why does God allow this to happen to us?

About This Project

For the year 2022, I decided that my New Year’s Resolution was to read the whole Bible following the Bible in the Year plan presented by Fr. Mike Schmitz. It is a big and bold undertaking. You can follow along by subscribing. Feel free to look at previous day’s post and comment. It’s something we can all learn from together!

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