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Friday, May 05, 2017

Ps. 1-2, 15, 22-24, 47, 68

The first two Psalms are your typical God blesses us variety.  They are neatly placed immediately adjacent to a story about God pretty much not blessing someone in the person of Job, but that is an accident of later organization.  Psalm 24 follows a similar pattern, but add the metaphor of opening the gates for the King of Glory to enter, which is cool.

Fifteen also connects to Job for me because in Spanish the word "intachable," which means blameless appears.  This psalm celebrates that only the blameless--and other good quality type people--can live the Lord, in his sanctuary or mountain.  Also reminds me of the "Kingdom of God" imagery which comes later.  Psalm 23, maybe you've heard of it, also includes a proclamation of living in the house of the lord, forever.  I wonder if it means forever after, or just straight up forever.  Seems like the latter to me.

Then Psalm 22 stands out among the Book I selections from today because it is about anguish and keeping faith despite feeling abandoned, and even laughed at by friends.

The next couple are from Book II.  I can't really see a pattern yet.

Psalm 47 is like a pop hit that includes lots of "sing to the lord" type gimmicks.  From Psalm 68, I like "Padre de los huerfanos y defensor de las viudas" as un nombre de Dios.  Psalm 68 is also interesting because it starts with a command almost, May God arise.  And may God's enemies be dispersed etc.  It is an interesting structure.  Like, "who are you talking to?"

So, my love/hate relationship with the Psalms continues.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

1 Chron. 13-16

There is a lot of action here.  It is disorienting reading these stories twice.  For example, I mentioned that Deuteronomic authors gave more details on Davids battle against the Philistines, but I spoke to soon, as the Chronicler provided the detail later.  I seems to me, actually quoting 2 Samuel.

Most the reading deals with moving the arc from its station in obscurity to Jerusalem.  However, along the way, the ox carrying it stumbles, and the Israelite who touches the arc, trying to steady it, is struck dead by God.  Notice how conscious God's decision is, and David's response.
They moved the ark of God from Abinadab’s house on a new cart, with Uzzah and Ahio guiding it. David and all the Israelites were celebrating with all their might before God, with songs and with harps, lyres, timbrels, cymbals and trumpets.

When they came to the threshing floor of Kidon, Uzzah reached out his hand to steady the ark, because the oxen stumbled. The Lord’s anger burned against Uzzah, and he struck him down because he had put his hand on the ark. So he died there before God.

Then David was angry because the Lord’s wrath had broken out against Uzzah, and to this day that place is called Perez Uzzah.
This results in David dumping the arc with Obed-Edom for a few months.  Finally, the arc gets there. Asaf, the psalmist we've seen before, shows up as a chief choir director and we wrap up with a psalm of David, that is found outside of Psalms.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Ps. 106-107

According to NIV/NVI, these represent the last psalm of Book IV and the first psalm of Book V.  I will admit I am not aware of the distinction, and don't have time this morning to investigate.

Psalm 106 has a little mini history of the exodus and perhaps the exile.  It talks about being delivered into the hands of pagan nations, but I can't tell if that was prior to the reign of David when there was back and forth conquering of the Israelites, or Babylon and Syria taking them away.

Psalm 106 is interesting to me based on my recent sermon because it addresses the question of whether ours is the best or the only god.  Worshipping the Golden Calf is described as trading the Almighty God of Israel for a bull that eats grass.  In other words, not a god, but only the symbol.  Later, Israel is described as worshiping idols that are not alive. Again, demonstrating the evolution away from the idea that there is any connection to this behavior and something real.

Psalm 107 is similar, recounting the people turning away or losing courage, but includes a fair bit about being at sea.  There are not many sea stories in the Bible, and this one is super generic.  Still, interesting. 

23 Some went down to the sea in ships,
    doing business on the mighty waters;
24 they saw the deeds of the Lord,
    his wondrous works in the deep.
25 For he commanded and raised the stormy wind,
    which lifted up the waves of the sea.
26 They mounted up to heaven, they went down to the depths;
    their courage melted away in their calamity;
27 they reeled and staggered like drunkards,
    and were at their wits’ end.
28 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
    and he brought them out from their distress;
29 he made the storm be still,
    and the waves of the sea were hushed.
30 Then they were glad because they had quiet,
    and he brought them to their desired haven.
31 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
    for his wonderful works to humankind.
32 Let them extol him in the congregation of the people,
    and praise him in the assembly of the elders.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Psalm 133

Today's reading is inexplicably short.  I guess it is the psalm celebrating the union.

How good and pleasant it is
    when God’s people live together in unity!
It is like precious oil poured on the head,
    running down on the beard,
running down on Aaron’s beard,
    down on the collar of his robe.
It is as if the dew of Hermon
    were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the Lord bestows his blessing,
    even life forevermore.

Happy united kingdom.

Monday, May 01, 2017

2 Sam. 5; 1 Chron. 11-12

First Chronicles 11 actually begins almost exactly as Second Samuel 5.  Makes sense that Chronicles was written latter and gathering sources.  Chronicles adds much more in the way of names.  I remember a pastor once reading some list of names and asking us to imagine the "saints" of our churches we grew up in.  The image really stuck.

The Deuteronomical authors give more details about the battle.  And they both establish that right after David unifies the Kingdoms he conquers Jerusalem and kicks some Philistine butt.


Sunday, April 30, 2017

Ps. 102-104

The Psalms continue to provide the emotional connection.  Psalm 102 is full of anguish.  The author recognizes the power of God and names it.  But, it is clear that the psalmist has not found relief.  Psalms 103 and 104 seem to flow together.  Praise the Lord, Hallelujah, book ends both psalms.  103 is directed toward the people, 104 toward God.  Both full of praise.