Archive for : April, 2018

04/30/2018 — Psalms Chapters 102-104

As you read Psalm 104 did another book come to mind?  What about the first five chapters of Genesis?

For the words used by this writer of the Psalm seems to capture a picture of the first 5 days of creation that concerns nature only, as distinguished from mankind.  And in verses 31-34 we see the Psalmist offer the praises that belong to the Lord:

 31 May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
          may the Lord rejoice in his works
32 he who looks at the earth, and it trembles,
         who touches the mountains, and they smoke.

33 I will sing to the Lord all my life;
    I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
34 May my meditation be pleasing to him,
    as I rejoice in the Lord.

 

 

04/29/2018 — 1 Chronicles Chapters 7-10

Now, if you are like me and have been wondering, “why did we go from 2 Samuel to Chronicles?” today’s reading helps frame the reason.  And it can be a bit confusing at first – at least it was to me.

For as we read through 1 Chronicles 9 we see a quick but short shift in chronology.  In 1 Chronicles 9:1-34 the author (most scholars attribute the book to Ezra) reaches into the future and describes the return of the nation from Babylonian captivity.  Then in 9:35-44 we have listed the genealogy of Saul & a return to the time-line we were reading & will return to in 2 Samuel.

 

So, what we have read is the genealogies of the Nation from Adam and through the genealogies of Israel. It continues through all the 12 tribes of Israel, then King David, and then the Priestly line. The descendants teach the history of the nation, extending from God’s creation all the way through the exile in Babylon.

Now — we will return to the history of David.

 

04/28/2018 — Psalm Chapters 81, 88, 92-93

The words of Psalm 93:3-4 remind me of the power and awesome nature of the Lord & recent events on the Cape:

The seas have lifted up, Lord,
    the seas have lifted up their voice;
    the seas have lifted up their pounding waves.
Mightier than the thunder of the great waters,
    mightier than the breakers of the sea
    the Lord on high is mighty.

This past winter we were certainly reminded of the power of the sea and the waves as they battered the Cape Cod coastline, changing the cliffs and beaches forever …

And, yet, as the Psalmist pens — the Lord is even mightier!!

4/27/2018 — 1 Chronicles Chapter 6

As with the preceding chapters we see the history of families.  Chapter 6 provides the lineage of the family of Levi the name “Levi”, means joined.  Not coincidentally, more detail is provided for this family as proof of being descended from Levi was a requirement to be in the service of the Lord.

 

 

04/26/2018 — Psalm Chapters 73, 77-78

My reflections on the actual Psalm are shown below.  But I believe that it is always important to look at the earthly authors of the scripture we read.  As you note, these Psalms are attributed to “Asaph.”  So, who is Asaph?

Interestingly, as we will read tomorrow in 1 Chronicles 6:31-32 there were a number of Levites that King David assigned as worship leaders in the tabernacle choir.  Verse 39 tells us that Asaph was one of these men.  Per 2 Chronicles 29:30 Asaph and David were skilled singers and poets. Asaph is also mentioned as a “seer” or prophet.

Psalm 78 caught my attention as it is a poem telling the reader, again, of the history of the Israelites.  Within these verses we also see the importance of generational transfer of important information — one of the purposes of the written word:

My people, hear my teaching;
    listen to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth with a parable;
    I will utter hidden things, things from of old—
things we have heard and known,
    things our ancestors have told us.
We will not hide them from their descendants;
    we will tell the next generation
the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord,
    his power, and the wonders he has done.
He decreed statutes for Jacob
    and established the law in Israel,
which he commanded our ancestors
    to teach their children,
so the next generation would know them,
    even the children yet to be born,
    and they in turn would tell their children.
Then they would put their trust in God
    and would not forget his deeds
    but would keep his commands.
They would not be like their ancestors—
    a stubborn and rebellious generation,
whose hearts were not loyal to God,
    whose spirits were not faithful to him.

 

04/25/2018 — 1 Chronicles Chapters 3-5

As we continue reading through 1 Chronicles I think it is important to do a “refresher” (or maybe for some an “initial” ) overview of the entire book.  The following is provided by on the BibleTrack.org website:

The history contained in I and II Chronicles spans a period from Adam all the way down to around 500 B.C. It is therefore obvious that the author (perhaps Ezra) intended to recap Jewish history in one book for the sake of the exiles returning to Israel in the sixth and fifth centuries B.C. When they returned back to their land after their forced retention in Babylon, they needed to know as much as possible about their roots. It appears that Chronicles (originally just one book) was written to that end. The first nine chapters of I Chronicles give a recap of genealogies. The presentation here is not dramatic or entertaining, but rather provides a concise record of Israel’s history for the exiles. In the KJV, there are some spelling differences between here and other books of the Bible where certain of the names are referenced.

04/24/2018 — Psalm Chapters 43-45; 49; 84-85; 87

If you did wonder why reading genealogies yesterday was important in gaining a full understanding of God’s ultimate plan, go no further than today’s reading in Psalms.  Did you notice that all but one, Psalm 43, were written by the “Sons of Korah?”

So, who are the “Sons of Korah?”  Well, back in Numbers 3 we see the Lord through Moses set aside the Levites to serve the temple.  Levi had three sons, Gershon, Merari, and Kohath.  Ultimately, Kohath had a grandson — Korah.

Unfortunately, Korah became associated with a group of malcontents, namely, Dathan and Abiram, sons of Eliab, and On, son of Peleth. In pride, they roused a group of 250 men together to challenge the right of Moses and Aaron to the priesthood.  And Numbers 16 tells us that these men and their possessions were all “swallowed by the earth.” 

But Numbers 26 informs us that Korah’s sons were spared.   So these are the descendants who developed these Psalms.  Can you envision as the author penned words he was remembering his distant ancestor who perished in an earthquake for his pride and rebellion?  … And reflecting on the Grace of God prompted the words in Psalm 84:10-11

Better is one day in your courts
    than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
    than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
    the Lord bestows favor and honor;
    no good thing does he withhold
   from those whose walk is blameless. 12 Lord Almighty,
  blessed is the one who trusts in you

 

04/23/2018 — 1 Chronicles Chapters 1-2

Now, like many who have read these chapters I had wondered why even read them — it is just a listing of names that mean nothing to us now?  Then I was blessed to lead a study entitled “Genesis Genealogies.”  This study helped show that the listing of Biblical families is ripe with history and the fulfillment of God’s will.

In fact the listings are so important that, as Coffman details, they are listed twice in the inspired Word of God:

Commentator Robert Dentan may have caught the spirit of the author of Chronicles in these words:

“He refused to tell the story of Israel as though they were a small, isolated, self-contained group. He presents the national history of Israel as the climactic point in the history of the entire human race …. The prefacing of his book with these genealogies was the author’s method of setting in the proper context the story which follows.”

04/22/2018 Psalm Chapters 6, 8-10, 14, 16, 19, 21

These Psalms reaffirm my thought from yesterday that the major difference between David and Saul was David’s passion to communicate with the Lord.

In Psalm 6, & 16 we see David’s pleas to the lord for mercy and deliverance.

In chapters 8, 9, & 19  we see David praise God,

And in Chapter 21  David recognizes the source of his strength and, again, praises and exalts God.

If the text of 1 and 2 Kings does not demonstrate that David was “after God’s own heart” the poetry of Psalm certainly does!

 

04/21/2018 — 2 Samuel Chapters 1-4

When we read these first four chapters we see the final details of David becoming king of Israel, including physical battles and political changes (e.g., Abner leaving Saul’s son and joining David.)  With all of the challenges he faced how did David receive the throne?  In my mind there is no doubt that we are given the reason in 2 Samuel 2:1-2

In the course of time, David inquired of the Lord. “Shall I go up to one of the towns of Judah?” he asked.  The Lord said, “Go up.”  David asked, “Where shall I go?”  “To Hebron,” the Lord answered. So David went up there with his two wives, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal of Carme

What do we see that differs David from Saul — David inquired of the Lord vs. Saul who made his decisions often on his own.

Our goal should be the same — ask God and then listen …

 

04/20/2018 — Psalms Chapters 121, 123-125, & 128-130

If your Bible is like mine each of these Psalms has a heading saying “Song of Ascents.”  What id the meaning of this phrase?  There are several theories – some of which are included in Coffman’s commentary shown below”

Coffman writes:  Several theories of why this group of psalms is so named are available. The Jewish explanation is that there were fifteen steps from the Court of the Women to the Court of the Men in the Temple, and that each of these psalms was sung in succession on those steps. Another view is that these songs were sung in successive phases of the Jews’ return from captivity. Apparently the true explanation is that these psalms were written for the pilgrims journeying to Jerusalem for the great annual feasts, Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles. “It seems most probable that these songs form a collection for the use of pilgrims who came up to Jerusalem at the great feasts.

And as you read these Psalms can you not envision and even hear the sounds of praise being raised by these travelers?

 

 

04/19/2018 — 1 Samuel Chapters 28-31 & Psalm 18

1 Samuel 28:4-8   The Philistines assembled and came and set up camp at Shunem, while Saul gathered all Israel and set up camp at Gilboa. When Saul saw the Philistine army, he was afraid; terror filled his heart. He inquired of the Lord, but the Lord did not answer him by dreams or Urim or prophets. Saul then said to his attendants, “Find me a woman who is a medium, so I may go and inquire of her.” “There is one in Endor,” they said.  So Saul disguised himself, putting on other clothes, and at night he and two men went to the woman. “Consult a spirit for me,” he said, “and bring up for me the one I name.”

I denote these verses because they clearly demonstrate the depth of Saul’s fall from God, and how it has affected his mind. Once Saul rejected the truth, he was sure to fall from God’s will.

Leviticus 20:6-7 “If a person turns to mediums and wizards, playing the harlot after them, I will set my face against that person, and will cut him off from among his people. 7 Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy; for I am the Lord your God.

And the need for a new king, a king after God’s own heart, was essential.

 

 

04/18/2018 — Psalm Chapters 17, 35, 54, and 63

Once again we see these Psalms written during the time David was being pursued.  In these I denote a recurring pattern.

First David recognizes who God “is” and raises his words in praise.   For example   Psalm 63:2-5

I have seen you in the sanctuary
    and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life,
    my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
    and in your name I will lift up my hands.
I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
    with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

After praising the Lord David then does not hesitate to make his requests to God, keeping in mind that it is God’s will that is the most important.   From Psalm 35:22-24 Lord, you have seen this; do not be silent.
    Do not be far from me, Lord.
23 Awake, and rise to my defense!
    Contend for me, my God and Lord.
24 Vindicate me in your righteousness, Lord my God;
    do not let them gloat over me.

I find it interesting that each of these elements is present for us in the “Model Pray” as recorded in Matt 6:9-13.

04/17/2018 — 1 Samuel Chapters 25-27

Chapter 27 contains an episode in the life of David that seems to foreshadow another much more familiar relationship in his life — Bathsheba and Uriah.

1 Samuel 27: 10 When Achish asked, “Where did you go raiding today?” David would say, “Against the Negev of Judah” or “Against the Negev of Jerahmeel” or “Against the Negev of the Kenites.” 11 He did not leave a man or woman alive to be brought to Gath, for he thought, “They might inform on us and say, ‘This is what David did.’” And such was his practice as long as he lived in Philistine territory. 12 Achish trusted David and said to himself, “He has become so obnoxious to his people, the Israelites, that he will be my servant for life.”

Of course 1 Samuel 27:8-10 tells us that David was not attacking the nation of Israel — he was, instead attacking Israel’s enemies.

Now David and his men went up and raided the Geshurites, the Girzites and the Amalekites. (From ancient times these peoples had lived in the land extending to Shur and Egypt.) Whenever David attacked an area, he did not leave a man or woman alive, but took sheep and cattle, donkeys and camels, and clothes. Then he returned to Achish.

But in order to cover his deliberate lies to Achish David slaughtered innocent men and women so they could not report to Achish who their attacker had really been.

Does this not sound like his murder of Uriah to over his adultery with Bathsheba?  In both of these events we will see David suffer for his sins.

Was he a man after Gods heart — definitely.  But did he have sins that needed forgiving?  Of course the answer is the same as the answer for each of us — yes.

04/16/2018 — Psalms Chapters 56, 120, and 140-142

As we read these chapters I hope you were able to keep them in context, knowing from 1 Samuel what David was enduring when these Psalms were written — his being pursued by Saul, a man who David fears and, yet, respects as chosen by God.

I do not doubt that at these times David may have been a bit depressed (his spirit growing faint.)  However, we see that he did not allow his disappointments to hinder his relationship with God.  In fact his disappointments  seemed to cause him to call upon God even more.

Reading from Psalm 142:3-5

When my spirit grows faint within me,
    it is you who watch over my way.
In the path where I walk
    people have hidden a snare for me.
Look and see, there is no one at my right hand;
    no one is concerned for me.
I have no refuge;
    no one cares for my life.

I cry to you, Lord;
    I say, “You are my refuge,
    my portion in the land of the living.”

04/15/2018 — Psalm Chapters 7, 27, 31, 34, 52

Now, realizing what David was encountering in the last 4 chapters of 1 Samuel (chapters 21-24) can you not but better relate to his pleas and praise in these Psalms?  All four contain references to Saul’s pursuit and David’s dilemma.  But these passages really drew my attention.

Psalm 27: 4-6

One thing I ask from the Lord,
    this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
    all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
    and to seek him in his temple.
For in the day of trouble
    he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
    and set me high upon a rock.

Then my head will be exalted
    above the enemies who surround me;
at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy;
    I will sing and make music to the Lord.

 

 

 

04/14/2018 – 1 Samuel Chapters 21-24

These chapters contain as much “action” as any four chapters in scripture.  I think a  fascinating study would be to lay-out a map of the area and trace David and Saul’s journeys as Saul “pursues” and David “eludes!”

And I hope you noticed that one of the reasons that David successfully eluded Saul was his constant faith in and appeals to the Lord, not only for his safety but for guidance in fighting his battles:

1 Samuel 22:5  But the prophet Gad said to David, “Do not stay in the stronghold. Go into the land of Judah.” So David left and went to the forest of Hereth.

1 Samuel 23:1-2:   When David was told, “Look, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah and are looting the threshing floors,” he inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I go and attack these Philistines?”  The Lord answered him, “Go, attack the Philistines and save Keilah

1 Samuel 23:4  Once again David inquired of the Lord, and the Lord answered him, “Go down to Keilah, for I am going to give the Philistines into your hand.”

 1 Samuel 23:9-12 When David learned that Saul was plotting against him, he said to Abiathar the priest, “Bring the ephod.” 10 David said, “Lord, God of Israel, your servant has heard definitely that Saul plans to come to Keilah and destroy the town on account of me. 11 Will the citizens of Keilah surrender me to him? Will Saul come down, as your servant has heard? Lord, God of Israel, tell your servant.”  And the Lord said, “He will.”  12 Again David asked, “Will the citizens of Keilah surrender me and my men to Saul?”  And the Lord said, “They will.”

1 Samuel 24: 5-6   Afterward, David was conscience-stricken for having cut off a corner of his robe. He said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, or lay my hand on him; for he is the anointed of the Lord.”

 

04/13/2018 — 1 Samuel Chapters 18-20 and Psalm 11 & 59

First, I hope you are enjoying the way the readings place the Psalms closely with the events in David’s life.  I enjoy “perspective” and this method helps me greatly.

David is certainly blessed in multiple ways by the Lord but what struck me today is the gift he received of his friendship with Jonathan.  We should all be blessed to have at least one friend like Jonathan and we should praise God for placing that person in our lives.  The friendship of David and Jonathan never faded, even when David was challenged and pursued by Saul.

I am reminded of the words of author Steven Ambrose when writing of the strong loyalty of men who have served in combat — “We are forever connected by our shared experiences.”

04/12/18 — 1 Samuel Chapters 15-17

These chapters introduce us to King David and contain many marvelous examples of the Lord’s will being fulfilled.  The passages also contain a verse that at first perplexed me and may cause you to reflect:

14 Now the Spirit of the Lord had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord tormented him.

My question — did God say through Samuel, “I’ve got a devil I’m going to give to Saul?”

The questions sent me to several commentators and I think the most appropriate is found on the “Bible Answers” website, administered by preacher Doug Batchelor.

In this case I think we need to look back a verse and then to the book of Job.  In Chapter 16:13 see that the “Spirit of the Lord came upon David.”  When the verses are taken together we see that the “Spirit of the Lord” (the Holy Spirit) left Saul and entered David.

First, the evil spirit was “from” the Lord in that it was allowed by God to harass Saul. Ultimately, all created things are under God’s control. It is likely that this evil spirit was part of God’s judgment upon Saul for his disobedience. Saul had directly disobeyed God. Therefore, God removed His Spirit from Saul and allowed an evil spirit to torment him. Likely, Satan and the demons had always wanted to attack Saul; God was now simply giving them permission to do so.

As evidence, look at the story of Job. When the devil came to the Lord and wanted to plague Job, he couldn’t do anything until after God had withdrawn His protection from him. After God withdrew his protection from Job, He said, “He is in thine hand; but save his life,” (Job 2:6). The next verse in the New King James Version goes on to say, “So Satan went out from the presence of the Lor d, and struck Job with painful boils.”

 

04/11/2018 — 1 Samuel Chapters 13-14

Just in yesterday’s reading today I see another similarity in the lives of Moses and Saul.

Exodus 21: 11-12 states:  11Then Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came forth abundantly, and the congregation and their beasts drank. 12But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you have not believed Me, to treat Me as holy in the sight of the sons of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.

In Saul’s life 1 Samuel 13:12-13 tells us:   12 I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the Lord’s favor.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.”  13 “You have done a foolish thing,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. 14 But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.

Do you see the similarity? Moses took matters into his own hands.  Here we see Saul do the same and disregard Samuel’s instructions in Chapter 10:8 to You shall wait seven days until I come to you and show you what you should do.

And we are aware of the consequences — Moses did not enter the promised land and Saul’s kingdom did not endure.  I fact in v. 14 we see the foreshadowing of David’s kingdom.

Our message — our actions also have consequences.  It is our decisions to make.