Study in Israel later this Spring!

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. 

Monday, April 25, 2016

Chronological Reading Plan for April 26, 1 Chron 6

Today's reading is 1 Chronicles 6. Tomorrow's are Psalms 81, 88, 92, 93. 

Beginning in the last half of 1 Chron 5 and throughout 1 Chron 6, we see a high-priestly genealogy, starting with Aaron. We see a continuous line of High Priests, a lineage of worship leaders and we see the cities in which they dwelt.

So far, we've seen God's provision for a king of Israel. Now we see priests and worshipers as well. None of those offices nor their lineages were broken, even during hardship and captivity. 

God is preparing the way for the One who would be King and High Priest! Through these lineages, Israel will be reminded of God's sovereign plan for them as His chosen people.  Likewise, we are reminded that He reigns over all the events in history, using them to accomplish his purposes. 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Chronological Reading Plan for April 25, Psalms 73, 77, 78

Today's readings are Psalms 73, 77, 78. Tomorrow's are 1 Chronicles 6. 

These three Psalms are written by Asaph, a Levite and a leader of a group of temple musicians in David's time. We'll first see him in 1 Chronicles 6 and later hear that he plays cymbals and is in charge of the music played when the ark enters Jerusalem. In 2 Chronicles we hear that Asaph leads a collective or a guild of musicians that become a fixture in temple worship for some time after Asaph dies. 

Some of the 12 Psalms attributed to Asaph were probably written by Asaph himself, some by members of his guild. Most seem to reflect on the Babylonian exile. All of them seem to have a general theme of national crisis and God's provision during that crisis. They are a testimony to those who keep their focus on the Lord in times of hardship.