Study in Israel later this Spring!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Chronological Reading Plan for May 1, Psalm 133

Today's short reading is Psalm 133. Tomorrow's are Psalms 106 & 107. 

David's psalm of praise reflects the unity and peace with which God has blessed Israel as David leads them. This is a stark contrast to the time of Saul's leadership where in-fighting and war was the order of the day. 

Notice the slight shift of emphasis from Mt Sinai, where the law was given, to Mt Zion in the Promised Land. As Jerusalem is established as the capital and center of spiritual activity it will grow in importance, ultimately becoming the epicenter of deliverance and salvation for the entire world. The Old Testament is dominated by Mt SInai, the New Testament by Mt Zion. 

Friday, April 29, 2016

Chronological Reading Plan for April 30, 2 Sam 5, 1 Chron 11-12

Today's readings are 2 Samuel 5, 1 Chronicles 11 & 12. Tomorrow's reading is Psalm 133.

In 2 Sam 5, unlike Saul, David gains victory and respect over Israel's enemies. He is made king and in a stunning military victory, captures Jerusalem and makes it the capital of Israel. 

We see that David has united the nation, something that Saul was unable to do. The king the people wanted, Saul, was a failure. Now the king that God has chosen, David, is blessed. The problem was not that Israel wanted a king. It was that they wanted a king like other nations had. God intended for them to have a godly king, a king that would be set apart and set them apart from other nations. God had far better plans for His children than they could imagine. This is the struggle we enter into when we look around us and desire the things the world has and values. We can easily miss a greater blessing.  

1 Chron 11-12 gives us some additional detail on the events of 2 Sam 5. The accomplishments of David's mighty men and their loyalty to him  show how powerful he is becoming.

The Chronicler mentions Uriah the Hitite as one of David's mighty men. His wife, Bathsheba, is not mentioned...yet. 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Chronological Reading Plan for April 29, Psalms 102-104

Today's readings are Psalms 102, 103 & 104. Tomorrow's are 2 Samuel 5, 1 Chronicles 11-12. 

Psalm 102 is a cry of complaint. We'll see this, from time to time, in the Psalms, with the psalmist almost always yielding to the Lord's will and extolling His virtues by the end of the Psalm. In this, we see that it's OK to pour our hearts out to the Father, as long as anger or bitterness are dealt with and God is acknowledged for His greatness and His love. This one, however, is a cry made on behalf of the entire nation as it endures exile in Babylon. Look at  Psalm 102:13-17.  

Let's look at Psalm 103 and how it is structured, for a moment. There is a literary device, in Hebrew poetry, known as a chiasma, an intersection of two divergent literary paths. There are usually two paths, one leading up to the main point an the other leading away from it. In a chiasma, the point of intersection is the primary point of the passage. Generally, it can be seen in grouping of two or three verses, running in a pattern like this: A > B > C > B > A, with the "C" group being the main emphasis. Psalm 103 is a large chiasma. It is structured like this;

 A-Praise (v 1)
     B-The God who meets our needs (v 2-5)
          C-The God who does right (v 6)
               D- The God who reveals Himself to Israel (v 7)
                    E-The eternal mercy of God (v 8-9)
                         F-How God does not deal (v 10)
                              G-Comparisons to God's excellencies (v 11-14)
                              G-Comparisons to man's frailties (v 15)
                         F-How God does not deal (v 16)
                    E-The eternal mercy of God (v 17a)
               D-The God who does right (v 17b)
          C-To those who do His precepts (v 18)
     B-All God rules is to bless Him (v 19-22a)
A-Praise (v 22b)

The Psalm starts out with praise, leads up to it's main point of comparing God's excellencies to man's frailness, then leads back to praise. 

Chiasmas are sometimes labeled chiasmata. Both words are also used as medical terms. They require some hard work but can be very rewarding. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Chronological Reading Plan for April 28, 1 Chron 7-10

Today's readings are 1 Chronicles 7-10. Tomorrow's are Psalms 102-104.

In 1 Chron 6 we see the line of Levi preserved but also the line of Aaron, the High Priest. Aaron's sons perform the sacrifice while the rest of the Levites serve at various functions in the temple. Even through captivity, God has preserved the priesthood.

In 1 Chron 7 the rest of the tribes, except for Dan and Zebulon are listed and tracked.

1 Chron 8 -10 trace Saul's lineage. It is made clear that Saul has lost the kingdom and his life for his "breach of faith". The same reason is given for Judah being taken into captivity by the Babylonians. Judah is redeemed by being delivered from the Babylonians. Saul is redeemed by raising prophets up in his descendants.  A worldly price has been paid but God has been faithful to His promises. 

Through it all, we see that we can depend on God and His promises, even when our situations seem hopeless and despair knocks on our door. The genealogies, paired with the Psalms are our guarantee that God will do what He says He will do. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Chronological Reading Plan for April 27, Psalms 81, 88, 92, 93

Today's readings are Psalms 81, 88, 92, 93. Tomorrow's are 1 Chronicles 7, 8, 9, 10.