December 8 – Daily Notes – Amanda

discipline a child

No child enjoys discipline, this is often why parents avoid it. We want our children to like us, but today’s proverb, like many others, reminds us that this isn’t the goal of parenting. It benefits our children when we discipline them. When we ignore or refuse that responsibility, we tend to cripple them for later in life.

Hosea 10:1-14:9:

  • 1-15 – These verses are God explaining the wrongdoing of Israel and the subsequent punishment. It’s reminiscent of a parent saying, “Because you hit your sister, you have to sit in timeout.”
  • 1-3 – Like in other books, God points out how ridiculous it is to worship things we make ourselves.
  • 8-9 – God recognizes that some people will hear his words and repent while others will hear them and keep on sinning. He affirms those who will listen.

Jude 1-25:

  • 5-7 – Jesus came to save us all, but if we deny opportunities for salvation, our alternative is punishment.
  • 17-23 – Clearly the recipients of the book of Jude were surrounded by unfaithful people, but this letter is intended to encourage them to remain faithful.

Psalm 127:1-5:

  • 3-5 – Children were considered a sign of great favor and blessing from God.

Proverbs 29:15-17:

  • 15-17 – Discipline for children is highly valued throughout the proverbs.

September 2 – Daily Notes – Amanda

spinning tires

Today we start a new book, Ecclesiastes. Have you ever felt like you’re spinning your wheels? Not getting anywhere? Making futile efforts? You’re not alone. Solomon felt that way too at times. But through all his searchings and efforts, he ultimately found truth. Ecclesiastes is worth your time.

Ecclesiastes 1:1-3:22:

  • 9 – “There is nothing new under the sun” is repeated throughout Ecclesiastes. This is used to remind us that the triumphs, tragedies, as well as daily successes and annoyances, are not new to us. Others have experienced them before us and others will after us.
  • 12-16 – The traditional understanding is Solomon wrote this book. He is identified as a king, in the line of David, and having greater wisdom than anyone else. Some modern theologians argue that the language suggests that it had to have been written after the exile and thus was someone else. It has not been proven that Solomon didn’t write it. (We will refer to the writer as Solomon throughout the notes for simplicity sake.)
  • 17 – “Chasing/striving after wind” is a repeated phrase in Ecclesiastes too. This simply means that it is a futile effort.
  • 1-11 – First, Solomon sought out pleasure in wild living and material things. He found out, as many of us could tell him from our own experiences, that wasn’t going to work.
  • 12-26 – Solomon then pursues wisdom and working hard to gain wealth. Both also prove to be pointless because it puts you in no better position when you die.
  • 1-8 – These verses will sound familiar because of the popular song by The Byrds. These verses explain that God made everything to run in its course in its allotted time. We will face the good and the bad, but nothing should overwhelm or overtake us because it is passing.

2 Corinthians 6:1-13:

  • 3-10 – Paul lists the merits of his ministry. Their boasting is not in their own accomplishments, but their ministry is legitimized by all God has brought them through and done through them.

Psalm 46:1-11:

Proverbs 22:15:

  • It is not the fault of the child that he is foolish. It is his nature. It is the job of the parent to discipline him and lead him to wisdom.

July 28 – Daily Notes – Amanda

Jesus on the cross

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” These words were some of Jesus’ last on the cross. But they were also spoken by David in today’s psalm many generations before. What kind of pain and struggle would it take for you to say words like this? How abandoned and rejected would you have to feel?

2 Chronicles 21:1-23:21:

  • 6 – The “ways of the kings of Israel” were not good. There were next to no faithful kings of Israel after David.
  • 15 – This sounds like an unpleasant punishment.
  • 9 – Even though Ahaziah was unfaithful and was punished and killed because of it, he was given a proper burial to honor the faithfulness of his grandfather.
  • 10-11 – It is extremely significant that Jehoshabeath hides and saves Joash. God had promised to sustain King David’s line. Athaliah nearly destroys this by killing off all of the royal family, but Joash is saved, which saves David’s line.
  • 16 – Jehoiada became a mentor figure for Joash since Joash was just a child when he started his reign as king.

Romans 11:13-36:

  • 13-14 – This may seem like a strange technique, but if the Jews saw the new gentile Christian’s closeness to God, maybe they too would want to be saved.
  • 17-20 – Olive trees are unique in that new ones grow up alongside old ones and share their roots. So an olive tree being “grafted in” actually meant that it connected itself to the nourishment and life that the established tree already had.
  • 30-31 – Though it seemed unfair that the Israelites’ hearts had to be hardened for gentiles to have a chance at salvation, now it was coming full circle and gentiles were causing Jews to come to salvation.
  • 33 – We should all memorize this verse for the times when we’re confused at how God is working and wondering why he does things the way he does.

Psalm 22:1-18:

  • 1 – Jesus quotes this on the cross. We’re not certain which situation caused David to say it.
  • 2-5 – David is able to lean on his experience with God’s faithfulness to sustain him even though he feels that he is currently crying out and getting no response.

Proverbs 20:7:

  • What an encouragement to live faithfully so our children can see it, learn from it, and be blessed.

Samson Was an Idiot

This morning, as I finished reading about Samson in the One Year Bible, I was struck once again by a thought that first came to me when I read the Book of Judges as an adult: Samson was an idiot.

 

It is important that we teach the Bible to our children in ways they can understand: children don’t generally understand nuance and the Bible is a nuanced story, so I understand why we play up the heroic qualities of the Bible characters and gloss over their many faults.  But, I think we make a mistake when we teach the Bible stories in such a way that leave children with the impression that the Bible is a series of stories about moral exemplars that they should emulate.  In fact, almost no one in the Bible is a moral exemplar and the primary point of the Bible is not to inspire us to live better (though it contains much wisdom about living), but rather the primary point of the Bible is to tell us about God and the lengths to which he will go to save his people.

Samson is not a hero; Samson is an idiot.  Samson’s story occurs at the end of Judges as yet one more example of Israelite society spiraling out of control.  The point of Samson is not Samson himself; the point of the Samson story is to clearly show the effects of sin and pride and to show that, despite all their idolatry and idiocy, God has not abandoned his people.

In other words, the point of the Samson story is the same as the entire Scripture: it is about the grace of God.

–Andrew Forrest