Today is the last day of the marathon psalm, Psalm 119! But isn’t it a great one!?! It becomes so obvious the deep and abiding love the psalmist has for Scripture. It is a lamp to his feet and a light to his path. Throughout the psalm, the writer makes it clear that he believes the law of God’s word is perfect and can guide us to live in a righteous manner. What would it look like if our love of Scripture was this deep?
2 Samuel 18:1-19:10:
33 – David is deeply grieved at the loss of his son. Just like with Saul, he is able to forgive Absalom for wanting to kill him.
1-8 – Joab is angry with David and explains to him that it won’t sit well with his followers that he is more saddened by Absalom’s death than happy for their hard work in victory.
4 – Like at Jesus’ trial, this disciple other than Peter is unnamed, but present.
6-7 – An interesting note on Jesus’ burial cloths being left behind in the tomb is that when Lazarus was raised from the dead, he came out of the tomb still wrapped in burial cloths. Whether significant or not, it’s an interesting contrast.
14 – No one who encounters Jesus after his resurrection recognizes him immediately.
24-29 – We, like Thomas, often need proof in order to have faith. Jesus reminds Thomas that those who believe without seeing are blessed.
30-31 – It’s powerful to think that the gospels were written so people like you and me would believe in Jesus.
Psalm 119 is, by far, the longest psalm in Scripture. Over and over again, in a variety of ways, the psalmist explains his deep love and commitment to Scripture. This truly must have been a great, devoted love.
When you think of Jesus, what do you think about? Maybe the crucifixion? Maybe his teaching? Forgiveness? Kindness? One of the things we rarely think about is his humanity and him feeling like we feel. We rarely think about when he got angry, or when he was excited about something. And in today’s reading, we get to read about his raw, human emotion. His friend died so he was sad and he cried. Though it’s hard to fathom, Jesus was human just like us.
1 Samuel 26:1-28:25:
1-5 – Clearly Saul’s compassion for David did not last long as he starts to pursue him once again.
8-12 – David has a second chance to kill Saul. Once again, he refuses because Saul was anointed by the Lord and David felt that it wasn’t his place to raise a hand against him, but God’s.
13-16 – Abner was the leader of Saul’s army. David calls Abner out and makes it clear that he had not properly protected Saul. Since David had these items kept so close to Saul, Abner would know that David could have harmed him as well.
21-25 – Once again, Saul is humbled by David’s mercy and stops pursuing him.
3-7 – When Saul can no longer hear from the Lord he turns to other, unsanctioned ways of learning his future.
8-19 – Samuel explains the reason God cut Saul off, which would prove it was Samuel since others didn’t know that Saul was cut off or the reason why. Samuel confirms that Saul and his sons will die the next day and will lose to the Philistines.
1-4 – These are the same Mary and Martha from the story when Martha does all the work and Mary sits at the feet of Jesus. As this passage states, Mary is also the one who anoints Jesus’ feet. Clearly they knew Jesus well and followed him faithfully.
5-16 – The disciples try to keep Jesus from returning to Judea because it is dangerous there. Jesus wants to go raise Lazarus from the dead and he knows his disciples’ faith will be strengthened by seeing it. This is why he says that he’s glad, for their sakes, that Lazarus died.
25-27 – Jesus offers another “I am” statement. Martha believes in the resurrection of all believers that is to come, but Jesus lets her know that he determines when resurrection occurs. Martha knows Jesus’ identity and has faith in his abilities.
35 – The shortest verse in Scripture. Also, one of the most obvious displays of Jesus feeling human emotion.
39 – Even those of us who believe deeply in Jesus’ abilities are hindered by our own understanding. Martha thought of the earthly facts – dead bodies decay and stink – she wasn’t thinking that all things are possible through Christ.
49-53 – Caiaphas had insight into Jesus’ future though it doesn’t indicate whether, at this time, he was for or against Jesus.
We are designed to be in relationship at all times. We are not to trust others above God, but we are to seek wise counsel from those who are in active relationship with God.
Today’s reading from 1 Samuel says, “the word of the Lord was rare in those days.” We see with Noah, Abraham, Moses, and others, God has conversations and advice for these people throughout their lives. But for a time, whether by God’s choice or because the Israelites had strayed so far from him, God was silent. God’s voice was so absent that Samuel didn’t recognize it when he called. Is it possible that we too have strayed far from God and don’t recognize his voice when he calls?
1 Samuel 2:22-4:22:
25 – Eli’s sons had sinned continually against God, choosing to sin directly against his laws, against the women who served God, and against the offerings given to God. Their hearts were hardened through their vast sins and then God chooses to harden them completely.
27-36 – God cuts off Eli’s family from the priesthood because of his son’s great sins. Though Eli didn’t sin to the extent of his sons, he also didn’t make a great effort to stop them.
1 – This means God was not speaking directly to people much at this time. This could be a choice by God or it could be because of Israel’s distance from God.
4 – Yet another biblical character who responds to God’s call with the faithful response, “Here I am.”
7 – Samuel was still young and hadn’t had a direct encounter with God so he was unable to recognize his voice. In John’s gospel Jesus describes himself as the good shepherd and because of that, the sheep know his voice.
9-10 – A beautiful, willing response.
11-15 – Eli raised Samuel so hearing such a negative report about Eli from God would be quite troubling to the young man. It is not surprising that he was scared to tell Eli.
19 – Samuel was eager to learn all he could from the Lord.
3-11 – The Ark of the Covenant, which contained the Ten Commandments, represented the presence of God. God could have caused the Israelites to defeat the Philistines but decided not to because of the sins of Hophni and Phinehas.
22 – The Ark of the Covenant being captured would be like Washington D.C. being taken over by our enemies. But it was even worse than that because it represented God no longer being in their presence.
25-29 – This passage tells us that there will be a resurrection for the dead and both believers and non-believers will be judged by Christ.
45-47 – The Jews based their holiness and worthiness on Moses’ law. When Jesus says it is Moses that will accuse them before God and not him, he is expressing that none of them have succeeded in meeting Moses’ standards and thus none can be justified before God.
4-5 – God was extremely gracious to his people, the Israelites and the psalmist is asking for inclusion on this treatment.
7-12 – Of all the great works God did for the Israelites, clearly the most significant to them was being rescued from Egypt. It is, far and away, the most referenced act of God throughout the Old Testament.
This portion of the proverb contrasts peace and dissatisfaction. The former gives us life, while the other sucks it out of us.
It’s infuriating how the Israelites, throughout the Old Testament so far, seem to be stuck in a sin cycle (see what I did there?). God tells them what to do, they choose not to (aka – sin), things get bad, and then they repent. You just want to yell at them, “don’t you get what’s happening here!?!” But then, if we look at our own lives, we tend to fall into the same cycle. Maybe we could learn from their mistakes.
30-41 – Gaal spoke ill of Abimelech who, though he had not fully honored God, was still one of God’s people.
53-57 – Interesting that a woman with such a significant story doesn’t have her name mentioned. Though Abimelech experienced some success in war, ultimately, his evil was repaid in kind. Like a stone was dropped on his brothers, a millstone was dropped on his head.
1-5 – Presumably, both Tola, and Jair served God and Israel faithfully because no evil is mentioned.
10-16 – The Israelites continue the cycle of sinning against God and serving other gods and running into trouble. Each time, when the Israelites reach their threshold, they cry out to God and repent. This passage begs the question if God’s forgiveness is ever limited.
13-27 – Though the prophets had foretold what would happen to Jesus and Jesus tried to explain it himself before his death, many Jews thought he could not possibly be the Messiah because he died. They had had such hope before and now had lost it.
28-35 – Though quickly, the resurrected Jesus revealed himself to Cleopas and his friend.
36-44 – Obviously a resurrection is hard to believe because it doesn’t happen often. The disciples convinced themselves that Jesus was just a spirit, so he not only showed his scars, but also ate food, which a spirit wouldn’t do.
49 – The disciples were instructed to keep their work contained to Jerusalem until they received power from on high, which was the Holy Spirit, which they received on Pentecost.
This Psalm encourages us to give thanks and speaks specifically of doing it first thing – when we come into his presence and when we enter his gates.
12 – We should seek what is right to God instead of leaning on what we think or understand.
Consider this an all things Easter bonus edition of our blog! Today is THE GREATEST DAY of the year!! Today is the day we celebrate God’s triumph over sin and death and recognize that Jesus truly is the Savior of the World.
Remember these from Exodus? These were the priestly garments. They were worn by the Levites. The Levites were a tribe set apart to be the priests who handled sacrifices, atonement, and all sorts of other special tasks. Today’s Numbers reading gives us a helpful rundown of the Levites.
48 – God spared the rest of the people because Aaron guarded them.
8-11 – Aaron and his family are given everything that is offered to the Lord. They receive this instead of an inheritance because the Lord is to be their portion.
The Levites also got no inheritance of the people of Israel. Instead, they got the tithes offered to God.
26 – The Levites were supposed to tithe off of the tithes they received. This is kind of like pastors tithing since they are paid by the tithes of the church members.
It is significant that the first witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection are women. Women’s testimony in court or otherwise did not count.
16-18 – These verses have been used to justify some of the more extreme versions of Christianity.
David feels particularly tortured because he is being betrayed by someone he once felt close to.
22 – A great reminder that we can cast our worries, burdens, difficulties, etc. on God and he will carry them for us.
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This may be what comes to mind when you think of “confession”, but today’s psalm is one of confession and is not given through a screen to a priest. Instead, this psalm shows us David pouring out the sins of his hear to God and ultimately remembering God as his hope and salvation. What if we approached confession that way today?
Though these eating instructions may seem tedious, it is good for us to have order and design of what we can and cannot do. And, as we’ve said before, following the instructions allowed the Israelites to remain clean and able to be in the presence of God.
The differences between clean and unclean are based on what is good for us. This is somewhat reminiscent of when God gave the garden to Adam and Eve but designated one tree as not good for them.
28 – Clearly Jesus’ reputation preceded him if she had that much confidence in just touching his garment.
30 – Jesus had great perception of his connection to God and his power that came from him because he knew when any left him.
34 – Faith is often attributed with effectiveness in healing, miraculous acts, etc.
35-43 – The first time we read of Jesus raising someone from the dead. Certainly Jairus had lost hope. Once again, Jesus tells them to keep quiet.
A Psalm that is helpful when we need to confess. Note that it still ends in praise addressing God as “my salvation”.